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UMAT to be replaced by UCAT in 2019

Careers and University, Dentistry, Medicine

In a decision made by the Consortium of Australian School-Leaver Entry Medical Schools on 24th September, UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) will replace UMAT (Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admissions Test) for undergraduate entry into most medical schools and some schools of dentistry around Australia in 2020.

UCAT, administered by Pearson VUE, starts registrations on 1 March 2019 and testing throughout July 2019. Here is a snapshot of UCAT:

  • a 2-hour computer-based aptitude test composed of 234 multiple choice questions
  • divided into 5 sections
    • verbal reasoning
    • decision making
    • quantitative reasoning
    • abstract reasoning
    • situational judgement
  • rules include:
    • breaks not allowed once exam started
    • the five sections are done consecutively; exam takers are not allowed to jump or skip questions
    • time limit for each section applies
  • results immediately available after taking the exam
  • candidates are able to choose when to sit the test from a range of permissible dates

Sasha Tymoshenko, a school teacher and UCAT NIE and Medical Interviews Course Coordinator addresses the panic the sudden shift has caused, she said:

“This change is nothing new in the education and training industry and something that every professional educator must anticipate and be prepared for all the time. While most students are completely oblivious to this fact, the school syllabus and curriculum gets updated on regular basis just about every year and sometimes these changes can be quite pronounced. But, you do not see teachers walking off the job or panicking about the changes. This is because it is a part of our job and when changes happen, you just need to adapt, create new lesson plans, resources and get on with teaching. Change and ongoing learning is a part of a teacher’s job description!”

Efforts from universities in Australia and New Zealand to find a more reliable testing system that will successfully assess the skills and analyze students’ chances of completing a medical degree encouraged the shift from UMAT to UCAT.

These are the universities that has confirmed to use UCAT for entry into their medical schools:

  • University of Adelaide – also Dental Surgery and Oral Health
  • Curtin University
  • Monash University
  • The University of Newcastle/University of new England
  • The University of New South Wales
  • The University of Queensland – also Dental Science
  • University of Tasmania
  • University of Western Australia – also Dental Medicine
  • Western Sydney University
  • The University of Auckland
  • University of Otago

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Image: Photo by sean Kong on Unsplash

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