The Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) is a test administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in Australia and New Zealand to assist in the selection of students into certain health science courses including most medical (MBBS or MBChB) and Dentistry (BDSc or BDS) courses, as well as other health science courses including physiotherapy and pharmacy. The UMAT is used for selection into undergraduate courses only; applicants for graduate courses must sit the GAMSAT. Each year, the UMAT is held on a single day, typically during either late July or early August.
Before the introduction of the UMAT as a component of university entrance requirements, the sole criterion for entry into medical or health science degrees in Australian universities was final year high school (Year 12) results. In New Zealand, entry was following completion of the first year of a related degree, with applicants selected based on their GPA for that year. A consortium of universities found this criterion too restrictive, as it did not reflect all the qualities required to successfully study and practise medicine. Consequently, the UMAT was introduced to assess the qualities deemed by ACER and the UMAT Consortium universities to be important to the study and practice of medicine and the health sciences. These qualities include: critical thinking and problem solving, ability to understand people, and abstract non-verbal reasoning.
As of 2010, the UMAT consists of three sections:
1. Logical reasoning and problem solving (44 questions to be completed in 65 minutes)
2. Understanding people (40 questions to be completed in 50 minutes)
3. Non-verbal reasoning (38 questions to be completed in 50 minutes)
A candidate's UMAT score consist of three numbers, one for each section of the test, as well as a percentile ranking (out of 100) for each section. These UMAT scores are valid for 2 years.
The nature of the UMAT is quite different from typical school examinations; academic excellence does not necessarily equate to an outstanding UMAT result.
The UMAT is now an entry requirement for all UMAT Consortium universities, which constitute the vast majority of medical schools in Australia and New Zealand. Each university determines its own cut-off scores for UMAT results (based either on the "raw" section scores or section percentiles, depending on the university), obtaining the results directly from ACER. Some Universities, (for example, the University of Otago), may also independently scale each section of the UMAT in their selection process. In determining whether or not a candidate should be awarded a place, most universities also take into account a structured or semi-structured interview with the candidate, as well as Year 12 results. The University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland and the University of Otago (except for Dentistry, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy) do not use interviews as part of the selection procedure.
Due to its inclusion as a mandatory admission requirement into medical and health science courses, as well as the highly competitive nature of entry into such courses, there has been some controversy regarding the UMAT's relevance, structure and necessity. ACER do not release their marking and scaling procedures. As well as this there are a number of different test booklets, with many of the questions uniquely appearing in one. From other tests administered by ACER (e.g. the Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA), it is known that ACER likes a simple version of item response theory presumed to correct for varying item difficulties. The accuracy of this scaling is, however, disputed.
UMAT Consortium universities
The following universities are members of the UMAT Consortium:
* The University of Auckland
* The University of Adelaide
* Bond University
* Griffith University
* Monash University
* Victorian College of Pharmacy (Parkville campus of Monash University)
* The University of Melbourne
* The University of Newcastle (University of Newcastle School of Medicine)
* The University of New South Wales
* The University of Otago
* The University of Queensland
* The University of Tasmania
* The University of Western Australia
* The University of Western Sydney