Finding medical schools in Australia without GAMSAT requirements is rare, but there are distinct pathways to medical study in Australia which don’t require applicants to take this challenging exam. are extremely competitive, so taking and acing the GAMSAT can help you get into the school of your choice if you are a graduate student. Most medical school applicants in Australia and New Zealand will write the GAMSAT, but there are some who successfully get into med school without it. In this blog, we’ll look at the medical school pathways in Australia, how hard the GAMSAT is, which med schools in Australia and New Zealand don’t require the GAMSAT, and whether you should avoid taking it.
Students who want to study medicine in Australia without sitting the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) have a few different options available to them. The GAMSAT was developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research for entry to graduate medical programs in Australia and is a common requirements for , as well as .
However, plenty of students are intimidated by the difficulty of this test. It is the longest medical school admissions test in the world and is just as mentally demanding as any other medical school admissions test. For those who want to avoid taking the GAMSAT, there are some options for medical study in Australia that don’t require. The medical school system in Australia has three distinct pathways to medicine, with only one of them usually requiring applicants to take the GAMSAT. However, there may be other admissions tests required in these pathways.
The GAMSAT is a tough, graduate level examination, evaluating students on their written communication and knowledge of humanities, social sciences, biological and physical sciences. The test is delivered twice a year, in March and September, and is split into 3 sections. The first section involves answering 75 humanities and social sciences multiple-choice questions with a time limit of 100 minutes. Section 2 gives students one hour to write two 500-word essays. The final section is focused on the sciences, with 110 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 170 minutes. The GAMSAT is scored on a scale from 0-100, with Sections 1 and 2 making up 50% of your score and Section 3 making up the remaining 50%.
Writing the test involves critical thinking, problem-solving and reasoning across a wide variety of subject matter, as well as reading passages and interpreting graphs. Applicants who want to study in Australia should also aim to score in the mid-50s to high-60s to be considered competitive in the admissions pool. Outstanding candidates will earn over 70 on the GAMSAT. Therefore, it is a challenging exam, comparable to the taken for medical schools in North America.
International students who want to study in Australia may need to write the MCAT instead of the GAMSAT, depending on the school they choose. Students who want to go to should also note that the GAMSAT is often required for graduate medical programs in the Ireland and for .
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The only other way applicants can avoid taking the GAMSAT and still enter a graduate medical program in Australia is through specific pathways offered by individual universities. Details are available on the school websites.
For this reason, taking the GAMSAT-free route to graduate entry in Australian medicine is far more difficult and competitive than applying to a GAMSAT med school in Australia, which is why the vast majority of students do write the GAMSAT.
The list of Australian medical schools which DO require GAMSAT for graduate applicants are:
The above institutions all offer direct graduate entry medical programs and may have other requirements aside from the GAMSAT. For example, some schools require international applicants to take the MCAT instead of the GAMSAT. But for the most part, medical school applications in Australia are evaluated based on a student’s GAMSAT score, GPA, and the interview. Many medical schools in Australia also use the system or allow applicants to apply directly through the school.
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Asking yourself “?” Both are excellent choices to study medicine, but if you’re not keen on taking the GAMSAT, New Zealand has the advantage. New Zealand is home to only two medical schools, and neither require applicants to sit the GAMSAT! The University of Auckland and the University of Otago both offer graduate medical school admissions to domestic and international students without the provision of the GAMSAT.
University of Auckland
The University of Auckland accepts domestic and international students through both the undergraduate and postgraduate medical entry pathways. Undergraduate applicants must achieve at least a 6.0 GPA and take the UCAT to be offered an interview. Graduate entry applicants must also earn a GPA of at least 6.0 in their undergraduate program. International graduate applicants do not need to take either the UCAT or the GAMSAT.
The University of Auckland admissions criteria are weighted as follows:
University of Otago
The University of Otago has both an undergraduate medical degree and a graduate entry program without a requirement to take the GAMSAT. For undergraduate entry, applicants must take the UCAT and achieve a minimum score in all five sections. International applicants to the University of Otago can only apply through the undergraduate pathway and must complete the UCAT to be eligible.
The short answer to whether taking the GAMSAT is worth it is yes. Despite the difficulty of this exam, the benefits of taking it outweigh avoiding it altogether. If you are planning to study medicine in Australia, taking the GAMSAT is your best course of action.
To start, writing the GAMSAT offers you far more opportunities to study medical school in Australia, since it is a hard requirement at almost every Australian MD program. Not only that but writing the test will prepare you for the rigors of your chosen MD program, since medical school will provide you with similar challenges and testing scenarios. Achieving a good score on your GAMSAT will also make you a more competitive applicant at Australian medical schools. Competition for admissions is high at these schools, and the GAMSAT is heavily considered in admission decisions, along with the medicine interview. For this reason, extensive GAMSAT prep is as important as . You can also retake the GAMSAT as many times as needed and choose which score to submit with your application. For this reason, it’s worth preparing for the GAMSAT and earning as high a score as possible to increase your chances of getting accepted.
Taking the GAMSAT is also the easiest path to get you into medical school in Australia, despite the difficulty level of the exam. The alternative pathways to studying medicine in Australia are highly competitive for domestic students, and for international students there are fewer options. While domestic students can avoid the GAMSAT by applying for undergrad programs or provisional entry, these routes demand very high academic performance and are not applicable to everyone. International students can apply through GAMSAT-free pathways at certain universities, but many of these ask for previous years of undergraduate study in certain subjects or additional years of study to earn a certificate before you can begin an MD program. Therefore, the fastest and least competitive track to graduate entry medicine in Australia requires taking the GAMSAT.
There are medical schools in Australia without the GAMSAT listed as a requirement, and there are unique pathways to medical study in Australia that do not require students to sit the GAMSAT. Students applying to medical school in New Zealand do not need to take the GAMSAT at all but will need to ace the UCAT instead.
Even so, taking the GAMSAT for a graduate medicine program is worth the challenge, as more doors will become open to you. Taking the GAMSAT will also provide you with invaluable skills as it prepares you for graduate-level medical study. Not to mention that acing the GAMSAT could give you an edge in the competitive admissions pool in Australia.
1. Are there any medical schools in Australia that don’t require GAMSAT?
There are only two medical schools in Australia that doesn’t require the GAMSAT for graduate entry to medicine: Monash University and Bond University. Monash University removed the GAMSAT as an admissions requirement in 2017. Bond University offers a medical study program comprised of an undergraduate degree followed by a transition to an MD program. The school does not require either UCAT or GAMSAT in its admissions process for domestic applicants.
2. How hard is the GAMSAT?
The GAMSAT is as challenging as any medical school admissions test and is the longest med school admissions test in the world. It is considered one of the most difficult tests you can take.
3. Should I avoid taking the GAMSAT?
While it is tempting to avoid writing this challenging exam, not taking it will render you ineligible for a majority of the graduate medical school programs in Australia and the UK.
4. Should I take the UCAT or the GAMSAT for medical school in Australia?
The UCAT is required for most undergraduate medical school programs in Australia, and the GAMSAT is required for graduate entry medical programs in Australia and some in the UK. Whether you take the UCAT or GAMSAT depends on which pathway to medicine you pursue in these countries.
5. Do medical schools in New Zealand require GAMSAT?
No. The two medical schools in New Zealand do not require applicants to write the GAMSAT, nor do they consider GAMSAT scores in their admissions evaluations.
6. Is the UCAT required for medical school in Australia and New Zealand?
The UCAT is commonly required in Australia and New Zealand for undergraduate medical programs such as the Bachelor of Medicine or Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS/MBChB).
7. What does GAMSAT test for?
GAMSAT tests in three different areas: humanities and social sciences, written communication and reasoning, and biomedical and physical sciences.
8. Can I retake the GAMSAT?
There is no limit on the number of retakes for the GAMSAT. Students can choose to retake the test multiple times and choose which score to include in their application.