• MSO wishes the best of luck to all users with upcoming interviews! For those interviewing at universities that do not have applicants sign an NDA, it would be greatly appreciated if you could send me (Crow) a PM with your interview questions to help future users. These will not be shared publicly until all interviews for that university have been completed. Cheers! ETA: Please check out our new Interview Portal!

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

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

Georgian

Member
Hi everyone,

I’ve just received my UCAT results a few hours ago and they were pretty disappointing. Of course since it’s the first year of UCAT in Australia I don’t know where I stand amongst everyone else but it looks to be a 70-80 percentile mark. My predicted atar is between 97-98, however I do have EAS. I was really hoping that if I performed well in the UCAT I would have a chance of scoring interviews for undergrad med at UNSW, WSU and UON (pretty much my only options), but now I don’t think undergrad med is a realistic goal for me anymore. I was planning to do Med sci at UNSW and transfer after two years or take a gap year and repeat the UCAT until I thankfully happened upon this thread, so those options don’t seem viable anymore. In terms of the universities I’ve listed above, what courses would you advise me to do in order to have the greatest chance of either getting into med through non-standard entry or graduate entry later on? I’m considering physiology but I’m really not sure at all at this point.
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

chinaski

Regular Member
There are no courses or degrees that give you "the greatest chance" of getting into med. The main factor in this equation is your personal abilities and interests.
 

A1

Admissions Speculator
Moderator
it looks to be a 70-80 percentile mark. My predicted atar is between 97-98, however I do have EAS.
Google SATAC UES, check whether your EAS qualifies for their 5 bonus marks. If yes go all out for 98+ ATAR, the bonus will boost it to 99.95. Then with 80th%ile you have good chances for a Flinders provisional offer (2 years accelerated Bach + 4 years MD).
 

Georgian

Member
Google SATAC UES, check whether your EAS qualifies for their 5 bonus marks. If yes go all out for 98+ ATAR, the bonus will boost it to 99.95. Then with 80th%ile you have good chances for a Flinders provisional offer (2 years accelerated Bach + 4 years MD).
Unfortunately I don’t really have the option to go interstate, UON being the furthest I can manage under family constraints. I do qualify as a resident in the greater western area for WSU, so do you think there’s any chance I could be called up for an interview? I’m not sure for WSU, but for UNSW the EAS scheme doesn’t give any bonus points but instead means your med application is considered in a seperate stream from normal applicants, usually giving a better chance of being accepted. Again, I’m not really sure how WSU uses EAS so I’ll have to look into it.
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

A1

Admissions Speculator
Moderator
Unfortunately I don’t really have the option to go interstate, UON being the furthest I can manage under family constraints. I do qualify as a resident in the greater western area for WSU, so do you think there’s any chance I could be called up for an interview? I’m not sure for WSU, but for UNSW the EAS scheme doesn’t give any bonus points but instead means your med application is considered in a seperate stream from normal applicants, usually giving a better chance of being accepted. Again, I’m not really sure how WSU uses EAS so I’ll have to look into it.
WSU allocates half their interview spots to GWS applicants resulting in lower UCAT cutoff. But I am not optimistic that 80th will be enough. UNSW allocates just a handful of places to EAS so not really good chances there either (but still try anyway).

If you could do UoN I don't see why not Flinders. You could be eligible for Youth Allowance enough to pay the rent. Beg your parents for food money or get a part-time KFC job.
 

Georgian

Member
There are no courses or degrees that give you "the greatest chance" of getting into med. The main factor in this equation is your personal abilities and interests.
Of course it solely depends on an individuals own capability but for instance looking at earlier posts med sci, pre med and para med weren’t encouraged due to the competition and corresponding lack of future jobs if med doesn’t work out. I’m also interested in pharmacology and physiology but of course medicine is the first preference. Hypothetically speaking, if I start a Bachelor of Science at UNSW and maintain a high GPA/high UCAT, would it be plausible for me to apply for non-standard entry to UNSW or WSU after the first year, or alternatively finishing the degree and applying for graduate med later on? I really don’t know much about these alternate pathways into med, so I’m just hoping for some indication of what undergrad courses would be most suitable for my long term medical aim while also not being completely useless if medical falls through and I’m trying to find a job later on.

WSU allocates half their interview spots to GWS applicants resulting in lower UCAT cutoff. But I am not optimistic that 80th will be enough. UNSW allocates just a handful of places to EAS so not really good chances there either (but still try anyway).

If you could do UoN I don't see why not Flinders. You could be eligible for Youth Allowance enough to pay the rent. Beg your parents for food money or get a part-time KFC job.
I can try my best to convince them but I’m not optimistic :\ I guess I’ll still apply to WSU and UNSW but I think I’m most likely looking at starting an undergrad degree at UNSW and attempting non-standard entry into med from there.
I know nearly everyone on this forum highly advises against taking a gap year, but do you think it could be beneficial in my case if I managed a 98 atar and was applying solely for WSU? If I took the gap year option I would definitely try to secure a decent job and earn some money to finance future uni costs. (Again, I’m really unexperienced in all of this so sorry if this is really ignorant)
 

A1

Admissions Speculator
Moderator
I can try my best to convince them but I’m not optimistic :\ I guess I’ll still apply to WSU and UNSW but I think I’m most likely looking at starting an undergrad degree at UNSW and attempting non-standard entry into med from there.
I know nearly everyone on this forum highly advises against taking a gap year, but do you think it could be beneficial in my case if I managed a 98 atar and was applying solely for WSU? If I took the gap year option I would definitely try to secure a decent job and earn some money to finance future uni costs. (Again, I’m really unexperienced in all of this so sorry if this is really ignorant)
Gap year definitely not recommended for you. It's only for those with mid 99s AND willing to go interstate. If your focus is on the NSW schools a gap year gives NO advantage since these schools accept non-standard applicants.

In terms of which degree, first priority is one that can give you a reasonable career path should you fail to get into med. Second priority is potential for high GPA. For you GPA won't matter for WSU (ATAR already enough) or JMP (4.7+ hurdle). But you will need 6.5+ for UNSW and the grad-entry schools later.
 

LMG!

Moderator
Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
I can try my best to convince them but I’m not optimistic :\ I guess I’ll still apply to WSU and UNSW but I think I’m most likely looking at starting an undergrad degree at UNSW and attempting non-standard entry into med from there.
I know nearly everyone on this forum highly advises against taking a gap year, but do you think it could be beneficial in my case if I managed a 98 atar and was applying solely for WSU? If I took the gap year option I would definitely try to secure a decent job and earn some money to finance future uni costs. (Again, I’m really unexperienced in all of this so sorry if this is really ignorant)
ATAR is really not the issue for WSU as it is a hurdle requirement and is slightly lowered for GWS applicants anyway, UCAT will be your difficulty.

I’d be asking myself “what can I see myself doing long term if Med doesn’t happen” (as, statistically, this is the most likely outcome for most applicants based on sheer numbers). You mentioned an interest in pharmacology, so what about pharmacy? There are two students in my Med class who have pharmacy backgrounds, one of whom continues to work as a pharmacist which is a nice bonus for supporting themselves financially.

Do you have careers counsellors available at your school?

Often universities have careers counsellors you can access when deciding what to apply for, if there is a Uni near where you live, you could speak to someone directly (or organise a Skype appointment if they offer it).
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Georgian

Member
ATAR is really not the issue for WSU as it is a hurdle requirement and is slightly lowered for GWS applicants anyway, UCAT will be your difficulty.

I’d be asking myself “what can I see myself doing long term if Med doesn’t happen” (as, statistically, this is the most likely outcome for most applicants based on sheer numbers). You mentioned an interest in pharmacology, so what about pharmacy? There are two students in my Med class who have pharmacy backgrounds, one of whom continues to work as a pharmacist which is a nice bonus for supporting themselves financially.

Do you have careers counsellors available at your school?

Often universities have careers counsellors you can access when deciding what to apply for, if there is a Uni near where you live, you could speak to someone directly (or organise a Skype appointment if they offer it).
The above situation you described of someone with a pharmacy background doing med whilst still working in a pharmacy honestly sounds absolutely perfect, and if worst comes to worst and med doesn’t work out I wouldn’t mind pursuing pharmacology at all. Just out of interest, do you know where the people you mentioned pursued pharmacy/alternatively, do you recommend any universities for an undergrad pharmacy degree? I don’t think UNSW offers pharmacology but I’m not completely sure.

I definitely do have a school counsellor however I just wanted to ask the opinions of people who’ve actually gone through the medical system to give me a realistic idea of what possibilities are open to me :)

Gap year definitely not recommended for you. It's only for those with mid 99s AND willing to go interstate. If your focus is on the NSW schools a gap year gives NO advantage since these schools accept non-standard applicants.

In terms of which degree, first priority is one that can give you a reasonable career path should you fail to get into med. Second priority is potential for high GPA. For you GPA won't matter for WSU (ATAR already enough) or JMP (4.7+ hurdle). But you will need 6.5+ for UNSW and the grad-entry schools later.
Sure so hopefully WSU could be a reasonable target if I decided to go for a non-standard entry (given I do well in the UCAT later on). Just to confirm, is it possible for me to pursue a bachelor of science at unsw (major in pharmacology for instance) and apply for non-standard entry to WSU or do I have to do the degree at the WSU if I want to get med entrance?
 

LMG!

Moderator
Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
The above situation you described of someone with a pharmacy background doing med whilst still working in a pharmacy honestly sounds absolutely perfect, and if worst comes to worst and med doesn’t work out I wouldn’t mind pursuing pharmacology at all. Just out of interest, do you know where the people you mentioned pursued pharmacy/alternatively, do you recommend any universities for an undergrad pharmacy degree? I don’t think UNSW offers pharmacology but I’m not completely sure.

I definitely do have a school counsellor however I just wanted to ask the opinions of people who’ve actually gone through the medical system to give me a realistic idea of what possibilities are open to me :)
One did it at UTAS and one at UQ. But there would definitely be NSW universities that offer the BPharm, so probably just a matter of checking through the ones closest to you.

Here’s USyd’s: Bachelor of Pharmacy

ETA: you can do a degree anywhere and still be eligible for WSU non-standard. I got in with UTAS degree.
 

Crow

Moderator Band
Moderator
Some very good advice above RE: choosing a degree that you can see yourself happy in as a long term career should medicine not work out.
I don’t think UNSW offers pharmacology but I’m not completely sure.
A quick search of their website tells me they don’t, but USyd offers a pharmacy degree.

I’m not sure whether you are using pharmacology and pharmacy interchangeably or not, but it’s important to make the distinction - one qualifies you to work as a pharmacist, and one does not.
 

Georgian

Member
One did it at UTAS and one at UQ. But there would definitely be NSW universities that offer the BPharm, so probably just a matter of checking through the ones closest to you.

Here’s USyd’s: Bachelor of Pharmacy

ETA: you can do a degree anywhere and still be eligible for WSU non-standard. I got in with UTAS degree.
Thankyou so much for all your help! I feel a little less upset about my sucky UCAT Mark now 😅

Some very good advice above RE: choosing a degree that you can see yourself happy in as a long term career should medicine not work out.A quick search of their website tells me they don’t, but USyd offers a pharmacy degree.

I’m not sure whether you are using pharmacology and pharmacy interchangeably or not, but it’s important to make the distinction - one qualifies you to work as a pharmacist, and one does not.
Oh, sorry about that. Definitely hoping to qualify as a pharmacist- would the USYD degree work? Also again I might be wrong but I couldn’t find any atar cutoffs on the USYD website for their pharmacy degree so I presumed it wasn’t an undergraduate option.
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Crow

Moderator Band
Moderator
Oh, sorry about that. Definitely hoping to qualify as a pharmacist- would the USYD degree work? Also again I might be wrong but I couldn’t find any atar cutoffs on the USYD website for their pharmacy degree so I presumed it wasn’t an undergraduate option.
Yep, a Bachelor of Pharmacy qualifies you to work as a pharmacist. It’s definitely an undergraduate degree - ATAR is mentioned towards the bottom of the page from the link LMG provided above :)
 

Georgian

Member
Yep, a Bachelor of Pharmacy qualifies you to work as a pharmacist. It’s definitely an undergraduate degree - ATAR is mentioned towards the bottom of the page from the link LMG provided above :)
Oh whoops 😅 Thankyou so much for your help!
 

Ian Naga

Lurker
Yep, a Bachelor of Pharmacy qualifies you to work as a pharmacist. It’s definitely an undergraduate degree - ATAR is mentioned towards the bottom of the page from the link LMG provided above :)
I would recommend, given the constraints of the OP, not to jump straight into Pharmacy. Instead, he may try this route to Pharmacy :

BClinSci --> 2 year accelerated degree (3 year equivalent degree)
Master of Pharmacy --> 2 Years

Both courses are in Sydney and you accomplish the same thing in the same amount of time (4 years). The advantage is that: MQ U. gives bonus points for doing BClinSci for entry into their full fee paying MD degree. This route is not recommended if full fee is not acceptable to OP.
If the OP is OK to go elsewhere, I may have some other suggestions. For example, doing your Bachelors degree in a rural area (e.g Darwin). Flinders (Northern Territory Medical) program requires you to be a resident of NT for just 2 years (at least last time I read). HTH.
Update: Other issue is that B Pharmacy is a content heavy course which may or may not suit OP. Depending on it, it may be easier to achieve a higher GPA with BClinSci which may help with application to other Graduate entry MD program.
Update 2: Have a look at ucat scores posted by students taking gap year. It is quite impressive. Do your risk analysis and decide for yourself. I generally wont recommended gap given your constraints plus ATAR (<99).
 
Last edited:

Georgian

Member
I would recommend, given the constraints of the OP, not to jump straight into Pharmacy. Instead, he may try this route to Pharmacy :

BClinSci --> 2 year accelerated degree (3 year equivalent degree)
Master of Pharmacy --> 2 Years

Both courses are in Sydney and you accomplish the same thing in the same amount of time (4 years). The advantage is that: MQ U. gives bonus points for doing BClinSci for entry into their full fee paying MD degree. This route is not recommended if full fee is not acceptable to OP.
If the OP is OK to go elsewhere, I may have some other suggestions. For example, doing your Bachelors degree in a rural area (e.g Darwin). Flinders (Northern Territory Medical) program requires you to be a resident of NT for just 2 years (at least last time I read). HTH.
Update: Other issue is that B Pharmacy is a content heavy course which may or may not suit OP. Depending on it, it may be easier to achieve a higher GPA with BClinSci which may help with application to other Graduate entry MD program.
Update 2: Have a look at ucat scores posted by students taking gap year. It is quite impressive. Do your risk analysis and decide for yourself. I generally wont recommended gap given your constraints plus ATAR (<99).
Hmm I don’t think going out of state is an option for me unfortunately but I’ll definitely consider doing a BClinSci and Masters in Pharmacy as my main motive at the moment is to apply to either non-standard or graduate med.
Also in terms of the gap year I’m quite sure that won’t be a smart option for me to undertake, as you said my atar is a little low. Quite sure at this point I’ll start a degree next year and try my luck at the UCAT again
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Ian Naga

Lurker
Hmm I don’t think going out of state is an option for me unfortunately but I’ll definitely consider doing a BClinSci and Masters in Pharmacy as my main motive at the moment is to apply to either non-standard or graduate med.
Also in terms of the gap year I’m quite sure that won’t be a smart option for me to undertake, as you said my atar is a little low. Quite sure at this point I’ll start a degree next year and try my luck at the UCAT again
I understand totally.
You are not international by any chance. If so, MQ U has a direct entry option

MQ U. has introduced 2 pre-reqs as well:
You must have completed approved prerequisite tertiary units or groups of units in:
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
Prerequisites must be completed less than 10 years from intended enrolment.
I am sure their BClinSci meets this.

Also this might be important:

Adjustment factors and Indigenous Australian Pathway
Adjustment Factor Schemes
The following applicants will automatically receive a three per cent adjustment to their weighted GPA:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (domestic applicants)
  • Rural (domestic applicants)
  • Macquarie University Bachelor of Clinical Science graduates (domestic and international applicants).
If applicants belong to two or more of the above categories, a maximum five per cent adjustment will be applied to the weighted GPA.

More information on their website including about cost etc:
 

Georgian

Member
I understand totally.
You are not international by any chance. If so, MQ U has a direct entry option

MQ U. has introduced 2 pre-reqs as well:
You must have completed approved prerequisite tertiary units or groups of units in:
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
Prerequisites must be completed less than 10 years from intended enrolment.
I am sure their BClinSci meets this.

Also this might be important:

Adjustment factors and Indigenous Australian Pathway
Adjustment Factor Schemes
The following applicants will automatically receive a three per cent adjustment to their weighted GPA:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (domestic applicants)
  • Rural (domestic applicants)
  • Macquarie University Bachelor of Clinical Science graduates (domestic and international applicants).
If applicants belong to two or more of the above categories, a maximum five per cent adjustment will be applied to the weighted GPA.

More information on their website including about cost etc:
That sounds like a pretty good option as well.. I think i’ll consider doing clinical science at either USYD or MQ and applying for non-standard entry in the first year or graduate entry later on. I think for now I’ll just have to settle down and focus on maximising my atar as my trial exams are in the next few weeks, which might dictate where I eventually end up applying. Thankyou so much for your help! I had no idea there were so many options to get into med, so this is all really reassuring :)
 

Mana

there are no stupid questions, only people
Administrator
I would recommend, given the constraints of the OP, not to jump straight into Pharmacy. Instead, he may try this route to Pharmacy :

BClinSci --> 2 year accelerated degree (3 year equivalent degree)
Master of Pharmacy --> 2 Years

Both courses are in Sydney and you accomplish the same thing in the same amount of time (4 years). The advantage is that: MQ U. gives bonus points for doing BClinSci for entry into their full fee paying MD degree. This route is not recommended if full fee is not acceptable to OP.
If the OP is OK to go elsewhere, I may have some other suggestions. For example, doing your Bachelors degree in a rural area (e.g Darwin). Flinders (Northern Territory Medical) program requires you to be a resident of NT for just 2 years (at least last time I read). HTH.
Update: Other issue is that B Pharmacy is a content heavy course which may or may not suit OP. Depending on it, it may be easier to achieve a higher GPA with BClinSci which may help with application to other Graduate entry MD program.
Update 2: Have a look at ucat scores posted by students taking gap year. It is quite impressive. Do your risk analysis and decide for yourself. I generally wont recommended gap given your constraints plus ATAR (<99).
That sounds like a pretty good option as well.. I think i’ll consider doing clinical science at either USYD or MQ and applying for non-standard entry in the first year or graduate entry later on. I think for now I’ll just have to settle down and focus on maximising my atar as my trial exams are in the next few weeks, which might dictate where I eventually end up applying. Thankyou so much for your help! I had no idea there were so many options to get into med, so this is all really reassuring :)
So... correct me if I am wrong here... but "Clinical Science" sounds very much like "Medical Science" to me, in terms of its content and its own inherent career pathways (or lack thereof without the addition of further study which could be accessed in undergrad entry courses) as well as the inherent cohort that it will attract (i.e. people who also want to do medicine therefore competing with you for GPA). There is no guarantee that the Master of Pharmacy will accept you after 2 years (it may even be that the Masters degree could exclude applicants who have not completed at least a 3 year degree) and furthermore the 2 year accelerated degree is likely to not be accepted by most grad entry medical schools (I know for a fact that the university I interview for does NOT accept 2 year accelerated degree applicants into its MD program). On the other hand, if you did a 4 year pharmacy degree this would satisfy the prerequisite requirements to get into all the graduate entry degrees in the country (and you'd still be applying as non-standard to the undergrad unis in the meantime).

Given this, I don't see any real advantage of the 2 year B. Clin Sci degree over pursuing a reasonable Plan B career pathway other than the very small chance that you would get into one of the most expensive medical degrees in Australia (ie Macquarie), and in doing so you'd forgo your eligibility for many of the grad entry medical schools, most of which require at least three years of full time study to be eligible; this far outweighs the small advantage you get at MQ.

Be careful of this advice above; it sounds very much like pitfall #2 to me.
 
Last edited:

TKAO

crossed fingers for ATAR
Gold Star Winner
Unfortunately I don’t really have the option to go interstate, UON being the furthest I can manage under family constraints. I do qualify as a resident in the greater western area for WSU, so do you think there’s any chance I could be called up for an interview? I’m not sure for WSU, but for UNSW the EAS scheme doesn’t give any bonus points but instead means your med application is considered in a seperate stream from normal applicants, usually giving a better chance of being accepted. Again, I’m not really sure how WSU uses EAS so I’ll have to look into it.
I'm not sure whether you would be able to pull this off but would you consider doing the DUS (Defense University Scholarship)? If I'm not mistaken, they do pay you a reasonable salary to be studying full time, with the caveat that you must work in the defense department for double your study years + 1. I'm also pretty sure you need to apply when you are in the first year of uni, in this case med. As I understand it (I have not researched it extensively), but some pros of this scheme is the money and the guaranteed job, however cons of it is that I'm not sure how well it plays with BMPs or whether you would like to be working in the military for up 9~ years.
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Top