So, you’re toying with the idea of applying for medicine and you need to sit the UMAT. But you also want to enjoy your year off and see the world. Don’t worry, I totally get it — just three short years ago I was in the same boat.
Once upon a time your UMAT score used to valid for two years (urgh that would’ve been nice), but now it seems that prospective travelling-meddies have three choices:
- Sit the UMAT in high school, apply straight away and forget your deep-seated need to travel
- Get in and defer (if that’s even possible at your chosen uni)
- Or everyone’s favourite… sit the UMAT in your gap year
I think you know which one I’m rooting for.
The UMAT is an interesting exam and really seems to rile people up. I’m not here to debate the merits of it because the reality is that it exists and if you want to study medicine, you’re probably going to have to suck it up and do it. Back in 2014 I sucked it up and did my UMAT exam in London; it was costly, irritating to get to, and I didn’t have many resources to study, but in the end it worked out. It really isn’t the end of the world.
Where can I sit the UMAT overseas?
There are overseas test centres in New Zealand (Dunedin and Auckland), United Kingdom (London), Singapore, and the United States (Washington D.C.). Yep, that is it and there is no option for alternative test centres so plan your travels around one of these locations.
Does it cost extra?
There is a $185AUD overseas levy that you have to pay in addition to the UMAT Registration fee.
What are the pros?
- You still get to have your gap year and travel the world
- $185 is not too much to pay to ensure you can stay travelling rather than head home early
What are the cons?
- No access to the training programs
- It does cost extra
- There are only limited testing centres
At the end of the day, you just have to do what you feel is right. It is a stressful time but no matter where you sit the UMAT, your result is likely to be the same. Irrespective of how many training programs you’ve blown money on or flights you’ve had to catch, if you do your best on the day then it won’t matter where you sit it. Just remember to chill and enjoy your year off as best you can — life is more than tests, university and medicine.
All the legitimate information and details from UMAT and ACER can be found on their website.
Lucy sat the UMAT in 2014 in London and ranked in the 98th percentile. She now studies medicine at Monash University, Melbourne. She does not endorse using any of the training programs.