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Medicine Application Guidelines

Congratulations on your decision to pursue Medicine as a career!

Medicine is a challenging field that will constantly test your ability to work hard and stay disciplined. But it is not all hard work; you will also find that Medicine is one of the most rewarding careers available. You will learn about many fields of study such as anatomy, physiology and pharmacology, and be able to directly apply them to a clinical environment.

Here are a few guides to help you plan your medicine degree applications:

Identify the type of Medicine Degree you want to apply for

Medicine degrees can either be undertaken as an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. As undergraduate (Bachelor) degree is undertaken after high school. Postgraduate degrees require a prior university degree (students can have multiple degrees). Some postgraduate degrees are structured to enable students to progress through a guaranteed/provisional-entry undergraduate degree through to postgraduate medicine.

Decide the other non-medicine degree/s to apply for as Plan B options. Medicine is highly competitive so apply for other degrees in case you’re unsuccessful securing a place in a medicine degree. Determine degrees that may lead to medicine. 

Entry Criteria into medicine

Universities differ in their admission requirements for medicine and dentistry. However, in general, entry into undergraduate medicine is based on three key criteria:

  • Your academic grades: this can be in the form of an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank), IB, or university results such as GPA or WAM
  • Your English language skills
  • Your score in the International Student Admissions Test (ISAT)
  • Your score in a medical interview or oral assessment (some universities also require a written applic ation)

Universities have a set capacity for medical school candidates each year. Generally, once you have submitted an application for Medicine and have had your academic grades and ISAT scores reviewed, universities will invite you for an interview if you have achieved sufficient scores. Interviews are either in the form of an MMI (Multi Mini Interview) or a panel setting. During the interview stage, universities will test your interpersonal skills and assign a score. Following this, most universities will consider some or all of the three criteria and determine whether to send you an offer of admission. The process varies between universities.

Maximising your chances of obtaining an interview offer

To give yourself the best chance of getting into Medicine, it is recommended that you apply to all medical undergraduate programs across Australia.

Since every university differs slightly in how they assess students, you are much more likely to receive an offer for medical school if you allow a wider range of universities to view your ISAT and academic results. Furthermore, because medical interviews introduce an element of subjectivity, there is no guarantee of an offer into medicine at any one university. Therefore, it is best to apply to multiple universities to increase your chances of securing a place.

Think of it like casting a net to catch fish: you are more likely to catch more fish if you use a bigger net, so why not expand your horizons and increase your chances of pursuing a career in Medicine?

Content of the Written Application Forms

Written application forms ask multiple questions that will then be used by universities either for selection to interview, or as a basis to ask questions during the interview. As such, students should take great care in formulating their responses and ensuring the language used is free from error. A good tip is to try reading your response aloud to yourself as this will help you determine if any parts sound disjointed or illogical.

For example, the following questions are asked by James Cook University in their 2021 entry application form:

  • Why do you want to become a medical practitioner / health professional?
  • What activities (paid employment, work experience or voluntary work) have you undertaken, in addition to your studies, which indicate your motivation to study medicine or another health professional degree at James Cook University?
  • Tell us why you are interested in a course where important themes are indigenous and tropical health and rural/remote medicine?
  • Provide any other information you believe will support your application.

It is important to ‘sell yourself’ as much as you can in your application, keep sentences succinct and try to include as many of your experiences, qualifications and skills as possible. Remember that universities will go through hundreds of these applications, so it is up to you to outshine other applicants and separate yourself from the pack.

Universities offering Undergraduate Medicine

The deadline to apply for medicine in Australia closes at the end of September. There are a number of universities which offer undergraduate Medicine in Australia. These are listed below:

New South Wales:

  • Western Sydney University/Charles Sturt University – Doctor of Medicine
  • University of Newcastle/University of New England – Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine^
  • University of New South Wales – Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine^
  • University of Sydney – Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine*

Victoria:

  • Monash University – Doctor of Medicine
  • University of Melbourne – Doctor of Medicine*

Queensland:

  • University of Queensland – Doctor of Medicine*
  • James Cook University – Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)^
  • Griffith University – Bachelor of Medical Science / Doctor of Medicine*
  • Bond University – Doctor of Medicine*

South Australia:

  • University of Adelaide – Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
  • Flinders University – Bachelor of Clinical Sciences, Doctor of Medicine*

Western Australia:

  • University of Western Australia – Doctor of Medicine*
  • Curtin University – Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

Tasmania:

  • University of Tasmania – Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

*: These are provisional entry courses. This means that students are required to complete a prerequisite undergraduate course before entering medical school. It is worth noting that because provisional entry courses only offer a handful of places and they do not use ISAT, they tend to have exceptionally high academic requirements. 

^: These courses require an additional application form that must be supplied to the university by the application deadline (usually the 30th of September).

Remember that the selection process is unique for every university. While some unis call their degrees MBBS, some call them MD. They are identical in terms of your future career. You will get the same licence to practice medicine with either degree.

Preparing for Interviews

Once you have finished applying to universities, it is time to begin preparing for your interviews. Your interview is where you must demonstrate to universities that you are more than just book smart and can communicate and work effectively in a clinical environment.

To prepare for the interview stage, it is recommended that applicants have quality work experience and/or volunteer work that they can speak about in their interviews, as this this will set you apart from other applicants. This will also demonstrate that you are a well-rounded individual who cares about the community and can excel in a career as a healthcare professional.

Interviews are a vitally important, yet often underestimated part of the entry process into medicine. If you have come this far in pursuing a career in Medicine, there are some important hurdles still ahead but there isn’t long to go!

We wish you the best of luck in your medicine applications!

 

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