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SATAC For Undergraduate Medicine in Australia

Published on
May 12, 2024

What Is SATAC?

SATAC stands for South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre and was established in the year 1977 by universities across South Australia. SATAC, like many other state institutions such as VTAC, aims to behave as a centralised online portal for students to submit their applications to tertiary educational institutions within South Australia and the Northern Territory.

What Does SATAC Do?

The primary objective of SATAC is to process and evaluate applications for entry into tertiary education. The centre also assembles a list of eligible applicants to help specific institutions decide which student must receive an offer. Once the institutions generate a list of potential future applicants, SATAC releases the offer on their behalf. 

Here are a few key responsibilities of SATAC, listed as follows: 

  • SATAC manages the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) across South Australia and the Northern Territory.
  • The centre also processes applications for elected equity scholarships at the University of South Australia.
  • Importantly, SATAC calculates the ATAR and the university aggregate rank for students.

How Does SATAC Work For Medical Applications?

SATAC offers an undergraduate admission pathway, which constitutes students who have completed their Year 12 education or, in some cases, higher education that includes a diploma or a bachelor's degree qualification from TAFE or other registered Australian institutions. 

For students keen to undertake undergraduate medical studies, it is imperative to read the specific requirements mentioned for each medical school. This is because medical schools offer the Bachelor of Health and Medical Science degree to students based on their Year 12 results, or higher education results. Hence, it is ideal to understand the requirements before applying to a medical school of your choice. 

The undergraduate medical course usually runs anywhere between 5 to 6 years, depending upon the university's course curriculum and clinical placements.

SATAC Undergraduate Medicine Universities

Before submitting your application to SATAC, understand whether the educational institute you are applying to is associated with SATAC. Listed below are the names of medical schools that are currently participating and following the SATAC admissions guidelines:

SATAC Undergraduate Medicine: Eligibility Criteria

SATAC Medicine Offers are released based on two factors: eligibility criteria (identification, admission tests and ATAR) and the medical school's final decision on its prospective applicants. In addition, there is a predefined number of available places per course that also plays a crucial role in determining medical school offers.

Let us dive into the entry requirements for undergraduate medicine:

  1. Each medical school has varying application requirements; hence, we recommend you understand what your preferenced med school considers at admission. For instance, the University of Adelaide gives significant preference to medical interviews, whilst Flinders University combines 90% of ATAR and 10 % of UCAT ANZ to offer a medical place to students.
  2. The following aspect in the admission process is your ranking or ATAR. So, what is an ATAR? Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) is a rank that is derived solely based on your academic merit. SATAC calculates your ATAR and ranks you amongst other eligible applicants for a medical place.
  3. Besides your academic achievement, to enter undergraduate medicine in Australia, you must sit the UCAT ANZ or any alternative medical entrance exams as per university requirements.

SATAC has implemented ‘Equal consideration’ as a primary principle in the admission process. Equal consideration means that you can apply to more than one course in a single application, and it will not affect your order of preferences. This method for course selection ensures no form of discrepancies in the application procedure.

How Does SATAC Calculate Your ATAR?

What Does ATAR Stand For?

Tertiary educational institutions use Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking or ATAR to rank applicants for a course. Usually, the ATAR ranges between 0 - 99.95 and reflects your performances amongst other students completing their Year 12 education.

What Is The Purpose Of ATAR?

Tertiary institutions benefit from the ATAR as it simplifies the selection process and enables a fair and transparent approach to compare the academic results. In addition, an ATAR is a simple tool that can filter eligible applicants for a course based on the available places to offer. 

Therefore, firstly you need to understand whether you qualify for an ATAR and a university aggregate. SATAC calculates the university aggregate by merging the scaled scores obtained during the 90 credit points of your study period.

To receive a university aggregate, you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Qualify as a SACE/NTCET student
  • Complete at least 90 credit points in Tertiary Admissions Subjects and be at Stage 2 in Recognised Studies.
  • Strictly follow the precluded combinations and counting restrictions.

Kindly note that the 90 credits of Tertiary Admissions Subjects must be achieved in the entirety of three attempts but not necessarily within consecutive years.

ATAR Calculation

SATAC derives a percentile rank based on your university aggregate and compares your rank with other students who have achieved a similar aggregate or higher.

SATAC's percentile rank ranges between 0 - 100 for each university. So if 10% of students receive 78.00 out of 90.00, the aggregate of 78.00 equates to a rank of 90.00, i.e.100 minus 10.

SATAC performs this calculation to assimilate students' ranking in a given year to place eligible students under a cohort. After this step, STATAC compares this cohort with other students across Australia within the same age group.

The final step gives rise to what SATAC addresses as the participation rate, which integrates population statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to measure the data against the size of the cohort. 

Now with the relevant information, SATAC considers the percentile rank and the participation rate to determine your position compared to other students, thus generating your ATAR.

How To Apply Through SATAC?

The applications open in early August 2021, so make sure you visit the SATAC website and choose the 'Apply Now' icon to commence your application process. SATAC requests you to provide personal details, academic qualifications, and the courses you wish to apply for. 

Before launching your application, cross-check that you have completed all sections under the SATAC application, and the information provided is accurate. Once you click ‘Apply’, SATAC will send an email of acknowledgement along with your unique 9-digit reference number. 

After successfully applying through SATAC, you are required to pay the processing fee for undergraduate medicine. The SATAC online portal allows you to track the assessment progress of your application, change course preferences, update personal information and accept SATAC offers.

How Much Does SATAC Cost?

SATAC charges a fee to process your undergraduate medical school application. This fee structure is subject to change annually and is specific to the course you are applying.

Application Timeline Applicant Type Application Fee (AUD)
Early August - Mid September Current Year 12 students $45
Early October - Mid March Current Year 12 students $185

Where To Next?

The South Australian tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) is a not-for-profit organisation that is associated with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). SATAC also invests time and effort to provide feedback to students via phone or email. Moreover, SATAC adds key value to the admission process by assessing applicants on their ATAR and UCAT score, ultimately reducing the stress on tertiary education centres in South Australia and the Northern Territory. 

We hope that our SATAC guide was helpful and provided relevant information on the application process. To find out additional information about SATAC entry requirements and SATAC application deadline, visit the SATAC website. 

Kindly make a note of the university specific requirements to avoid any errors in the application process.

Alternatively, the Fraser’s family offers a wide range of Free Resources and Tools, each exploring various themes relating to medical school applications, UCAT prep and the medical interview tips.