HEALTHCARE & NURSING

Didn’t get into medicine, what now?

From a Medical Science degree at USYD into Pharmaceuticals.

So you didn’t get in… what did you do instead?

Medicine was not something that I thought was achievable for me… but I had my heart set on medicine and decided to try. This decision didn’t really shape my Year 12 electives; I chose Music instead of doing a second science subject to Biology; but it did make me apply myself more.

After landing an ATAR of 98.2, I didn’t get into Medicine, but instead, I got accepted into the University of Sydney to study Medical Science. Medical Science was the next logical choice, and originally a pathway to getting into medicine. I assumed that picking a course with a higher entry level ATAR would be better… (I’ve since learnt this isn’t true!) and that for completing it I would be better recognised in my post-graduate study application.

For those without a sufficient UMAT score, even an ATAR of 99.95 wont be enough to allow entry into medicine- is this true?

Essentially yes. When I applied even if you had an ATAR of 99.95 you would need a UMAT score of ~80+ which is high considering the competition.

 Can you tell us about the UMAT, the nature of it, how you prepared, and how you apply to sit it?

It’s an aptitude test developed by ACER to rank students according to certain criteria, which are supposed to be of value to health professionals. Its separated into 3 sections, complex comprehension (critical thinking), understanding people and abstract non-verbal problem solving. I prepared by doing practice UMAT questions and papers that my school library had bought and when you register/apply you get some resources free. Application was fast, online and cost ~$200.

UMAT is ‘skills’ based, and interprets your aptitude to practice as a Doctor- do you think this mode of thinking can be learnt, or is intrinsic?

Bit of both, but probably more intrinsic.

 How many hours a week did you study, on top of your HSC hours?

From memory 1-2, but it increased exponentially during exam periods.

Can you tell me about the dynamics of your classes, (are they small and personable or large lectures)?

Large lectures 200+ students in first year which decreased by ~50 students for the following two years. In workshops worked in small subgroups, but classes were still large so tutor to student ratios were very low.

 Which core units are the most stressful in your first year?

Depends on what you have studied before – either Statistics or Physics.

When did you decide to get into Pharmacy?

Majored in pharmacology in my 3rd year of medical science and enjoyed it.

 What will this degree lead you to?

Undecided: community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry, contractor/locum/accredited pharmacist or potentially another degree.

Want to read the story from a Medicine student? Click here.

Didn’t get into medicine, what now?
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