IMAT 2019 might be nothing like in the previous years.
If you want to send in your IMAT application this year, there could be a big change regarding IMAT questions that you absolutely must know in order to optimize your preparation.
We will discuss this major update along with 4 other important differences that emerged recently, right in this article.
A few days ago, one of the users of our Facebook page pointed out a possible huge update in IMAT questions for 2019, coming from an official source. She was referring to an official leaflet published by Cambridge Assessment Testing on their website.
We did our bit of research and we can confirm that this leaflet is:
1- absolutely legitimate
2- big news for the IMAT test
3- possibly a game changer for IMAT preparation
In the next few sections we will analyse together all the pieces of new info that appear in this leaflet, step by step. If you don’t have time to read it all, number 5 is the big one.
What are IMAT and CAAT?
If you’re new to our website and have only recently found out about the possibility of studying medicine or dentistry in English in Italy, you might not know that one of the main steps for application to Italian medschools is the International Medical Admission Test (IMAT for short).
This test is issued by the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing organization, which is well known around the world for organizing a number of medical admission tests, notably BMAT and IMAT.
Changes in the way CAAT produces the entry exam affect all applicants to International Medical Schools in Italy, without discrimination, so everyone who wants to study in Italy absolutely must know about changes in regulations.
That said, in the leaflet we’re going to analyse it’s clearly stated that “All details are correct at the time of going to print in April 2019 but may be subject to change”. They also invite everyone to keep checking the IMAT website and the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR) website for definitive updates.
But now, without further ado, what could change in IMAT 2019?
1 – New registration date
Every year we break down the steps and deadlines towards IMAT application in a short guide. Last year, registration to the test was possible throughout the month of July, but this year things might actually be a bit different.
It’s no dealbreaker, but this year applications for Italian medschools and dentistry schools in English should open in mid-June, specifically on the 17th, and should close on July 9th, well before last year’s dates.
As previously confirmed, IMAT test date for 2019 will be September 12th. This is an official date set by the Italian Ministry of Education and is highly unlikely to change.
2 – University of Padova Medical School?
It’s been about 10 years since the first International Medical Schools in Italy were born. First came the Harvey course in Pavia, then IMS Milan, and now we already have 11 medschools in English and even one Dentistry in English course.
It seems however that this process is far from being over and English language medical schools in Europe will soon count on one more young Italian sister. On the CAAT leaflet we see that it is possible that the University of Padova will start its own English medical course in 2019.
Check this out:
There have been rumors about this possibility for quite some time, and this seems to be further confirmed by the presence of a dedicated page about the University of Padova Medical School on their official website.
Exciting, isn’t it?
Up to date there is no definitive information, but it’s not big secret that there are some amazing implications.
First of all, the University of Padova is one of the highest ranking medschools in Italy, with a long history of delivering excellent education and giving birth to incredible pieces of research, so obviously it’s going to be a great choice among all the International Medical Schools.
But this is not everything:
One more university means more available seats in general for Italian medical schools in English. If what is written on the Padova website is confirmed, there will be 60 seats more than last year!
It’s great that the offer of English medical schools in Italy is expanding. In just a decade the number of seats available went from around a 100 to almost 600, and this without counting the private universities.
There are no info available on how the Padova course will actually be, but if you want to have an idea of how the other medical schools in Italy in English are, check out our huge comparison page.
3 – English language requirements (no change!)
Well, the third point is actually something that didn’t change with respect to previous years. We’re often asked about which English language entry requirements are necessary in order to apply for IMAT.
As for previous years, no English language certification is needed; however, our friends at Cambridge Assessment state the following:
What does this mean?
Simply put, the International Medical Admission Test is thought for people who possess a B2 language certification. According to the Common European Framework of Reference, a B2 is equal to a First Certificate of English or an IELTS 5.5 or a TOEFL 46-59 overall score.
In Italy, students in high school who have a fairly good English level with respect to their classmate often take the FCE exam in their last or second-to-last year, so this is the proficiency that is expected from students who completed secondary school.
Does this matter for you specifically?
You might think that your English proficiency is not important because no certificate is required, and it doesn’t count towards the final score.
But here’s the thing: it does.
When I was your age and I was sitting the IMAT myself, I remember that I didn’t manage to finish all the questions because the exam was so long that my relatively poor reading speed in English was actually slowing me down.
Just the previous day I had done the Italian admission exam and I had had no problem whatsoever in going through all the questions. But on that day I didn’t have the time to finish reading them all!
The only thing that had changed was that this time the questions were not in my native language.
Therefore, here’s my final message: take some time to hone your English reading and comprehension skills. There are plenty of resources online, and even just doing IMAT past papers and quizzes on a daily basis will help you improve your overall score.
All this, just because of your language proficiency.
4 – The IMAT fee.
When compared to other English language medical schools in Europe, studying in Italy is seriously cheap. You can find more about the costs of studying medicine in our dedicated section.
Up until 2018, the IMAT entry fee used to be GBP 105 / EUR 120 / USD 164. Well, this year, Cambridge Assessment has a small surprise for us.
Taking the IMAT in 2019 costs MORE than in 2018!
Yes, it’s just 9 GBP more, or 10 euros, or… 0 dollars more? What’s wrong with this weird currency ratios change anyway?
On a more serious note, the prices had remained exactly the same since the whole Medicine in English in Italy program started ten years ago, and if you account for inflation and current trends in the global economy, it’s a fee increase that makes perfect sense.
5 – IMAT questions change (HUGE!) & how to face it
Pay attention now, because this is potentially a complete game-changer in your IMAT preparation. As most of you already know, The IMAT test is a multiple-choice questions test, comprising 60 questions to be answered in 100 minutes.
Each question is worth 1.5 points if answered correctly, -0.4 if the wrong answer is given, and 0 point if not answered. IMAT past papers from more or less 2013 up to now have followed these rules
So what’s new?
Take a look at the next picture to understand, and prepare to be scared.
Did you see that?
Up until 2018, IMAT questions were divided into four sections: the first comprised 20 logical reasoning questions and 2 general knowledge ones; the second 18 questions of Biology, then 12 of Chemistry, and lastly 8 of Physics and Mathematics.
Now scroll back up and look at the picture again.
YES, now you see it. General Knowledge is the single most frightening subject during IMAT preparation, and the number of questions about it has just increased from only two to a whopping 12! All this at the expenses of Logical Reasoning, which saw a decrease from 20 to 10.
Why is this bad?
Because you almost can’t study for it! There are not many books that prepare you for this sort of questions.
To try and explain better what General Knowledge is, I looked up the description of this subject on the MIUR website; it states:
“I quesiti verteranno su testi di saggistica scientifica o narrativa di autori classici o contemporanei, oppure su testi di attualità comparsi su quotidiani o su riviste generalistiche o specialistiche.”
The rough translation to English is:
“The questions will concern scientific texts or literature by classic and contemporary authors, or texts about recent topics that appeared on newspapers or general or specialized journals.”
Fundamentally, it means “everything”. There may be questions about authors you studied in high school from English literature, Italian literature, French literature… pretty much any sort of literature you can think of. It can be about recent events that appeared on newspapers, such as Brexit, the migrants situation in Europe, the rise of the populist governments, economic sanctions to Iran, what your neighbour ate yesterday…
With so many General Knowledge questions, they might even talk about Medschool.it at some point! Let us know if that happens. We’d be proud.
I want to repeat that none of the changes mentioned on this page are definitive. They are still present on the CAAT website as of today, May 10th, 2019, but the Italian Ministry still has to confirm all this in the call for applicants for 2019 IMAT.
However, we can say that these changes are very likely to happen because the admission test for Italian-language medical schools in Italy has already changed accordingly, so IMAT will probably follow suit.
Furthermore, you have to consider that all those who are planning to study medicine in Italy in 2019 (and possibly in later years) will be affected by this change, so the ranking should shift towards a higher or lower minimum score on average for everyone.
If you are preparing for IMAT now, there is still something you can do about it.
Since the news came out, a few of the companies that provide textbooks for Italian medical admission tests have already published books specifically for General Knowledge. However, these books are in Italian and is designed explicitly for the Italian admission test, and are not really suitable for the English medical admission test.
If you want to gain a competitive edge, we at MEDschool.it have devised IMATschool, a platform which is devoted entirely to IMAT preparation. By subscribing to IMATschool you will gain access to the most complete compendium of resources for preparing for IMAT and finally study medicine in English in Italy.
At IMATschool you will find expert IMAT teachers, a full online IMAT course in July, video courses, questions, and even an IMAT simulator!
Remember that also those of you who wish to study Dentistry in English in Italy will have to sit the IMAT, so these courses are extremely valuable even if you want to enrol to the University of Siena Dentistry course.
But that’s not all:
While IMAT courses often ask you to pay a fee which is easily in the thousands and require you to physically move abroad, with IMATschool you will not only pay a fraction of that price in order to access the most complete and effective resource bank for IMAT preparation, but you will be able to do so from the comfort of your home.
Check out IMATschool for more information.
6 – BONUS: How hard is IMAT?
I’m sure that plenty of you have been wondering this, but how hard is IMAT actually? Well, according to the Cambridge Assessment website:
“The test does not require a lot of extra study as it is a test of skills and knowledge that learners are expected to have already.”
I’m not sure whether this is another change with respect to last year or just the people at CAAT showing off their British humour, but trust us on this: this test is never easy, and it will require you to study for a few months in order to have a shot at the best seats. Nice try, Cambridge.
This year’s IMAT test will definitely have a few surprises for us. The only two major changes this year are probably going to be the presence of the University of Padua Medical School, and the increase in General Knowledge questions, but this is already enough to change the way we look at this next exam.
Remember to subscribe to our newsletter and join our Facebook group to remain updated with the latest info about International Medical Schools in Italy. Also, don’t forget to check IMATschool to improve your IMAT preparation and maximize your chances of getting one of the top spots in this years exams.
Also, let us know your opinion on the major changes! Do you think they will affect your preparation? Do you think the minimum entry score will increase or decrease? And finally, are you excited about the new medical university in Padova opening soon?
As usual, best of luck to you all,
Disclaimer: the present article is based on material published by Cambridge Assessment and by the Italian Ministero dell’Istruzione, Università e Ricerca (MIUR). It is stated both in the article and in the aforementioned material that all information presented is by no means definitive and may be subject to change as we approach the Exam. Medschool.it is not to be held accountable should any piece of information turn out to be inaccurate.
Emergency medicine physician, graduated in Pavia. After going through six tough years of med school, I know how valuable information and encouragement can be; so here I am, trying to provide a bit of both with my posts.
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