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What degree did you have before applying for med school?

mewhenim

Member
I'm sure loads of people have various sciences under their belts, but what degrees did you guys take? Did you take any extra classes? Finally, at what stage did you decide you wanted to go to medical school? Have you all known since high school or are any of you "late bloomers"? I'm 24 and a Paramedic (without a degree). I want to go to med school, and I'm working hard, but I'm worried I may be behind. Also, since I only just got to Australia (born here, but been in the USA for 11 years) I know nothing about the university system here and feel a bit lost and alone. I have several friends who are doctors, but they are all much older (so they went through med school 15+ years ago) and they did it all in the USA.

Any advice in what I should be doing?
Right now I'm just working on getting my degree in paramedicine, but I'm sure I'll need more science before I could attempt the GAMSAT.
 

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Syn

Regular Member
I did (and like many other people on here) a year of Biomedical Science before applying for Medicine. However, I pretty much always wanted to do Medicine, but just didn't get in straight out of high school. Being a paramedic you'll have a massive headstart on many things in Medicine, so don't worry about 'being behind'. What are you doing right now? Are you enrolled in something? If not, I suggest enrolling in a course of your choice, doesn't have to be a science degree, and then study for the UMAT, since I don't think you'll be eligible for graduate entry to anywhere without a degree under your belt. So in this case, the only Universities you can apply to are the JMP (UoN and UNE), UNSW, JCU (they don't require the UMAT), UTas, and UWS.
 

Hutcherson

Emeritus Staff
Emeritus Staff
I did a year of pharmacy before getting into dentistry although I always wanted to do dentistry. So similar story to syn but in regards to dent and not med. To increase your chances I suggest you sit UMAT & GAMSAT :)
 

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miss_universe

muse.
Emeritus Staff
Same story as Syn and hutch, though I did B. Health Sciences for a year.

Don't feel behind, MSO will catch you upin no time! read some of the articles we have written to get a good idea of each uni (though some have not been completed yet). Also 24 is relatively young! Dont let it stop you!

Science knowledge doesnt have to be via a university degree, simple studying the concepts when you have time is enough. I suggest you start early so you can get a good handle on them before GAMSAT. :)
 

mewhenim

Member
Thanks guys. I'm currently taking a Bioscience unit which will go toward my degree in paramedicine. If I'm doing well in Bioscience by the end of the semester I will switch to working part time and enrol in the Bachelor of Paramedicine full time. I'm hoping with that and GAMSAT I can get in somewhere. I also figure that since I won't have to take all the subjects for my paramedicine degree (I can get RPL as I'm already a practicing paramedic) I could maybe squeeze in an extra unit or so of a science? Any suggestions in what kind of units I should be looking at? I'm thinking a more in depth biology or something?
 

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Arkayik

Regular Member
I haven't done the GAMSAT yet, but there is reason to believe ACER design the science section so as to give people from a science background only so much of an advantage. That is, that the questions tend to be more analytically focussed, rather than a typical content heavy exam that you may find at the end of say BIOC1108 etc. This is evidenced by people from a vast number of backgrounds performing well in the section, without years and years of science based study. I'm sure that coming from a science based undergrad will help, but only so much.
 

mewhenim

Member
other than buying practice tests and taking practice classes, how do people study for this elusive "test over anything"? I plan on buying practice books and what not, but I'm still not even sure how it works exactly.
 

bobby190

Regular Member
Hey if your not really sure how GAMSAT works be sure to read up on it well before hand.

You can sit it in your 2nd to last year of your degree aswell as your last. This can give you an opportunity to sit it twice. There is also GAMSATUK which is held in melbourne yearly as another back up. if you study hard you can sit GAMSAT 4 times before you graduate! I would highly recommended sitting it and without a "trial run" give every shot a good go cos they are precious.
I read your previous question if you can sit some basic intro chemistry paper and physics paper it would go a long way. Did you do chemistry and physics in highschool? if so you can purchase/download MCAT booklets which are very thorough for theory and include good practice questions. There are many courses that teach it.
If you confident and have a good base knowledge from High school you can learn off Khan academy for FREEE! Acer books are by far the best study resource IMO. Mind you this year they banned calculators which causes a stir and changed a bit of the question styles.

Now to answer your main question I completed biomedical science degree 3 years in NZ
 

Dr Worm

Regular Member
Hi [MENTION=14185]mewhenim[/MENTION]

Well, I didn't finish high school, and have half-done 2 degrees (nursing and b. arts/sci). The nursing a long time ago, the art/sci recentlyish, because being a currently enrolled student who'd completed 1 year or more of an undergrad degree allowed me to use my GPA + UMAT to apply to medicine as an undergrad. (even knowing I might complete and apply to med as a grad, I managed not to do any useful science. I did maths. It was hard. Don't do that....).....I got in :)

Have you considered applying as an undergrad (an option at some unis...you'll have to check individually). If considering, a good idea to apply to sit UMAT (now)

I'm not sure about Gamsat, I've known people with science masters to struggle, and people with no background to do well. You'd have to see a practice test.

Finally, at what stage did you decide you wanted to go to medical school? Have you all known since high school or are any of you "late bloomers"?


Well I always wanted to be a doctor ( ...and then the toothfairy didn't leave money and privilege under my pillow...paraphrasing Carla from scrubs). I considered going to med school when I was 22 or so, but ended up starting nursing instead, and considered it again a few years ago. And got in :)

I'm 24 and a Paramedic (without a degree). I want to go to med school, and I'm working hard, but I'm worried I may be behind. Also, since I only just got to Australia (born here, but been in the USA for 11 years) I know nothing about the university system here and feel a bit lost and alone. I have several friends who are doctors, but they are all much older (so they went through med school 15+ years ago) and they did it all in the USA.
MSO will be helpful :) Both for information and general support.

Look, I'm 32, and in first year (and only 5 weeks in) and while I'm very envious of people who really know science fundamentals (eg, lower high school science like cell biology; I merely vaguely recall it, but couldn't spit it out for an exam...yet), so far (in my course) it's not an insurmountable amount to catch up. I probably have rather a bit more science to learn/ memorise than the average student. But you can't imagine (no, really, you can't) how much of the common knowledge you use in your job is (for other students) new and foreign information they have to learn.

I spend much of my time oscillating between knowing less than everyone else and knowing more (depending on the topic).

If I were you, I'd be focussing on study, finding out about admission criteria, considering applying to do GAMSAT/ UMAT and looking at example papers, and mooching around MSO. Mostly the first thing. Good Luck!



Any advice in what I should be doing?
Right now I'm just working on getting my degree in paramedicine, but I'm sure I'll need more science before I could attempt the GAMSAT.
 

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mewhenim

Member
thanks for all your advice. I don't think I'd be confident to just try to get in on UMAT. I think I'd be happier getting my degree in paramedicine first and getting back into the swing of school (it's been up and down so far). I find the same thing as far as knowing way more or way less than everyone, so I'm glad I'm not alone there. With the advice everyone has given so far, I'm feeling more confident that I'm on the right track. I hope all is going well for you, 5 weeks in, must be very exciting and also very scary! Good luck with everything! Also, if you don't mind me asking, where are you studying (just state is fine, don't want to look like a stalker).
 

Dr Worm

Regular Member
I would suggest that sitting the UMAT is good experience anyway, ESPECIALLY if you don't want to get in that way/ right now (ie. you should maybe consider doing it for the hell of it, because in my - humble experience - sitting a high stress exam like UMAT when you DON"T care about the results is really great preparation - psychologically - for sitting it when you do care).

Honestly, one of the highest gamsat-scoring (and so far, happiest) grad med students I know had a communications background, and no science at all; don't stress too much about it.

"...very exciting and also very scary..." Sometimes. Sometimes mundane, sometimes terrifying, sometimes a walk in the park (if you measure these things in hours). Overall: Intensely ambivalent, often, but mostly: this is just what I do now. I go to school and I learn, and I study. I expect to feel variously overqualified, overqualified, confident, terrified, competent, stupid, enthused, exhausted and so on, in the course of a day, or even hours. Generally, I just accept these thing as fleeting and get on with it :) Overwhelmingly, this is just what I do now, and I'm roughly sure everyone in med feels the same way. For evidence, check the blogs.

I'm not especially anonymous-Ninja on MSO: I'm in NSW, doing MBBS at University of Western Sydney (I did arts/SCI at USyd, and nursing at UTS). I mainly know about nsw unis as a result, the "articles" section of MSO might be helpful for other unis/states. You can message me if you want to know anything in particular/specific or to say hi.
 

mewhenim

Member
Well I did the UMAT, it was definitely hard, but I didn't leave feeling terrible, I feel like it could really go either way from here. I'll be applying for every undergrad med school in Aus and NZ, and in the mean time I am working on getting my bachelor of health science (paramedic) online through a conversion degree. Hopefully plan A or B will work out and I won't have to work on a plan C :)
 

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