UMAT – Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test
What is the UMAT?
The UMAT is a test designed by the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) in Australia and New Zealand to assist is ‘sorting the wheat from the chaff’ with regards to selecting undergraduate students for medicine (MBBS) and dentistry (BDSc or BDS) courses, as well as some other health science courses like physiotherapy and pharmacy at select universities.
The test consists of 3 sections spanning 2 hours and 45 minutes in total:
- Section 1: Logical reasoning and problem solving (44 questions in 65 minutes)
- Section 2: Understanding People (40 questions in 50 minutes)
- Section 3: Non-verbal reasoning (38 questions in 50 minutes)
The final score consists of the individual scores for each section as well as the percentile ranking in comparison to the rest of the cohort.
A UMAT score is valid for 2 years.
When is it held?
It is held once per year, midyear in either late July or early August and on a single day.
How do you register for the UMAT?
You can register online via the ACER website.
Registration open in early April and close by early June.
How do you prepare for the UMAT?
Although ACER advise that you don’t need to prepare for the UMAT, as Benjamin Franklin's famous quote goes “by failing to prepare, you prepare to fail” – most people who have set the test before will agree that it is advisable to prepare for the UMAT in some way.
MedEntry, founded by Dr Ed Boyapati, is considered the ‘bee’s knees’ of preparation courses and is the most popular course, has received the most plaudits from past students and claims to have the highest success rate of all UMAT courses.
However, that comes at a cost if you want to enrol in their course – their courses are the most expensive currently ranging from $395 (online only) - $1890 at a standard price.
However, they do give discounts for both groups and past students – if you want to enrol in MedEntry’s course and know 2 people that are also preparing make sure you alert them to take advantage of the 25% discount.
NIE is the only currently exisiting UMAT preparation course that offers hard copy preparation books.
They also offer a 1 day intensive workshop as part of their platinum and premium packages.
Their prices range from $415 to $895 with group discounts of $50 off available for both the premium and platinum packages.
Icarus Medical Entrance
Icarus Medical Entrance has the most tainted reputation amongst all of the UMAT preparation courses.
The founder of Icarus College, Dallas Gibson, has been engaged in and lost legal battles with MedEntry regarding plagarism, as well as unapproved claims behind another of his ventures (Vanuatu College of Medicine).
Unlike other providers, they offer only two UMAT courses, the Silver UMAT Prep and Gold UMAT Prep, which both consist of an online component and a 2-day UMAT clinic, as well as interview preparation, at only $399 and $499 respectively.
Face2Face UMAT Preparation Centre
Face2Face UMAT Preparation Centre offers a unique in-person tuition, either 1 on 1 or in a group along with a plethora of material for you to work through in your own time.
However, you do pay for this privilege with the 1 on 1 Deluxe course costing $1890 and Premier group tuiton $570 if you join with 2 friends (otherwise $790).
Distance Prep is more affordable at $395.
In addition they also offer interview preparation for an additional $495-595.
Which comes next in the sequence?
Low Budget/Free Preparation Ideas
It is understandable that some will not have the money to pay for the above preparation courses or may be sceptical whether they will provide any real net benefit, but that’s not to say you can’t do or shouldn’t do any preparation.
Here are some tips and ideas to help you prepare effectively at little to no cost:
Section 1 (Logical reasoning and problem solving)
- Logic problems: see various types of reasoning problems in IQ tests
- Read science articles, magazines and journals – this is
where most of the comprehension articles in the test are sourced from - if you
are familiar with the terminology and concepts used it will save you a lot of
time attempting to get your head round it during the test - some resources that can help you improve on these skills include TIME, Popular Science and MedlinePlus.
- Apply critical thinking when reading such articles and test your comprehension – it is recommended you sum up the main idea(s) of the article and draw up some questions you may have
- Learn speed reading techniques – you have to get through a lot of material quickly in section 1 and also be able to comprehend it – I would recommend reading Break-through Rapid Reading by Peter Kump
Section 2 (Understanding People)
- This section is mainly common sense applied to emotive judgements – this isn’t a section that you want to think outside the box (think what would the consensus agreement be if you asked a panel)
- Understanding emotive vocab is important – try and broaden your range by reading fictional literature and using a dictionary to look up terms you don’t understand
- Get real world experience – the greater variety and
number of interpersonal situations you expose yourself to the stronger your
interpersonal and people reading skills tend to get - customer service jobs and volunteering roles with children and the elderly are good for this and you also have an excuse to go out more regularly with your friends!
- Read stage play dialogues, fiction books, psychology case studies and even watch soap operas – attempt to analyse what is happening in the various interpersonal interactions that occur in them
- Read Dan Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence
- Emotional Intelligence (EQ) tests where you have to analyse
interpersonal interactions from 3rd person POV are the best for this section
Section 3 (Non-verbal reasoning)
- Get your hands on plenty of Mensa and Sudoku problem books and do lots of free IQ tests – questions where you have to solve ‘what comes next or is missing in the sequence?'
For more information about the UMAT please visit the official website.