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[Applying for Med] FAQs on the Basics

A1

Admissions Speculator
Moderator
Having a little spare time with my midyear break I'm writing up this FAQs in preparation for the flock soon starting their application journeys. Others are most welcome to comment or add their own below this post, if suitable I will incorporate into this one.

Q1 - Which med schools should I consider and what are their requirements?
See this first if you have not
[Undergrad] - 2017-18 Med schools Selection Criteria Y12s & Non-standards

Of those who are eligible to apply the success ratio is about 1 in 12. Your particular strengths in ATAR or UMAT or Interview can make you more competitive for certain schools than others.

Q2 - How do I apply?
For UTas it's a direct application on UTas website, for the other schools it's through the TAC centres UAC, VTAC, QTAC, SATAC, TISC. One application to each TAC centre for all the schools in its state.

Several schools also require submitting a supplemental application directly to them. The application to JCU is super important in consideration. All the others are only to provide additional info which the TAC centres do not collect by default, they are not counted in consideration. (Note the Rural application is a separate matter). Also note carefully the closing application date, other courses can be added later with a late fee but not Med.

Q3 - How should I place preferences within each TAC application?
As far as preferences go you DON'T need to play the percentages. Simply place them as you wish, even if you feel you have lower chance for a particular school placing it 1st pref does not affect your chances for the other schools. If you don't get 1st pref it effectively promotes your 2nd pref to 1st, 3rd to 2nd... ultimately the same as you had not placed that 1st pref.

Q4 - What's the difference between minimum threshold, hurdle and cutoff?
Typically a school only wants to take a few thousand instead of tens of thousand applications so they set a predefined score as the minimum threshold to be eligible for consideration. This threshold is seldom close to being realistic for a place offer, except...

Where it is a hurdle it no longer counts afterwards. Like JMP 94.3, WSU 95.5, UQ 99.0 everyone is then on equal footing going into the next consideration round.

Cutoff otoh is the who-knows score at the point the target number of interview/place offers is reached. IMO talking about cutoff score only makes sense when it's the single/dominant determinator like ATAR for Griffith Flinders, S1 for JMP, Overall UMAT for UQ. For combo schools like UNSW Monash Adelaide their cutoffs cannot be expressed in a single number, 90%ile is good for a 99.5 but 92%ile may not be enough for a 98.0 etc.

Q5 - What ATAR+UMAT should I aim for to be competitive?
It varies between the schools, for a general idea you should have 99.0 + 95ish %ile (or 99.5ish + 90%ile) to go into the interview round with 50/50 chance at a combo school. IOW with that combo you still need to achieve a median interview score among the interview cohort. With a lower combo you need a better-than-median interview and vice versa.

Otoh for schools like JMP no ATAR+UMAT will make you 50/50 competitive. Being all on the PQA/Interview it's 1 in 4 chance equally for everyone (170 places for ~700 interviewees).

Q6 - Are interstate applicants disadvantaged?
No in general but yes in a way for some unis. For example UNSW interviews NSW applicants in the Dec/Jan 1st rounds then interstate applicants in the late-Jan 2nd round. The latter are not disadvantaged since UNSW assures the place-offer score for them is kept the same as for 1st round interviewees.

With the other unis
- Monash: 1st round interview offers to Vic students require a reasonable ATAR+UMAT combo, otoh 2nd round interview offers to interstate students require *very high* ATAR+UMAT. That means many interstate applicants with scores worthy of a 1st round interview are not even invited to try out.

- UTas: a big part of the intake quota is reserved for Tas students, very few places left for interstate applicants.

- JCU: I read that local students are given a higher rurality index thus better chances. Similar to WSU favouring GWS students.

Q7 - Does interstate applicants only getting 2nd round offers mean they are 2nd-class applicants?
It's important to note most uni courses do not involve an interview. All their offers can come out together in the 1st offer round thus any later offers in 2nd round are like second life chances to those already missing out in the 1st round.

Med offers are different. Where interstate applicants are interviewed separately, the 2nd offer round is mainly for them and is like a 1st round part II. Only a small portion of it, if any, is in the traditional context of 2nd round offers.

Q8 - What are the ATAR/UMAT weightings and how are they calculated?
The weightings are shown in the Criteria table. Using UNSW as example where they are equally weighted your ATAR UMAT Interview scores are combined 33/33/33 into a Final ranking score and approximately the top third of the interview cohort are successful for a place.

To allow mathematical summing the three scores must be standardised to a common scale, usually by the z-score method. Except for a few outliers this results in each applicant having three scores each ranging from -3 to +3 (for the math-minded that's how many std deviations you are below or above the cohort's average), which are then totaled for place-offer ranking.
 
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A1

Admissions Speculator
Moderator
How many med schools should each student apply to?
This FAQs is intended for domestic students. Since you are int'l an answer here wouldn't be in the right context.

EtA: Sort of apply everywhere you are eligible to if the application fees are affordable.
 
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hotcrossbun

UoA MBChB II
I have a UMAT of 84th percentile (raw score 172) and my ATAR should be around 99.9. I'm from NZ and meet no other special criteria. Is this good enough for an offer from either Adelaide or NSW?
 

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Mana

Registrar
Administrar
I have a UMAT of 84th percentile (raw score 172) and my ATAR should be around 99.9. I'm from NZ and meet no other special criteria. Is this good enough for an offer from either Adelaide or NSW?
Likely you would get an interview from them with those scores but offers are of course dependent on the interview.
 

hotcrossbun

UoA MBChB II
Likely you would get an interview from them with those scores but offers are of course dependent on the interview.
Oh goodness really??!! I for sure thought not - apparently you need a UMAT score above 90th? Would you happen to know people who recently got offers with scores like mine?
 

snorlax

New Member
Oh goodness really??!! I for sure thought not - apparently you need a UMAT score above 90th? Would you happen to know people who recently got offers with scores like mine?
Although this happened back in 2015, I had an ATAR of 99.9 and my UMAT was 89th percentile, and I got an interview offer from UNSW and Monash! I hope this helps! :)
 

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Mana

Registrar
Administrar
In years past it would already have been too late to put your application in for UNSW but this year it's just at the end of September so make sure you get your application in soon!
 

snorlax

New Member
In years past it would already have been too late to put your application in for UNSW but this year it's just at the end of September so make sure you get your application in soon!
A bit off topic, but would you happen to know what kind of GPA is required to at least maintain my previous ATAR?
 

Mana

Registrar
Administrar
A bit off topic, but would you happen to know what kind of GPA is required to at least maintain my previous ATAR?
GPA to ATAR conversions have varied a bit in the last few years however a 99.9 ATAR is essentially all HDs with one subject as a Distinction.
 

maniacfish

Regular Member
hey,
a bit of a conspiracy theory: I've heard from multiple people, past/current students and even my school's career advisor that the 93.5 gws and 95.5 standard 'threshold' at WSU isn't actually accurate. Is there perhaps a grain of truth to this? Or is it just that people who achieve the UMAT scores required generally have a high ATAR to match.
 

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LMG!

Moderator
Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
For non-standard applicants, do unis look at the term WAM or overall WAM? Is it possible to convert WAM to GPA?
As far as I'm aware, most universities use GPA. They will convert your WAM to GPA according to their own criteria (ie. some use full degree, some use last three semesters of full time study, etc).

ETA: Actually they probably won't 'convert' anything. They'll get your relevant academic results through UAC (or similar) and then calculate the GPA they're after, rather than getting your WAM and converting that.
 

biom

Regular Member
Supreme Overlord of the Chatbox
Actually they probably won't 'convert' anything. They'll get your relevant academic results through UAC (or similar) and then calculate the GPA they're after, rather than getting your WAM and converting that.
This is what I have heard as well. An enquiry to UNSW re conversion criteria receive the reply that UAC do the job and advise the Uni. I presume that this comes to the uni as an equivalent ATAR.
 

Plopper Pig

New Member
Hey,
for non-standard applicants, are our options for undergraduate medicine limited to UNSW, WSU, JMP, JCU and UTas? Just want to clarify the statement "several universities accept non-standard applicants: JCU, UTas, JMP, UNSW, UWS. (Also Curtin but for grads only)" on A1's very helpful guidesheet.
 

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LMG!

Moderator
Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
Hey,
for non-standard applicants, are our options for undergraduate medicine limited to UNSW, WSU, JMP, JCU and UTas? Just want to clarify the statement "several universities accept non-standard applicants: JCU, UTas, JMP, UNSW, UWS. (Also Curtin but for grads only)" on A1's very helpful guidesheet.
And Bond if you have a very large wallet :D

A1's Curtin comment means it's a university that accepts non-standard applicants (ie. UMAT route students who have started a tertiary degree), but only accepts those with a completed degree (hence use of the term 'grads') unless you're actually studying at Curtin itself (then you can switch to Med earlier).
 

Plopper Pig

New Member
And Bond if you have a very large wallet :D

A1's Curtin comment means it's a university that accepts non-standard applicants (ie. UMAT route students who have started a tertiary degree), but only accepts those with a completed degree (hence use of the term 'grads') unless you're actually studying at Curtin itself (then you can switch to Med earlier).
Ah, alright then. Would dropping out of university before the end of the semester do anything to change those options (as a first year who has already completed one semester)?
 

LMG!

Moderator
Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
Ah, alright then. Would dropping out of university before the end of the semester do anything to change those options (as a first year who has already completed one semester)?
Depends on the way in which you dropped out. If it was before census and you don't have a fail recorded against your academic record, then no, it won't affect anything. If it was after census and you do have fails recorded against your academic record then yes, it will, as it'll drag your GPA waaaay down. Given you'll only have one semester of a GPA to contribute, all Universities will also use your ATAR (to varying degrees) to determine your academic score.
 

Plopper Pig

New Member
Depends on the way in which you dropped out. If it was before census and you don't have a fail recorded against your academic record, then no, it won't affect anything. If it was after census and you do have fails recorded against your academic record then yes, it will, as it'll drag your GPA waaaay down. Given you'll only have one semester of a GPA to contribute, all Universities will also use your ATAR (to varying degrees) to determine your academic score.
Okie dokie, so dropping out wouldn't give the opportunity to apply to other med universities and my options are just the unis listed above?
 

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