Grades for Medical School Applications: ATAR, GPA
Do You Have the Grades ANZ Medical Schools Look for?
There are several medical schools across Australia and New Zealand, each with a slightly different selection criteria. We know that this makes it hard to evaluate whether you have competitive enough grades to apply to a particular university, so we’re here to help!
Most 2022 ANZ medical schools will usually require you to submit an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) or a Grade Point Average (GPA), along with an aptitude-based test to shortlist which candidates they would like to invite to interview. Our team has broken down the differences between an ATAR and GPA and highlighted which medical schools require which parameter to make things clearer.
Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)
Most universities in Australia use the Australian tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) as a criteria for entry into a university course. A student’s ATAR is calculated from their performance in the relevant state/territory examination system. ATAR scores are presented as percentiles and go up in sequential increments of 0.05, from a 0-99.95. Thus, a student’s ATAR can be used to assess their performance against the performances of other students in their state/territory.
To receive a 2022 ATAR, students must study a minimum number of courses to fulfill a pre-set number of units. The exact requirements for receiving and calculating an ATAR vary between states and territories. For further information, please refer to the links below:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory and South Australia
- Western Australia
Students in New Zealand are also able to receive a 2022 ATAR. This is calculated from the 90 best credits from their National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3 subjects.
Which Medical Schools Ask for an ATAR?
ATAR scores are calculated for school leavers after completing the relevant high school examination in their state or territory. This means that most undergraduate-entry medical schools in Australia require an ATAR for admission into their medicine/healthcare-related courses. Most medical schools have a minimum cut-off ATAR, however, this is strictly a minimum entry score and does not guarantee entry into a medical program.
Universities may also apply ‘adjustment factors’ to translate your raw 2022 ATAR into a selection rank. For instance, adjustment factors may be awarded for having gone through difficult circumstances in your examination period or living in a rural area. Some universities may also offer extra points for being a state/territory-level athlete, for receiving an offer through a Special Entry Access Scheme or for taking specific Year 12 subjects. So it’s definitely worth looking into the adjustment factors awarded by the medical schools you wish to apply to, and how they calculate a selection rank from your raw ATAR.
How Do Medical Schools Use Your ATAR?
Medical schools use your ATAR alongside other criteria such as an aptitude-based test and/or interview to determine whether you will be awarded a place on their course. Our ANZ Medicine experts have compiled a guide to the various aptitude tests used by 2022 ANZ medical schools which can be found here.
ATAR profiles present the lowest, median and highest ATAR scores received by students accepted into a specific course at different universities. These profiles may provide you with a useful point of comparison, allowing you to gauge how competitive your application may be.
For example, the table below illustrates the 2021 ATAR profile for the University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) undergraduate entry Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine program. The lowest ATAR to receive an offer was 91.65 (excluding adjustment factors), the median ATAR was 99.65 and the highest ATAR was 99.95.
|ATAR (excluding Adjustment Factors)||Selection Rank (ATAR plus any Adjustment Factors)|
|Highest Rank to Receive an offer||99.95||99.95|
|Median Rank to Receive an offer||99.65||99.8|
|Lowest Rank to Receive an offer||91.65||92.65|
You may use your 2022 ATAR alongside your aptitude-test score to judge how likely you are to receive a medical school interview offer. However, this may differ from university to university. For example, some universities weigh ATAR and aptitude test scores equally when shortlisting applicants for interview, whilst others weigh one component higher than the other.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
Most graduate-entry medical schools in Australia and New Zealand use an applicant’s GPA alongside an aptitude-based test to determine whether they should be offered an interview. A GPA is calculated based on the grades received for each university course taken. This calculation may vary slightly based on the university you received your undergraduate education from. Our ANZ Medicine experts have compiled a guide to walk prospective students through the various aptitude tests required by ANZ Medical Schools here.
In Australia, the Graduate Entry Medical School Admissions System (GEMSAS) uses the 7-point scale system to calculate your GPA.
The universities forming a part of GEMSAS, as of 2022, include:
- Australian National University
- Deakin University
- Griffith University
- Macquarie University
- University of Melbourne
- University of Notre Dame (both Sydney and Fremantle)
- University of Queensland
- University of Western Australia
- University of Wollongong
Most GEMSAS universities use a weighted GPA where not all course grades are counted equally. In most cases, grades from the final year of university are weighted higher than the other years. For further detailed information of how GEMSAS may calculate your GPA, please visit their website.
Universities offering graduate-entry medical programs that are not a part of GEMSAS include:
- Flinders University – Flinders uses a weighted GPA system
- Sydney University – Sydney University does not use a weighted GPA system.
Applying to Undergraduate Medicine Programs as a Non High School Leaver
Some medical schools allow applicants who have fully or partially completed a tertiary degree to apply to their medical program. The grades such students have received in their years of university are often either combined with their ATAR score or converted into an ATAR-equivalent score in order to assess whether they should be invited to interview or offered a spot on a medicine program.
ATAR stands for Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, and is a rank that is used in Australia to indicate a student’s overall academic achievement in high school.
GPA stands for Grade Point Average, and is a numerical representation of a student’s overall academic performance in university or college.
No, GPA and ATAR are different measures of academic performance in Australia. GPA (Grade Point Average) is a calculation of an individual’s average grades over a period of time, typically a semester or an academic year, while ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) is a ranking system used to assess a student’s overall academic achievement in their final year of high school.
It is not possible to accurately convert a GPA to an ATAR score, as they are two different measures of academic performance. GPA is calculated based on the grades received in individual courses, while ATAR is a ranking system based on a student’s performance in their final year of high school. However, there are some conversion tools online that will help to give a estimate.
A good GPA in Australia will depend on the individual’s academic goals and the competitiveness of the field they are applying to. Generally, a GPA of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale) is considered to be a good academic standing, while a GPA of 3.5 or above is considered to be a high distinction.
A 98 ATAR is an excellent score, and it is certainly high enough to apply for medicine at most universities in Australia and New Zealand. However, admission into medicine is highly competitive, and many other factors are taken into consideration, such as performance in prerequisite subjects, interview performance, and any relevant work or volunteering experience. It is important to research the specific admission requirements of the universities that you are interested in applying to and to speak with an academic advisor for guidance.
ATAR is one of the factors that medical schools may consider when evaluating applicants, but it is not the only factor. Other factors such as UCAT or GAMSAT scores, extracurricular activities, and personal statements may also be taken into consideration.
GPA is one of the factors that medical schools may consider when evaluating applicants, and it is often used as a measure of a student’s academic ability and consistency.
Yes, it is possible to get into medical school with a low ATAR or GPA, as some schools may consider other factors such as work experience, interviews, or postgraduate coursework. However, it may be more difficult to gain admission with lower academic scores, and it is important to research the specific requirements and selection criteria of each school.
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