The importance of UCAT and interviews

Great things never come easy

Medicine is an incredibly rewarding, secure, well paid and respected profession in Australia.

It is also the hardest course to get into.

Furthermore, the final years of high school are a stressful and demanding time for your son or daughter, and the need to sit UCAT and face interviews places additional pressure on them during this time.

Thankfully there are ways you, as a parent, can provide valuable assistance to your child to ensure their success.

Understand the importance of UCAT and interviews

Unlike most other courses, entry into medicine is based on much more than just a high ATAR. In fact, even those with a perfect ATAR can miss out on a place in medicine. Universities also consider UCAT score and interview performance, and at many universities, these two criteria are weighted more than ATAR! Yet many students neglect UCAT and interviews, and focus their efforts on ATAR, only to find that they do not obtain a place in medicine. UCAT Practice Exam

The first step is to recognise the importance of UCAT and interviews, communicate this to your son or daughter, and then work out a plan to ensure adequate preparation time is allocated to these crucial criteria.

A Message From Dr. Ray

Encourage your son/daughter to start preparing early

UCAT is very different from school exams and is not a knowledge-based test. It is a test of generic skills over five areas:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Decision Making
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Situational Judgement

It takes just two hours and is highly time-pressured so that most students will not finish every question. Most practicing doctors would agree that it is the hardest single test they ever sat in their career. It is therefore important to start preparing early, as the skills required to succeed need to be developed over time.

It is also important to think about interviews. Interviews tend to take place after final year 12 exams, so it is tempting to ignore them until later in the year. However, interview skills also need to be developed and practiced over a period of time. Furthermore, medical schools look very favourably upon work experience, volunteer work and paid work in a hospital, General Practice or community health based setting. Your son or daughter should therefore be encouraged to engage in these activities before interviews take place. UCAT Online Test

Avoid missing important deadlines

UCAT takes place over the month of July, and applications to study medicine at various universities close before year 12 exams take place. It is therefore important to be organised so that important deadlines are not missed. You can help your son or daughter by researching these requirements for them.

It is strongly suggested that students who are interested in studying medicine apply to all universities, including those interstate. Interviews are by their nature subjective, and therefore entry into one particular university cannot be guaranteed. If your son or daughter obtains entry into a medical course that is not in your state, there are various options available such as transfer after first year, deferring and attempting re-entry into a local course etc.

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