IMAT 2024: The Ultimate Guide

We know there is little news about IMAT 2024 yet, but fear not!

The Med School Team is here to help you gather all the necessary information to prepare for what’s to come. 

The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions (MCQs), with 5 options each, to be answered in 100 minutes.

It evaluates the candidate’s knowledge in logical reasoning, general knowledge, biology, chemistry, maths, and physics.

It’s a pen-and-paper exam, usually once a year, around September and November.

What are the prerequisites for the IMAT?

A high school diploma is everything you need to take the IMAT 2024 test!

Is there any age limit for taking the IMAT?

No, there is no age limit to apply for medical school. Students of all ages can study medicine in Italy.

It is common for international students to apply at ages 25-35, some even after pursuing a different career in another field or having built a family.

Even more so, mature candidates tend to manage medical school better, having already obtained the necessary self-discipline for studying that the heavy curriculum demands.

There is no minimum age for applying to a University in Italy.

The only requirement is finishing 12 years of school before applying to study medicine in Italy.

There is, however, one rather unlikely scenario in which a younger candidate can benefit more than an older one.

In the (not so likely) case that two candidates score the same on the IMAT, many factors are considered to determine which one will be ranked higher.

The first criterion is the exact score of each different section on the IMAT (logic, general knowledge, biology, etc.). If both candidates have the same score on every section (extremely unlikely), then priority takes the candidate with an English Language Certificate.

If both candidates have one, priority only goes to the younger candidate.

Can I sit the IMAT test even if I haven’t finished high school?

Short answer: Yes, but you won’t be able to use its score to enter a medical school.

Registering and paying the test fee is the only prerequisite for sitting the IMAT. Doesn’t matter how old you are or if you’re 1 or 5 years away from high school graduation. Finishing high school is irrelevant to taking the IMAT, but enrolling in an italian university is an absolute requirement. So, if you sit the IMAT before finishing high school and even score high enough, you won’t be able to enroll if you don’t have your high school diploma yet.

Before proceeding, let’s make sure you understand a couple of important points:

1. You CAN use your IMAT score if your high school diploma is ready by the enrollment date in the same year. No problem if you still haven’t finished high school in July when the IMAT registration takes place, but you must have the diploma by the moment of enrollment around October.

2. The IMAT score is ONLY valid for the application for the same academic year. For example, an IMAT score for 2023 won’t be valid for entry in 2024.

3. No limits exist on how often you can register for and sit the IMAT. This leads to an important consideration: are there any benefits from sitting the IMAT, even if you can’t use the score in the same year? Let’s take a look below.


A candidate eligible for the IMAT is considered eligible for university in their home country. You do not need any prerequisite courses, and your grades are irrelevant. You will need to have at least 12 years of schooling.

For most candidates, this means 12 years of high school, but if you did not complete 12 years of high school, then any missing years can come from university.

So, candidates willing to study in Italy at the Higher Education level must have at least 12 years of schooling.

If students hold a secondary qualification awarded after only 11 years of global schooling, they need:

– either to give evidence that they have completed 2 years or 1 year, respectively, of university studies in the system of reference;

– or to take the Italian school leaving diploma. 

A) Do you have a secondary school certificate issued after 10-11 years of overall schooling?

If yes, you must:

– prove that you have also completed, respectively, 2 years or 1 year of university studies in the reference educational system (the one under whose rules your qualification was issued; the period of university studies cannot be evaluated to grant you a shortening of your chosen Italian course of study; instead, it will only be accepted to enroll you in the 1st year of the course itself);

 – obtain an Italian upper secondary school diploma.

B) Do you have a secondary qualification of 10 years of comprehensive schooling, and have you also completed 3 years of university studies in your country?

In this case, Italian IS institutions generally settle as follows

– they accept 2 years of your university studies to fill the gap in your secondary education until you reach the general requirement of 12 years of pre-university schooling;

–  they also assess your 3rd year of university studies to see if it is possible to shorten the duration of your chosen Italian course.

Keep in mind that the Italian system is characterised by an overall schooling of 13 years; IS institutions, however, accept foreign secondary qualifications that stipulate a pre-university schooling of 12 years because that is the overall schooling stipulated by the educational systems of western European countries. 

C) Do you have a secondary qualification shorter than the required average duration (12 years of pre-university schooling), but have you also attended a post-secondary professional institution in your country?

Your post-secondary studies may be accepted to fill the gap in your secondary education, but on condition that you have already completed them and obtained the relevant Diploma.

Can I study medicine in Italy without IMAT?

Is IMAT a determinant for getting into a medical school in Italy?

Short answer: Yes. The IMAT (International Medical Admission Test) score is the only factor on which candidate selection is based. Candidates order their university preferences and then take the IMAT test. According to the score they reach, they’re placed in a ranking together with the other candidates. Those ranked higher have a higher chance of getting accepted. Other factors, such as high school diploma grades or precious degrees, are irrelevant to the selection process.

Long answer: Besides the IMAT score, candidates must complete a list of bureaucratic procedures during every step of the application process. With the prerequisite that all the bureaucratic aspects are completed correctly and within the deadlines, the only determinant for acceptance is a score high enough on the IMAT.

If any of the application steps are missed, the IMAT score will be practically useless, even if high enough for getting accepted.

Here’s the basic outline of the requirements for a successful application:

  • Having completed 12 years of schooling before applying to a University. This is a perfect example of the above point. If you’re in 11th grade now and sit the IMAT this year, you won’t be able to use your IMAT grade, even if you got a stellar score. Your grade will also not be valid for the following year after high school.
  • Register (or “pre-registration”) at your university of choice. Only a couple of Universities require this step.
  • Pre-enrollment is a mandatory step for all Non-Eu candidates.
  • IMAT registration at and paying the exam fee.
  • Obtaining the DOV or equivalent certificate
  • Obtaining a study visa (for Non-Eu candidates).
  • Enrolling within the deadline after getting accepted. The deadline is tight, especially for EU candidates, so it’s not uncommon for many applicants to lose their spots this way.
How to get the Declaration of Value (DOV) for medical school in Italy

Is IMAT only in Italy?

Where can you sit for the IMAT test?

The IMAT is exclusively paper-based and can not be sat online.

The test centers’ venues might change slightly each year according to previous years’ demand. For example, in 2021, one new test center was added in Ankara, Turkey, and the test center in Hamburg was replaced with a center in Frankfurt.

The definitive test centers for the current year are announced in an official decree by the Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR) each June.

The precise classroom addresses where the test will be held are normally announced at the end of August, days before the IMAT in September.

IMAT Test Centers

Here’s the IMAT 2023 test centers:

  • Azerbaijan – Baku – British Council
  • Brazil – Sao Paolo – Winner Idiomas
  • Canada – Toronto – Centre of English Studies
  • China – Pechino
  • Cyprus – Nicosia – British Council Cyprus
  • France – Paris – The British School of Paris
  • Germany – Frankfurt – Provadis
  • Germany – Munich – Münchner Volkshochschule
  • Greece – Athens – British Council Athens
  • Hong Kong – Hong Kong – ITS Education Asia
  • India – New Dehli – BC Education India Private Limited
  • Italy – Bari – Università degli Studi di Bari
  • Italy – Milano – Università degli Studi di Milano
  • Italy – Milano – Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca
  • Italy – Roma – Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”
  • Italy – Roma – Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”
  • Italy – Napoli – Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”
  • Italy – Napoli – Università di Napoli Federico II
  • Italy – Bologna – Università di Bologna
  • Italy – Torino – Università degli Studi di Torino
  • Italy – Catania – Università degli Studi di Catania
  • Italy – Pavia – Università degli Studi di Pavia
  • Italy – Parma – Università degli Studi di Parma
  • Italy – Siena – Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Italy – Messina – Università degli Studi di Messina
  • Italy – Padova – Università degli Studi di Padova
  • Italy – Ancona – Università Politecnica delle Marche
  • Pakistan – Lahore – British Council Lahore
  • Poland – Warsaw – Lang LTC
  • Saudi Arabia – Jeddah – British Council Jeddah
  • South Africa – Johannesburg – British Council Johannesburg
  • Spain – Madrid – British Council Madrid
  • Switzerland – Zurich – Zurich Flying Teachers
  • Turkey – Ankara – British Council Ankara
  • Turkey – Istanbul – British Side
  • UAE – Dubai – British Council Dubai
  • UK – London – Mobile Testing Solutions
  • USA – New York – OHC New York

A candidate may choose any test center, regardless of nationality. Of course, picking a venue that does not require obtaining a visa would be preferable.

Please note that if you chose an Italian IMAT test center, you must sit the exam at the University you selected as your first choice in your preference list upon the IMAT subscription.

You must pick your test center wisely since it’s known specific venues get filled up incredibly fast. In 2021, the test centers in Turkey, India, UAE, and Brazil were completed within hours of opening the IMAT registration!

  • 4 of reading skills and general knowledge
  • 5 of logical reasoning and problem-solving
  • 23 of biology
  • 15 of chemistry
  • 13 of maths and physics

It’s a pen-and-paper exam. Candidates will receive a folder containing the exam paper, answer sheet, and personal data sheet.

IMAT test specs and topics list

For Logical Reasoning: 

  • Visual reasoning
  • Relevant selection
  • Finding procedures
  • Percentages

For Biology: 

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Cytology 
  • Genetics 
  • Biomolecules
  • The central dogma of molecular biology
  • Bioenergetics 

For Chemistry: 

  • Organic chemistry
  • Solutions 
  • Stoichiometry
  • Bonds and molecular geometry 
  • Period table

For Maths and Physics: 

  • Geometry 
  • Probability and statistics
  • Equations and disequations 
  • Thermodynamics
  • Kinematics 
  • Dynamics

The IMAT score is the only factor determining candidate selection.

In the IMAT, all sections are marked the same, and each question carries equal weight. As such, your IMAT total score will be calculated using the following method:

  • 1.5 points for a correct answer
  • -0.4 points for a wrong answer
  • 0 points for an unanswered question

So, candidates must be careful when answering: knowing when to shoot an answer randomly and when it’s best to leave it blank will help boost your score!

What score is good for IMAT?

First of all, we’d like to point out that the IMAT minimum score changes every year and depends on the difficulty of the test. Thus, on average, students will likely score higher on an easy test and lower on a hard one.

This is why you shouldn’t feel satisfied with reaching the minimum score but should always aim for the highest possible one!

That said, the minimum score for the IMAT 2022 was 32.8 points. The last candidates to enroll were in position 2589 for Dentistry in Rome – La Sapienza and in position 2574 for Medicine in Poli-Marche.

The IMAT 2023 ranking list is still scrolling slowly but steadily, so it’s hard to give a precise minimum score. However, as of the end of January 2024, there are only 129 seats available out of 914, with a minimum score of 33.9 in position 1151 for Medicine in Catania.

Like the minimum score, the highest IMAT score changes yearly depending on the difficulty of the test.

In IMAT 2023, the top score was 79,4 for Bologna, but candidates can score up to 90 points if they answer every question correctly.

There is a separate ranking list released by the single Universities for non-EU students living abroad, and it’s impossible to make any predictions about those!

The IMAT participation fee in 2023 was 130.00€ (or 164.00$ and 114.00£), as reported on Universitaly.

We are still waiting for the official decree. IMAT 2023 date was in October, so we expect that IMAT 2024 would take place around September/October.

We are going to update this article as soon as we have the official dates 😎

Which university is best for medicine in Italy?

When picking a medical school in Italy, there are a couple of factors applicants often consider.
However, the priority of those factors significantly differs for EU and non-EU applicants due to differences in ranking.

  • Non-Eu candidates are allowed a single choice of university. Therefore, for them, the first factor to consider is whether their academic preparation fits the entry scores of the specific university they chose. Those who feel weakly prepared would have a slim chance of entering a university with a known high entry score and a low number of seats. A choice inadequate to their preparation level might result in missing the chance to be accepted.
  • EU candidates, on the other hand, don’t need to focus on the entry score as far as the ranking is concerned.

Universities in Italy are generally divided into Northern and Southern.

In the North, you may expect a higher national and universal ranking of the academic level, as well as higher costs of living.

The Southern universities tend to have a lower international ranking, but rent is cheaper, the warmer climate, and entry scores are generally lower.

You can find an in-depth comparison of all universities based on all the above factors in our article comparing all medical schools in Italy.

Lastly, the most common advice from current medical students to medical applicants is to choose the city you’d enjoy living in for the next 6+ years rather than focus on the academic achievements of the universities. Truth be told, the ranking doesn’t really affect your experience as a medical student or how much you’ll learn, nor does it play a role when applying for a specialization abroad.

What Universities can you apply to with the IMAT test?

IMAT test is the requirement that you need in Public Medical School in Italy:

English Medical Schools in Italy

Do I need an English certificate (IELTS, TOEFL, CEFR, etc.) to study medicine in Italy?

As of 2023, English language certifications are not required to enroll in IMAT. However, they may come into play in case of equal scores between two applicants.

Score parity

According to the IMAT 2023 ministerial decree, if two candidates score equally, some criteria help determine the final order:

As you can see, this possibility is improbable.

Your place on the ranking list is extremely important, and one position higher or lower might make all the difference for you. Two people scoring the same points on IMAT is common.

It is so rare that the candidate comparison will continue beyond the different exam sections, let alone the age, that the chance of needing your certificate for this purpose is infinitesimal.

Our advice is if you know the score parity is the only reason you might put your efforts into obtaining a new certificate, then it is much better to focus on your IMAT preparation instead!

Your Embassy might require a certificate

Still, suppose you have an English language certificate or have studied English for at least one year of high school education: you can attach your certificate/ proof of education to Universitaly while registering for the IMAT.

So universities (except Bicocca) might not ask you for it, but the Italian Embassy in your country could. It is not uncommon, as many students report being asked for a B2 English level certificate and an A2 Italian certificate (this is in the case of Tunisia, for example).

In this case, a language certificate might be needed for visa-issuing purposes during pre-enrollment.

This might not be valid for other embassies, so make sure to call /email and ask them well in advance so you have time to obtain a certificate if needed.

Nevertheless, always double-check the university’s official website for updated information on their admission requirements, such as an English language certificate! There might be changes from one year to the next.

When might you need an English language certificate? [Timeline]

1. March-July – At the Embassy
2. July/August – IMAT registration – your certificate might help you in case of score parity
3. October /November– Enrollment – Milan Bicocca will ask for your certificate after you are accepted and about to enroll

Check with your embassy and the university website you are interested in to find out well in advance whether you need a certificate. Using the timeline above, you will know how much time you have to obtain one if you don’t already have one!

Italian language: Do I need to know the Italian language?

No prior Italian language knowledge is required to enter an English-taught medical school in Italy.

During the course (6 years), lectures and exams are held entirely in English. In the first two years (pre-clinical years), the Italian language is not necessary, as practical training doesn’t start until the third year. During the clinical years, however, Italian will be necessary for communication with patients and doctors in the hospital, in addition to the course professors. 

Some international medical schools will test your Italian knowledge at the beginning of your clinical years, while others won’t. Mostly, you’ll rely on your self-determination to learn as much Italian as possible to have a better experience during the hospital traineeship. 

Most universities offer Italian courses for international students – some are free, and others have a fee of about 150€ per semester.

They’re generally semester-long and involve 1-2 sessions per week, plus a final exam at the end of the course. Other universities include the Italian language as part of the curriculum.

Many students prefer engaging in independent intensive month-long Italian language courses over the summer break (between the 1st and the 2nd year) instead of attending the courses the University provides during the academic year.

Starting medical school in Italy with absolutely no prior Italian language knowledge is the case for 95% of international students, and almost all of them have no problem reaching the appropriate level naturally over time.

While living in Italy will give you a good start and sufficient comprehension of the language, passive learning will probably not yield the results needed to communicate professionally. However, with the help of a couple of courses, you’ll be up to speed in no time!

IMAT Application

Double citizenship: Should I apply as EU or a NON-EU citizens?

Why is your citizenship status important?

Eu and Non-Eu citizens go through a slightly different application process and ranking system. There are two reasons for this: bureaucracy and the number of available seats.

Every university in Italy allocates a particular number of places for EU and non-EU nationals each year. Many EU candidates for studying medicine in Italy are Italian, and they greatly outnumber Non-EU applicants, so most universities provide more spots for EU students.

On the other hand, application steps between the two categories differ largely because Non-Eu nationals need to obtain a study visa, whereas Eu nationals don’t.

Who is an Eu student?

Any applicant who is either an Eu citizen OR is a Non-Eu citizen with an Eu equivalent status. Check below to see if you fall in any of the categories:

1. You are a citizen of one of the countries in the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Hungary) or one of the following countries: Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and San Marino.

2. You have an Eu equivalent status. This means you have Non-Eu citizenship, but you also hold any of the following:

– EU residence permit

– EU equivalent status for employment, family reasons, political or humanitarian asylum, religious reasons, staff in service in Diplomatic Representations abroad (and their dependent families).

Who is a Non-Eu student?

A citizen of a non-EU country who does not reside in Italy or does not possess the requirements to be treated as equivalent to EU citizens. UK citizens without an Eu equivalent status fall into this category.

Double citizenship: which citizenship prevails?

In case you have double citizenship, the rules are clear. In the case of EU and non-EU citizenships, EU citizenship or status prevails. For example, if you’re a Brazilian citizen (Non-Eu) who has lived in Ireland (EU) for the last couple of years and have a residence permit in Ireland. You are considered an EU candidate and can not apply as a Non-Eu.

“International student”: what does it mean?

If you’re unaware of its ambiguity, the “International student” phrase might quickly become a tricky and obscure concept and a source of painful confusion. The problem is that different universities use it with different meanings.

Most of the time, an international student is a synonym of a Non-Eu student. But for example, the University of Turin requires an extra step in the application, and in this context, “an international student” acquires a brand new meaning.

According to Turin University, international students are all students who did not obtain their high school diploma in Italy, regardless of nationality (in this case, even Italian citizens who received their diploma in the US, for example, would be considered international students.)

So remember this information and follow the exact meaning according to the context.

Differences in the application process for Eu and Non-Eu applicants

Below, you can see a rough comparison between the two application processes. The table is not a pro/con list to choose the best fitting category because you’re either considered an EU or Non-Eu, and that’s it. Instead, the purpose of the table is to orient you about what you may expect according to the category you fall into.

Non-EU statusEU status
need to obtain a study visa to applydon’t need a visa
need to pre-enroll (a process tied to the visa)don’t need to pre-enroll
allowed to compete only for one university in the rankingallowed to list all universities and compete for them in the ranking
ranking consists of one round (in most cases)the ranking consists of many rankings that continue rolling for months
enrolment happens in the beginning of October when the first ranking is releasedenrollment may happen anywhere between October and next spring or early summer and thus, miss most of the first year’s lectures

Additionally, according to the university, different tuition fees may apply (fees for Non-Eu are generally lower). There are more nuances to the advantages and disadvantages of each category, such as the difference in minimal entry scores needed for acceptance for Eu and Non-Eu candidates. Check our detailed application guide to learn more about the steps listed in the table, what enrollment is, and how ranking works.

Warning: Once you register for the IMAT or pre-enroll, you won’t be able to change your citizenship status. Suppose you have double citizenship (Non-Eu and Eu or Eu equivalent status), and you decided to apply as a Non-Eu candidate (because you think you’d have better chances of acceptance). In that case, you’d be doing so against the law and would most probably be refused an enrollment even if you do score enough and get accepted.Suppose you’re still in doubt about your particular situation. In that case, the best option might be to reach your University of choice, or even better, a couple of universities, and ask them about your status before you register to the IMAT or pre-enroll.

  • Only the first choice matters for Non-EU candidates because of all the pre-enrollment procedures.
  • During this step, you must also indicate your test location.
  • If you wish to sit for the IMAT in Italy, you will necessarily have to take the exam at your first-choice university. For example, if you put Rome as your first choice and wish to take the exam in Italy, you must take it in Rome. If you want to sit the exam abroad, you must indicate the venue during the registration process;
  • Here is when you should pay the entrance fee. 

Below is a breakdown of all available places for the academic year 2023/2024:

  • EU Medicine and Surgery: 879 places (+208 compared to 2022)
  • Non-EU Medicine and Surgery: 425 places (+53 compared to 2022)
  • EU dentistry: 42 places (-2 compared to 2022)
  • Non-EU dentistry: 18 places (-6 compared to 2022).

You may have heard that ranking into an Italian University sometimes takes weeks or months before you’re offered a place. Is this true? Yes..and no. It depends on your IMAT score and whether you’re an Eu or Non-Eu candidate. So, let’s clear it all out in this short IMAT ranking overview.

After the IMAT takes place, results are released a couple of weeks later. A week after that, the first ranking is out.

It’s a list of all candidates who scored positively on the IMAT, ordered from the highest to the lowest score.

Each year, there is a certain number of available places provided by all medical courses in English in Italy (in 2021, for example, this number was 877). This meant that in the first ranking, the first 877 candidates who scored higher from the ranking list were offered a spot in 2021.

Sounds easy, right? But what happens when a candidate who’s offered a place, refuses it? What if they were placed in a University they listed as a lower preference? This is where the plot thickens.

There is a significant difference between the way ranking works for EU and non-Eu candidates.

This is mainly because EU students can choose more than one University (or all of them) to compete for in order of preference. This is not the case for non-EU students who can only choose one university due to an additional step they need to take – pre-enrollment needed to obtain a study visa. This is how the Eu ranking contains multiple rounds, while the Non-Eu ranking usually contains a single ranking round.

To be more clearer:

  • EU students and non-EU ones living in Italy will all be part of the official ranking list and, therefore, must list the universities they want to study in, in order of preference. This ranking “scrolls” each week, so they may have a chance to reach their top choice by waiting to enroll and confirming their interest in staying in the ranking on Universitaly. 
  • Non-EU students living abroad can only apply to a single university. They will also be part of a separate ranking list: that of their school of choice. Unfortunately, this ranking doesn’t scroll; thus, they are either in immediately or must retake IMAT next year. 

You must score at least 20 points to enter the national ranking list. Thus, if you have scored less than 20 as an EU student, you won’t be admitted into the ranking and won’t be able to enroll.

Once the ranking list officially comes out, you can view it by accessing your reserved area of Universitaly.

There you will find:

  • your score
  • your position in the ranking
  • your situation in the ranking list.

Your situation may look like this:

  • ASSIGNED → congratulations! You have officially gotten a place. Now, all you have to do is respect the 4 business days by which you must enroll. Otherwise, you will lose your seat for the year.
  • BOOKED → A place has been reserved for you at a location other than your first choice. You can now choose to enroll immediately in the university where you are booked, or you can confirm your interest in remaining on the ranking list and wait to move to a different location.
  • WAITING → You are almost there! You can wait for more favorable scrollings; this is the “limbo” of the ranking list. Continue to confirm after each scrolling that you wish to remain on the ranking, and depending on your score and pre-selected choices, you can wait for a place to become available.
  • NOT RANKING → for this situation, there is not much you can do for this year, but don’t let it get you down. Take a few days to revise and immediately start again in better preparation!

Let’s say the list contains 9000 Eu candidates who sat the IMAT in that year and got a positive score (above 20 points). Let’s say, for the sake of the example, that the total amount Eu seats in all Universities offering English-taught courses in Italy, is 500.

At the first ranking, the first 500 candidates on the list (so those who scored the highest), will be offered a place in A university (but not necessarily their first choice university). So they will be either ASSIGNED or BOOKED. Everyone from #501 onwards will be WAITING.

Somebody who is #450 on the list might be offered a place in Bari. But say they put Bari as their 3rd choice, so they resulted in BOOKED on the list. They may wish to take their chances in the hope they’ll enter their first choice University, let’s say, in this case, Milan. They would have to wait for the following ranking (or a couple of rounds of ranking) to be ASSIGNED to Milan (remember, assigned means accepted in your first choice).

Why does the EU ranking have so many rounds?

You can see now how complicated it gets when 9000 people list 13 Universities each (a rough estimate), and a majority wait until they get accepted in a higher choice university.

A new round of ranking is released each week. For the 2020/2021 academic year, there were 39 ranking rounds. The last person got accepted in July 2021 (at the end of the first academic year)! Daunting, I agree. Still, we need to remember that a huge turnover happens during the first ranking rounds. The majority of people are accepted within the first two months. People getting accepted much later on is the exception rather than the norm.

There are many applicants on the list and very few available seats, you might be thinking. In reality, it isn’t as bad as it looks. A large portion of EU candidates tend to give up their seats. Why? A couple of reasons:

1. A LOT of the EU candidates are Italian. Most of them kept studying medicine in English as a plan B in case they didn’t get into an Italian-taught med school. Those who scored high on the IMAT most surely also scored high on the Italian entry test.

2. A lot of EU candidates applied elsewhere, and by the time the first ranking was released (quite late compared to other countries), they had already enrolled in another country. After all, applying in Italy is bureaucratically significantly easier as an Eu than Non-Eu.

3. They couldn’t enroll in time. Let’s not forget Eu candidates only have 4 working days to enroll. If, for example, they’re missing a piece of the document at this point and fail to enroll within the deadline, they lose their spot in the ranking list.

As you can see, there is a big difference in how the EU and non-EU ranking lists work, as both have pros and cons. Hoping that now that you know the details of how this process works, you’re better prepared for the lies ahead of you!

IMAT ranking list for dummies

Remember that the ranking list only allows candidates to move up through their preference list, never down. Thus, you must select your choices based on your interests only and not on which university is more accessible to enter

Your preference list should be made by choosing first the top university you’d like to study at and then, depending on your personal preferences, all the other universities.

Still unsure which University would best fit your hopes and aspirations?

How to enroll

To enroll, you must follow the procedure indicated on the university website to which you have been assigned or booked.

How long do you have to complete the enrollment process?

You will only have 4 days from the publication of the ranking list or scrolling, including the day of the scrolling and excluding Saturdays and public holidays.

Universities usually have registration procedures that are easy to follow, but always pay attention to avoid mistakes when filling in your data!

IMAT 2023: Guide to Ranking and Enrollment

Difference between pre-enrollment and re-registration: which one should I do?

Pre-enrollment and pre-registration (sometimes called “application”) are commonly confused concepts and are NOT steps necessary for every applicant. It depends on which university you are applying to and whether you’re an EU or non-EU applicant. So which one would you need to do?

Before proceeding, let’s brush the dust off our med school application thesaurus and cover the basic terms:

Registration – refers to registering for the IMAT entrance exam itself. It is done online at is in July. Mandatory for all applicants.

Enrollment—After passing the IMAT and being offered a spot in a university, enrollment is submitting all necessary documents to your university and becoming officially a student there. It is mandatory for all applicants. 

Pre-enrollment – an online procedure done at This step is necessary to obtain a visa, so it is only required for non-EU applicants.

Pre-registration (application) – an online procedure required only by several universities done through the dedicated university website and required for some candidates (see below).

So, registration and enrollment are entirely different from pre-registration and pre-enrollment.
Now that we’re clear on the differences, let’s look at the details of pre-registration and pre-enrollment and who needs them.


For dummies: an interplay between you, your first choice University, and your local Embassy/Consulate.

When? Usually beginning in summer. The Italian Ministry of Education releases the exact dates around March.

Who? All Non-Eu candidates.


Pre-enrollment is a mandatory step for all non-EU candidates to be eligible to obtain a visa. Non-EU candidates must pre-enroll only for a single University of choice. Pre-enrollment can not be done for another University.

During the pre-enrollment process at, you must indicate the university and the program you are applying to. You must also specify the embassy where you will apply for an entry visa to Italy. The pre-enrolment application will be verified by the University of your choice and forwarded to the Embassy you have specified. Afterward, when you reach your Embassy for the visa application, they will already know the University “verified” you as a potential candidate.

By now, you will probably understand why non-Eu candidates can only compete for one University instead of listing all options as EU candidates do. The Embassy can’t issue your visa if you’re virtually “accepted” or approved by all 13 universities, right? You can only be pre-approved or pre-enrolled by one.


For dummies, it is a significantly more straightforward process than the above.

Currently (as of 2021), only three Universities need this step; each has different requirements and deadlines. Pre-registration (or applications) is the application process on the University’s website, usually in early spring. The Universities of Turin, Pavia, and Messina are the only ones that require students to apply to the University website to be pre-evaluated. You might be asked for your high school diploma (or a statement that you are about to obtain it) and, in some cases – an English language certificate.

After completing the application, you will receive a pre-acceptance letter, which your Embassy sometimes requires.
The pre-registration is sometimes applicable for EU and non-EU candidates (see below) and can be done simultaneously for as many Universities as you’d like, regardless of nationality.

[Warning]: the deadlines below are meant as an example. They will probably be different in 2024, and other universities may require this step by then, too.

Turin University

When? We still don’t know it yet!

In Turin, all International students need to apply to the university website. International students are those who did not obtain their high school diploma in Italy (this is the rule only in Turin). This means that all non-EU, EU, and Italian citizens, who received their diploma outside of Italy, are obligated to apply within the deadline if they wish to list Turin in their choices while registering for the IMAT.
The deadline for non-EU students who don’t hold an Italian residence permit applying to Turin has already passed (28th April). The current deadline is open for applications by EU or EEA students, non-EU candidates with a valid residence permit in Italy, or Italian citizens with a foreign high school diploma.

Where? Turin application website

Pavia University

When? We still don’t know it yet!

All non-EU candidates whose Embassy requires a pre-acceptance letter from the University.

Where? Pavia application website

Messina University

When? We still don’t know it yet!

Who? International students
. The website doesn’t specify if international means only non-EU or EU. Still, it states that Non-Eu applicants must first apply on the UNIME website to get a pre-evaluation letter before pre-enrolling at Since there are no limitations to how many university websites you can apply to, I’d suggest anyone interested in Messina (EU or non-EU) apply on the website within the deadline (the application takes no more than 5 minutes).

Where? Messina application website

As already mentioned, the pre-registration step is a new introduction to the application process, so we could expect a fair variability of the above deadlines and/or more universities requiring this step in the future. The best advice we can give is to regularly check our website and the universities you’re interested in for updates beginning from January/ February of the year you’d be applying.

Late (and very late) enrolment, how handle it?

Some students enroll as late as the end of the first year. You read that right. Some newly accepted students begin attending lectures at the middle or even end of the first year of the medical course.  And curiously, finishing the year on time is still manageable. Still confused? That is understandable, so keep reading.

There are certain situations in which you could start attending lectures after (or way after) the first semester begins.

As you may know, the IMAT test is held at the beginning of September, and results and ranking lists are released in the first week of October. Students accepted at the first round of ranking have 4 days to fly to Italy and enroll at the University. In the middle of October, the 1st semester and lectures begin. So far, so good. In theory.

In reality, both Eu and Non-Eu students may meet some difficulties along the way of beginning their semester on time, for two different reasons. Let’s explain.

Enrollments for Eu students

While Non-Eu students are only allowed to choose only one University to compete for with their IMAT score (due to the way visa application works), Eu students are allowed to list as many Universities as they wish (even all of them) in order of preference. This is great for obvious reasons, but things get a little messy when it comes to the ranking.

Non-Eu candidates, for example, only get one round of ranking because they only list one University.

At the beginning of October, when the first round of ranking is released, a Non-Eu student is either accepted into a University or not, and the application process finishes there. For EU students, however, after the first ranking is released, follows the second ranking, the third, and so on. A new ranking is released every week from October until.. the next summer!

Last year, the last person to get accepted was on the 39th ranking, which took place in July! This means this student got accepted after the end of the 1st academic year as a regular student, not a repeating one.

IMAT Application Guide for EU Students

Enrollments for Non-Eu students

Non-Eu students can also start the semester a little later for a different reason. Prolonged ranking is not a problem in their case, but the visa could take longer to obtain and thus, not be able to arrive in Italy before the beginning of the academic year.

Visa delays usually take no longer than a month, so this is obviously much better than the late ranking rounds for Eu candidates.

IMAT Application Guide for non-EU Students

So, how can you keep up?

Many people ask whether it’s worth enrolling that late, instead of simply trying the IMAT the following year hoping they’ll score higher. Many wonder how will they keep up with the material and if they will need to repeat the first year. Of course, this is quite a misfortunate situation to find yourself in, but luckily, there are ways to tackle it.

You probably won’t lose too much material if you miss lectures for a month, but missing a semester or even two is a big deal. But if you think there’s a good chance to get accepted later in the year, there are two options for you:

  • Start attending lectures even if you haven’t enrolled at the University yet. Again, this may be a good option if you are fairly certain you will, eventually, get accepted. If you aren’t in Italy yet, contact your (future) classmates and ask them to keep you up to date: what books you need to get, details about the exams, etc. Then, start studying together with the class and keep up. Whenever you finally enroll, you will be allowed to sit the exams.
    In case you get accepted, you will simply take exams together with the class. Attendance (or the lack thereof) won’t be a problem because professors are aware that some students enroll later. In the case you don’t get accepted in the end, all of the subjects from the first-year medical course you studied for will be of great help to ace the next IMAT.
  • If you get accepted really late (eg. July), it might be best to simply begin studying in the following academic year as a repeating student. So you would do the 1st year of medical school during what would have been your 2nd year have you had the chance to enroll on time. This is still certainly a better option than giving up on waiting to get accepted and seizing to confirm your interest in the subsequent ranking rounds. If you really want to pursue a medical career in Italy, repeating the 1st year is a much painless route than redoing the IMAT all over again.

So if you find yourself in such a pickle, don’t despair. Make the most out of the situation keep up with the 1st year. And if you don’t get accepted at the end, all that you learned would still be immensely helpful for your IMAT preparation the second time around.

IMAT simulations and past papers 

Do you want to test your knowledge with some IMAT simulations?

Not only will you try the feeling of doing the IMAT test, but your results will also be uploaded to a national ranking so you can see your progress compared to your peers! 

Previous IMAT test papers

How do I study for the IMAT

Is IMAT very hard? What are the best materials for the IMAT study?

How long does it take to prepare for the IMAT 2024?

The answer to this question largely depends on your background and starting level. If you have no prior knowledge of some of the subjects (i.e. you never studied Chemistry in school), you may need more time to prepare.

Some applicants prepare for a year without achieving substantial results, others only dedicate 2 months and score high. We wouldn’t advise you, however, to underestimate the need for good exam preparation. The selection process is highly competitive and you should begin your preparation as early as possible.

The average amount of time candidates dedicate is about 8 months. That said, if you started preparing 3-4 months before the IMAT, don’t despair. You still might have an excellent chance to get in. 

The best way to check your starting level is by doing a timed simulation. You can find them here!

After you do your first simulation and spend some time studying afterward, you could do a second simulation and have an estimate of the speed with which you progress and thus, the time you might need to complete your preparation.

For a more complete preparation, learn more about our IMAT 2024 preparation course!

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