ISAT Overview

What is the ISAT?

The International Student Admissions Test, or ISAT, is an assessment that international students are required to take for entry into a number of medical and dental schools in Australia and Malaysia. The ISAT is designed to test the critical thinking and reasoning skills required for work in these fields. A full list of courses requiring the ISAT is below.

Universities requiring the ISAT for medicine and dentistry
University Program
  • Monash University
  • Undergraduate medicine
  • The University of New South Wales
  • Western Sydney University
  • Undergraduate medicine
  • Undergraduate medicine
  • The University of Queensland
  • Provisional graduate entry medicine
  • The University of Western Australia
  • Provisional graduate entry medicine and dentistry
  • University of Tasmania
  • Undergraduate medicine
  • Monash University
  • Undergraduate medicine
Updated Feb 2022

How is it structured?

The ISAT is a 3-hour, computer-based assessment structured into 100 multiple choice questions. Questions are split into two categories, Critical Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning, with 50 questions coming from each category.

The exam itself is not split into sections. Instead, questions from each category are interwoven. Only after obtaining the final mark can one see how they went in both sections.

Critical Reasoning questions test a candidate’s ability to read and interpret passages, and make decisions based on the available information. Students who perform well in this area will have strong critical thinking skills.

Quantitative Reasoning questions test a candidate’s ability to understand numbers and data. Students who perform well here will have numerical proficiency and financial literacy.

How should I approach the ISAT?

Doctor looking downward in scrubs and lab coat

Here are our top tips for tacking the ISAT!

Learn to read and think quickly This exam is 3 hours long with 100 questions, leaving 1 min 40 seconds per question. That’s not a lot of time! Most questions are long and comprehensive, requiring a lot of thinking before coming to the right answer.

Understand the underlying concepts Developing key skills to tackle a broad range of questions will be more helpful than memorising how to do many different questions. Past exams for the ISAT are not released, making the questions difficult to predict. Memorising practice material may actually hurt your chances at succeeding.

Keep on top of your basic literacy and numeracy skills One should expect basic skills like early high school maths and english knowledge to be tested. Having a wide vocabulary will also be beneficial.

Read up on the application process for each university The guidelines for applications vary between universities and change very often, sometimes even within months. Having up-to-date information on the universities to which you would like to apply is important. Failing to submit your application on time could disqualify you from receiving an interview, even if you have an excellent ISAT score.

Should I use a tutor?

The ISAT is a daunting assessment for many students. It is very different to any other exam you have ever completed. The ISAT requires students to digest information and make decisions very quickly. These skills are not routinely taught in schools. One-on-one classes with a tutor will equip you with the skills you need to succeed. Having a tutor who has been through the ISAT themselves can be very beneficial. Given that past exam papers are not released, tutors have personally taken the ISAT will have the best inside knowledge on the style of questions given.

Many students also find that they are overwhelmed by the complexity of the medical admissions process for international students. A tutor can help you navigate this difficult process and support you along your journey. Understanding the admissions processes for the universities that you plan to apply to will help you make the right decisions, for example choosing the right testing cycles, and avoid any nasty surprises.

Looking for a tutor?

Every single student received an interview offer after classes with our ISAT specialist.