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Undergrad vs Postgrad: What’s the Difference?⠀

Are you applying for medical school and struggling to understand the difference between undergraduate and postgraduate entry methods? Here is an overview to give you an insight into what the different courses involve. Once you understand the general process it’s easier to look at specific universities you might like to apply to.

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1. What is Required?

Most undergraduate medical school applications are based on ATAR and UCAT results. ATAR is a ranked value Australian students receive after finishing high school. This allows them to apply to university courses. Each university has specific minimum ATAR and UCAT scores required to apply to the course.

Both, ATAR and UCAT are competitive as there are many applicants for undergraduate medical courses. You can find out further details and information about the marks required through university websites. Why not ask a careers counsellor at school for advice too?

If you have previously partially or fully completed a degree, you are still able to apply for an undergraduate medical course. Your university marks will be considered along with your ATAR score on your application. If you have completed multiple years of university, they may only consider your previous university marks. Be aware though that you still need to sit the UCAT if you’re applying through this pathway.

Read 7 ATAR Revision Tips

2. The Interview Process

A few months after applying for medical school you will hear if you have been successfully chosen to attend an interview. If you are chosen, you will be able to select a time to complete your interview with the university. If you’re unsuccessful, don’t feel disheartened. You can always apply again in future years.

Expect the form of the interview to vary. A popular style is the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). As the name suggests, there are multiple short interview sessions with each one focusing on a different topic or task. Topics can range from your career aspirations to ethical reasoning and decision making. Other sessions may involve solving problems, working as a team or acting out a scenario.

There can be one or multiple people on the panel conducting your interview. They will be assessing attributes such as your communication skills, ability to make decisions confidently and how you express your opinions.

This is not the only method used in the interview process, however the themes and goals for each interview style remain similar. Different universities will have their own methods of interviewing potential medical students. Specific details should be provided when you are notified of your interview.

Read 5 Tips for Choosing Medical Schools


1. What is Required?

You must have completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher before you can apply for a post-graduate medical course. That’s why it’s called post-graduate! You must also sit the GAMSAT or MCAT, so it can be considered as part of your application. Each university will consider marks from your previous degree and GAMSAT test in different proportions. The website for your post-graduate university course of choice will provide information about how they accept and grade applicants.

You can expect some post-graduate medical courses to also have a portfolio component as part of the application process. This portfolio may require a personal statement, references or a set of questions to be answered.

The application process often tries to examine personal attributes, alongside your academic abilities. Such qualities may include: community involvement, teamwork and leadership. Make sure you have enough time to complete the portfolio, as they can be time consuming and you may require help from mentors or references.

2. The Interview Process

The interview process is quite similar to undergraduate courses. There may be higher expectations in the interview for a post-graduate course. Students applying to these courses are often a lot older and have potentially gained more life experience. This can include previous careers, voluntary positions and experience in interviews before. Some students may be experiencing their first interview, so don’t fear if it is you!

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