Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

General Medicine Entry Discussion and Advice Requests

H2.

Member
Personal information:
- Victorian student.
- ATAR: 97.95.
- UCAT: 72%ile.
- I am also eligible for EAS/SEAS/Monash Gurantee.

Background information regarding the UCAT:
In preparation for the UCAT this year, I did every single question and mock on Medify and watched countless videos to have a strategy for each sections. I started training about 6-7 months before my test. Right before the exam I was getting 98-99th percentile consistenly on the mock exam compared to other Medify students. However, obviously it didn't work out like that on the day. Despite many people delcaring that the offical UCAT exam was much easier, then medify mocks (with QR being extremely easy). I certaintly didn't feel that way and I found QR to be much harder in the real exam. This leads to me to feel like that it must've been a combination of 1. getting a more difficult exam (not everyone sits the same one), 2. Being unlucky with any questions I guessed and 3. being unlucky in general.
What I could do in the future regarding the UCAT is:
1. Hope that I'm more lucky on the day.
2. Get tutoring/pay for expensive courses to see if they will help.
Also, as I'm a year older, I may be more skilled/mature which will assist in getting a better score.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi there,

After having received no interview invites as of yet, I do not believe there's much hope left of getting into undergraduate medicine this year. I feel pretty lost as medicine was really the only course I felt very passionate about studying.

From what I understand, I have three options:
1. Take a gap year, get my English exam remarked (I believe it was harshly marked) and hopefully have an ATAR increase and resit the UCAT. Then re-apply for under-graudate medicine as a standard applicant.

2. Start a commerce/engineering double degree, (I'm a bit interested in either degree) to get a feel for which I am more interested in and then switch to either straight commerce or straight engineering. And resit the UCAT, apply as non-standard.

3. If 2 doesn't work out/2 isn't a good idea, finish the course I choose, sit the GAMSAT and apply for post-graduate medicine.

If all three doesn't work out, I at least got a decent degree with decent job prospects, which I hopefully will come to enjoy/develop a passion for.

Can some please clarify if this is correct and advise me on what I should do?

Cheers. :)
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Crow

Moderator Band 🦧
Moderator
You should read this post on the pitfalls of having a gap year if you haven’t already: Common pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants

I don’t mean this to come across as cold or savage but: Based on the above it sounds to me like you’re blaming the system and “luck” for a lot of your results. In reality the UCAT exam is going to be similar moving forward and having a plan of “just getting luckier” or “I’ll be better when I’m older and more mature” really isn’t something that you should rely upon. Same thing applies to the English mark.

I wouldn’t be going with option 1 if I was you personally given the above.

Both 2 and 3 are good options and I’d be doing both if I were you. Good luck :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: H2.

H2.

Member
You should read this post on the pitfalls of having a gap year if you haven’t already: Common pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants

I don’t mean this to come across as cold or savage but: Based on the above it sounds to me like you’re blaming the system and “luck” for a lot of your results. In reality the UCAT exam is going to be similar moving forward and having a plan of “just getting luckier” or “I’ll be better when I’m older and more mature” really isn’t something that you should rely upon. Same thing applies to the English mark.

I wouldn’t be going with option 1 if I was you personally given the above.

Both 2 and 3 are good options and I’d be doing both if I were you. Good luck :)
Thank you Crow :) and agreed. I'll go with option 2 and 3. I will just get the English exam remarked anyway, however, out of curiousity.
Can you please explain option 2 to me? what I have to do to get there or send me a link please so I can read up on the process.

If anyone has differing opinions I'd like to hear it aswell to consider your perspective/other thoughts. But with what I've read on here, no one here really advocates option 1.
 

ucatboy

Regular Member
Valued Member
You should read this post on the pitfalls of having a gap year if you haven’t already: Common pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants

I don’t mean this to come across as cold or savage but: Based on the above it sounds to me like you’re blaming the system and “luck” for a lot of your results. In reality the UCAT exam is going to be similar moving forward and having a plan of “just getting luckier” or “I’ll be better when I’m older and more mature” really isn’t something that you should rely upon. Same thing applies to the English mark.

I wouldn’t be going with option 1 if I was you personally given the above.

Both 2 and 3 are good options and I’d be doing both if I were you. Good luck :)
Adding on to this - I'm not familiar with VTAC, having done the IB myself, but can you request a remark at this very moment? From then on you can decide whether you should embark on a gap year rather than taking a gap year first THEN remarking English.
I'd also advise against option 1 simply because the UCAT is so unpredictable - it's a two-hour test that determines anything between nothing (Griffith, Flinders, UniMelb, Usyd) to 100% of your selection rank (UQ). What's to say you get dealt even worse questions next year? It's too big a risk to take unless you can fully justify taking a gap year for other reasons (traveling, work experience, volunteer work, saving up for uni etc.).
 
  • Like
Reactions: H2.

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

H2.

Member
Adding on to this - I'm not familiar with VTAC, having done the IB myself, but can you request a remark at this very moment? From then on you can decide whether you should embark on a gap year rather than taking a gap year first THEN remarking English.
I'd also advise against option 1 simply because the UCAT is so unpredictable - it's a two-hour test that determines anything between nothing (Griffith, Flinders, UniMelb, Usyd) to 100% of your selection rank (UQ). What's to say you get dealt even worse questions next year?
I agree with you. UCAT is very unpredictable and I'd be putting a year at risk. I've ordered to recall the exam for english it's only $25. Basically you and your teacher look over it, if there are suspiscions that it wasn't marked correctly you can send it to get remarked. School for everyone will be out soon, so I probably won't get to inspect it untill it starts again in Feburary, but I may be able to get it remarked and results back before March.
I accepted the commerce/engineering degree at Monash, does anyone know what would be the date at which I would be considered a non-standard applicant?
 

Lyyrre

Griffith MedSci II
Hi H2,

I'll try to give you a bit of advice:

1. In taking a gap year, you leave open 16 universities as options. I'm not sure how much EAS will boost up your ATAR, but you should still be competitive for application to most of those universities, maybe with the exception of near-maximum ATAR admissions such as USyd, UniMelb and Flinders. However, don't expect the UCAT exam difficulty to vary because amongst the 3 possible exam papers for each section, I read somewhere that all 3 exams had relatively similar median scores and distribution. You should be very careful with using "getting unlucky on the day" as a possible justification for sitting UCAT again, because it could go badly again whether you get lucky or not, and that would be a year gone if you didn't do something else in that gap year.

If you do decide to take a gap year, please do it for a reason other than for reapplying to medicine (e.g. working, travelling, volunteering) – there are always other options available for getting into medicine.

2. Applying as a non-standard, you are left with 5 options: WSU, UNSW, JMP, JCU and Bond. Again, I am not sure how much EAS will boost your ATAR and so can't determine how competitive you are for UNSW and JCU. However, you will already be above the ATAR hurdle for WSU, JMP and Bond, so that will come down to your UCAT score (for WSU and JMP) and interview performance. However, starting another degree is a good option in general as it – firstly, sets you to start a career path, and secondly, moves you closer towards graduate medicine application.

3. To give some perspective, I sat the GAMSAT for the September 2019 session with basic First Year Science knowledge this year. While my scores were sufficient to gain admission into most Australian universities, I still found the science section to be quite difficult. The difficulty isn't within the concepts itself, but that it's a lot of logical reasoning given the stimulus, and with the assumption that you have some very basic scientific knowledge, especially in Chemistry. So while you may be studying a non-science tertiary degree, do remember that you will still need some basic scientific knowledge to do well in GAMSAT Section 3. However, while you might find the exam difficult, remember that most people will find it very difficult – and the good thing with GAMSAT is that you will be able to sit it twice a year, your results are valid for two years, and you can sit GAMSAT an unlimited number of times (I know of a person who sat it 5 times before he got in).

By taking this route, you will graduate with a bachelors degree that can gain you employment in your field of interest, while also subsequently giving you 2 opportunities a year to sit an exam that could possible gain you admission into Medicine. Remember that nearly half (IIRC) of the medical students in Australia enter through a post-graduate route.
 

Cal

Will You. Review. Mah Mixtape 😤😤
Valued Member
I agree with you. UCAT is very unpredictable and I'd be putting a year at risk. I've ordered to recall the exam for english it's only $25. Basically you and your teacher look over it, if there are suspiscions that it wasn't marked correctly you can send it to get remarked. School for everyone will be out soon, so I probably won't get to inspect it untill it starts again in Feburary, but I may be able to get it remarked and results back before March.
I accepted the commerce/engineering degree at Monash, does anyone know what would be the date at which I would be considered a non-standard applicant?
If you do commerce/engineering as you degree you will be sitting in a good spot for job prospects, and especially since you are hinging on two very unlikely things to occur to justify your gap year; I would suggest taking this route. This way you can see if you have interest in other areas while also working towards your ultimate goal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: H2.

H2.

Member
Hi H2,

I'll try to give you a bit of advice:

1. In taking a gap year, you leave open 16 universities as options. I'm not sure how much EAS will boost up your ATAR, but you should still be competitive for application to most of those universities, maybe with the exception of near-maximum ATAR admissions such as USyd, UniMelb and Flinders. However, don't expect the UCAT exam difficulty to vary because amongst the 3 possible exam papers for each section, I read somewhere that all 3 exams had relatively similar median scores and distribution. You should be very careful with using "getting unlucky on the day" as a possible justification for sitting UCAT again, because it could go badly again whether you get lucky or not, and that would be a year gone if you didn't do something else in that gap year.

If you do decide to take a gap year, please do it for a reason other than for reapplying to medicine (e.g. working, travelling, volunteering) – there are always other options available for getting into medicine.

2. Applying as a non-standard, you are left with 5 options: WSU, UNSW, JMP, JCU and Bond. Again, I am not sure how much EAS will boost your ATAR and so can't determine how competitive you are for UNSW and JCU. However, you will already be above the ATAR hurdle for WSU, JMP and Bond, so that will come down to your UCAT score (for WSU and JMP) and interview performance. However, starting another degree is a good option in general as it – firstly, sets you to start a career path, and secondly, moves you closer towards graduate medicine application.

3. To give some perspective, I sat the GAMSAT for the September 2019 session with basic First Year Science knowledge this year. While my scores were sufficient to gain admission into most Australian universities, I still found the science section to be quite difficult. The difficulty isn't within the concepts itself, but that it's a lot of logical reasoning given the stimulus, and with the assumption that you have some very basic scientific knowledge, especially in Chemistry. So while you may be studying a non-science tertiary degree, do remember that you will still need some basic scientific knowledge to do well in GAMSAT Section 3. However, while you might find the exam difficult, remember that most people will find it very difficult – and the good thing with GAMSAT is that you will be able to sit it twice a year, your results are valid for two years, and you can sit GAMSAT an unlimited number of times (I know of a person who sat it 5 times before he got in).

By taking this route, you will graduate with a bachelors degree that can gain you employment in your field of interest, while also subsequently giving you 2 opportunities a year to sit an exam that could possible gain you admission into Medicine. Remember that nearly half (IIRC) of the medical students in Australia enter through a post-graduate route.
Thank you very much Lyyrre for the comprehensive reply. Much appreciated.

1. That's very interesting that all three tests had similar median scores. Can you please send me the source of this information?

2. I've heard getting in as a non-standard applicant is very difficult. What UCAT score would you suggest I'd need to acquire?

3. Thinking way into the future here, however, what steps do you suggest I take to have that scientific knowledge? If I end up doing straight engineering do you think the skills and knowledge built up there will be sufficient?

If you do commerce/engineering as you degree you will be sitting in a good spot for job prospects, and especially since you are hinging on two very unlikely things to occur to justify your gap year; I would suggest taking this route. This way you can see if you have interest in other areas while also working towards your ultimate goal.
That's a good point you make there, thank you.
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

A1

Admissions Speculator
Moderator
Can some please clarify if this is correct and advise me on what I should do?
With your option 1, generally I'm not straight out against taking a gap year if there is sufficient benefit to balance *the risk* of delaying your grad-entry pathway by a year. I normally would not recommend gap year to a sub-99 ATAR, but in your case with SEAS and if you desperately prefer Monash to be close to home, I see that as sufficient reason for gap year.

If you are to take a gap year I strongly suggest you enquire about RESITTING the VCE exams next year for your worst 2-3 ATAR subjects, to get a new ATAR. I know it's possible since some people have done it before. Iirc in Vic if you resit VCE exams they will take the higher marks i.e. if you do worse your ATAR won't improve but won't drop either (whereas in NSW they take the latest marks).

I like to add a comment here about people saying don't take a gap year just to resit UCAT. To me that's an incorrect view of it. Even if the student starts uni they are going to resit UCAT anyway to apply non-standard, they don't need a gap year to resit UCAT. The gap year is to allow them to re-apply to the many schools that don't accept non-standards.

Also note the downside of gap year not working out well is they delay their grad-entry option by a year, they are not abandoning that option.

EtA: Anecdotally I know of 4 MSO members who took a gap year and succeeded the next year getting a med school that they would not have been able to otherwise - one Monash, two Adelaide, one UWA.
 

H2.

Member
With your option 1, generally I'm not straight out against taking a gap year if there is sufficient benefit to balance *the risk* of delaying your grad-entry pathway by a year. I normally would not recommend gap year to a sub-99 ATAR, but in your case with SEAS and if you desperately prefer Monash to be close to home, I see that as sufficient reason for gap year.

If you are to take a gap year I strongly suggest you enquire about RESITTING the VCE exams next year for your worst 2-3 ATAR subjects, to get a new ATAR. I know it's possible since some people have done it before. Iirc in Vic if you resit VCE exams they will take the higher marks i.e. if you do worse your ATAR won't improve but won't drop either (whereas in NSW they take the latest marks).

I like to add a comment here about people saying don't take a gap year just to resit UCAT. To me that's an incorrect view of it. Even if the student starts uni they are going to resit UCAT anyway to apply non-standard, they don't need a gap year to resit UCAT. The gap year is to allow them to re-apply to the many schools that don't accept non-standards.

Also note the downside of gap year not working out well is they delay their grad-entry option by a year, they are not abandoning that option.
Thank you A2, I'd love to study at Monash and be close to home, however, I am willing to study medicine anywhere in Australia or even NZ. I could still potentially get an invite to study at TAS but by looking at the interstate ATARs that get in there, I won't make it.

You're right about the fact I could resit VCE subjects or even adopt new ones and it not affect my ATAR in a negative way. It would probably be smarter for me to resit as I already have notes and knowledge for prior subjects.

In the scheme of things, I guess a one-year delay wouldn't be a big deal.

However, let's say my ATAR increases and it is 99+ by the end of next year, what about the UCAT? Given the work I put in for the UCAT I feel like the most I could do is try other resources, courses, tutors etc. and hope that things go my way on the day. Buying medify again would be useful, however, I have seen all the quesitons before and probably have some memory on how to approach it/the answers.

Other users have said "praying to be lucky" isn't a justifable reason and I agree. That said, I felt I would get at least get 95th percentile (high 80s worse case scenario) before the test and not to sound arrogant, I don't feel it would be possible for me to do worse than 72%ile, so I do think I will walk away with an improved score, by how much I'm not sure.
 

Lyyrre

Griffith MedSci II
Thank you very much Lyyrre for the comprehensive reply. Much appreciated.

1. That's very interesting that all three tests had similar median scores. Can you please send me the source of this information?

2. I've heard getting in as a non-standard applicant is very difficult. What UCAT score would you suggest I'd need to acquire?

3. Thinking way into the future here, however, what steps do you suggest I take to have that scientific knowledge? If I end up doing straight engineering do you think the skills and knowledge built up there will be sufficient?
1. Sorry, I can't seem to find the exact source. I read it somewhere on MSO back in August/September, it showed that the average score for the 3 exams on one of the sections was 22/23/22 respectively, I can't remember which section.

2. WSU, JMP and Bond aren't affected by whether an applicant is standard/non-standard. I remember seeing that WSU and JMP actually have over 50% of admitted applicants as non-standards. The downside is mainly for JCU (which I believe has a separate pool for non-standard applicants and about 15 places), and for UNSW (non-standards are in the same pool as standards, but their university marks are weighted 50/50 with their ATAR to achieve a selection rank, and a 6.5+ GPA converts to a 99.50, so someone with a 99.95/6.5+ GPA will get a lower equivalent selection rank of 99.725, while conversely this 50/50 ATAR/GPA could benefit someone with a lower ATAR).

3. I'm not sure what level of science an engineering degree would cover, but I would imagine it would be sufficient for GAMSAT especially in Physics and possibly Chemistry. Biology may be a bit more difficult, but for the most part, most answers will be derived from the stimulus itself.

I'm always very careful when it comes to giving advice on what path you should take – I think it's very important that you have all your options laid out for you so that you can weigh up the pros and cons to decide for yourself. If you feel that taking a gap-year or resitting VCE exams is going to maximise your chances of getting into medicine and you're adamant on that, then that's something to be considered. In the same way that, if you feel like taking a gap-year just for UCAT is a bit of a risk, then you need to weigh it up yourself. Ultimately, you'll need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each option to decide what's right for you. Also remember that option 1 doesn't necessarily cancel out options 2 and 3 if it doesn't go to plan, so go with your instinct. Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: H2.

A1

Admissions Speculator
Moderator
Thank you A2, I'd love to study at Monash and be close to home, however, I am willing to study medicine anywhere in Australia or even NZ.
However, what about the UCAT?
My view on this^ is, if you again won't get a good UCAT score you would be stuffed on the non-standard front as well. So all you will have lost is delaying your grad-entry option by a year as I pointed out. It's up to you to judge whether one more eligible year as standard is worth the risk of the one year delay.
 
  • Like
Reactions: H2.

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Lyyrre

Griffith MedSci II
I know of a friend personally that got an okay-ish 2018 UMAT, who decided to take a gap year and proceeded to get a very competitive UCAT for 2019 and interview offers from 4 universities already, so it is possible. You just have to be prepared for the possibility of it not working out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: H2.

Crow

Moderator Band 🦧
Moderator
My view on this^ is, if you again won't get a good UCAT score you would be stuffed on the non-standard front as well. So all you will have lost is delaying your grad-entry option by a year as I pointed out. It's up to you to judge whether one more eligible year as standard is worth the risk of the one year delay.
I won’t comment any further after this as it’s just my viewpoint but: I think the flip side to this is if you don’t plan on using your gap year to do things other than UCAT preparation (I.e. full time work or travel) then why would you put your future on hold for a year to do something that you can do as a uni student anyway? I think Mana addresses the likely outcome of ending up with a similar ATAR and UCAT at the end of the gap year (given past performance is the most reliable predictor of future performance) in several posts on the pitfall thread.

With your example of increasing chances at Monash: there are at least 3x the number of interviewees as place offers. Even if there is huge improvement in UCAT (unlikely) and ATAR (can’t comment on likelihood but I do agree that past performance is the most useful predictor of future performance) then all chance depends on outperforming 2/3 of candidates. This would rely on vastly improved performance in a 2 hour exam (which the OP already studied immensely for this year - so what will make the difference next year?) and a 1 hour interview - it just seems like you’d be banking on an awful lot for a relatively unlikely outcome to eventuate.
 
  • Like
Reactions: H2.

LMG!

Moderator
Staff Member of the Year 2019
1. Sorry, I can't seem to find the exact source. I read it somewhere on MSO back in August/September, it showed that the average score for the 3 exams on one of the sections was 22/23/22 respectively, I can't remember which section.
I’ve not seen the stats but, realistically, there is no way Pearson could distribute multiple versions of the test that differed in any statistically significant way from each other for something as high stakes as Med entry when all scores will be compared on a single metric. It would be 5k individual law suits or 1 massive class action waiting to happen. They’re a well-established organisation that would absolutely not risk this.

ETA: not to mention the fact that it is routine in the circles Pearson participates to have multiple parallel forms for, say, cognitive assessments. Methods for developing parallel forms are well understood in psychometrics and relatively straightforward to implement. This is core Pearson business.
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

A1

Admissions Speculator
Moderator
... why would you put your future on hold for a year to do something that you can do as a uni student anyway? ...
The above is not necessarily so, there are factors that a gap year brings more benefits than for a uni student (apart from having more schools available). For example if you manage to score an excellent UCAT next year, as a uni student you are stuck with the 25-30% offer chances of JMP/WSU. Noting that I don't recommend gap year to a sub-99 ATAR (incl adjustments), as a gap year with 99.x+ the combo will give them 50-70% chances at schools that a uni student has zero chance, on top of JMP/WSU.

EtA: Just to clarify, what I meant above is they not only get more school options they also get higher chances options.
 

Tomato

Regular Member
If you are to take a gap year I strongly suggest you enquire about RESITTING the VCE exams next year for your worst 2-3 ATAR subjects, to get a new ATAR. I know it's possible since some people have done it before. Iirc in Vic if you resit VCE exams they will take the higher marks i.e. if you do worse your ATAR won't improve but won't drop either (whereas in NSW they take the latest marks).
To resit the VCE exams, do you just resit the external ones or have to resit both internal and external exams?
 

A1

Admissions Speculator
Moderator
To resit the VCE exams, do you just resit the external ones or have to resit both internal and external exams?
I found this doc for NSW, check whether there are similar provisions in your state > https://ace.nesa.nsw.edu.au/files/sectionpdfs/higher-school-certificate-course-delivery-self-tuition-external-providers-or-outside-tutor.pdf?r=1522110575541

"Candidates not attending a NSW government school ... may study Higher School Certificate courses by self-tuition.

HSC courses available for study
Only the following HSC courses are available for study by self-tuition: English Standard; English Advanced; English Extension 1; Mathematics Standard; Mathematics; Mathematics Extension 1; Mathematics Extension 2; Languages (all courses); Ancient History; Business Studies; Economics; Engineering Studies; Geography; Information Processes and Technology; Legal Studies; Modern History ...

Credentials
Candidates studying by self-tuition may study an unlimited number of units. Their results may be used for the calculation of the ATAR.

Candidates studying by self-tuition do not have to complete HSC assessment tasks (i.e. no school assessments & internal exams), and their Result Notice will record only their (external) examination mark(s).
"
 

H2.

Member
To resit the VCE exams, do you just resit the external ones or have to resit both internal and external exams?
What do you mean by internal/external exams? If you mean SACS/VCAA exams respectively, I'd assume you'd have to complete the whole subject/s and can't just sit the end of year exam, but could be wrong.
 

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Registered members with 100+ posts do not see Ads

Top