Category Archives: UMAT News

New: ACER changes to UMAT exam in 2013

In 2013 ACER have made some important changes to the UMAT format.
Whilst the type of questions will not change, the structure of the exam will.
Previously the exam consisted of:
Section 1 (Logical Reasoning & Problem Solving), 48 questions, 70 minutes
Section 2 (Understanding People), 44 questions, 55 minutes
Section 3 (Non-verbal Reasoning), 42 questions, 55 minutes
Now the exam no longer has separate timed divisions for each of Sections 1, 2 and 3.
A ten minute reading only time is given at the start of the test to check for printing accuracy etc.  The three test “constructs” as ACER now terms them, are mixed up throughout the three hour exam.
Students will still receive a score for each “construct” (previously “section”), however this year students’ scores will be reported as an aggregate, rather than an average.
Please click here for more information

UMAT 2013 Results

UMAT 2013 Results

UMAT Results are usually released around 20 September every year. Please click here to view your results.

The 2012 UMAT results were released on Friday 21 September 2012. The Statement of Results will contain a score for each section of the test as well as an overall score and it will also provide you with information about your percentile ranking (how you did in comparison to the rest of the students who sat the UMAT). Other than this, you will not receive any further information about the scoring process.

This score will be valid for admission into an undergraduate medicine or health science course in 2014 ONLY (for admission into a course in 2015 you will need to sit the UMAT again next year).

Universities set their own UMAT requirements each year (the minimum scores acceptable for consideration by the admissions committees). These could differ between universities.

Did you know ACER has made changes to results? Click here for more info.

Please click here to know more about Medical Interview training procedure.


Changes to UMAT results

Starting from 2012, UMAT scores can be used for admission into any of the UMAT Consortium universities. However, the scores shall be used only in the year following the test. For example, results from UMAT2012 can be used for undergraduate medicine or health science courses that begin in 2013 but not 2014. Do not register for UMAT2012 unless you are planning to apply for a course commencing in 2013 and also make sure you meet the eligibility criteria specified in the UMAT 2012 Information Booklet.

Please note that the changes will not affect candidates who appeared for UMAT 2011 under the previous policy. UMAT 2011 Scores will still be accepted for courses commencing in 2013.

New UMAT Results 


Know more about UMAT interviews.


Project 2012: Uncapping university places

From 2012 universities will no longer receive guaranteed funding for a set number of student places. Universities now need to compete for students and their funding depends on how many students they can attract. The Government is adopting an ‘uncapped’ system of funding that is based on university student demand. In the previous system of ‘capped’ places, Universities that were low in demand were protected because each University was given a certain number of students regardless of who actually wanted to go there.

The students turned away from those Universities in high demand were generally given a place in one of their second or third preferences. Now, instead of the funding being allocated to the Universities, it is going to be allocated to the students and they are entitled to spend it wherever they choose. It is argued that by allowing students more choice and greater chances of getting into the University they want, students will find the idea of University more attractive than they did before. For those Universities in low demand, the difficulty of attracting students may increase as they are thrown into competition with other Universities.

In theory, from 2012, Universities will be able to enrol as many students as they wish in all faculties except for Medicine. For Medical students the funding and number of places will remain capped. Why are places in Medicine remaining capped? In the long run, doctors cost the Government money. The government has no problem with churning out engineers or lawyers left, right and centre, because after university they are independent. The Government wants to control the number of doctors that leave University because the government still needs to provide them funds throughout their practicing years. To uncap the number of places in Medicine would greatly increase the number of doctors that graduate from University and hence drastically increase future government costs. This is one of the reasons why demand for places in medicine will always remain high and hence they had to use other means for selection such as the UMAT.


As a student who wishes to study a course like medicine, you may find yourself debating whether to follow the undergraduate or graduate pathway. The undergraduate pathway involves entering the relevant course at an undergraduate level, whereas the graduate pathway requires students to have an undergraduate degree before they enter a course like Medicine at a postgraduate level.

Immediately we can see the benefits of the undergraduate pathway. Through the undergraduate pathway students can enter their desired course straight away, they don’t need to worry about acquiring a degree before they enter their desired course – year 12 students can begin studying Medicine straight away. Universities generally prefer the graduate pathway which is at least 2 years longer than the undergraduate pathway as it means that they keep students longer, thus generating more income.

The demand to study Medicine is ever increasing (with the demand to supply ratio higher than any other course in Australia). It is because of this strong demand that it is necessary to use other selection criteria as well as the ATAR score (or equivalent) like the UMAT and often an interview or oral assessment. Medical knowledge is always growing and is far more accessible than it once was, however doctors do not only require knowledge (as tested through their academic results), but they also require critical and abstract thinking, problem solving and good interpersonal skills (as tested through the UMAT).

Not only are there differences between the two different pathways into Medicine, there are also conflicting opinions about the tests used as part of the selection and screening of candidates. In order to be considered for undergraduate Medicine students must sit the UMAT (The Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admissions Test).

For graduate Medicine students must sit the GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test). It is important that students are aware of the fact that the UMAT and the GAMSAT are quite different. The UMAT is not a test of knowledge or curriculum, rather it is a test of generic skills, such as, problem solving and critical thinking, that one gains from experience, however the GAMSAT does require a level of what some call irrelevant knowledge which leads people to question the validity of the test.

Unlike the GAMSAT, the UMAT can yield results that are accurate predictors of success in any professional endeavours. Students should ensure that they are appropriately prepared for whichever test they are taking, for example, there is no point in learning specific content if one chooses to sit the UMAT, their preparation should focus on honing the skills that are tested.

An article provides a comparison of UMAT and GAMSAT.

‘Gaming’ Psychometric Tests

You may think to yourself: what is the point of tests like the UMAT? Don’t they say you can’t prepare for them?

Psychometric tests like the UMAT are actually becoming very popular in the human resources industry. Employers use them as selection criteria when hiring an employee, particularly graduate jobs, just as the UMAT test is one of the selection criteria for entering Medicine at an undergraduate level. Simple personality tests are being used less and less as they assume that all aspects of an individual’s personality are fixed, however psychometric tests like the UMAT yield results that represent how an individual’s traits vary from situation to situation. It is another screening system to eliminate unsuitable candidates, by providing deeper information about their capabilities than the well-rehearsed spiel they provide in an interview or on their resume.

While the psychometric tests can be useful, they are not without their criticisms. Defenders of tests like the UMAT state that they can achieve negative outcomes if employers use the results in the wrong way – this is a common problem with the often complex result statements. Also, recruiters are sometimes unaware of the fact that the content being tested is irrelevant to the actual position available. However when the test is relevant and fair and the results are used correctly in conjunction with other information, for example an application/resume and an interview the probability of hiring a suitable person is dramatically increased.

People often claim to try to “game” psychometric tests. That is, they answer questions in a certain way because they know what the employer is looking for. Those who offer psychometric tests such as ACER state that you can’t prepare for the UMAT, however, there is some evidence that shows that practice or exposure to the types of questions that will be on the test can improve your results. While you don’t know the exact questions that will be asked, the types of questions that appear year after year are very similar and the methodology behind solving them is generally the same. This is why students or candidates are more commonly preparing for tests like the UMAT through preparation organisations in order to get the edge over their competitors so much so, that those who choose not to prepare are actually at a disadvantage.

Some of the reasons why ACER says you can’t prepare for UMAT are given here. It is interesting that while two sections of GAMSAT are similar to UMAT, ACER is quite silent about preparation for GAMSAT.

The ‘costs’ of University

Amidst the Government debate over uncapping university fees and places, ACER, the Australian Council for Educational Research has released startling statistics that show that not only do we have a problem with ‘professional students’ amassing enormous debts, but “getting students to stay” is also a real problem.

ACER’s survey showed that 30% of undergraduates choose to leave their course before finishing it. Some of ACER’s most startling results show that:

  • 45% First-year Engineering students drop out
  • 29% of Beginning nursing students were considering dropping out
  • 57% of students studying Humanities give up after their first year as they think they are wasting their time.

Rest assured that Medical students appear to be the most content with their courses (only 17% were finding it too hard after the first year and less than 1% drop out). The issue is not the money, but an array of different psychological reasons such as “interests, aspiration and ennui” (according to Matchett), being bored or wanting a change of direction or study-life balance, not to mention a range of personal reasons and trouble with the workload. It appears that the students feel these personal ‘costs’ outweigh the benefits they are obtaining with through their studies and experiences at university. As these reasons are predominantly psychological, ACER states that one of the possible ways of improving the current predicament is to provide more support, particularly through the academic staff. Unfortunately an increase the support networks at university are only going to add to the ever increasing cost of tertiary studies (See Stephen Matchett’s blog “Uni loses appeal in first year”).

Speaking of the ‘costs of university’, you may wonder where it is that all of your hard earned money goes. A professor at ACU found that the universities contribute approximately $8000-$9000 of private and government funds to various teaching costs, and yet the cost to complete a course is actually around $30,000. Where is all of this additional funding going? The answer – Research. In Australia 28 of our 36 universities are classified as ‘research intensive’ because they are choosing to spend over 50% of their revenue on research. You have to wonder if it is fair for the universities to charge the government and students exorbitant fees claiming that it is contributing to their education, when it is actually going into the university’s research. Medical schools ranking and UMAT news related articles provide further insight.

Are university students in Australia really getting the most out of their dollars?