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Medicine in New Zealand

07 JUL 2021

Tips, tricks and how to get an advantage over your competitors in medical school.

“My name is Jonnie, and I am currently a third-year medical student at the University of Auckland (UoA). This series of six blogs explores my journey into medicine and some tricks I used to make my experience enjoyable and successful.”

Blog 1: Choosing where to study - Otago or Auckland?

Blog 2: What can you do before the year starts?

Blog 3: Studying for core papers

Blog 4: Deconstructing the UCAT

Blog 5: Tackling the MMI (Auckland only)

Blog 6: Daily life after getting into medicine

Blog 1: Otago or Auckland?

In New Zealand, there are two institutes that offer medical degrees – the University of Auckland and Otago University. Acceptance into medicine is extremely competitive, with only the top 20% receiving an offer into medical school!

There are two main pathways for entry:

  1. Undergraduate pathway – this is the competitive first year
  2. Postgraduate pathway – after completion of a degree, you can apply as a postgraduate student

You only have two chances to apply. That is if you are not accepted as an undergraduate, you can try again as a postgraduate student. However, if this application is also unsuccessful, you cannot try again. For the purposes of this blog, we will be discussing the undergraduate pathway as it was the route I chose. If you want more information regarding the postgraduate pathway, feel free to contact our team at

For Auckland, the application is weighted on three different components:

  • Core Paper Grades: 60%
  • UCAT Exam: 15%
  • MMI: 25%

For Otago, the application is weighted on only two different components:

  • Core Paper Grades: 100%
  • UCAT: meet a threshold of 20th percentile to be eligible
  • The details of the UCAT in Otago are explored in a later blog. There is no MMI component for Otago.

I chose MedView for my journey as they are the only provider to support all these different components within the same framework. This holistic approach is vital to your success in your first year, with MedView students being 3x times more likely to be accepted into medical school than other students.* In fact, 1 in 5 students that were accepted into Auckland in 2021 were with MedView!

*****Data is from the year 2020

Another key difference that can greatly impact your year is the living circumstances. Both universities have hostels and halls, but Otago is renowned for its “party environment”. While it is important to balance your social and academic life throughout the year, it is important to be wary of outside distractions. Some hostels are more academic than others, such as Carrington and Knox. I would recommend finding a quiet place to study on campus or in your hostel for when you need to escape and focus.