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The lowdown on UMAT and entering Medicine

If you’re considering a career in Medicine then chances are you’ve heard of the two major exams designed to gain either undergraduate or graduate entry into university courses – the UMAT and the GAMSAT.

Administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), each is designed to test a prospective student’s ability to solve problems and apply logic, with some additional science-based skills required in the GAMSAT.

Here’s the lowdown on how they each work and the preparation required.

Undergraduate Medical Admissions Test (UMAT)

The UMAT is used by a number of Australian universities for the selection of students into medicine, dentistry and health science at an undergraduate (Year 12) level.

Like your ATAR, it forms part of the medicine admissions process but is designed to further illustrate a student’s abilities in logical reasoning, problem solving, understanding people and non-verbal reasoning.

The test is undertaken on a fixed date each year, with the 2017 exam slated for July 26. Running for over three hours, it comprises 134 multiple choice questions.

The UMAT has three main focus areas:

Problem solving  – In this section questions are based on a brief text or piece of information. Participants are required to illustrate comprehension, their ability to draw logical conclusions, reach solutions and create hypotheses by identifying relevant facts and information.

Understanding people – This area is tested on a provided scenario or dialogue representing a specific situation. Participants need to show their ability to understand or infer the thoughts, feelings/behaviour and/or intentions of the people represented.

Non verbal reasoning – Based on patterns and shapes, this section is designed to illustrate participant’s ability to reason in the abstract and problem solve.


The UMAT is notoriously difficult to prepare for as it comes down to general skills and abilities acquired throughout education and life. However, understanding the logic of the exam, and the concepts and format involved is of assistance.

Chalkwall offers a comprehensive UMAT Support Program that involves weekly classics, relevant topics, home work and even assessments to provide prospective UMAT participants with strategies for answering questions, while developing their thought process.

The Graduate Medical School Admission Test – GAMSAT

Designed as an entry level requirement for university graduates looking to enter medicine in Australia, the UK and Ireland, the GAMSAT assesses participant’s “capacity to undertake high level intellectual studies in medical profession programs”.

It evaluates the nature and extent of their abilities and the skills they have gained through prior experience and training. While students from a non-science undergraduate or honours degree are eligible to the part, the test assumes basic science knowledge to first year university level. The GAMSAT also covers basic science as well as more general problem solving skills, critical thinking ability, and writing.

The GAMSAT includes 5½ hours testing time, with participants required to attend the testing centre for up to nine hours in total. It is offered twice each year; in March and September.

The GAMSAT covers three main components:

  • Reasoning in humanities and social sciences
  • Written communication
  • Reasoning in biological and physical sciences.

ACER notes problem solving is a major component of this test.

“The purpose of GAMSAT is to assess the ability to understand and analyse material, to think critically about issues and, in the case of the Written Communication section, to organise and express thoughts in a logical and effective way.

“GAMSAT questions are based on material drawn from a variety of sources. They typically require candidates to read and think about a passage of writing, to interpret graphical displays of information, to use mathematical relationships and to apply reasoning skills to tables of data.”


While the GAMSAT is focussed on skills acquired over an extensive period, graduates who do not have a background in science will require specific preparation to ensure their Science skills equal first year university level.

About Chalkwall

Chalkwall has been assisting students attain their academic dreams for over 25 years. We offer Science based courses along with specific preparation for the UMAT. Our UMAT course is designed to demystify the exam and arm participants with the necessary tools and thinking skills.

To learn more about our UMAT Support Program, see here or contact us directly for further information.





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