Congratulations! All that hard work studying has paid off and you now have an offer for Medicine Admissions Interview. However, you might want to hold back on those celebratory cartwheels, as the final interview boss is waiting for you (cue suspenseful music). Whether you are going down the undergraduate or postgraduate medical school pathway, the interviews are structured similarly. This is because the Medicine Admissions Interview assesses a candidate's suitability for a career in Medicine.
Undergraduate pathways into Medicine
Interview selection for an Australian undergraduate Medicine program commonly requires a UCAT and ATAR score and is offered to applicants with the highest combined ranking in these two areas (note: James Cook University and Bond rely on academic performance, only). Entry into these programs is open to anyone and not just secondary students; however, this comes with a catch. For applicants who are studying or have completed a tertiary degree, they will be assessed for admission to Medicine on their tertiary study results and ATAR score. For example, non-rural entry into the UNSW undergraduate Medicine program for 2022 required an ATAR of at least 96 and a WAM of 70. Most undergraduate medical schools have similar cut-offs and due to the highly competitive nature of entry requirements, this means that if you were unlikely to enter undergraduate Medicine straight out of high school, you are also unlikely to do so following tertiary studies. Therefore, almost all tertiary students go down the GAMSAT path for postgraduate Medicine entry.
Postgraduate pathways into Medicine
Interview selection for an Australian postgraduate Medicine program requires a GAMSAT result and GPA score from their undergraduate degree. Some schools like the Universities of Notre Dame Sydney/Fremantle and Wollongong also require a portfolio of personal and community experience. When matching offers for interviews, GEMSAS provides an online application and matching system for domestic applicants to postgraduate medical schools (note: Flinders University utilize their own system). Through the GEMSAS system, applicants can list up to six preferences and are ranked on GPA, GAMSAT results, and any other selection criteria such as a portfolio and bonuses. It is this ranked list that schools use to make offers for interview.
Types of Interviews
The Medicine Admissions Interview aims to assess the suitability of the applicant for training i.e., the ability to communicate effectively, act ethically, and promote health maintenance. All medical schools (barring the University of Sydney) conduct either structured interviews or Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs). Structured interviews are directed by a panel of interviewers who ask each applicant the same set of questions, whereas MMIs have several stations that applicants move around and involves a question or task. Generally, the themes of these interviews centre around:
- Personal questions
- Emotional communication
- Problem solving
- Resilience and maturity
- Enthusiasm for Medicine
- Awareness of common issues in Medicine
Ethics and empathy
All GEMSAS medical schools utilise the MMI format, whereas most undergraduate medical streams tend toward semi-structured interviews. This is in part because undergraduate medical schools focus more of their time on personal questions, trying to gauge your desire to study Medicine. Interview scores are standardised for postgraduate GEMSAS medical schools, only, and can be used by other participating schools in the allocations for offers of places.
Interview performance makes up a significant chunk of your ranking required for medical school offers — most times, it is worth 50% of your final score. Your UCAT or GAMSAT results mean nothing here, which is why you should start preparing for interviews before offers are released, to give you the best chance of scoring highly. The Institute of Medical Education Medicine Admissions Interview Question Generator provides example themes and interview questions that are assessed across a diverse number of medical schools. If you have been lucky enough to receive an offer for interview, our Interview Mentorship Program will give you the best chance at entry.
Traditionally, postgraduate Medicine offers are released in early November for GEMSAS schools and undergraduate offers are made from January (via UAC). GEMSAS and UAC crunch all the numbers and allocate applicants to offers of medical school places according to school selection rules and applicant preferences. Some offers will be conditional upon the completion of the participant’s current studies and maintenance of their GPA. The types of places offered by medical schools include Commonwealth Supported Places, Bonded Medical Places, Medical Rural Bonded Scholarships, and Full-Fee Places. An outline of these four place types can be found here. If you were unsuccessful, you will receive notification of this directly. However, should schools have any vacancies, additional offers will be made to selected previously unsuccessful applicants.