Sunday 18 March 2018

Admissions tests for studying medicine explained

There was some surprise that CAO's recent application statistics showed that slightly fewer students applied to medicine so far this year; the numbers listing it as their first preference were down from 3,755 in 2010 to 3,591 in 2011.

This slight drop may be caused in part because applicants must sit the HPAT or GAMSAT tests (with fees of €95 or €300 respectively). This concentrates the mind of applicants, who might have listed medicine among their choices on the grounds that they had nothing to lose by applying.

The fees may be a barrier to students of more limited means applying to medicine.

Q What is the difference between the GAMSAT and HPAT?

A Standard school-leaving applicants to medicine must sit the HPAT-Ireland (Health Professionals Admission Test), and its score is used in combination with their school-leaving results.

Graduates who are applying to medicine via the graduate entry route must sit the GAMSAT.

Applicants must hold (or expect to hold by July) an Honours Bachelor's degree (NFQ level 8) with a minimum a 2.1, in any discipline. Once they meet that academic standard, places are awarded on the basis of ranking in the GAMSAT.

Q Could an applicant apply to medicine using both HPAT and GAMSAT course codes?

A Yes, some graduates might do so if they felt they might be eligible under either entry route.

If they apply via the undergraduate route, their Leaving Cert points would be added to their HPAT score. They would be ranked with others for undergraduate entry into medicine.

Under the graduate entry route, they will be ranked amongst other graduate entrants solely on their GAMSAT scores.

Q If they were entitled to both courses, which one would they be offered?

A They would be offered whichever course they had listed as their higher preference on their CAO form. Fees would be an issue for graduate students. Students on any second undergraduate course must pay fees, and graduate entry medicine is defined as an undergraduate programme.

GAMSAT is also used for selection for graduate entry to veterinary medicine in UCD. There is a significant difference between the assessment procedures for graduate entry to medicine and to veterinary medicine.

Candidates will be assessed on a combination of GAMSAT scores, educational performance, and a personal statement. The minimum required academic standard is an honours level 8 degree, a minimum grade 2.2. Increased points are awarded if the applicant has a degree in sciences, or a higher level degree, eg Masters or PhD, and extra weighting is given for veterinary experience, or any academic publications, prizes or awards.

Upcoming Open Days: l National College of Ireland, IFSC, Dublin 1, today, from 11am-2pm l NUI Galway, Saturday April 2, 10am-3pm l Saturday April 3, Open Day for Science and Health courses in DIT Kevin St, from 10am-1pm

Irish Independent

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