Which Exam Is Right for Me: UCAT ANZ vs. GAMSAT

The UCAT and GAMSAT are two clinical aptitude tests commonly required for entry into medicine and certain other health-related degrees in Australia and New Zealand. Given their popularity, many students often want to know whether one of the tests may be harder than the other and what differences exist between the two examinations. We know how hard it can be to prepare for and choose between different aptitude tests, so we’re here to help! Our UCAT ANZ and GAMSAT experts have compiled a handy list of the differences between the two exams and what you need to know about their difficulty. 

The UCAT and GAMSAT are both used by ANZ medical schools to evaluate applicants

What Is the UCAT ANZ?

The University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand (UCAT ANZ) is a 2-hour long aptitude examination, delivered by Pearson VUE, that assesses cognitive abilities, attitudes and behaviours. Most medical schools in Australia and New Zealand require local students to sit the UCAT ANZ to be considered for a place in their undergraduate medicine programs. This test does not assess any particular high school curriculum but, instead, evaluates basic numeracy, literacy and reasoning skills. Most undergraduate ANZ medical schools provide international students the option of sitting either the International Students Admission Test (ISAT) or the UCAT ANZ.

International students are offered the choice of sitting the UCAT ANZ or the ISAT

If you wish to take the UCAT ANZ 2022, there are multiple centres across Australia and New Zealand where you can register to take the exam. In a nutshell, the examination consists of five sections, each of which tests a different competency. These sections include Verbal Reasoning (VR), Quantitative Reasoning (QR), Abstract Reasoning (AR), Decision Making (DM) and Situational Judgment (SJT). For detailed information about each of these UCAT sections, see our ‘guide to undergraduate ANZ medical schools’. 

Since we know how daunting it feels to take what is likely your first aptitude test, we have compiled some FREE practice material that you can use to bump up your scores. 

What Is the GAMSAT?

The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is a 4-hour and 25-minute long examination that is administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). Unlike the UCAT which is required for entry into undergraduate or provisional entry medical courses, the GAMSAT is required of local students applying to a graduate-entry medical course or healthcare programme. International students are usually given the option of sitting either the GAMSAT or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). 

If you wish to sit GAMSAT 2022, visit the ACER website for more information about test-taking sites and registration costs. In summary, the GAMSAT consists of three main sections that once again assess a different range of skills. These sections are numbered I-III and include, in order, Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences, Written Communication and Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences. For more detailed information about what each GAMSAT section entails, check out our ‘everything ANZ medical schools want you to know about the GAMSAT and MCAT’ article. 

The GAMSAT consists of three separate sections

If you’re not sure where to start, the ACER website has some practice materials that will give you a sense of how difficult the GAMSAT is. 

What Is the Difference Between the UCAT and GAMSAT?

The main differences between the UCAT and GAMSAT are outlined below:

  •  The UCAT is required for entry into undergraduate medicine while the GAMSAT is required for entry into postgraduate medicine. This means that if you are a high school leaver wanting to apply to medical school in 2022, you will be required to sit the UCAT which will be evaluated in conjunction with your ATAR (or equivalent). On the other hand, if you have already completed an undergraduate degree and wish to apply to a post-graduate ANZ medical program, you will most likely have to sit the GAMSAT which will be considered parallel to your university GPA. 
  • The exams are of different duration and structure. The UCAT ANZ takes a total of 2-hours to complete while the GAMSAT takes 4-hours and 25-minutes to conclude excluding break time. In terms of structure, the UCAT consists of five sections predominantly featuring multiple choice questions; the GAMSAT consists of three sections and requires students to answer a range of questions, from multiple choice to essay-based. 
  • The content assessed is different. The GAMSAT requires a broader understanding of 1st year undergraduate biology, chemistry or physics. In contrast, the UCAT ANZ does not test scientific knowledge. 

While these two exams are different, they also share some similarities. For instance, both tests are aptitude-based and are used by ANZ medical schools in their selection processes. Additionally, most universities generally require students to have taken both the relevant exams in the year preceding their admission, although the GAMSAT is valid for up to two years.

The UCAT ANZ and GAMSAT share both similarities and differences

The similarities and differences between the two exams are summarised in the table below:

Similarities Differences 
✓ Aptitude-based examinations
✓ Required for admission into ANZ medical programs
✓ Usually required to have results from the year preceding university admission 
⨯ UCAT is required for entry into undergraduate medical programs; GAMSAT is required for entry into postgraduate medical programs 
⨯ GAMSAT is longer in duration 
⨯ GAMSAT consists of three sections while the UCAT consists of five
⨯ GAMSAT features a greater diversity of question types including essay questions
⨯ GAMSAT and UCAT test knowledge of different content 
⨯ GAMSAT scores are valid for 2 years; UCAT scores are only valid for the year preceding university admission 

Which Exam Is Harder?

In answering the age-old question of which examination is harder, it’s important to stress that difficulty is relative. 

The GAMSAT requires students to answer different question types, including essay questions, and assesses scientific knowledge. In contrast, the UCAT ANZ does not assess scientific content and instead evaluates basic cognitive and reasoning skills through mostly multiple choice questions. Although this may initially make the UCAT seem like an easier exam, it is actually at a proportionate level of difficulty to the GAMSAT when considering the fact that the UCAT is taken by high school leavers while the GAMSAT is taken by university graduates.

The relative difficult of the UCAT ANZ and GAMSAT are similar

Regardless of which exam you are required to take to get into an ANZ medical school, the good news is that, with practice, it is possible to score highly on both tests! 


→What is UCAT ANZ?

UCAT ANZ stands for the University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand. It is an admissions test used by many ANZ medical schools to assess a candidate’s potential for success in medical school.

→Is UCAT easier than GAMSAT?

It is difficult to directly compare the two tests as they assess different skills and knowledge. The UCAT is more focused on cognitive abilities, while the GAMSAT assesses a broader range of knowledge, including scientific reasoning and critical analysis. Therefore, some students may find one test easier than the other, depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

→Is GAMSAT harder than UMAT?

The UMAT (Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test) is no longer used for admission to Australian and New Zealand medical schools. The UCAT has replaced it since 2019. Therefore, the comparison between the UMAT and GAMSAT is no longer relevant.

→What are the differences between UCAT ANZ and GAMSAT?

UCAT ANZ and GAMSAT are different tests with different purposes. UCAT ANZ is used for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in health-related fields, while GAMSAT is used for graduate-entry medical programs. The content and format of the two tests are also different. UCAT ANZ consists of five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, and Situational Judgment. GAMSAT consists of three sections: Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences, Written Communication, and Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences.

→How can I prepare for UCAT ANZ or GAMSAT?

There are many resources available to help you prepare for UCAT ANZ or GAMSAT, including study guides, practice tests, and online courses. It is important to begin your preparation early and to create a study plan that includes regular practice and review.

→Which medical schools require UCAT ANZ and which require GAMSAT?

Many ANZ medical schools require UCAT ANZ, including the University of Adelaide, Monash University, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, University of Western Australia, and University of Auckland. Many Australian and Irish medical schools require GAMSAT, including the University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, University of Notre Dame Australia, University of Queensland, and University of Tasmania.

→Can you sit UCAT after Year 12?

Yes, the UCAT can be taken after completing Year 12. It is commonly taken by students who wish to apply for undergraduate medicine or dentistry programmes.

→Can you get into medicine without GAMSAT?

In Australia and New Zealand, GAMSAT is one of the requirements for admission to graduate-entry medicine programs. However, some universities may accept alternative tests or pathways, such as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or the New Zealand Alternative Pathway to Medicine (NZAP).

→What is the highest GAMSAT score possible?

The highest GAMSAT score possible is 100 (i.e., perfect score) for each section, which would result in a total score of 300.

→What is a good GAMSAT score?

A good GAMSAT score will depend on the individual’s goals and the competitiveness of the applicant pool for the medical schools they are applying to. In general, a score above 70 is considered competitive, while a score above 80 is considered very competitive.

→Is GPA or GAMSAT more important?

Both GPA and GAMSAT are important factors in the medical school admissions process. GPA provides an indication of an applicant’s academic ability and performance, while GAMSAT assesses an applicant’s reasoning and problem-solving skills. Some medical schools may weigh GPA more heavily than GAMSAT, while others may weigh GAMSAT more heavily.

→Can I take both UCAT ANZ and GAMSAT?

Yes, you can take both tests if you meet the eligibility requirements. However, you should carefully consider the requirements of the programs you are applying to and choose the test that is most appropriate for your goals and strengths.

→Which test is more important for medical school admissions, UCAT ANZ or GAMSAT?

Both UCAT ANZ and GAMSAT are important components of medical school admissions, and the weight given to each test may vary depending on the specific program. It is important to perform well on both tests in order to increase your chances of admission to medical school.

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Post as “Anonymous”

WymSkPhNMedic Mind Tutor

26 September 2023


JeannieMedic Mind Tutor

28 December 2023

Can you please recommend where I can find a tutor for GAMSAT?