Here is an example of the statement of results you will receive in mid-September displaying the outcome of your UMAT test. The three things you need to understand is the ‘scores’, ‘overall score’ and ‘percentile’.
Explanation of Scores:
1. The numbers 1, 2 and 3 represent the scores the student achieved in each construct (or otherwise commonly known as a section). Each of the section scores is expressed on a scale of 0 to 100. So, if the student achieves a score of 61 for section 1, it means that out of 100 total marks, he/she scored 61.
Explanation of Overall Scores:
2. The overall score is simply the individual scores of each section added together. In the case above, by adding 61 (section 1 score), 71 (section 2 score) and 37 (section 3 score), the student achieves a 169-overall score out of a total 300 marks.
Explanation of Percentile:
3. Derivation of percentiles occurs from comparing your overall to the overall scores of all other test takers. It provides a rank which allows you to see how you have ‘stacked up’ compared to the rest of the test taking cohort. In this case, the student achieved the 79th percentile. The easiest way to interpret this percentile is that your overall score is in the top 21% of all test takers who sat UMAT in the same year. A higher percentile means that you are ranked higher, with fewer test takers scoring more than you.
So, what score is a good score?
Before I get the gist of what score is a good score, you must remember one thing. You should always aim for 100th percentile for the UMAT or any test for that matter. Instead of looking for minimal mark thresholds and aiming for those, you should instead be focusing your energy on learning the techniques to answering every single question you come across. Aim to score the 100th percentile because:
1. You can’t really ‘aim’ for a percentile – since the percentile is calculated from comparing your overall score with the overall score of others, the percentile rank you gain at the end of the day is something out of your control.
2. You can never go wrong with a high percentile – a lot of students ask for a ‘safe’ percentile they should try to aim for but often than not, the percentile you achieve in UMAT is only a part of the consideration when medical schools select for ideal students. Depending on how much weighting is allocated to the UMAT, compared to your ATAR or GPA and interview score, the ‘importance’ of UMAT changes. Most universities will allocate anywhere between 30% to 50% of their total selection weighting to UMAT. In turn, it means the remaining 50% to 70% of your total selection criteria is allocated to ATAR or GPA and interview score, which is also out of your control.
Here is an example:
University A weights UMAT 40%, ATAR or GPA 40% and interview 20% and have 100 spots available for the 2018 medical school intake.
· Since UMAT scores typically are released before GPA and interviews, a good way to think about your chances of getting into the medical school at University A is whether your UMAT mark lies within or outside the top 100 applicants for the course.
· If your UMAT percentile is high, say 98th, 99th and 100th, your chances of being placed in the front of the top 100 applicants, is also quite high. If your UMAT percentile is on the lower end, say 70th to 80th percentile, you may not be placed in the top 100 applicants when UMAT is taken into account by itself.
· However, your position in the top 100 could change drastically depending on the results you obtain in the two other selection criteria.
· You should always aim for the highest score possible in UMAT is that it provides some buffer if you end up with slightly less than ideal results in your ATAR or GPA and interview
With all this said, what is a good UMAT score?
Speaking generally, if you achieve top grades (i.e. minimum 98 or 99 ATAR), you should be fine with a low to mid-90th percentile in UMAT. Unless, the university you are applying to have cut-offs such as the requirement for you to score at least 50/100 marks per section or a minimum UMAT score, percentiles in the 90s should do the job. However, remember you are always competing with other applicants and their scores. Make sure to stay organised and have a solid strategy in making sure you achieve the best marks you possibly can in all three categories.