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Common pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants

Crow

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Her thinking is that medicine requires high devotion and a strong interest to do it (which I highly agree with by the way), and that if I really wanted to do medicine then why wouldn’t I do well in clinical science to eventually make it to medicine (with the idea I would also do well in the UCAT or GAMSAT)
Great advice above. I can see that you’ve thought for yourself and come to your own decision (excellent!) and I will say on the part that I’ve quoted - this is the mindset that almost everyone has when they aim for medicine after high school. Everyone thinks so long as they work really hard and have enough motivation, they’ll make it in. This just isn’t reality; there are far too many capable applicants that greatly outweigh the number of places on offer. Some people take GAMSAT 5+ years in a row and never score highly enough to make it in; to me that suggests that hard work and dedication isn’t enough sometimes, and having that mindset is dangerous. It’s important to keep this in mind. If you have an interest in nursing then that sounds like the ideal way to go! Best of luck :)
 

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A1

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At first I thought I could do the clinical science and just transfer if I see it’s not working out, but I think just going straight to nursing would be better. It not only provides myself with a peace of mind that I can find employment if things don’t work out, but it also has many scientific aspects and the patient interaction that I like. Thanks for all the advice and encouragement, I really appreciate it, i’m going to change my preferences today :)
Also don't forget during each year of your Nursing degree practise and sit the UCAT, you can apply to WSU JMP JCU (& possibly UNSW if you have a decent ATAR). You could be in medicine sooner than you think.

See this table for the GPA needed > [Undergrad] - (2019 Updated) Med schools Selection Criteria Y12s & Non-standards
 

KC181

Lurker
Thank you everyone, I definitely will keep that all in mind
& possibly UNSW if you have a decent ATAR
Also in regards to this, I didn't realise that UNSW required the ATAR? I thought it was the GPA that was considered, or am I misunderstanding that for other universities?
 

Sherlock

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Thank you everyone, I definitely will keep that all in mind


Also in regards to this, I didn't realise that UNSW required the ATAR? I thought it was the GPA that was considered, or am I misunderstanding that for other universities?
UNSW uses 50:50 ATAR:GPA combination for non-standard applicants, regardless of when you complete/completed the HSC.

Other universities consider your GPA after 1 year FTE of uni studies.
 

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chinaski

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Some people take GAMSAT 5+ years in a row and never score highly enough to make it in; to me that suggests that hard work and dedication isn’t enough sometimes, and having that mindset is dangerous.
Worth also pointing out that GAMSAT is only one hurdle to graduate entry - just having a high score isn't enough on its own. You also need the GPA, the interview performance, and the portfolio (if applicable). I think people can get a little myopic and think if only they can nail GAMSAT, then they're a shoo-in.

Also an aside: bear in mind that science is only one third of GAMSAT content - so a science-based degree isn't ever going to prepare you for 100% of it. Interestingly, even though two-thirds is humanities based, not many people suggest an Arts degree as "perfect preparation" for GAMSAT in the same way they recommend doing a science degree.
 
Hi everyone.
So I'm finalising my UAC preferences for December Round 2 offers and I'm bit stuck in ordering my plan bs (if I don't get into med, which is my first preference). I was always keen on pharmacy, but a lot of articles and reviews say that the pharmay industry is oversaturated and the pay is also quite low and in fact decreasing. I've also heard that the cohort is usually quite big in pharmacy courses. I've chosen USYD Pharm as my 2nd but I don't know if its a good choice, especially afater seeing how the course compared to med sci on QILT (which, based on this thread, you should steer away from is you are looking towards grad med).

My other choices are advanced science/arts or med sci at UNSW (for both). I've been having second thoughts on med sci ever since I've come across this thread, but I just want to know the career prospects associated with advanced sci, and if anyone could tell me the difference between the two in terms of content and overall experience. I'm looking to do a major in chemistry or medicinal chemistry, since it was a passion of mine besides medicine. Hence why I thought pharmacy would be a good suit for me.


I don't know... any opinions would be greatly appreciated!!

ETA: By the comparison with med sci on QILT, I meant to say that graduate opportunities are lower for pharm than med sci. Hence why I am confused.
 
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Crow

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By the comparison with med sci on QILT, I meant to say that graduate opportunities are lower for pharm than med sci. Hence why I am confused.
That sounds difficult to believe. Do you have a link for me to look at by any chance? :) I’d be interested in the jobs that the med scis in the survey are predominantly doing.

(I’ll give a post of my opinion for your situation soon :) )
 

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Mana

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That does indeed sound very difficult to believe because it's not true, according to the QILT outcomes.

The most recent report is at https://www.qilt.edu.au/docs/default-source/gos-reports/2019-gos/2019-gos-national-report.pdf

If you search Pharmacy, you'll see that (on page 7) the outcomes for pharmacy for employability are excellent - 95% full time employment, compared to science and mathematics of 63% (of which you will see "Medical Science and Technology" is included as per the appendix on page 50).
 
Sorry!!!!1 A misunderstanding. I think I was looking at the median salary which was lower for USYD Pharm in comparison to UNSW Science and Mathematics. I know its very shallow to be worried about salaries at the moment but it really isn't just that. I really think I'll enjoy pharmacy because I love the idea of leanring about drug development and how medicines affect the human body. But I also want to take into account all factors in terms of future employment, not just whether I'll enjoy it. Do you know what I mean? I'll add some links to some articles where pharmacists are getting underpaid and the workforce is becoming more and more oversaturated.

 

Mana

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If salary is a large determining factor in your career choice then ... lets just say medicine is probably not for you.

While you'll have a salary which will enable you to live on it relatively well, the sheer amount of investment in terms of training and hours worked that you will invest to earn this much compared to others who earn similar amounts in other career pathways is disproportionate, and frankly, not worth it.
 
Okay...
I don't think I will be pursuing medicine if I don't get it through undergraduate, but I just wanted to see other's opinions on pharm in comparison to ad sci.

Also, any opinions on the second half of my post?

Anyone have experiences to share about pharmacy at USYD? Like the cohort, student life at the university and student support?

oh, but wait. This is MEDstudentsonline. Not SCIstudentsonline. Don't think I'll get any thorough opinions then.
 

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LMG!

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Staff Member of the Year 2019
Okay...
I don't think I will be pursuing medicine if I don't get it through undergraduate, but I just wanted to see other's opinions on pharm in comparison to ad sci.

Also, any opinions on the second half of my post?

Anyone have experiences to share about pharmacy at USYD? Like the cohort, student life at the university and student support?

oh, but wait. This is MEDstudentsonline. Not SCIstudentsonline. Don't think I'll get any thorough opinions then.
There are plenty of people here (regular and lurkers) who have done things other than medicine and can comment, for example I can speak at length about clinical psychology as a career, we also have lawyers, optometrists, people who’ve done med sci/bio med, engineers, even a train driver...

Yamster and A1 may be able to add something re. pharmacy, though not at USyd specifically.
 

Ruffle

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Sorry!!!!1 A misunderstanding. I think I was looking at the median salary which was lower for USYD Pharm in comparison to UNSW Science and Mathematics. I know its very shallow to be worried about salaries at the moment but it really isn't just that. I really think I'll enjoy pharmacy because I love the idea of leanring about drug development and how medicines affect the human body. But I also want to take into account all factors in terms of future employment, not just whether I'll enjoy it. Do you know what I mean? I'll add some links to some articles where pharmacists are getting underpaid and the workforce is becoming more and more oversaturated.

Okay...
I don't think I will be pursuing medicine if I don't get it through undergraduate, but I just wanted to see other's opinions on pharm in comparison to ad sci.

Also, any opinions on the second half of my post?

Anyone have experiences to share about pharmacy at USYD? Like the cohort, student life at the university and student support?

oh, but wait. This is MEDstudentsonline. Not SCIstudentsonline. Don't think I'll get any thorough opinions then.

Haha, then go and ask SCIstudentsonline in the first place, saves you from having to post twice and wasting your precious time. ;)

FYI, I'm a current Medsci student, and work as a pharmacy assistant part-time. Here are my thoughts:

Advanced Science: The Advanced Science degree at UNSW seems to be quite research-oriented with an Honours year. Not that research isn't fulfilling, it's a great career choice, it just isn't known for job stability - or even guarantee of a job, as most research operates on short-term contracts/grants.
In general:
upsides of studying science: lots of varied job opportunities. It's true that you can go anywhere with a Science degree. You never know where you're going to end up, which can be exciting for some people.
Downside: I personally know many people who graduate with no idea about what field they want to go into in the future. It's hard to find a job, too- 'going anywhere' could mean unemployment as well.

Pharmacy: Pharmacy leaves you with a clear-set career path: you end up a qualified pharmacist in the end!

In regards to your articles, they do raise some genuine concerns about community pharmacy. Yes, it's true that pharmacists rarely get a proper lunch break, the industry is seeing a downturn, and yes they have to cop a lot of abuse from customers/patients sometimes. Their pay rates are ridiculously low for their level of training, plus they're expected to do a wide range of tasks besides dispensing.

However, the conditions for laboratory/hospital-based pharmacists are much better, or so I've heard. And pharmacy is also a rewarding career too. And!!! You'll have a relatively stable job.

Plus, not all pharmacists are paid that low: “The survey does show that many pharmacies, particularly the non-discount model pharmacies are paying pharmacists well in excess of the minimum award rate.” It's certainly a liveable wage anyways. Like Mana has mentioned, the hours: pay ratio for doctors isn't brilliant either, so imo this is a non-consideration for choosing pharmacy.

Glad you've decided against medsci, by the way. With a medsci degree, you're officially qualified to do, well, very little really. Haha. I think you've already got the gist, though.


Feel free to interpret this how you wish. I get the feeling that you've already discarded the idea of pharmacy, however I urge you to consider your options more carefully and think about what you want your career to look like.
 

lmed1

Member
I have read the pitfall posts in this thread that clearly say you shouldn’t study a health science degree purely for the intention of getting into post-grad medicine, but I wanted to ask about the ANU Bachelor of Health Science (https://medicalschool.anu.edu.au/files/bachelor-health-science-mchd-pathway-guidelines.pdf) anyway. I am a rural applicant - does this make things different to non-rural (is it any safer??, do I have any higher chance of getting in??). I am looking at this degree as a back-up mainly because you do not have to sit the gamsat. If I didn’t get into post-grad med I was looking at doing a post-grad paramedicine/physio course. Do you think I am better off just doing an undergrad paramedicine degree and doing the gamsat because the ANU course is a risky option?? (Note: I am awaiting undergrad medicine offers but looking at back-up options in case)
 

Crow

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I have read the pitfall posts in this thread that clearly say you shouldn’t study a health science degree purely for the intention of getting into post-grad medicine, but I wanted to ask about the ANU Bachelor of Health Science (https://medicalschool.anu.edu.au/files/bachelor-health-science-mchd-pathway-guidelines.pdf) anyway. I am a rural applicant - does this make things different to non-rural (is it any safer??, do I have any higher chance of getting in??). I am looking at this degree as a back-up mainly because you do not have to sit the gamsat. If I didn’t get into post-grad med I was looking at doing a post-grad paramedicine/physio course. Do you think I am better off just doing an undergrad paramedicine degree and doing the gamsat because the ANU course is a risky option?? (Note: I am awaiting undergrad medicine offers but looking at back-up options in case)
Here's one post from me before about this: PSA: Bachelor of Health Science and PhB at ANU for entry into medicine. I'm sure there are others but I'd have to dig through my post history to find them.

There's "up to 10 spots" reserved for rural applicants for medicine - I guess this is open to interpretation; perhaps if 10 rural applicants meet the minimum selection criteria (a quick glance tells me it's a minimum WAM of 75%) then they get a place. If this is correct, the odds are indeed much better than the average chances of a medicine applicant given that there are only 15 rural students in the course, however, this obviously is still far from a guarantee.

It's up to you whether you decide to do the degree or not, but beware of (and be willing to accept) the potential outcome that you finish the degree with limited career prospects and don't gain entry into medicine. If you want to take a safer pathway, start with physio or paramedicine instead, or start the degree knowing that there's a chance you'll have to complete another degree for an alternative career (if you miss out on getting into medicine).

As an aside: while the GAMSAT isn't a pleasant exam, anybody that is serious about pursuing graduate entry medicine would sit it if they have the means to do so (regardless of whether they are in a Monash/ANU health science degree and have a chance at gaining entry without it).

Hopefully all of this is irrelevant and you get an undergraduate entry offer instead! Best of luck :)
 

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Crow

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I think I might be leaning towards paramedicine for the safer option.
I’m no expert but I would recommend looking into jobs in the areas you’d potentially want to work as a paramedic - from my understanding it’s becoming more and more difficult to gain jobs in metropolitan areas, and many graduates are being forced regionally to find jobs. I can’t corroborate that as it’s not my area, but just something to be aware of and consider. :)
 

Georgian

Member
Just got my atar back... 86.2, definitely way lower than expected. Medicine this year is obviously out of the option, as well as Physio at WSU and Optom at UNSW, which were my backups. I'm pretty much left with various science degrees, out of which I am levitating towards Bachelor of Science at UNSW (i live quite close so its very convenient), or Bachelor of Science at USYD, both of which would allow me to study a wide range of topics relating to medical science without actually doing Medical Science (which I understand is a very idea if I want a high GPA for non-standard entry next year). There are various 'health sciences' at USYD, and i'm not sure whether they're a smart option or not, so would really love some advice for that as well as any advice overall as to whether i'm following the right path :) Thanks!
 

Mana

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Just got my atar back... 86.2, definitely way lower than expected. Medicine this year is obviously out of the option, as well as Physio at WSU and Optom at UNSW, which were my backups. I'm pretty much left with various science degrees, out of which I am levitating towards Bachelor of Science at UNSW (i live quite close so its very convenient), or Bachelor of Science at USYD, both of which would allow me to study a wide range of topics relating to medical science without actually doing Medical Science (which I understand is a very idea if I want a high GPA for non-standard entry next year). There are various 'health sciences' at USYD, and i'm not sure whether they're a smart option or not, so would really love some advice for that as well as any advice overall as to whether i'm following the right path :) Thanks!
So, as per the advice on here, what would you do if you never got into medicine/physio/optom? Did you consider nursing, by any chance?
 
Hi! My ATAR this year - 92.60 - is too low to meet either the WSU or JMP cutoffs, something that is extremely painful as I attended both interviews. My plan right now is to go into the Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Biomedical) at USYD as I'm interested + guaranteed entry, and try again for Medicine next year, and if all else fails go the postgrad route. I'm aiming for WSU next year, as (correct me if I'm wrong) they take the higher of either GPA or ATAR depending on what meets their cutoff. Seeing as I'm a non-GWS applicant and my ATAR is too low to meet the cutoff, would someone be able to advise me of the difficulty of maintaining a 6.4+ GPA in Engineering so I can meet the cutoff? Thanks :)
 

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