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UCAT requirements for Medical schools in Australia and New Zealand

Published on
May 12, 2024

The University Clinical Aptitude Test, best known as the UCAT, plays an integral role in the selection process for students pursuing undergraduate medicine or dentistry in Australia, NZ and the UK. If your child is planning to sit the UCAT after Year 12, you and your child should be well-informed of suitable medical schools that acknowledge the UCAT score during their selection process.

Across Australia and New Zealand, there are several undergraduate medical schools that recognise the UCAT to assess your child’s core cognitive and non-cognitive abilities deemed important for a future in medical practice. Before we jump into the crux of understanding the fundamentals of the UCAT requirements for undergraduate medical school’s, it is important to know the key skills that are being tested in the UCAT so you can gauge its relevance to a health-related profession.

The following skills are closely evaluated in your child when they undertake the UCAT:

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Logical and numerical reasoning skills
  3. Spatial identification
  4. Ability to make sound judgements
  5. Interpretation and drawing logical conclusions
  6. Problem-solving skills
  7. Analysing real-life situations

These aforementioned skills are some of the many traits that have been deemed important for a future as a doctor in the hospital environment. The method by which the UCAT assesses these abilities is by way of UCAT subsections.

The UCAT exam has 5 subsections, namely - Verbal reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Decision making, and the Situational Judgement Test. Each of these individual sections provide a concise overview of your child’s reasoning and interpretative skills, compiling the result into a final score that the universities can utilise in their admission process as one of their entry requirements.

Undergraduate Medicine Entry Requirements

To cut a long story short, the UCAT is used in combination with your child’s ATAR to rank applicants for an interview. The top applicants who are invited for a medical interview can then go on to receive an offer of a medical place.  The UCAT score is only valid for a single year, with only one testing window to get a valid score.

Registrations for UCAT typically open in March. Bear in mind that your child only gets one shot to attempt the UCAT in a given year. Therefore, it is suggested to book a test date at the earliest so your child does not miss out on time to prepare for it. The testing window for UCAT falls between July - August every year and the scores are released directly to the undergraduate medical schools around early September.

If you and your child are confused about the registration procedure to undertake the UCAT, here’s a detailed article on ‘How to register and prepare for the UCAT’ on the Fraser's website. 

As stated earlier, the UCAT score and ATAR determine your child’s chances of receiving a medical interview from their list of preferenced medical schools. Having said this, there are approximately 15 medical schools spread across Australia and New Zealand that value the UCAT. Having said that, many medical schools weigh the UCAT score differently when ranking a prospective student for an interview, and a subsequent medical place.

How Will Med Schools Use The UCAT Score?

Broadly speaking, the UCAT score has a distinct relationship with each undergraduate medical school. Some medical schools, such as Bond University, do not look at UCAT scores because they have designed their own psychometric evaluation to test personality traits valuable in a doctor. On the other hand, Newcastle University considers the UCAT score alongside the university’s own ‘2-step assessment’ to gauge your child’s inner potential.

If you and your child are overwhelmed by the degree of scrutiny implemented across each medical school, it is important that you recognise the competitive nature of admission to the medical field and the relevance of these assessments in order to support your child in their medical journey. Sadly, the competition and ‘hoop-jumping’ never ceases in medical training so ensure that you and your child are aware of this fact before setting a course towards a medical career.

Which Universities Do Not Use UCAT?

Bond University Medical Program

Bond University’s two-part medical program, located in Queensland, is recognised to be the shortest pathway to becoming a doctor. The reason being is that this sequential undergraduate medical program is split into the Bachelor of Medical Studies, which runs for 2 years and 8 months, followed by a 2-year and 6 month Doctor of Medicine program. Your child basically completes their undergraduate degree in around 5 years, having a head start to becoming a doctor.

The application process at Bond Uni is pretty straightforward. You and your child can refer to our university-specific guide on applying to Bond University via the QTAC portal, the university applications body for Queensland. In this guide, we also address the eligibility criteria for local applicants looking to apply!

In short, to apply for medicine at Bond, your child can be a Year 12 school leaver with a competitive ATAR, or a graduate applicant who holds a bachelor’s degree with a good GPA score.

Regardless of the difference in educational backgrounds, your child’s academic record will be the primary indicator for selection. Only 50% of the applicants will be invited for the two-step process which can be referred to from the table below.

NOTE: Bond University is not a part of the UCAT Consortium. If your child opts to only study at Bond, their focus should be on acing the psychometric evaluation. 

UCAT Requirements For University

University of Adelaide Medical School

The Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery is being replaced by Bachelor of Medical Studies/ Doctor of Medicine Program at the University of Adelaide, and will welcome its first cohort in 2022. This course, offered at University of Adelaide, is a 6-year full-time equivalent medical program that is applicable to high school leavers - students completing Year 12.

To apply for medicine at the University of Adelaide, your child needs to fill out the application form available on the SATAC website. SATAC is a centralised online portal that processes and evaluates applicants to enter tertiary-level courses across South Australia and the Northern-Territory. 

Now let us look into the percentage of UCAT score taken into consideration:

Entry Requirements

Final Offer Selection

  1. Academic Results: ATAR
  2. UCAT ANZ Score
  3. Medical Interview

40% of ATAR + 20% of UCAT ANZ Score + 40% of Interview Performance

Queensland University School of Medicine

The Provisional Entry Pathway at University of Queensland is specially designed for recent school leavers to have an assured pathway into the UQ Doctor of Medicine program. Your child may have a guaranteed spot in the MD program provided they fulfill the university’s minimum entry requirements and successfully complete a specified bachelor’s degree from the University of Queensland. 

The minimum entry criteria can be referred below:

  1. Queensland Year 12 English is a requires subject prerequisite
  2. An ATAR of 95 or above.
  3. Competitive overall UCAT Score
  4. Performance in the Multiple-mini Interview station

Similar to Bond Uni’s application process, your child needs to lodge their fully completed application to the QTAC online portal. QTAC assesses your child’s application and ranks them based on their aggregate UCAT score. Furthermore, the final UCAT subtest - Situational Judgement Test score is only used as a secondary parameter to differentiate between students with the same UCAT ANZ score. You can think of the SJT as the tie-breaker if your child ranks the same as another potential candidate - a subtest not to be taken lightly. 

Charles Sturt Medicine and Western Sydney University Medicine

CSU and WSU medical schools have formed an alliance to offer the Joint Program in Medicine. The JMP is a 5-year, full-time equivalent, undergraduate degree. Although there is no guarantee that the universities will consider it, your child needs to indicate their preferred region of study, whether that be in the Greater Western Sydney region or in the Central NSW region.

To apply for the Joint Medical Program, your child needs to submit an application via the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) portal.  In order to be successful, your child must also sit the UCAT in the year of application, as previous UCAT scores will not be considered by the universities.

Curtin University Medicine

The Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery places at Curtin University are primarily available for Western Australian school leavers, with a small amount of available spots for non-Western Australian students. This 5-year, full-time equivalent, undergraduate degree reserves approximately 28% of the Commonwealth Supported Places to the Bonded Medical Program in order to bridge the gap of workforce shortage in rural and regional areas of Australia. 

If you and your child decide to choose the Bonded Medical Scheme, then upon the completion of your child’s undergraduate medical degree, they have to commit to practice medicine for up to 3 years in regional, rural and remote regions. However, note that the exact requirements for this scheme change yearly, so read the government agreement closely before determining if this is right for your child.

Applying to Curtin University requires your child to submit the application form through Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC), indicating up to 6 courses in order of preference that your child wishes to undertake.

Your child will be ranked based on the total UCAT ANZ score they secure. Additionally, your child has to fulfil Inherent and Professional Behaviour Requirements to demonstrate their skills as a prospective applicant to pursue a competitive career like medicine.

Charles Darwin University Medicine

The Bachelor of Clinical Sciences degree is available at Charles Darwin University as a part of a double degree in association with the Northern Territory Medical Program (NTMP) offered at Flinders Uni. Your child will complete their Year 1 and Year 2 of their medical degree at CDU. Then, based on the GPA score secured from these consecutive years, they may obtain a guaranteed spot in the NTMP at Flinders Uni.

CDU’s undergraduate medical program is a highly competitive course and only 12 medical places are available each year. 

In order to be eligible for the Bachelor of Clinical Sciences, your child must secure:

  1. A high ATAR and may have studied a one-year higher degree qualification.
  2. Competitive UCAT ANZ Derived Score
  3. English Language Proficiency Requirements 
Entry Requirements Final Selection Process
  1. ATAR of 90 or above
  2. UCAT Derived Score - Each section score will equally contribute to deduce the final score.

10% of ATAR + 90% UCAT Derived Score 

UNSW Medicine

University of New South Wales has a combined undergraduate and postgraduate medical degree, obtaining the ‘ Bachelor of Medical Studies, Doctor of Medicine’ upon degree completion.

To study medicine at UNSW, it is important that your child applies through the UNSW Medicine Application Portal (MAP) before lodging an application to the UAC. By extension, your child will have to undertake the UCAT and obtain a competitive score and ATAR to fulfil the entry requirements at UNSW.

Once the requested UCAT Score and ATAR has been submitted, UNSW releases interview offers to students based on a combination of the former two areas. Approximately 500 interview spots are available for students each year at UNSW.

The interview structure at UNSW is personalised and has two medical interviewers examining your child’s potential and knowledge on a wide variety of relevant subject matter. These interviews are usually accredited medical practitioners, academic lecturers and community representatives who have sound knowledge across a range of relevant themes. 

Newcastle Uni and University of New England Medicine

This Joint Medical Program is a 5-year full-time equivalent degree offered by Newcastle University in association with the University of New England. The JMP is a two-stage undergraduate program that comprises the Bachelor of Medical Science at Stage 1, and the Doctor of Medicine at Stage 2.

The admission requirements for Newcastle University requires your child to apply for entry via the UAC portal. Following this, your child needs to perform well enough in the UCAT and produce a high ATAR from Year 12 or any overseas equivalent qualification. Finally, short-listed candidates must undergo the JMPs distinctive two-step evaluation process; the Multiple Skills Assessment and the Personal Qualities Assessment. All of these factors together will determine the order list of candidates to be offered a medical school offer.

Entry Requirements

Final Selection Process

  1. Year 12  Results
  2. UCAT ANZ Score
  3. Multiple Skills Assessment - Consists of separate sequential interview stations.
  4. Personal Qualities Assessment - Admission test designed to test non-cognitive abilities
ATAR + UCAT Score + Performance in MSA & PQA

University of Western Australia 

Domestic high-achieving school leavers can enter via the Assured Entry Pathway to the Doctor of Medicine at the University of Western Australia. This entry pathway has a guaranteed  medical place for your child on condition that your child completes a prior UWA Bachelor’s degree securing a minimum GPA score of 5.5.

The entry requirements to pursue medicine at UWA includes:

  1. Achieving an ATAR of 99 or equivalent.
  2. Suitable UCAT Score
  3. Good performance in the medical interview
  4. English language proficiency 
  5. Inherent requirements

Your child will be called for an interview based on their excellence in the UCAT and meeting the minimum ATAR requirement.The interview structure at UWA is in the form of a Multiple Mini Interview, comprising 8 separate interview stations with a single interviewer at each station.

This concludes the medical schools across Australia, now, let us shift our focus to New Zealand universities and their consideration of the UCAT..

University of Otago

The medical degree at Otago University has a unique course system that requires new school leavers to enrol in the Health Sciences First Year course. Upon completing this program, your child will be eligible to apply for the 5-year medical degree.

In order to gain admission into the Health Sciences first year course, your child must pass the HSFY compulsory papers in their first attempt with a minimum of 70% and secure a satisfactory UCAT score across the 5 UCAT subsections that meets the university’s threshold for a medical place. The scores required are determined annually by the admissions committee depending on the competitiveness of the cohort.

University of Auckland

The University of Auckland offers a 6-year, full-time, undergraduate medical program with 257 domestic places offered each year. The selection process for this course is based on your child’s academic record, performance in the UCAT, and interpersonal skills exhibited during the MMI interview stations

Much like Otago Medical School, your child needs to enrol as a first year in either the Bachelor of Health Sciences or the Bachelor of Biomedical Science, and complete 8 compulsory subjects. 

The final selection ranking process is as follows:

  1. GPA across 4 course subjects: 60%
  2. UCAT Score: 15%
  3. MMI Interview performance: 25%

Where To Next?

If you are looking for the right resources to support your child’s UCAT study, we suggest that you enrol your child  into our UCAT Strategy Weekend program that will allow for your child to undertake a practice test and obtain a personalised report from a senior UCAT tutor. From there, the senior tutor will also suggest tips to create a study plan that caters to your child’s needs to give them the best shot possible of success in the UCAT