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Getting Into Medicine WA

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I can’t believe how many West Australian students try to get into medicine or dentistry.

Medicine at Canning block out

My Getting Into Medicine or Dentistry presentation at Canning College.

There are so many outstanding students who are chasing a place in one of these courses and the information sessions that the unis put on are crowded.

IMG_7300 (2017_12_27 02_56_53 UTC)

Curtin, UWA and Notre Dame universities all offer a medical degree course and UWA also offers dentistry.

  • Notre Dame has their course information session on 25 March
  • UWA is showcasing its Doctor of Medicine (MD), the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) and the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) at the Health Campus Open Day on April 8
  • Curtin’s is scheduled for 24 April.

The people attending these sessions seem to be getting younger and younger  so don’t be worried about going to an information session if you are only in Year 10.


Curtin1Curtin offers the only direct entry  Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery program available to school leavers in WA and there is heavy-duty competition for the places.

Last year there were 60 students chosen from 1500 applicants with some students gaining entry through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, rural and equity places.

Curtin’s focus is on providing doctors to rural, regional and remote areas.  If you have a background in the bush you have the background they are looking for.

This year there are 70 places available, mainly to school leavers although there will be some places available to non-school leavers. There are no places for international students until 2021.

Length of Course: 5 Years

ATAR: 95 (there are conditions around this that need to be explored HERE.)

Essential WACE courses

Chemistry ATAR If you haven’t studied chemistry contact the Medicine Admissions Coordinator Jo Washington King, to find out what to do.

 Desirable WACE courses

Mathematics Methods ATAR, Mathematics Specialist ATAR or Mathematics Applications ATAR

UMAT score (Register for UMAT HERE.)

Interview Those students who score highest on their ATAR and UMAT will be given an interview. See notes below on Multiple Mini Interviews.

English competency

  • Curtin is also seeking a range of Inherent Requirements which feel a bit difficult to pin down.
  • See current students speaking on YouTube HERE.
  • Register for the Information Evening and Webinar
  • You can find my notes from the 2017 presentation with suggestions from students HERE.


UWAThe UWA Doctor of Medicine (MD) and the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degrees are 4-year courses that require applicants to have already completed an undergraduate degree.

 It is possible to gain a Direct Pathway (guaranteed place) into medicine or dentistry if you have an ATAR of 99. (You still need to complete your first degree prior to starting medicine or dentistry.)

There are 24 places Direct Pathway places available in Dentistry and 65 placed available in Medicine.

Year 12s should apply for a Direct Pathway place via the normal TISC process in August-September.

You will require a:

  • Minimum ATAR of 99 or equivalent (Applicants are also required to submit the Predicted ATAR form.)
  • Suitable UMAT score in 2018 for 2019 academic intake. You can register for that HERE. UMAT results are valid for one year.

The UMAT is held on 25th July.   Results will be available in September.

  • Successful interview

The final rating will be based on UMAT, ATAR and Interview and will be weighted 1:2:2 respectively.

Applicants are also required to have:

Dentistry applicants must also meet:

  • Satisfactory completion of the Spatial Awareness Test
  • Eyesight Requirements

International Applicants for Direct Pathway

High achieving secondary school leavers may be eligible to apply for an International place in the Direct Pathways for the Doctor of Medicine (MD) and the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

Applicants will be required to provide ISAT results when they apply.ISAT

Applications are via the UWA OASys portal.  The next round of applications is for 2019 entry and opened on 1 March 2018 and close 31 May 2018.

 Recommended subjects

It is recommended that applicants have undertaken at least:

  • Physics to year 12 level
  • Chemistry to first year university level (including completion of year 12 level chemistry)

Bachelor Degree

A place in the MD and DMD is conditional upon successful completion of a bachelor degree with a minimum Faculty Grade Point Average of 5.5.


There are no preferred bachelor courses required prior to the Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Dental Medicine.

Applicants for the UWA post graduate degree WHO DO NOT HAVE A DIRECT PATHWAY need to do the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test.

It is similar to the UMAT and is also run by the Australian Council for Educational Research.  It is run twice a year – in March and September.


The Notre Dame Getting Into Medicine information session is held the day after the GAMSAT. You can always pick the people who did the GAMSAT… They are the ones who look exhausted!!exhausted

Notre Dame


This is a 4-year post graduate degree for domestic applicants only.

As with UWA selection is based on:

  • Grade Point Average
  • An Interview


  • A personal folio that demonstrates your suitability for medicine at Notre Dame.

Grade Point Average

Notre Dame says that successful applicants will already have a degree with a minimum Grade Point Average of 5. This score may be misleading as students usually have a Grade Point Average higher than 6.

Applicants must undertake the Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT).


IMG_7308 (2017_12_27 02_56_53 UTC)Applicants are also required to undertake an interview process…. which is described below.

Notre Dame Folio

Notre Dame also requires a Student of Medicine Application Folio which demonstrates more about the student’s personal attributes and suitability for acceptance.

Notre Dame usually wants to know WHY you want to study at Notre Dame and WHY you want to study the course you have chosen for any course so you would need to be clear on that.

Pre-Medicine Certificate

IMG_7312 (2017_12_27 02_56_53 UTC)Notre Dame offers a Pre-Medicine Certificate that its students can take WHILE they are doing their undergraduate degree (and getting a high GPA!).

This pathway also provides students with a mentor from the ND School of Medicine.

Completion of this Certificate will guarantee an INTERVIEW as part of the medical course application process if your GPA and GAMSAT reach the minimal score.

Multiple Mini Interviews

emojiThe interview process is made up of 8 Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs).  You move from each interview into 8 different rooms. You are given a question and have 3 minutes to prepare your answer, then you go into the room and give your response for 8 minutes. There are two rest breaks. The MMI’s take 88 minutes.

I have heard this process described as an endurance test.

Interviews are done by trained MMI interviewers who are trying to determine your suitability for the medical profession.  YouTube videos and sites like MedStudents Online and Whirlpool will give you some ideas about what to expect BUT your experienced interviewers are not looking for rehearsed answers, they want to know about you and your suitability for the profession.


UMATCurtin and UWA Direct Entry require a UMAT score as part of their application process.

While you are studying your butts off trying to blitz your ATAR score you will also need to do the Undergraduate Medical Admissions Test which is on 25th July in 2018. Registration for the Test closes on 1 June.

The Australian Council for Education Research administers the test and provides instructions and sample tests for you to practice on. Preparation videos are also available once you register for the test.

The test lasts 3 hours and you will need to score at least 50 on each section:

  • Critical thinking and Problem Solving
  • Understanding People
  • Non-verbal Reasoning

Don’t try to cram academic knowledge for the UMAT. You need to learn how to do UMAT types of tests.

You will find it intimidating. You will be out of your comfort zone. People talk about how many drills they have done. Curtin Medical Student 2017

You can find out more about the structure of the test, and the registration procedure in their downloadable Guide. UMAT offers practise tests which are an essential part of preparation.

Many businesses offer courses on how to blitz the UMAT. There is considerable discussion about the value of these tests and the accuracy of the information they provide. In an online world there are a lot of free resources available to help you to prepare. BUT, some students will have done one of these courses.

On the UMAT site it says:

Intensive preparation is not advisable or necessary.  However, wide and critical reading may provide helpful preparation and, as with any test, some practice in answering questions of a similar type, and under similar time constraints as those found in the real test is helpful and reassuring to most candidates. It is also helpful to practice using a machine-readable answer sheet similar to the one in the actual test.

Extra Help

I like asking questions on . It might not be any more reliable than Facebook but you get to ask people who are in the field for their thoughts. You can even ask what students at different unis think about their medical courses.

Medstudentsonline is similar to Whirlpool. You can join in discussion threads about the application process.

MedEntry  has practice exams, blog articles and information about UMAT.

MedView is a business that prepares students for medical school entry processes. You can get an assessment HERE.

There are companies like Matrix that help you to prepare for the UMAT.

That’s It – Getting into Medicine is a Tough Gig

Being a doctor is a tough gig.

Last year I provided career advice to a brilliant ATAR student who said there was no way he was going into medicine. Both of his parents were doctors and he saw the emotional toll it was taking on them and on their family life. He thought he might become a physics teacher.

The health industry is the fasted growing industry in Australia. The application of AI to diagnostics and the use of robotics is creating a boom in new health related career choices.  West Australian universities are onto this and competing to be leaders in new postgraduate health education fields.

There might be a life for you in one of these new careers.

Making medicine or dentistry your first choice is fine at this stage but as you go down that path check out the emerging opportunities that are making those fields more specialised and diverse.

Good Luck with Your Choices. 

super synthesizerIn Focus Careers


I bring together the key information you need in a one-hour presentation about West Australian medical degree courses.

Contact me at or ring me on M:0434056412

Author: Bev Johnson

I went to uni because my girlfriend was going to uni. I had no idea. I struggled through my degree. I struggled to avoid teaching. I struggled to find my way in the world beyond school. After washing cars and working in bars I went into marketing and then became an English teacher. It didn't stop there. I went into TAFE, then into HR, then into designing training programs for industry before going into system design and IT. At one stage I became a world expert on collaboration frameworks!! Now I am an expert in career paths from school in Western Australia. You can tap into my expertise by subscribing to my newsletter for West Australian high schools or by working with me online as we design your perfect next step. Contact me at or M: 0434056412

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