MYTH: You have to be rich to get into medical school.

FACT: The wealth of your parents does not matter in the admission process. There are costs associated with the medical school application process including the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) application fee, and travel costs to attend interviews.

MYTH: You have to be a genius to do medicine.

FACT: You don’t need to be a genius, but you do need a high ATAR. You should get advice from your teachers about working towards a high ATAR. Most medical schools also have an interview process that looks at skills such as teamwork, problem solving, communication, and your motivation to become a doctor. These are skills you will need to succeed in medical school, and beyond, but do not require you to be a genius.

MYTH: You can only get into medical school by paying for admissions coaching.

FACT: There is no evidence that paid coaching leads to admission success. Free advice is available from your school, from the universities and is part of all UMAT applications. There are practice questions for you to help prepare yourself.


MYTH: You need to know a doctor to become a doctor.

FACT: This is not true. You may want to find out more about what a medical career is like before you decide to apply to medical school. You can use your family GP, or use social media to seek out friends of friends who might be studying medicine.

MYTH: You can only apply once to get into medical school.

FACT: You can apply several times to different medical schools. Even if you don’t get into medicine on your first or second try, you should talk to the university about your options in the application success.

MYTH: Every university application process is the same.

FACT: Every university’s medical school has a different application process. This can be a bit confusing. You will have to research the specific requirements for each medical school you are thinking about applying to.


MYTH: Selection for medical school is based on ATAR alone.

FACT: Most medical schools also use interviews and the UMAT to make decisions on who will get a place in medical school. Check each university’s medical school website for details.

MYTH: There is a magic formula to get into medical school.

FACT: There is no such thing as a magic formula to get you into medical school. Every medical student has their own story about how they were successful. Keep an eye out for university information sessions and ask your careers adviser to do the same. Search for online forums and groups discussing medicine – be mindful that this information is not always accurate. If in doubt, check with the university.

MYTH: I won’t fit in at university.

FACT: There are students from all different backgrounds at university, and medical programs value diversity – the medical profession should be a reflection of the community.


Be organised – look at university websites to see what they require and keep track of the deadlines.

‘I guess just to be organised, like, I was incredibly organised in my application process and, you know, all the challenges and all the spreadsheets and when to apply to what and what I needed to do.’ [student]

Be well-informed – ask your teachers and career advisor for help early on if you are thinking about applying to medical school.

‘Basically I’m saying to students, “Look, these are the sort of things that you should be preparing for in Year 11 and over summer. Here’s a list of things that you should be thinking about, and if you are applying for Medicine, these are some of the things that you should be doing.” So, you know, I’m trying to get them to think ahead.’ [career advisor]

Be ready – put effort into your application.

‘I think the application process needs a lot of thought with all the questions. I had them open on my computer every day and was just thinking more about them and adding stuff to them. As it’s such an awesome opportunity, it deserves as much time and effort as you can give to it, but don’t stress out too much about it I think.’ [student]


Be prepared – work consistently towards getting a high ATAR.

‘I think the uncertainty was hard, but I guess that’s part of applying But now I can look back and if people come up and ask me what score do I need to get in, I just say try your best.’ [student]

Be flexible – apply widely to increase your chances of getting an offer.

‘I think the uncertainty was hard, but I guess that’s part of applying But now I can look back and if people come up and ask me what score do I need to get in, I just say try your best.’ [student]

Be active – understand what is required from you.

‘Just search the internet for every UMAT practice exam you can get and do the questions over and over again and look into the strategies for the logical reasoning, there are great YouTube videos.’ [student]


Be relaxed – stressing is not helpful or healthy.

‘I know that I was stressed in the interview, and I didn’t do very well then. If I had relaxed perhaps, I would have done considerably better.’ [student]

Be persistent – if you don’t succeed at first, consider re-applying or finishing another degree first.

‘Try to stay calm and suss out the other ways you can get in, if you don’t get in the first time. Just knowing that it isn’t a huge rush because a lot of people do start something else and then start medicine. If you’re not straight from high school, you’re definitely not a minority.’ [student]

Be thoughtful – try not to second-guess yourself.

‘Don’t sit there trying to say what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Just be really honest in your answers, rather than constantly sitting back and going “what do you – the examiners – want to hear?”‘ [student]


This information is based on research conducted at the University of Newcastle, University of New England, University of New South Wales, and Western Sydney University. It was funded through the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme, Department of Education and Training.

Download a pdf version of the information in this website here.