Medicine Applications - how the Australian system works


 If you want to apply for medicine you need to do so through the application system applicable for that degree.

The key thing to realise is this means you will need to put in multiple applications (through different application systems) if you're wanting to apply for a number of medicine degrees or degrees leading to medicine around Australia. 


It also depends on who you are...

in terms of the specific requirements that apply - ie. whether you're a domestic student, if you're an international student, are you applying for a particular type of place such as a rural placement etc.


In other words you need to

  • determine the medicine degrees or degrees leading to medicine you want to apply for

  • identify the university that provides that degree

  • determine what application approach that university takes for that degree as it applies to you

  • understand the application deadlines for that application system

  • understand the application deadlines for that degree

  • as well as understand any other particular aspects that apply for entry to that degree (such as subject prerequisites, special or additional application requirements such as UCAT etc).


Let me show you why...


Medicine application systems 

There are different types of application systems for Australian degrees, which are either -

  • through to the university directly, and/or

  • through a centralised system - which can either be State based (ie depending upon where the university is located) or through a system such as GEMSAS

Medicine Application System.jpg

State Medicine Application Systems - and traps for young players

Let's use VTAC as an example of a State medicine application system... 


If you want to apply for the only direct entry medicine degree in Victoria (which is Monash University undergraduate medicine) you need to do this through that State's application system which is VTAC.  The following information summarises some of the key aspects you need to keep in mind in order to apply for medicine through VTAC -


VTAC's Application System for Medicine



And why should you care - if you're not from Victoria?

If you are interested in getting into medicine you should actively consider applying for a number of medicine degrees, including interstate degrees.

The key is to start early, work out the degrees you are interested in, do your homework and put in applications. In Study Medicine you can find application information for each university under University Details in the navigation tab (see also the Free Trial information for Macquarie University). The deadline section also provides summary information. Detailed deadline information updated on a monthly basis and provided in a downloadable format is also available (subscription fee of initial $5 then $5 per month).

There is also helpful information information provided by VTAC, UAC etc as well as universities directly.


Study Medicine information has been compiled from Australian university and other information sources and therefore is a guide only. Authoritative information is only provided by Universities and other sources such as VTAC etc. Make sure you obtain information directly from these organisations before making any decisions. 


ATAR Scaling News Flash: How you play sport now determines your ATAR score


Just imagine tomorrow, there’s an announcement the ATAR will now solely be determined by your ability to play a single sport. 

We always knew Australia was sports mad. Now we have proof.

Not only have we recognised that sport is singularly the most important aspect of Australian life, we have now institutionalised it - in terms of how students are accepted into tertiary studies. Your ATAR will from now on be determined based on how good a sports player you are compared with all other students in Australia. 


At your school you have the choice of playing volleyball, hockey, soccer or table tennis.

You’re determined to become a doctor and you know you need to get a high ATAR to be accepted into a medicine degree at university.


It’s self evident…

to get a top ATAR you need to play the game you’re best at – so you choose volleyball.

You also understand to get the highest ATAR you have to be the best player compared to other players.


So here’s the thing,

·        it’s not the actual scores your team gets in the volleyball games played against other schools that gives you your ATAR,

·        it’s how you are ranked as a player, not only against other volleyball players at your school,

·        but also your ranking overall against all the other students playing any sport – regardless of whether they are playing volleyball, or badminton (which other schools play but isn’t offered at your school), football, hockey, golf, lacrosse etc.

So - not only do you need to be the best volleyball player, you also need to be the best player - period. This is because you are being compared to all other players no matter what sport, in being judged the best player.

So it goes without saying you’re going to choose volleyball – because you’re complete rubbish at soccer, you can’t run to save yourself so hockey’s out and you need reflexes like a cat for table tennis.


Easy – volleyball it is.


The next question though is tough.

Volleyball has different grades and you now have to consider whether you want to compete in A Grade, B Grade or C Grade volleyball. How do the different grades of volleyball influence your ability to be ranked the best sports player of students in Australia?

You know you’re a reasonable volleyball player but you’re not a superstar – so which grade? The answer is based on thinking through where you are likely to be ranked against other players playing each grade of volleyball.


Sport in Australia is nothing without statistics – so you go and look up the information.



What do the curves say about how well you have to go as a player to get the best scaled ATAR mark?

If you choose to go into C Grade volleyball you need to be the absolute best – ranked at the top 99th percentile of all volleyball players (top 1%) to get a scaled ATAR mark of 45. If you’re average (at the 50th percentile) which means you out-perform 50% of other C Grade volleyball players you will get a scaled ATAR mark of 22.

If, however, you choose A Grade volleyball, you only need to be in the 50th percentile (top 50%) of all volleyball players to get the same study score of 45 as you would if you were the top volleyball C Grade player.

Hmmm, tough. A Grade is after all a lot harder than C Grade.

So think carefully about which grade you want to compete in because it’s all about how well you go against other players that determines whether you will get the scaled ATAR mark you need to get into university.


So this raises the question what’s the point of scoring games and how does this relate to your scaled ATAR mark?

Volleyball, hockey, soccer and table tennis are all scored. How otherwise would you work out which teams have won which games? The scores, however across volleyball, hockey, soccer and table tennis (and other sports) can’t be directly compared. The only way to compare is to convert the scores into a scaled mark.

The way the scores are then converted into a scaled mark for each player is complex as it needs to ensure all players in Australia, regardless of

·        the game they play and

·        the team they played for (school they go to)

can be compared and ranked against each other as indicated by their scaled ATAR mark.


So what is ATAR scaling and how does it relate to your ATAR score?

In this example and to continue the analogy, different sports have different scoring systems so it’s not possible to compare a score in a soccer game with an AFL football score as they are on different scales.

To compare these scores need to be adjusted, not only to have the same assessment but also to ensure all players are able to be compared regardless of what sport they play and the team they play for.

The ATAR is the assessment of how you as a player are ranked against other players - not influenced by the sport you play or the team you play for. Scaling is used to make sure the assessment is on an equal basis. So it’s not whether a soccer score is scaled more than a table tennis score.


What you need to think about in choosing subjects

Decide which subjects you want to do based on what you’re interested in and what you’re good at.

There’s no point in choosing to play soccer based on the understanding the score is significantly scaled, if you have no soccer playing ability.

Make sure you work out which university degrees you want to apply for and from this determine the required prerequisite subjects.

When you have decided which sport (subject) you’re going to play, you can take the scaling into consideration. In doing this you need to be thinking through how good a player you need to be against other players in that sport (and by extension all other players in all sports). In this you need to determine how likely are you to be rated a sufficiently good player to out rank others and from this to achieve a certain mark. Are you:

·        likely to be the top ranked player in a lower level grade?

·        a mediocre player in a higher level grade?

In each case what is the likely scaled mark you might achieve?

It’s not about whether or not a subject is scaled, it’s all about studying something you’re good at and your level of competitiveness in doing this.