Thinking about studying medicine? A career in this prestigious field is an admirable goal for any student to set themselves. And the quest to become a doctor begins in secondary school by achieving the required ATAR for medicine.
Medicine has a reputation for being one of the most challenging and competitive university programs to gain entry to. For most programs, students will not only need to meet the academic requirements, but many schools also require students to sit the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) and the UMAT (Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test) , attend an interview, and submit a written application. In addition, medical student hopefuls will also have to navigate the changes to admissions criteria going from the Overall Position (OP) system to the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
Although there are many positive aspects to the new ATAR system, all of the changes can feel a bit intimidating to both parents and students alike. So what is the required ATAR for medicine in Queensland? It’s a bit complicated, but the info below provides a good place to start.
What is the ATAR for Medicine?
The ATAR for medicine depends on which path students choose to get their medical degree. Bond, Griffith, James Cook and the University of Queensland all have designated medical faculties which are highly competitive. The minimum requirement for these schools has been equivalent to an ATAR of 93-99+ in recent years. However, completing an undergrad degree in Biomedical Science/ Medical Science at one of Queensland’s other universities can often be a stepping stone to gaining entry into medical school and often allows for a lower ATAR score.
Studying Medicine in Queensland
UQ offers an array of pathways to medicine for students to choose from – including a variety of undergrad degrees in science disciplines. Regardless of what your undergrad is in, students must successfully complete these two subject prerequisites prior to enrolling in the MD program.
The Faculty of Medicine at UQ also provides provisional entry into their MD program for students who are completing Year 12 (or equivalent) at the time of their application. This option provides a guaranteed pathway into the MD program for students who meet the minimum entry requirements and complete their first bachelor’s degree at UQ. This option is HIGHLY competitive and requires an ATAR of 99 (OP 1).
There are a few routes students can choose to gain entry into Griffith’s Doctor of Medicine program. Out of the list of relevant undergrad degrees, a Bachelor of Medical Science is the only one that provides an opportunity for direct access into the Doctor of Medicine Program. Aimed at attracting the very top secondary school leavers, this program requires an ATAR of 99. As an alternative, a more attainable popular route is to complete a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (requiring an ATAR of 81.45) and applying to the Doctor of Medicine program upon completion.
Bond University offers students the shortest pathway to becoming a doctor in Australia making it another highly competitive option with a minimum ATAR of 97 required. The Medical program at Bond is made up of two back to back degrees – the Bachelor of Medical Studies (BMedSt) and the Doctor of Medicine (MD).
James Cook University offers a 6-year, full time Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery course. With a focus on tropical medicine and rural and remote communities, admission requirements include a written application, high academic results and an interview. While ATAR requirements for Medicine at James Cook fluctuate from year to year, previous minimums have been around 93 (OP 4).
Although USC doesn’t have its own Doctor of Medicine program, it offers high achieving students with an ATAR of 99 or higher a chance to gain provisional direct entry into Griffith University’s Doctor of Medicine program at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Enrolment is capped at just 20 places a year making it highly competitive and not all students with the minimum ATAR will be accepted.
Calculating your ATAR Score for a Medical Degree
Calculating the ATAR is complicated at best and can often be viewed as being unfair at first glance. There is a series of components that go into the calculation, including a student’s individual exam and assessment marks, and how they rank in their class and in their school. Scaling plays a big role in the process as well and is determined using many factors including the number of students and average exam marks. The ATAR is then calculated from a total of scaled marks to achieve an aggregate mark – or ATAR. To get a thorough understanding, QTAC has created a guide to calculating ATAR (a 31 page PDF). However, our cheat sheet on understanding how ATAR works might be the best place to start.
Is your child concerned that they won’t have the ATAR they need to become a doctor?
As medicine is one of the hardest courses to get into, students need to do whatever it takes to achieve top marks (particularly in maths and science) – and the earlier they start preparing, the better. The new ATAR system may feel daunting for some but help is available should your child feel that they need a little extra boost in achieving the grades required to go to medical school.
How to achieve the ATAR for Medicine in Queensland
When it comes to achieving the required ATAR for medicine, there is no room for error. Entry into medicine is highly competitive and will require endless hours of rigorous studying and dedication to achieve an ATAR of 99 that is required for some medical programs. In such a competitive field, it’s more important than ever to help your child feel confident and ask for help if they have any concerns. A Team Tuition has a highly skilled team that can assist high school students in achieving any goal they set their sights on. We can help to improve confidence, mindset and attitude – all crucial when dealing with the seemingly impossible high pressures that come with applying to med school. We’ve got your back.
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