AUG 31, 2020 • 13 min read
The postgraduate medical school application process is long, complicated and very stressful for students. This guide is designed to provide you with all the information you will need to prepare for the process ahead, so you can focus solely on studying!
The first and most important element of your postgraduate application is sitting the gruelling 6 hour long GAMSAT exam. The GAMSAT is difficult because it’s the longest medical school admissions test in the world - 3 hours of science, 2 hours of humanities reasoning and a sprint to write two 500-word essays in one hour. Despite how long the GAMSAT exam is, most students do not finish the final section, so having speed and strategy on the GAMSAT exam is very important for success. For more information on the requirements of each section and our top tips, check out this blog.
When applying for postgraduate entry medicine in Australia, there is one centralised online application portal - GEMSAS. The Graduate Entry Medical Schools Admission System. GEMSAS is run by the GAMSAT consortium, which comprises of 10 out the 13 postgraduate medical schools in Australia which include:
The three universities that aren’t apart of GEMSAS include:
(Sydney and Flinders require the GAMSAT exam and direct application and Monash requires students to have completed their undergraduate degree at Monash).
This system allows you to choose from three to six medical schools, then uses calculations to allocate an interview and medical school offer based on your eligibility and highest preferred postgraduate medical school. You are offered a maximum of one interview. Your application to GEMSAS is a single online application form, a preference list of up medical schools, as well as your undergraduate degree transcript.
Upon completion of the GAMSAT exam you will receive a score for each section and an overall percentage score which ranks your score in comparison to all other students sitting the exam. Your GAMSAT score is valid for two years following the test date and you can sit the exam twice per admissions cycle (March and September).
Your GAMSAT score breakdown - the score for each section is what is most important in your GEMSAS application, as different universities put different weightings on each section. For example, most universities apart from the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Sydney, and the University of Queensland use the traditional weighting system, which weighs Section Three twice as much as Section One and Two.
Hot tip: To make sure you have a strong score against this weighting system, it is important to make sure you’re disproportionately strong in Section Three, or particularly poor in either Section One or Two. Want more hot tips? Click the link below to speak to our team for free today!
To complicate things further, each university accepts different ranges of GAMSAT scores. To make sure your preference list is favourable to your skills and GAMSAT abilities, MedView’s postgraduate entry application support program can help. Specifically designed by postgraduate medical students and admissions experts, this program will help you better succeed in your application.
Another element of admission into postgraduate medical school is the GPA hurdle. Your GPA is your Grade Point Average, which is the weighted mean of all your grades achieved in the final 3 years equivalent of full time undergraduate study.
Firstly, a lot of people believe that you can only apply to postgraduate medicine if you have completed a medical related degree - e.g., Nursing, Biomedical Science etc. However this is not correct, yes there are discrepancies between universities in terms of GPA cut offs, but there is no advantage or disadvantage to the degree achieved, or the university in which your degree was achieved.
However, your degree must have been completed in the last 10 years, unless postgraduate study has commenced. It is at the discretion of the university as to whether your postgraduate study is considered in the calculation of your GPA but most of the time, it is your last three years that are considered.
It would be correct to assume Honours years also add a level of complexity to your application. The University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia require your Honours to be completed by mid year of your application cycle for it to be considered in your GPA calculation. The University of Melbourne, Deakin University and Macquarie University will also only consider specific Honours subjects, not your overall Honours grade and this information will not be released to you prior to your postgraduate entry application.
To determine your GPA weighted grade the following calculation is used:
Most Recent GPA = Weighted x3
Most Recent -1 GPA = Weighted x2
Most Recent -2 GPA = Weighted x1
Your average GPA is calculated by dividing the result by 6. GEMSAS places a higher emphasis on the latter years of study which is reflected in their calculations, as they assume the level of intelligence is higher the longer you study.
However, several universities calculate the GPA differently. The University of Western Australia weighs every year the same and does not require a competitive GPA just a threshold over 5.0. UWA, also used a system called FTE which fairly evaluates all students. This means a minimum of two subjects/courses are required to be taken in the final semester/in your application semester in order to achieve a 25% FTE and be considered for a place.
The portfolio is only applicable to two universities, but plays an essential part in their consideration process. The University of Notre Dame and the University of Wollongong’s consider your portfolio alongside your GPA and GAMSAT score, although the weighting of the portfolio is unknown.
Hot tip: Adding an extra dimension into the application means there is less overall emphasis on your GPA and GAMSAT score. Want more hot tips? Speak to our team for free today by clicking the link below!
The University of Notre Dame is a catholic institution, meaning the university puts an emphasis on education within the context of catholic values. They welcome students of all religious backgrounds, as long as the student has an understanding for the values of ethical and service based values, such as compassion, respect and social justice. If successful, all students must complete a Bioethics paper.
The University of Wollongong on the other hand, has a strong focus around rural, regional and remote medicine, preparing doctors for a range of settings across Australia and internationally. They chose students who have diverse backgrounds and are comfortable with living in rural settings or have ties to rural communities and schooling.
The University of Notre Dame also requires a personal statement - along with your GPA, GAMSAT and portfolio - where you must outline your reasons for pursuing medicine, as well as why Notre Dame is the best choice for you. It is important to create an application that represents your character while also demonstrating the asking values.
The University of Wollongong requires a video which is similar to a UCAT situational judgement question, used to determine personal and professional traits that are suited for a career in medicine. These include empathy, communication, ethics and problem solving.
Deakin University prefers students who have a background in healthcare or a history of study at Deakin University, residing in the Geelong area or are financially disadvantaged.
Australian National University prefers students who have completed Honours, Masters or PhD study.
Griffith will award an instant 7.0 GPA to anyone with a PhD and a maximum GPA for each year of full time Masters course by research.
It is important to note all these aspects are considered in your overall application and they work together to bring strengths to weaker aspects.
MedView believes in a holistic approach to medical school admissions, meaning we surround the student with a team of experts to help develop their candidacy and skills in all pillars of the journey to medical school. Our mission is not to help students to just succeed in their medical school admissions, but to create students to become top doctors with lifelong leadership, skills and connections!
To learn how MedView can help you successfully gain admission into medical school, click the link below and schedule a free consultation with one of our Academic Advisors.