Getting into medicine without UCAT (1 Viewer)

amber1107

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You will have to do exactly that in a med school interview…
Justifying it to myself and in an interview are very different to an online forum. I know my reasons and I would outline them in an interview, it does not mean I have to outline them for you. I again repeat that my question wasn’t what I want to do it is how to do it.
 

amber1107

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your questions have probably been answered already but I will offer my 2 cents.

if you don't want to take a gap year then I suggest you don't. taking a gap year just to study for the UCAT is not worth the time off because 1. there's still a chance you won't make it to med, and 2. it'll be a complete bludge year of zero productivity if all you're doing is studying for UCAT. if you're also working, volunteering, picking up new skills, travelling etc. then a gap year imo would be worth taking to then pursue med, it needs to be a planned productive experience not a time to laze around and not gain much from. personally a gap year to try again for med would not have been good for me, because I'm lazy asf and if there's no pressure in my life I'll spiral into bad habits and lose the momentum I graduated high school with

I think you should study law (or anything else) for first year and sit the UCAT as well, if you get into med then you can transfer to med, if you don't get into med, you can continue with your law degree. my friend is doing engineering this year (first year) and she (re)sat the UCAT as well, idk if she heard back from any uni's regarding med but if it doesn't work out for her, then she'll continue with engineering which is obviously employable and not a risky one like medical science


for those saying prestige, pay and academic success (which is not flexing btw) should not be the main contributing factors in which degree you pick, I very much agree. but I don't think anyone should be shamed for picking a degree based on these factors.

I've gotten shamed for pursuing dentistry because it's the "next best thing to med" and not because I wanted to, and it's so ridiculous lol. like stfu and mind ur own business not everyone has a dominating passion as they leave high school, and sometimes thinking of prestige and what path matches one's academic levels can help give a sense of direction when you're lost or unsure. btw now I love what I'm studying, it's just that one year ago during HSC, I had no idea what I was interested in so I just picked degrees based on prestige and academics and minor interest, nothing wrong with this at all. I still managed to prove to interviewers that I wanted to do dentistry despite picking it for largely other reasons, but now I genuinely want it it just took some time after school to realise
Thank you so much!! I couldn’t agree more, I think it is fair to say most people don’t know what to do the rest of their lives in year 12 and personal success from careers such as medicine and law definitely weigh as a reason but not my only one. I know many people who have gone through the same process and my basis for my choices is also to create options and I think law is definitely an option for me.

Your 2 cents were very valuable so thank you for answering my question and helping with my pathway to med. I understand what everyone is trying to say but it does feel as though I am being shamed for my choices and i don’t think that is fair. I also don’t think everyone necessarily needs to have one passion despite law and med being very different they both appeal to me, each to their own and if dentistry if something you were interested as well as med I don’t think other people should have a say. Similar to you, people have different reasons for different careers and in this case my best reason is to test different paths and ultimately see what fits.

It was great hearing from you, thanks again!
 

iStudent

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Keep in mind it's harder to score a high GPA in law, so take that into consideration because a high GPA (regardless of which degree, which uni you studied at) is a requirement to get into medicine. I have heard from my law colleagues that a high GPA is much harder to obtain in law compared to other degrees.

Nothing wrong with choosing law next year per se. We're all different in the end anyway and we have different priorities in terms of career goals. A law degree will probably be useful for those tough ethical scenarios that doctors come across in clinical practice so it's not really useless either.

I'd avoid doing medical science or taking a gap year, for reasons I'm sure you've come across :)
 

amber1107

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Keep in mind it's harder to score a high GPA in law, so take that into consideration because a high GPA (regardless of which degree, which uni you studied at) is a requirement to get into medicine. I have heard from my law colleagues that a high GPA is much harder to obtain in law compared to other degrees.

Nothing wrong with choosing law next year per se. We're all different in the end anyway and we have different priorities in terms of career goals. A law degree will probably be useful for those tough ethical scenarios that doctors come across in clinical practice so it's not really useless either.

I'd avoid doing medical science or taking a gap year, for reasons I'm sure you've come across :)
Thank you for your response, yeah I’ve definitely thought about that and I know I will have to work hard next year but at less it’ll be post hsc so I can just carry on my work ethic, unlike if I did take a gap year where I would probably end up losing motivation. I also am leaning towards law because the probability of me getting into med is low so that way if I don’t achieve the needed GPA I can just carry on with my original degree. Thanks for your insight :)
 

icycledough

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Hi there,
Currently I am doing my HSC and missed the opportunity to complete my UMAT this year. I do not wish to take a gap year and would rather go straight to uni but I’m hoping to go into medicine. As most unis require the UMAT this is making it very difficult. I am planning on just starting a different degree (maybe law) for a year and doing my UMAT next year behind the scenes, then applying to medicine the next semester. I would like thoughts on this process? Would it be smarter to do a medical science degree for a year? Or take a gap year? Also if I don’t get into medicine would I be able to continue my law degree despite this?
Any help would be great!! Thanks
I'm also in a very similar boat to you. I'm a non-standard applicant though (first year uni), so I'm happy to message you about my experience with the application process so far if you want
 

icycledough

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your questions have probably been answered already but I will offer my 2 cents.

if you don't want to take a gap year then I suggest you don't. taking a gap year just to study for the UCAT is not worth the time off because 1. there's still a chance you won't make it to med, and 2. it'll be a complete bludge year of zero productivity if all you're doing is studying for UCAT. if you're also working, volunteering, picking up new skills, travelling etc. then a gap year imo would be worth taking to then pursue med, it needs to be a planned productive experience not a time to laze around and not gain much from. personally a gap year to try again for med would not have been good for me, because I'm lazy asf and if there's no pressure in my life I'll spiral into bad habits and lose the momentum I graduated high school with

I think you should study law (or anything else) for first year and sit the UCAT as well, if you get into med then you can transfer to med, if you don't get into med, you can continue with your law degree. my friend is doing engineering this year (first year) and she (re)sat the UCAT as well, idk if she heard back from any uni's regarding med but if it doesn't work out for her, then she'll continue with engineering which is obviously employable and not a risky one like medical science


for those saying prestige, pay and academic success (which is not flexing btw) should not be the main contributing factors in which degree you pick, I very much agree. but I don't think anyone should be shamed for picking a degree based on these factors.

I've gotten shamed for pursuing dentistry because it's the "next best thing to med" and not because I wanted to, and it's so ridiculous lol. like stfu and mind ur own business not everyone has a dominating passion as they leave high school, and sometimes thinking of prestige and what path matches one's academic levels can help give a sense of direction when you're lost or unsure. btw now I love what I'm studying, it's just that one year ago during HSC, I had no idea what I was interested in so I just picked degrees based on prestige and academics and minor interest, nothing wrong with this at all. I still managed to prove to interviewers that I wanted to do dentistry despite picking it for largely other reasons, but now I genuinely want it it just took some time after school to realise
Totally agree. I think the problem is that medicine or dentistry can be wrongly portrayed as a 'all for money', 'prestigious' degree by some people (NOT saying all people, but some people can be of this mindset). However, the majority of med/dent students really have a passion for these degrees, which motivates them further to achieve their ambitions at the end of the day. Yes they do pay really well, but that's only a small part of the entire picture; when you consider the bigger and more meaningful experiences (like making lifelong friendships, being able to make a change in people's lives, a wide variety of career options).
 

iStudent

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Thank you for your response, yeah I’ve definitely thought about that and I know I will have to work hard next year but at less it’ll be post hsc so I can just carry on my work ethic, unlike if I did take a gap year where I would probably end up losing motivation. I also am leaning towards law because the probability of me getting into med is low so that way if I don’t achieve the needed GPA I can just carry on with my original degree. Thanks for your insight :)
Good plan. I will say one thing though- nobody gets into medicine by mistake or by accident. Adopt the mindset next year that medicine is your ultimate dream goal and that you don't see yourself becoming anything except a doctor and that you will do everything you can to get on. Regardless of what degree you do, this mindset is probably the bare minimum if you want a decent shot at getting a medicine offer.

It's the same even after you finish your medicine degree. If plastics is what you want to do, you gotta adopt the mindset that you don't see yourself doing anything in life except plastics - that you're willing to spend 8 years doing unaccredited training before getting onto the program even though you'll probably be 40+ years old before you're a fully qualified plastics surgeon (which unfortunately is the norm with how competitive plastics is).
 
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amber1107

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I'm also in a very similar boat to you. I'm a non-standard applicant though (first year uni), so I'm happy to message you about my experience with the application process so far if you want
I would love to hear about your process so far!! Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

amber1107

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Good plan. I will say one thing though- nobody gets into medicine by mistake or by accident. Adopt the mindset next year that medicine is your ultimate dream goal and that you don't see yourself becoming anything except a doctor and that you will do everything you can to get on. Regardless of what degree you do, this mindset is probably the bare minimum if you want a decent shot at getting a medicine offer.

It's the same even after you finish your medicine degree. If plastics is what you want to do, you gotta adopt the mindset that you don't see yourself doing anything in life except plastics - that you're willing to spend 8 years doing unaccredited training before getting onto the program even though you'll probably be 40+ years old before you're a fully qualified plastics surgeon (which unfortunately is the norm with how competitive plastics is).
Thanks heaps, that is super understandable and I get that mindset is a big factor in achieving goals. I really do want it as a career because of the way I could impact people's lives but at the moment my mindset is unfortunately convoluted with studying for the HSC :/ Honestly, the length of studying for a course is not something that worries me entirely as I do think I would enjoy the process of becoming a surgeon just as much as the job itself (not the admissions process tho eek).
 

Eagle Mum

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Adopt the mindset next year that medicine is your ultimate dream goal and that you don't see yourself becoming anything except a doctor and that you will do everything you can to get on. Regardless of what degree you do, this mindset is probably the bare minimum if you want a decent shot at getting a medicine offer.

It's the same even after you finish your medicine degree. If plastics is what you want to do, you gotta adopt the mindset that you don't see yourself doing anything in life except plastics - that you're willing to spend 8 years doing unaccredited training before getting onto the program even though you'll probably be 40+ years old before you're a fully qualified plastics surgeon (which unfortunately is the norm with how competitive plastics is).
You’ve completed your med degree, so it’s kind of you to take the time to give students advice from your experience, but it’s not the only way to succeed. I’m not involved in any way with med school interviews, but have been on many interview panels for job positions. Typically, interviewers are interested in what candidates have done, what they’ve learned from their experiences and why they are choosing the path for which they are interviewing. Above all, respectful honesty works best.

Imagine the scenario where amber1107 says she can’t see herself becoming anything other than a doctor and the panel follows up with the question ’So, what would you do if you don’t get into a med course?’ If her original declaration wasn’t true, then outlining her back up plans would at that point just look like backtracking. I know my daughter (who is completing her med degree and starts her internship next year) certainly didn’t have a mindset that she couldn’t see herself doing anything other than medicine. She has plenty of strengths and wouldn’t have minded being a maths teacher or an architect.

Respectful honesty worked well for my daughter at med interviews. One interview panel even fed back to her that of the very many interviews they’d conducted, her unique response gave them a fresh perspective that they had not, but should have, considered. She got offers from all of her first preferences in each state.
 

amber1107

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You’ve completed your med degree, so it’s kind of you to take the time to give students advice from your experience, but it’s not the only way to succeed. I’m not involved in any way with med school interviews, but have been on many interview panels for job positions. Typically, interviewers are interested in what candidates have done, what they’ve learned from their experiences and why they are choosing the path for which they are interviewing. Above all, respectful honesty works best.

Imagine the scenario where amber1107 says she can’t see herself becoming anything other than a doctor and the panel follows up with the question ’So, what would you do if you don’t get into a med course?’ If her original declaration wasn’t true, then outlining her back up plans would at that point just look like backtracking. I know my daughter (who is completing her med degree and starts her internship next year) certainly didn’t have a mindset that she couldn’t see herself doing anything other than medicine. She has plenty of strengths and wouldn’t have minded being a maths teacher or an architect.

Respectful honesty worked well for my daughter at med interviews. One interview panel even fed back to her that of the very many interviews they’d conducted, her unique response gave them a fresh perspective that they had not, but should have, considered. She got offers from all of her first preferences in each state.
I completely agree. I do think there is somewhat a preconceived judgement that people who wish to do medicine only have a passion for health or are "all in", but I think people can have multiple paths that they may be interested in. Obviously, a strong mindset plays into how badly you want it and how hard you will work but I don't think it requires tunnel vision in a sense.

Just like your daughter who despite eventuating into a career in medicine, still had other interests and passions like teaching and architecture which are all very different paths but still appealed to her. This is quite similar to what I've been trying to say on this thread, each person has different reasons for interests and ideals they hope to achieve but just because I am hoping to do a medicine degree does not mean I then limit myself to a another degree in health or science if I can't achieve it. It just so happens that I also have a keen interest for criminal law. I don't know if I am making any sense but I hope you understand what I am trying to say :)

Also thanks for the advice on the interview process, I will keep that in mind moving forward.
 

Eagle Mum

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I completely agree. I do think there is somewhat a preconceived judgement that people who wish to do medicine only have a passion for health or are "all in", but I think people can have multiple paths that they may be interested in. Obviously, a strong mindset plays into how badly you want it and how hard you will work but I don't think it requires tunnel vision in a sense.

Just like your daughter who despite eventuating into a career in medicine, still had other interests and passions like teaching and architecture which are all very different paths but still appealed to her. This is quite similar to what I've been trying to say on this thread, each person has different reasons for interests and ideals they hope to achieve but just because I am hoping to do a medicine degree does not mean I then limit myself to a another degree in health or science if I can't achieve it. It just so happens that I also have a keen interest for criminal law. I don't know if I am making any sense but I hope you understand what I am trying to say :)

Also thanks for the advice on the interview process, I will keep that in mind moving forward.
You make perfect sense.

For the record, I’m not suggesting that any applicant should spend precious minutes of an interview talking about alternative career options unless they are specifically asked. A good strategy is to articulate your main strengths and reasons why medicine is your first choice and if the interviewers ask about alternative career considerations, then use the opportunity to outline other strengths and interests.

I think giving coached responses risks being ‘painted into a corner’, whereas being respectfully honest maintains consistency of responses and conveys integrity.
 
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hiiitsme

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What UCAT score do you even need to get an interview this year?
 

icycledough

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What UCAT score do you even need to get an interview this year?
Depends which uni your applying to

JMP normally requires around a 93rd percentile, so around 3020 (give or take a few) would be enough

WSU does it differently though and 'apparently' uses a formula using your section scores (they do prioritize VR comparably to the other sections; you can find it on the med forum MSO)

For UNSW, I think even a 90+ is what you need, given you attain a strong ATAR (usually mid-to-high 99s) is needed

To be safe though, getting a 95th percentile should guarantee you an interview (given a strong ATAR), which would be around 3070+
 

iStudent

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You’ve completed your med degree, so it’s kind of you to take the time to give students advice from your experience, but it’s not the only way to succeed. I’m not involved in any way with med school interviews, but have been on many interview panels for job positions. Typically, interviewers are interested in what candidates have done, what they’ve learned from their experiences and why they are choosing the path for which they are interviewing. Above all, respectful honesty works best.

Imagine the scenario where amber1107 says she can’t see herself becoming anything other than a doctor and the panel follows up with the question ’So, what would you do if you don’t get into a med course?’ If her original declaration wasn’t true, then outlining her back up plans would at that point just look like backtracking. I know my daughter (who is completing her med degree and starts her internship next year) certainly didn’t have a mindset that she couldn’t see herself doing anything other than medicine. She has plenty of strengths and wouldn’t have minded being a maths teacher or an architect.

Respectful honesty worked well for my daughter at med interviews. One interview panel even fed back to her that of the very many interviews they’d conducted, her unique response gave them a fresh perspective that they had not, but should have, considered. She got offers from all of her first preferences in each state.
I agree with your points however my point lies more with the idea that you shouldn't treat medicine as something you can walk into without putting a decent amount of effort. Like I said nobody gets into medicine by accident. As I'm sure your daughter can relate, the entry process is tough. It requires hard work. What I refer to is the mindset. A backup in law is fine, but it doesn't mean you can't at least tell yourself you will put your 100% to get onto medicine as if it was the only thing you will do (not that it literally means it is the only thing you will do). Certainly I never believed that medicine is the only thing I will do. I saw myself doing other degrees similar to your daughter (as backup)- but this doesn't stop me from first adopting the mindset that I am going to put all my effort into getting into medicine, almost as if it was the only thing I see myself doing.

I believe the first step in succeeding is to believe you can achieve something, then telling yourself you want it and that you need it. You will then find yourself taking the necessary actions to achieve it. A half hearted effort is not enough - and what I mean by this is taking on next year with a 50/50 split in your dedication of pursuing both law and medicine.

To give you an example of what this mindset looks like. You might choose to do your non-law subjects in first year to maximise your GPA potential because those subjects are easier. Your weekends might be spent doing volunteer/charity work. Perhaps you approach the UCAT as if it was just another uni subject that requires just as much attention and time. Not that these examples are literally what you should follow, but such actions sprout from first adopting the mindset that medicine is what you want to do above all else. I am sure your daughter pursued medicine with a mindset that this is what she wants to do, rather than having a heart that is split between 2 different careers.

Re: OP
I understand that you are currently still exploring options and perhaps still stuck between medicine vs law, and very rightfully so since you are still in high school. Understandably, this leaves you in a position where you want to do both and thus you found yourself believing a law degree will offer the best of both worlds. Nothing wrong with that, and I support this decision. What I'd like to emphasise is that if medicine is what you want then you will need to work for it. Part of working for it involves the mindset that above all medicine is your main goal and law is nothing but a backup for what it is really worth. This in contrast to having the mindset that you're simultaneously pursuing a career in law and medicine as a try before you buy sort of idea. It will be very hard to get into medicine if you don't put your best foot first.

Apologies if I came across as if you should lie or pretend to be something you're not - this will surely land you into trouble for interviews as Eagle Mum very generously outlined above.
 
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Eagle Mum

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I agree with your points however my point lies more with the idea that you shouldn't treat medicine as something you can walk into without putting a decent amount of effort. Like I said nobody gets into medicine by accident. As I'm sure your daughter can relate, the entry process is tough. It requires hard work. What I refer to is the mindset. A backup in law is fine, but it doesn't mean you can't at least tell yourself you will put your 100% to get onto medicine as if it was the only thing you will do (not that it literally means it is the only thing you will do). Certainly I never believed that medicine is the only thing I will do. I saw myself doing other degrees similar to your daughter (as backup)- but this doesn't stop me from first adopting the mindset that I am going to put all my effort into getting into medicine, almost as if it was the only thing I see myself doing.

I believe the first step in succeeding is to believe you can achieve something, then telling yourself you want it and that you need it. You will then find yourself taking the necessary actions to achieve it. A half hearted effort is not enough - and what I mean by this is taking on next year with a 50/50 split in your dedication of pursuing both law and medicine.

To give you an example of what this mindset looks like. You might choose to do your non-law subjects in first year to maximise your GPA potential because those subjects are easier. Your weekends might be spent doing volunteer/charity work. Perhaps you approach the UCAT as if it was just another uni subject that requires just as much attention and time. Not that these examples are literally what you should follow, but such actions sprout from first adopting the mindset that medicine is what you want to do above all else. I am sure your daughter pursued medicine with a mindset that this is what she wants to do, rather than having a heart that is split between 2 different careers.

Re: OP
I understand that you are currently still exploring options and perhaps still stuck between medicine vs law, and very rightfully so since you are still in high school. Understandably, this leaves you in a position where you want to do both and thus you found yourself believing a law degree will offer the best of both worlds. Nothing wrong with that, and I support this decision. What I'd like to emphasise is that if medicine is what you want then you will need to work for it. Part of working for it involves the mindset that above all medicine is your main goal and law is nothing but a backup for what it is really worth. This in contrast to having the mindset that you're simultaneously pursuing a career in law and medicine as a try before you buy sort of idea. It will be very hard to get into medicine if you don't put your best foot first.

Apologies if I came across as if you should lie or pretend to be something you're not - this will surely land you into trouble for interviews as Eagle Mum very generously outlined above.
I think the concepts of the effort & focus one applies to any given activity at hand vs diversity of activities one engages in are separate considerations. My daughter would never have considered studying medicine half heartedly, but just as OP has described, she never had ‘tunnel vision‘ about studying medicine. Her attitude was that (and still is wrt future training) if she got in, she would put in the necessary effort, just as she would have done for any other course amongst her list of preferences and for that matter, every activity in which she is involved.

My son is intending to study R & D engineering, a course that I suspect will be as equally demanding as medicine. It is only offered at ANU (a university that also offers a course to study medicine). ANU requires evidence of co-curricular or service activities from all applicants because it recognises that these activities add to personal development. My son participates in several track & field sports, olympiad & other high level extracurricular maths activities, as well as a range of extracurricular music activities. He gives his full efforts to everything he does. If he had an inclination to study medicine (which he doesn’t), these skills would serve him well in a range of potential clinical specialties - understanding the functional demands on a prosthetic joint, data analyses when comparing the merits of different treatments etc. Accumulation of knowledge, skills and experience in the process of self development is never wasted.
 
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