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July 21, 2019, 03:48:05 am

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cookiedream

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Cookiedream's Guide to Medical Entrance
« on: September 23, 2018, 05:53:01 pm »
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Firstly, just wanted to apologise for being so late!! Hopefully this is still somewhat useful for current Year 12s!

I kept thinking to myself that if I miraculously get a medicine offer, then I'll write up a guide. This was particularly since I saw a lot of med hopefuls on this platform and didn't really see a guide regarding entry into med. Sooo…a miracle happened, and thus here it is!

INTRODUCTION:

What are the pathways into medicine?
There are two main pathways: undergraduate and postgraduate.

The undergraduate pathway is the only way you can get into med straight out of high school. If you have started or completed any number of degrees, there are a select set of universities to which you can apply to undergrad med as well (as a non-standard applicant). I know, it was really confusing when I first heard it, but the undergraduate pathway is not always exclusively for Year 12 graduates/gap year students.

The postgraduate pathway is only for applicants who have completed a degree.

What are the entry requirements for each pathway?
This depends on the university. To be eligible for most undergraduate universities, you must complete Year 12 (e.g. via VCE, IB, etc.) with a competitive ATAR, sit the UMAT (and have a decent UMAT score which meets requirements for individual universities) and do well in the interview.

For postgraduate, it's mostly GPA, GAMSAT and interview, although there are pathways which don't require the GAMSAT (such as Monash, but instead you need to sit the Situational Judgement Test, which is basically answering questions about scenarios).

Which is the best pathway?
This depends on the person. There are benefits and drawbacks to each pathway. For undergraduate, you'll become a doctor hence earn income quicker, however you may not be mature enough for the demands of medical school (e.g. the contact hours, workload, etc.). For postgraduate, you'll be more mature and experienced when coming into medicine, and you would've had more time to decide if med really was right for you and/or finding more reasons to do med. However, it takes longer and people are often scared about the 6-hour long GAMSAT. 

Exactly how hard is getting into med/Do you have any statistics?
I don't have exact statistics, but I do know that for universities like Monash and UNSW, the total amount of applications are between 2000 to 3000, and the total number of places are around 200 (for domestic applicants). Sooo, if I get my math right, that's less than 10% chance statistically that someone will get into med in one year, on average.

Also, if you are a New Zealand citizen, your chances for Medicine are halved since you cannot apply for a Bonded Medical Place, Extended Rural Cohort (for Monash) and for a lot of rural entry schemes in interstate unis (even if you meet their rural criteria).

What universities offer undergrad/provisional medicine? Do they all require UMAT/interview? What criteria do they have to calculate place offers?
A better summary can be seen here (will update when there's a 2018-2019 version) but here's an overview. Also, I linked their 'Apply now' pages in the names of the universities and the application guides that I was able to find, which you should definitely have a look at.

VICTORIA
Monash University: (Application Guide - scroll to Page 14)
   Prereq: English (VCE 30+), Chemistry (VCE 30+)
   1/3 ATAR, 1/3 UMAT, 1/3 Interview
   50/50/50 rule

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
University of Adelaide: (Application Guide)
          Prereq: Chemistry, Biology or Methods
   40% ATAR, 20% UMAT, 40% Interview

Flinders University/Charles Darwin University: (Application Guide)
          90% ATAR, 10% UMAT

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Curtin University: (Application Guide)
   Prereq: English, Chemistry
   40% ATAR, 20% UMAT, 40% Interview
   50/50/50 rule
   
University of Western Australia (Provisional):
   Prereq: English
   99+ ATAR, 40% ATAR, 20% UMAT, 40% Interview
   
QUEENSLAND
James Cook University:
   Prereq: English, Chemistry, Methods         
   ATAR, Interview (allegedly written application also considered for real offer, cannot confirm)

Griffith University (Provisional): (Application Guide - scroll to Page 24)
   Prereq: English         
   100% ATAR
          Gold Coast campus 2017 ATAR cutoff = 99.80
          Nathan campus 2017 ATAR cutoff = 99.70
          Sunshine Coast 2017 ATAR cutoff = low 99s (someone got in with 99.35 for 2018 admission; might rise as more people know about it in future years)

University of Queensland (Provisional):
          Prereq: English
   99+ ATAR, UMAT, MMI (a new change starting from 2019)

NEW SOUTH WALES
University of New South Wales:
          1/3 ATAR, 1/3 UMAT, 1/3 Interview

University of Newcastle/University of New England: (Application Guide)
          Pass UMAT Section 1 cutoff, 100% Interview
          50/50/50 rule

Western Sydney University:
          Pass UMAT cutoff (changes for every year), 100% Interview
          50/50/50 rule

University of Sydney:
          99.95 ATAR, Interview

TASMANIA
University of Tasmania:
          Prereq: English, Chemistry
   Pass 95+ ATAR, Pass 60+ Section 2 (non-rural), 100% UMAT


What does it mean to be a standard applicant?
You are a Year 12 student or a gap student.

What does it mean to be a non-standard applicant?
You have started and/or completed a degree.

Which universities can I apply to if I'm a non-standard applicant?
- James Cook University
- University of New South Wales
- University of Newcastle/University of New England
- Western Sydney University
- Curtin University (if you're a Curtin student)
- University of Tasmania (if you're a UTAS Bachelor of Medical Research student)

In what order should I put my preferences?
Preference your unis according to the uni you most want to attend, not according to which one you think you have the most chance at getting. For instance, you might really want to attend JCU but you think you have a better chance at UQ due to your decent UMAT, so you put UQ as first pref and JCU as second pref for QTAC. Please don't do this, because you never know if you'll actually get the place at your coveted uni! Another thing is that if you preference according to the unis you actually want to attend, you might get your first preference in the second or following rounds! I'll elaborate a bit more on this point.

So, let's say for UAC the order of your preferences were: UNSW, JMP, WSU, Griffith. First round offers come and you don't get UNSW; instead you got JMP. You don't mind, since this was your second-most coveted uni, but you would've absolutely loved getting UNSW. So you accept the offer and keep your preferences in this same order. Second round offers come…and you get UNSW! So now, you can reject your JMP offer and accept and enrol into UNSW.

How do you apply to each university?/Is it enough to just put them in my _TAC preferences?
For most universities, yes. However, there are quite a few unis which have separate applications which you must fill out for that specific medical school. Below I have listed these unis and what they require as well as _TAC preferencing during the period for med applications (late August to late September). After September, if you remove med from your preferences, you cannot add it back in.

James Cook University:
Application with 4 questions about: why you want to do med, what paid/voluntary work have you done (inc. work experience), why you have an interest in JCU's focus on rural/remote/Indigenous/tropical medicine and any other information which you want to add to support your application. Along with this, there's a 'predicted ATAR' form which you must inform your careers counsellor about, and they'll get this all sorted for you. Make sure they do this before the end of September, because there have been many unfortunate cases of people not getting first round interviews due to their school forgetting about or neglecting this form.

UNSW/Newcastle/Western Sydney University:
You have to fill out an application directly to the uni. They should have a link to this application in their 'Apply Now' page. Don't worry about predicted ATARs, because the unis themselves (namely UNSW) will contact your school.


___________________________________________________________________

GENERAL TIPS ABOUT GETTING INTO MED

I'm in Year <9/9/10 now and I really want to get into med. What should I do now?
Relax!!! All you should keep in mind is trying to do relatively well in school and enjoying your school years. This also gives you an opportunity to try out extra curriculars, like sport or music, etc. if you haven't already. Another thing that you should do is try to get work experience in a health setting, such as a hospital or a GP clinic (although this applies more so to those in Year 10)

Do you recommend doing extracurricular activities? If so, which ones should I do?
Highly recommend!! They helped me in so many ways, from increasing my confidence to having better answers to interview questions :P Just make sure that you don't do so many that you struggle to manage your time and don't feel forced to take up these extracurriculars if you don't want to.

You might hear people saying that you should do debating/sport/music/etc., and it's awesome if you can do these, but you don't have to. I went to a couple of volunteering events (e.g. being an ambassador for my school's Careers and Pathways Expo), took up a few leadership positions and signed up for a number of clubs and societies. What matters is that you get something out of the experience, no matter how small it might seem at first.

My parents and relatives are pressuring me to get into med/I don't really want to get into med but I feel as if I have to. What should I do?
Unfortunately, I have a feeling that quite a number of you reading this are in this position. I understand just how much of a struggle this is, considering that a number of my close friends are just like you.

However, it's so important that you have at least some interest in this course. It's only been a month and I'm already getting a taste of how intensive it is, in terms of the workload, content, etc. It's so easy to get behind and get really stressed out, so I can't imagine how it's like for the people who aren't finding the course interesting!

So my advice is to, if possible, have an in-depth talk with your parents. Most parents have their child's best interests in mind, so try to understand where exactly they're coming from if they're telling you to apply for med. A lot of the parents I've talked to are worried about the job security of other professions compared to the medical field, some parents have a genuine passion for the medical field themselves and other parents have motivations which are a bit more controversial (as I'll explain in the following question).

Whatever the reason may be, it's often too easy to overlook the many, sometimes serious, downsides of this profession. For the parents reading this, I understand that you probably want the best for your child, but Medicine is a significant lifelong commitment. If your child has a great passion in another field, it would be best for them to pursue this rather than to spend their whole life unhappy.

I think I haven't articulated this as well as I wanted, so for your reference here are a few links which explain this more clearly:

Quora: My parents are forcing me to study medicine, what should I do?

The Guardian: Forcing your child to become a doctor could be the worst parenting decision you make

I want to get into med because being a doctor means that I get a lot of $$$/I want to live a luxurious life/I like the prestige behind the profession. Thoughts? (WARNING: Borderline(?) rant)
I'm putting this here because a considerable number of med hopefuls/parents I talked to have this in mind when wanting to get into med. To be honest, I feel quite angry and simultaneously sad when people say this. So let's go on to why this motive is not a particularly good motive for med.

First of all, it's superficial. The medical profession is so much more than merely cashing in dollars and living a luxurious life. Being a doctor is such an incredibly privileged career, which presents the opportunity to see people who are at a particularly vulnerable point in their lives and help them get back on their feet. The sheer trust between a doctor and patient is something that you will likely never see in other careers, and the sheer satisfaction you get when you see your patient getting better after all your hard work is astonishing. You're also able to build on important life skills, like problem solving and team co-ordination, especially when concocting the diagnosis and treatment plan for a patient. Our human body is such a mystery too, so there are always new exciting breakthroughs occurring and always a chance to learn something new! Thus, narrowing the occupation down to money and prestige is insulting to the remarkable, multi-faceted impact a doctor can make in our society.

Secondly, it is ignorant of the fact that you won't get the kind of $$$ you want at the start of your career. In fact, it takes many years to get to this level. Getting through medical school and the years of training that follow becomes a lot harder, hence you'll be a lot more prone to getting burnt out. Regarding getting burnt out, when you become a qualified doctor, this further decreases the quality of the healthcare you provide, whereby you're more likely to make simple yet deleterious errors, be desensitised to what your patient may be going through, decrease patient satisfaction and much more.

Thirdly, it presents a risk that you won't give enough time to your patients or that you won't be as empathetic towards your patients. This applies more towards General Practitioners who work in public practice and Bulk Billing. Basically, how it works (as far as I remember, feel free to correct me on this!) is that the more patients you see, hence the less time you give to each patient, the greater your income for the day. Giving less time means that you're more likely to oversee any other issues your patient may have, the patient would be less willing to tell you any of their other issues since they'll feel rushed (and this may complicate matters further. For instance, the issue they haven't mentioned may in fact be making a more adverse impact on their lives, or it might be in the stage of developing into something a lot more severe), they'll also be less willing to go to you for future appointments and so on.

There are a lot more reasons which I won't get in to, and this is almost a rant anyway. Besides, if you do a quick Google search, you'll see arguments against this sort of reasoning which are a lot better than the ones I mentioned.

(Following the previous question) Oh no, what do I do now?/How do I know if med is right for me?
The best thing is to broaden your horizon. It's likely that you haven't had much of an opportunity to peer into the reality of the profession, so I highly suggest you talk to your GP about both the positives and negatives of their job. If possible, talk to more than one GP since each doctor has their own life experiences to draw their wisdom from. Also, try talking to current or recently graduated medical students so that you can know more about the course itself and be a bit more prepared about what you might be getting yourself in to. Having a more realistic, rather than an idealistic, view of medicine can help you find a genuine interest in the career or change your mind.

Should I have a back-up plan?
YES. I can't emphasise how important it is to have a back-up plan, especially considering the difficulty of attaining a medical place the first time round, let alone at all. I was very fortunate to secure a place at Monash at my first attempt, but before offers came out I had a plan in case things didn't work out. My personal back-up plan was, in order of preference: Interstate direct/undergrad (anywhere, but preferred Adelaide), interstate guaranteed, Dentistry @ Latrobe, Biomed @ Monash and Biomed @ UniMelb.

What are my options if I don't get into med at all?
This depends solely on your interests and career goals. If you want to stay within the health sciences field, there are so many courses which encompass this (e.g. Physiotherapy, Dentistry, Nursing, Emergency Health/Paramedic, Occupational Therapy). If you want to explore a different field, there's an even greater number of options. Attending Open Days for different universities or going to Career Expos can help you gather more information and help you prepare a better, well thought out back-up plan.

If you don't get into med, it's not the end of the world. You can either try again by taking a gap year, do a degree and try again for med as a non-standard applicant, try for postgraduate entrance or take up another career path. Along the way you will develop skills, knowledge and experience which may end up being a lot more beneficial than if you were to gain a Medicine place the first time.

Should I apply interstate?
Again, YES. One of the biggest mistakes a few of my friends and colleagues made when applying for med last year was only applying to Monash, when their UMAT scores were enough to gain multiple interviews in other states. So if you're serious about med, one of your top priorities should be to apply everywhere, since it greatly increases your chances of getting a place.

___________________________________________________________________

ATAR

Do I need a 99+ ATAR to be eligible for an interview?/What is a competitive ATAR for an interview?
Not necessarily, but this depends on a range of factors. For most people, having a 98+ ATAR generally puts you in a good position. If you are eligible as a rural applicant, you can potentially get in with a 95+ ATAR (you'll have a good chance with 97+ though). So overall, in contrast to popular opinion, you don't need a 99+ ATAR and a 90+ UMAT to get a place (nor do these scores guarantee you a spot in med).

How do I get a high ATAR?
This is a huge topic which is worthy of its own guide (which I unfortunately don’t have the time to make), but to summarise: there's no secret to getting a high ATAR, nor is it easy to predict whether you'll get a high ATAR. Think of the ATAR as a collection of your study scores, rather than just one number.

So a few things that helped increase my chances of getting a high ATAR include:
   1. Prioritising my subjects so that I focused most of my energy on the subjects which I had more confidence in (whilst not neglecting my weaker subjects)
   2. Getting help from any available source whenever I had any confusions (mostly went to my teachers, but also asked my tutors and ATARNotes)
   3. Being active in class and taking notes when we went through SACs (which I treated as diagnostics for the exam)
   4. Keeping my head clear in my exams (practice exams really help to train you with this, and consequently you decrease the number of silly mistakes)
   5. Annotating my study books (e.g. Checkpoints, textbooks) and having sticky notes for any questions I had along the way, so that I can take them to my teacher for a discussion
   6. Taking care of my mental health (e.g. keeping contact with friends through Skype and during lunchtimes, talking with Mum whenever I was down in the dumps)
   7. Ensuring my exam revision was at least one or two months before the actual exam, and starting with Unit 3 content (which I would've forgotten at the time). Then, when I felt somewhat confident, starting exams
   8. Not worrying about the marks I got for my practice exams and instead focusing on where I could improve and what I did well in

Disclaimer: I can't guarantee that following the above steps will definitely result in a higher ATAR, since the whole process is different for everyone.

Before the exam results came out, I was honestly expecting an ATAR around 94 (not that this is bad, it's just not enough for med, especially with the UMAT I had). Also, even after doing the same work as someone who got 99.95, that doesn't guarantee that you'll get the same or a similar score as them - so luck is a big factor too. Therefore, at the end of the day, if you tried your best then you should be proud of what you got.

Did you do tutoring? If so, for which subjects?
Yes I did and for all of my subjects except for Psychology (since I was lucky enough to have a really good teacher).

Can I get the contact details of your tutors?
PM me :)

How do I balance ATAR and UMAT prioritisation?
For Year 11, focus most of your effort on any 3/4 subject you have, but around the end of the year try looking at some practice UMAT questions. Get your UMAT registration done early and read through the UMAT Information Booklet (for the year you'll be sitting the exam) during the school holidays after Year 11. When you get to Year 12, you should ease into proper UMAT preparation (whether it be using a paid company's or free online resources) but give time for your VCE subjects too. So from around January to late April, UMAT and ATAR should be given almost equal prioritisation. However, from late April to the exam, gradually increase the time you give for UMAT (don't neglect VCE though!!) then after the exam, focus all your efforts on your ATAR.

Something which I noticed a few people did last year when UMAT results came out (especially when they've done well) is that they stopped giving 100% for VCE. Don't do this!! Aim to get the highest ATAR you can to maximise your chances, because a high UMAT isn't all that's considered.

___________________________________________________________________

UMAT

All my advice regarding UMAT is available in my UMAT guide

___________________________________________________________________

INTERVIEW

What kinds of interviews exist for medical entrance?
The two most common types are semi-structured (SS) and the multiple-mini interview (MMI).

Semi-structured (SS): Usually you have around 2-3 interviewers who will ask you a range of questions, from the general questions (e.g. "Why do you want to do med?") to scenario-specific questions. The exact structure can change depending on the university. For instance, James Cook University's interview has three components: general questions, scenario-specific questions and the ethical questions (e.g. euthanasia, legalising marijuana, thoughts on abortion).

Multiple Mini Interview (MMI): Usually involves 8 active stations (or 4 for international students), where each station lasts for 10 minutes (2 minutes reading time, 8 minutes speaking time). After the 10 minutes, you have to move to the next station and repeat the whole process. The types of questions that can come for each station is highly variable.

Which universities have which type of interview?
Monash - MMI
University of Adelaide - SS
Curtin - MMI
UWA - MMI
James Cook - SS
UNSW - SS
UNCLE/JMP - MMI
WSU - MMI
Usyd - SS
UQ - MMI (starting from 2020 for 2021 entry)

Do you have to travel interstate to attend interviews which aren't in your home state?
Yes, unfortunately. This may seem obvious to many of you, but this question comes a lot. Even if you're a Victorian applicant and you get a UWA interview, you must make travel arrangements yourself to attend your interview.

What questions are asked in the interview?
I can't tell you exactly, especially since I had to sign confidentiality agreements for all the ones I attended. If you look around, you may find some sample questions.

How do I do well in the interview?
Here are a few things which helped me do well in my interviews (at least, at the unis which I got an offer for)
   1. When you enter the room, smile and introduce yourself to the interviewer. As soon as you enter the interview room the interviewer will start judging your mannerisms. Although the major focus is your answers to their questions, how you behave will leave an impression in the interviewers' mind. Also, relaxing your nerves from the start will assist the course of the entire interview, such as through taking deep breaths or talking to other applicants
   2. Be yourself. The interviewer knows that you're really intelligent, now they're simply looking for whether you meet the other criteria for getting a place (e.g. whether you have an awareness of social issues, whether you have good problem-solving skills, etc). They're not looking for a specific personality type either, which is a common misconception. Also, don't memorise any answers because you'd want everything you say to be authentic.
   3. Use examples from your experiences. Interviews are a great opportunity to talk about the extracurriculars you've done and other experiences which were significant to your life (and which apply to their question, of course!).
   4. If it helps, and if you have the opportunity to, talk to people before your interview. Usually there's a waiting place before you're taken by university staff to the area where the interviews happen. I found that when I talked to other applicants during this time, I was able to shake off a lot of my nerves and I saw that they too seemed less nervous than before. I was then able to perform better since I could think clearer and articulate my answers better, whilst also being able to be myself more (rather than a nervous wreck)
   5. Think of the interview as more of a conversation. Again, this helps with the stress of perceiving it as a super serious thing and you'll be able to engage the interviewers to a greater extent.
   6. For the MMI, don’t worry if you think you screwed up one station. Your overall interview mark (which they don't release to you btw) is based off of your overall performance rather than in individual stations. Just move on and try to do better in the next ones.
   7. Again for the MMI, make sure you talk about exactly what they're asking for. What helped me was to structure my answers so that I start with a general answer (e.g. Yes or No) then further explaining my answer. You don't want to go off on a tangent, because you only have 8 minutes for the 4 or 5 questions they'll ask and you'll have the risk of reducing the potential marks you could've earned.

Do you recommend buying an interview package from a preparation company?
Can't say for sure, since I didn't buy one. I was considering getting one, until I saw that it was more expensive than the UMAT preparation I bought. Some people in my cohort did paid preparation while some didn't.

How did you prepare for your interviews?
I varied my preparation depending on which university, but here are some general points:
   1. I carefully read through their interview webpage. So for Monash, the characteristics that the stations will focus on include: empathy, ethical reasoning, motivation, collaboration, critical thinking and advocacy. I brainstormed each of these points and, since it was an MMI, I looked at a few YouTube videos surrounding MMI preparation which covered these points in particular (but I also looked at the other MMI videos too)
   2. I read through any article I could find online regarding the interviews and people's individual interview experiences.
   3. I attended free interview workshops in the city, led by icanMed, which went through a few general things about different interview types then went on to practising a few interview questions with the person next to me (this was particularly for the Monash MMI workshop, I think)
   4. For semi-structural, I made sure to read about the university itself. One possible question that they may ask is why you decided to apply to their university, for which you should list some unique features about their medical course.
   5. In the day before my interviews, I did minimal preparation and practiced a few breathing exercises. This is pretty much the same thing which I aimed to do before my exams and SACs.

What was your personal interview experience?
I'll go in chronological order. Note that I won't mention any really specific questions, again due to the confidentiality agreements.

James Cook University:
Before the interview, I was taken into the 'Pre-interview room' where a few current JCU students had a little chat with me and the other applicants for that time slot. It was largely to make us relax and it was an opportunity to ask a few questions about their experience at the uni. Then, my name was called and I was taken to a separate room where there were three interviewers from different domains. We started off with a few general questions (e.g. why do you want to study Medicine?) then moved on to a few scenarios then the ethical issues. I was comfortable with the general questions, but I completely wrecked the scenarios and issues. I realised while I was saying my answers how generic they were and how it wasn't really related to the actual question, but because I was scared for time I didn't correct myself any further (which was a mistake). I was given a few options to choose for the final section 'Ethical Issues', and neither of them were topics which I looked into. So that was a bigger mess than my scenarios. The interviewers were really nice though, and despite my crappy answers they kept smiling and nodding their heads. After the interview, at first I felt it went alright but then the whole experience actually absorbed into my head and I felt really disappointed. I was resolute about doing better in my next interviews.

University of Adelaide (Medicine):
Before the interview, I was again in a waiting room with the other applicants in that timeslot. I talked to them but I also talked to the staff person in the room (I think she was keeping record of the applicants present for their relative time slot). I was soon called for my interview, which actually happened with two lots of interviewers. In other words, the first half of my interview was with two interviewers, then there was a 5 minute break, then the second half was with another pair of interviewers in a different room. The questions were a little similar to that of JCU, with general questions and scenarios, except there wasn't a section on ethical issues (phew!). The first interviewers were really friendly and it honestly felt more like a nice conversation than an interview when I was with them, which really helped ease my nerves from the start. The second interviewers were also nice, but they mostly had straight faces and it was a little uncomfortable at times. I left that interview feeling pretty good overall.

University of Adelaide (Dentistry):
Oh man, this was probably the worst one out of all of them. This time there were only one set of interviewers, but the questions they asked were mostly dentistry-based, so I had quite a bit of difficulty answering them. I could notice the interviewers gradually losing interest in what I say and the whole atmosphere got so awkward that it was almost choking. As soon as the interview ended, I said my thank yous and practically bolted out of the area. 

Monash University:
For me, this was the hardest interview out of all the ones above. Before the interview, there was also a chance to talk to other applicants, which I did (and the person who I talked to managed to get in as well). For domestic students, there are 8 active stations and 1 rest station (where you just sit in a chair quietly for 10 minutes). Most of my interviewers were really nice, especially the interviewer for my last station who actually said that my answers were good. However, I screwed up two stations and in those stations the interviewers weren't as friendly. One of them had a poker face the entire time while I was answering, which was distracting and made me lose track of what I was saying since I was so focused on whether what I said was wrong, and the other one nodded a few times but remained quiet other than asking me the questions related to the scenario. Coming out of that interview, I thought I went badly and was mentally prepared to not get an offer.

___________________________________________________________________

PLACE OFFERS

What kind of offers can I get for med?
If you are a domestic applicant and given a place, it will either be a CSP unbonded or CSP bonded. For Monash, these two places come under the 'School Leaver Entry' option. For their 'Extended Rural Cohort' at Monash, all places are Commonwealth-Supported Places (CSP) but this option leads you towards working in a rural area since you're the top priority for rural placements in clinical years.

If you're an international applicant, you will receive a Full-Fee Paying Place (FFP).

What does it mean to get a CSP unbonded place?
The 'Commonwealth-Supported' part means that a certain portion of your medical degree fees are covered by the government, so you only have to pay a fraction of what the Full-Fee paying (FFP) students have to. As far as I know, the figures for CSP at Monash are around 10k every year, whereas FFP is around 60k every year.

Also, these fees are covered by the HECS-loan, so you can start paying them off when you start earning money rather than paying them during uni. All Australian citizens and permanent residents are automatically eligible for this, but there's a separate application process for New Zealand Citizens.

Unbonded means that you have greater choice, compared to bonded (and ERC for Monash), for which hospital you want to do your internship at. Most med students will be under this category. Since this is the place which most applicants are aiming for, it's also the most competitive category for a medical place.

What does it mean to get a CSP bonded place?
Same as above for the 'Commonwealth-Support' part. Bonded means that you have to sign a contract with the government to complete your one-year internship after medical school in an area of need, particularly a rural area. For Monash, a BMP means that you are in the bottom 25% of applicants who successfully got a place through the 'School Leaver' option.

Is it bad to get a CSP bonded place?
No. It used to be a bit unfavourable, since in the past you had to work for 5-6 years in a place of need. But now that it's only for one year, compared to the many years of medical practice you'll be doing once you complete medical school, it isn't all that bad anymore.

So, if I have the option to, should I put a CSP bonded place in my preferences?
YES. If you are eligible (aka if you're an Australian citizen or permanent resident) there is no reason why you shouldn't apply for bonded, since it increases your chances of getting into med. I know of a few unfortunate cases where people didn't put bonded in their preferences and ended up getting marks which weren't high enough for an unbonded place but were enough for a BMP, so they didn't end up getting a place at all.

Can I get multiple offers from one state?
It's possible. I know someone who got an offer from UNE in the first round, then changed their preferences (so that UNSW was in their first preference instead of second) and got a UNSW offer in the second round.

___________________________________________________________________

COOKIE'S JOURNEY

Since when have you wanted to apply to med?
I always kept med open as an option since I was young. But I became more serious about it in Year 10, when I did my work experience, since I was able to see first-hand the sheer level of dedication doctors had towards each of their patients. It was really inspiring, to say the least! I've also wanted to be in a long-term career where there was a focus on bio and helping people, but this wasn't as much of a strong motive since quite a number of jobs other than a doctor has this (e.g. nurse, dentist, bio teacher, medical researcher, physio, etc)

Were you ever pressured into doing med?
Nope! My parents were encouraging, but they never put that sort of pressure on me - for which I'm really grateful.

Did you expect to get into med?
nOPE. In fact, after all my interviews, I was seriously considering my back-up options and how I can possibly get into med through which degrees, or whether I should take a gap year and try for Monash again. I made sure to put myself in such a position that, in case I didn't get in, I would know which plan of action to take rather than panic about what I should do.

What was your main back-up plan/degree if you didn't get into med at all?
Dentistry at Latrobe! This is because my older cousin, who was a med hopeful but didn't get in, had this as a back-up option and really loved the course. The biology and hands-on aspects are really appealing too.

What was your secondary back-up plan if you didn't get your back-up?
Biomed at Monash then UniMelb.

Which universities did you apply at?
All undergrad med unis in Australia (I was desperate lol). Here's the list:
Monash, UniMelb (Chancellor's), Adelaide, Flinders, Charles Darwin (collab with Flinders), Curtin, UWA, JCU, UQ, Griffith, UNSW, Usyd, UoN/UNE, WSU, UTAS

For which universities did you get interview offers? What date/time was your interview?
Attended:
James Cook University - Medicine [ late Nov - morning ]
University of Adelaide - Medicine [ early Dec - morning ]
University of Adelaide - Dentistry [ early Dec, after UAdel med - morning ]
Monash University - Medicine [ early Jan - morning ]
** Pretty sure I was able to choose the time and date for all of these. I didn't choose the afternoon sessions since I knew I, and probably the interviewers, would probably be hungry and tired which isn't an ideal situation

Did Not Attend (because I got my Monash offer)
University of Newcastle/University of New England - Medicine [ late Jan ]
University of New South Wales - Medicine [ late Jan ]
University of Sydney - Double Degree Dentistry [ late Jan ]
Curtin University - Medicine [ late Jan ]
University of Western Australia - Medicine [ late Jan ]
University of Western Australia - Dentistry [ late Jan ]
** Don't have the times for the above since I didn't confirm these interviews

For which universities did you get a place/offer?
Monash University - Medicine (CSP unbonded)
University of Adelaide - Medicine (CSP unbonded)
Griffith University (Nathan campus) - Medicine
University of Tasmania (guaranteed entry via Bachelor of Medical Research) - Medicine

Why did you choose Monash?
Main reason is because it's in my home state and I wouldn't have to worry about accommodation (since it's not too far away from my house). Also, throughout high school I went to the Clayton campus and other Monash campuses on a number of occasions, and I really liked the welcoming and friendly environment! Of course, the Monash medical course is also known to be very high quality, with clinical skills and integration occurring early in the course - but this applies to a number of other unis as well.

What specialties are you considering?
I really don't know! Clinical years start from Year 3 and I believe this is where I get exposure to all the different specialist fields, which gives me a better opportunity to choose. Currently I have been considering a few but it's highly subject to change.


___________________________________________________________________

COOKIE'S MED EXPERIENCE SO FAR

Overall, how is Medicine at Monash going so far?
As of now, I am drowning in work. Okay, maybe that's because my time management is really bad, but even so there's a hell of a lot of work that I'm not used to at all. Tbh, VCE seems like a breeze now that I'm here. Also, lectures go really fast (so fast that sometimes I had to go back through the online recordings in my own time to relearn the stuff) and there's so many pre-readings to do (which anyone barely does anyway - I sometimes do them because they explain things better than the lecturer).

While I say this, I can say for certain that I genuinely love what I'm studying and I can't imagine myself doing any other course. I love how I could apply almost everything I learn to myself and what's happening around me. There's a lot of fun hands-on stuff too, such as our Clinical Skills tute where we get to practice the different physical exams on our peers. Recently I went to a workshop with friends that covered basic surgical skills, like suturing, and that was an amazing experience!

Semester 1:
At the very start of the year, I remember struggling with balancing uni work and life since the transition from high school didn't go as smoothly as I wanted. While some think otherwise, personally I'm really glad that I did VCE Bio since I was familiar with quite a number of topics that we were taught (organelles, cell cycle, cellular respiration, gene therapy and recombinant technology, population genetics, chromosomal disorders, pedigrees, etc.). For clinical skills, we learnt how to take a medical history and we sometimes had two simulated patients as well as a real patient come in and some people took their history. These sessions were really fun and the patients (both actors and real) were lovely.

Semester 2:
This is where things get a lot more interesting! Instead of the usual pracs we had last semester, the pracs in this semester are all focused on Anatomy and Physiology. Clinical skills is a lot more interesting too, since it delves into the physical examinations doctors undertake to investigate the underlying pathologies of what a patient presents with, and it's divided in terms of what we learning in Anatomy too. For example, we learned about the musculoskeletal examination for the upper limb when we studies the upper limb in Anatomy at the start of this semester. The other subjects are pretty interesting too.

Just to add, pretty much our entire cohort is really friendly! It's so nice to have almost no sense of competition. Everyone is willing to help each other out, with people putting up their notes in our Google Drive and second years holding these weekly revision lectures (called PSPs/VESPAs) for our understanding. The admin and staff are helpful too and they really take our opinions into account when it comes to the course (e.g. we had 10 or so questions taken out of the exam we had last semester because a lot of people thought that our lectures didn't cover them as much).

What classes/subjects do you have?
At least for first year, each semester involves only one unit (MED1011 for semester 1 and MED1022 for semester 2). Classes are divided into: 2 hour lectures, 2 hour active learning sessions, 1-2 hour practicals, 2 hour tutorials and 2 and a half hours Integrated Case Learning or ICL (previously known as Problem Based Learning or PBL).

Active learning sessions involve half of the cohort (btw the cohort is divided into Group A and Group B) being in this large room and a lecturer going through a topic in a manner which often involves teamwork and collaboration. The tables in the room are arranged to have 6 people for each. So it's pretty much a more interactive form of a lecture. For most revision sessions, we have a Kahoot which we never seem to get sick of.

ICLs are student-led tutorials which cover a case of a person with a specific disease (e.g. a few weeks ago we had an ICL on Shingles) and then we have to answer questions about it. There are two sessions, where at the end of the first session we divide ourselves into small groups to work on a research topic (e.g. Treatment and Management of Shingles) then after an hour and a half we come back for the second session, which involves giving a presentation on our topics and answering more questions. These happen on Friday mornings and tend to be pretty chill.

The subjects which are encompassed by these classes, for Semester 1, include: Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Medicine of the Mind (MoM), Health Knowledge and Society (HKS), Medical Ethics, Medical Law, Clinical Skills, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Immunology and the Health Enhancement Program (HEP).

Semester 2 is similar, but there are a few differences. Firstly, there's a huge focus on Anatomy (starting with the Upper Limb, Lower Limb, Back and Heart) and Physiology (especially Neurophysiology), no Biochem (yay!), Human Lifespan Development or HLSD (instead of MoM), Population Health (instead of HKS), no Medical Ethics and Medical Law (yay!!), no Immunology and we have Rural Health as an addition.

What are each of these subjects about?
(I won't do every single subject, so I'll just describe the main ones for each sem)

Semester 1
Biochemistry: Consisted the majority of Sem 1's content and covered a lot of the stuff in VCE Bio 3/4. Included topics like: central dogma, fuel molecules and cancer. Had lectures and tutorials for this, whereby the tutorials were either student-led (where we could leave early if we finished everything quickly) or tutor-led.

Anatomy/Physiology: Sometimes covered stuff in VCE Bio 3/4 (namely Anatomy), such as organelles. Also covered topics like: blood clotting, tissue repair, action/resting potential and body fluids.

MoM: Covered some stuff in VCE Psychology 3/4. Topics include: learning, classical and operant conditioning and pain.

HKS: Covered some stuff in VCE HHD. Actually somewhat enjoyed this subject, since it broadens the scope of what you're learning to its implications in the real world. Topics include: Australian Healthcare System, Rural Health, Refugee Health and the Pharmaceutical Industry (which I learned can be very shady). Had lectures and tutorials, where the tutorials involves compulsory pre-readings and participation counted towards our HKS mark at the end of the sem (which forces you to take part in class discussions).

Clinical Skills: Learned some of the basics of interacting with patients and clinical practice, such as how to explain to patients, taking vital signs and taking a full medical history.

Microbiology: Covered some stuff in VCE Bio 3/4. Topics include: innate immunity, strategies to control microbial disease and antimicrobial resistance.

Pharmacology: Drugs…Drugs everywhere. Topics include: neurotransmission, anti-cancer drugs, intro to pharmacokinetics and antibiotics.

HEP: Oh man, this subject produced so many memes. Topics include: mindfulness, nutrition, exercise, stress, connectedness and spirituality. The structure of the lectures follows the ESSENCE acronym created by Dr Craig Hassed, who leads most of these lectures. We also have chill tutorials, which often start with an 8-10 minute mindfulness/meditation then class discussions.

Semester 2
Anatomy: For this, we have both lectures and practicals (although the lectures aren't as useful since anatomy is largely self-learning). We learn about all the bones, muscles, ligaments, arteries, veins, nerves and lymph nodes for the following overall structures: Upper Limb (shoulder, forearm, arm and hand), Lower Limb (from the gluteal region to the feet), Back and the Heart. The practicals are divided into 4 one-hour parts: tutorial, dissection, specimens and imaging.

The tutorial is a small class where we're divided into small groups and we have to present to the rest of the class about a question/topic assigned to us related to the current overall structure (e.g. Hamstring injuries when we were doing the Lower Limb). Dissection is when, in our small groups, we go to our assigned cadaver and dissect the area of the body which we're told about in a video on Moodle (a website for all Monash students which includes online resources, like the lecture slides).

Specimens involves looking at prosections of different part of the body under the current overall structure (e.g. for the Upper Limb, there were prosections of the entire arm, just the hand, 3D models of the humerus). Imaging involves two tutorial classes in a small lecture theatre in the Anatomy department and there's a Powerpoint presentation, which includes X-rays, MRIs and CT scans of the current overall structure, and every person in that room is asked a question. So suppose the current slide shows an X-ray and you're handed the laser pointer (which indicates that it's your turn to be questioned). You'll probably be asked something like 'Describe the image shown', 'Name the structure shown' or 'Point to X'.

There are also revision classes in these practicals, which involves 'Body Painting'. This is when we have to choose someone in our small tutorial groups to be the 'model' and the rest of the group paint the structure that we're assigned (e.g. my group was assigned to paint the muscles in the anterior compartment of the thigh). These sessions are really chill, quite fun and we can leave early (which is always a pleasure, since all of my classes this sem end at either 5, 5:30 or 6)

Physiology: So far, it's mostly neurophysiology, with topics like: the autonomic nervous system, tactile perception and pain perception. We're currently covering cardiovascular physiology, which includes topics like: electrical activity of the heart, reading an ECG and venous return.

Clinical Skills: Involves looking at the different musculoskeletal and neurological examinations of each of the major body areas covered in Anatomy. For example, for the Upper Limb we covered what to look/feel for, what movements to check for (e.g. elbow flexion) and how to do different special tests which are specific for different pathologies (e.g. Hawkin's Test, Neer's Sign).

HLSD: Covers some stuff in VCE Psychology Units 1/2 (in the old study design, that is). Topics include: newborn and infant development, developmental psychopathology and ageing.

Population Health: Looks more so at the research side of Medicine, although I haven't met a single person outside of our tutors and lecturers who genuinely enjoys this subject. Topics we went through include sampling and estimation, types of studies and screening.

Pharmacology: Again, a lot of drugs. So far, topics include: pharmacokinetics, NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids. Future topics include anti-arrhythmic drugs and atherosclerosis. 


Are you going to make your own Medicine Journey Journal?
Unfortunately no, since I'm already struggling to make time for work and down time.

Will you make a guide like this for Dentistry?
Sorry but I won't, since I'm not all that knowledgeable on entrance into Dentistry.

___________________________________________________________________

Oh boy, after almost two whole semesters, I finally finished this!

Hope this guide was helpful to you future meddies! Will update if there's anything to add, correct, etc. Don't hesitate to ask any questions, whether it be here on the forums or over PM!

Best of luck for your Medicine endeavours!

- cookiedream
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 10:16:05 am by cookiedream »
VCE: (click the links below to view my guides)
2016: Methods [44], Psych [48]
2017: Eng Lang [49], Bio [50], Chem, Spec
ATAR: 99.75 | UMAT: 88th
2018-2022: Bachelor of Medical Science/Doctor of Medicine @ Monash University

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Vaike

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Re: Cookiedream's Guide to Medical Entrance
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2018, 06:48:23 pm »
+8
This is AMAZING. Fantastic work cookiedream, I'm sure this will be super helpful for many aspiring 'meddies'!

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Lear

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Re: Cookiedream's Guide to Medical Entrance
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2018, 06:50:48 pm »
+7
Cookiedream you are bloody amazing thank you for this.
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Joseph41

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Re: Cookiedream's Guide to Medical Entrance
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2018, 02:22:21 pm »
+3
HUGE. This is so good.
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not.yet.a.nerd

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Re: Cookiedream's Guide to Medical Entrance
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2018, 07:03:55 pm »
+4
This guide is going straight to my bookmarks, going to get downloaded and read multiple times a day. Thank you Cookiedream, you are my inspiration!!

(more exclamation points for added emphasis --> !!!!!!!!!!!)

[edit] how come you didn't attend some of your interviews? Had you already received some offers by then? Oh also, do you remember the date that offers came out?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 09:40:08 am by not.yet.a.nerd »
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cookiedream

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Re: Cookiedream's Guide to Medical Entrance
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2018, 11:48:01 am »
+4
This guide is going straight to my bookmarks, going to get downloaded and read multiple times a day. Thank you Cookiedream, you are my inspiration!!

(more exclamation points for added emphasis --> !!!!!!!!!!!)

[edit] how come you didn't attend some of your interviews? Had you already received some offers by then? Oh also, do you remember the date that offers came out?

Ahaha thank you so much!! <3 Glad that it was helpful!

Yeah, I already received my Monash offer by then :)

The offers for each state are released at different times. As far as I remember, VTAC offers came out at 16 January this year (same for SATAC and QTAC). If you did a first round interview with the UAC universities, their first round offers came out on the 12th (although pretty much all interstate applicants who got a place got second round offers because they had second round interviews)
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 11:58:39 am by cookiedream »
VCE: (click the links below to view my guides)
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2017: Eng Lang [49], Bio [50], Chem, Spec
ATAR: 99.75 | UMAT: 88th
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Snow Leopard

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Re: Cookiedream's Guide to Medical Entrance
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2019, 07:15:47 pm »
0
I got work experience into a hospital for a week but i'm wondering if it's worth it since I thinks its 2 days nursing and 3 days admin
and this is not really the field that I want to get into and I'm going to miss a week of school for it.

AngelWings

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Re: Cookiedream's Guide to Medical Entrance
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2019, 11:01:40 pm »
+3
I got work experience into a hospital for a week but i'm wondering if it's worth it since I thinks its 2 days nursing and 3 days admin
and this is not really the field that I want to get into and I'm going to miss a week of school for it.
Not Cookiedream, but I do know a little about careers/ work experience. (I work in the health field.)

If you’re in Year 10, then work experience is a compulsory program (as far as I know), so you’d have to do it somewhere eventually. Unfortunately, due to availability (including the people who would be taking you around being busy), you might not always get to watch the areas you’re after during these high school work experience programs. Nonetheless, I’d say this experience will be worth it; having a foot in the door beats having none... and who knows? You might enjoy what you get to see or the insight might change your perception of nurses/ admin!  :)

Side note: Please consider a new thread if it’s a new topic or you’ve gone on a tangent.
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SmartWorker

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Re: Cookiedream's Guide to Medical Entrance
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2019, 02:11:43 pm »
+2
Hey Cookiedream,

What is difference between MBBS and Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine?

Thank you so much for your amazing guide. :) :) :) :) :) ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D