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The ULTIMATE IMAT Guide: Everything You Need To Know To Study Medicine In English In Italy

So you have decided you want to study medicine. After looking in many different places, you figured out that Italy is one of the best choices for education, opportunities, scholarships, and much more. The problem is, you are not sure where to start, what the process is, and how you should study for the IMAT exam (The admission exam you need to take to study medicine in English in Italy).

Luckily for you, EnterMedSchool is here to help! EnterMedSchool is a non-profit project founded by me (Ari Horesh) while preparing for the IMAT myself. Today I am finishing my second year at the University of Pavia. At EnterMedSchool, we offer various forums, courses, and a community platform to help as many future doctors as we can. Still, before you dive into the HUGE variety of study materials and resources we offer here for free on the website,  it’s a good idea to make some order and answer the most frequently asked questions about the IMAT exam. Especially about the process of pre-enrollment, registration, studying and even the things you need to do after moving to Italy for the first time. So, first of all, let’s understand what the IMAT exam is!

What is the IMAT exam?

IMAT stands for International Medical Admission Test, and it is the entrance exam for Italian public medical schools. If you wish to study medicine in Italy, in English, you must take the IMAT and generate a competitive score that will be the sole basis of your admission to the program. 

What is the structure of the IMAT exam?

The format of the exam is 60 multiple choice questions with five possible answers for all questions. The length of the exam is 100 minutes. There are no calculators, dictionaries, or any other aids allowed for the exam. 

What is the format of the IMAT exam?

Exam Format:
The IMAT exam has five sections: Logical reasoning, general knowledge, biology, chemistry, math, and physics.
General Knowledge = 12 questions
Logical Reasoning = 10 questions
Biology = 18 questions
Chemistry = 12 questions
Math/Physics = 8 questions (combined)

What is the General Knowledge section of the IMAT consist of?

The general knowledge questions consist of various topics that may include history, geography, politics, economic systems, books, authors, famous philosophers, writers, etc. In a nutshell, this section of the IMAT is comprehensive and covers many cultural topics. On EnterMedSchool, you will find a pre-made Anki deck with many practice questions for the “General Knowledge” section of the IMAT exam.

What is the Logical Reasoning section of the IMAT consist of?

Critical thinking involves seven different types of questions: 
 1. Summarising the main conclusion 
 2. Drawing a conclusion 
 3. Identifying an assumption 
 4. Assessing the impact of additional evidence 
 5. Detecting reasoning errors 
 6. Identifying parallel reasoning 
 7. Applying principles

Problem-solving primarily consists of questions that evaluate numerical and spatial skills. 

Where can I take the IMAT exam?

The IMAT is written at designated testing centers that are stationed all around the world. Currently, there are 22 testing centers in countries outside of Italy and 12 locations in Italy. All the listings for the IMAT 2020 testing center locations and their start times are mentioned here. Keep in mind, testing centers and their locations may change every year. Therefore, please plan your travel to the nearest testing location well in advance. 

When is IMAT 2021?

IMAT 2021 will be held on Thursday, September 9, 2021.  The IMAT is typically held in the second week of September.

How much does IMAT cost?

You need to pay the IMAT fees on the universitaly website during the registration. The fees can be paid in 3 different currencies, depending on your location. Again, keep in mind that these fees are subject to change.
(£114), (€130) or ($164)

When can I register for the IMAT exam?

The registration for the IMAT typically opens at the beginning of July and lasts for about three weeks. In 2020, the registration opened on July 1st and ended on July 23. The entire process is done on the universitaly website after the non-EU premeds have completed the Pre-Enrollment procedure. The deadlines are strict. Thus it is essential not to miss the window and plan all the arrangements well ahead of time. 

Now that you get the general idea about the IMAT exam let’s break down everything you need to know before taking it.

On average, the process of preparing, enrolling, choosing a university, studying, and getting the results is taking 6-8 months. The process usually starts in March and ends one month after sitting the IMAT exam. Registering for the IMAT exam is quite different for European residences and non-European residences. EUs that live outside of Italy and have their high school diploma in any language other than English only need to translate their documents into Italian and get a confirmation from the embassy. Unlike non-Europeans, who have to visit the Italian embassy in their countries several times to do pre-enrollment and obtain a student visa.

The Ticino Bridge, Next to the University of Pavia, Italy.

What? Student visa? Pre-enrollment? Don’t worry. I will make sure to go through each step in this comprehensive IMAT guide, and I promise you that you won’t need any other manual or resource!

In general, we can divide the process into several steps:

  • Pre-enrollment – translation of your documents and diplomas, visiting the Italian embassy, and getting the “Declaration of value” from the embassy. | April-July
  • Online enrollment + scholarship application (if needed) | July – August
  • IMAT 2021 | September 9th
  • IMAT Rankings | Mid October
  • University Enrollment | Mid October

Pre-pre-enrollment for the IMAT

As I mentioned earlier, the process of registering is different for Europeans and non-Europeans. Both need to do something we call “Pre-pre-enrollment” (That’s weird, I know, but bear with me). Since 2019, some universities have started enrolling and sending your documents to the universities you might be interested in enrolling in. This process is not binding. You can choose any other universities and do the “pre-pre-enrollment” for different universities. However, you won’t be able to enroll in a university with “pre-pre-enrollment” if you missed the deadline.

Which documents are required to register for the IMAT exam?

It varies from country to country, but in general, the required documents are your high-school diploma (12 years), translation of A levels or IB, or your county’s specific exam. To find out more, please create a post in our forums. Some universities also require an English-level certificate.

Which universities require the “pre-pre-enrollment” for the IMAT exam?

University of Turin, Pavia, and Messina require this extra step mentioned above. However, the rest of the universities do not have this pre-pre-enrollment process.

Where can I translate my documents for the IMAT?

Embassies of different counties offer a list of certified translators you can translate your documents with. You will have to translate the documents with one of the translators from the list. After translating, you’ll have to go to the embassy to get the documents “apostilled.” Only after translating and “apostilling” the documents will you be able to use them to register for the IMAT exam.

Step 1: IMAT Pre-enrollment

The process of pre-enrollment is only relevant to non-European candidates. The Europeans will only have to visit their embassy as well to get their high-school diplomas checked. This process is necessary to get a document called “Dichiarazione di Valore” or “Declaration of Value” (You will see people abbreviate it to DoV in many places).

The Duomo of Milan, Next to the University of Milano (IMS), Italy.


Between the beginning of April and the end of July – Italian embassies outside of Europe around the world will start accepting request for Pre-Enrollment (pre-iscrizione) in which every foreign Applicant (non-EU) will have to submit their application to the embassy at his country (where he’s a citizen/ got his high school diploma) indicating his first choice University.

Views of Turin, The Alps, The University of Torino, Italy.


To do Pre-Enrollment, you’ll have to contact the embassy and make an appointment. When you arrive at the embassy, you’ll be asked to submit several papers and forms:

– Form A, in which you’ll fill your personal information, your education data, and your first choice University, all this data will be sent to the University.

High school Diploma Translated to Italian and apostilled from the Ministry of foreign affairs- to get your Declaration of Value (Dichiarazione di Valore) which is the declaration that your Diploma is authentic and Valid in Italy.

If in your country an acceptance test for university is obligatory, then you’ll have to show the test results (contact your local embassy for more information)

Photocopy of your Passport (must be valid)

2 Passport size photos

How do I get the “Declaration of Value”?

The “Dichiarazione di Valore” or “Declaration of Value” is a document given to you by the Italian embassy in your country after reviewing your diplomas and confirming that your level of education is sufficient to study medicine in English in an Italian university.

How do I fill the A-form for the IMAT exam’s pre-enrollment?

You can download this PDF to see how you should fill the A-form before submitting it to your embassy.

What should I do if I still don’t have my diplomas? (I am still in school)

You should email your first choice university and your embassy as well to find a solution. It’s common, and you shouldn’t be worried about it.

Step 2: IMAT Registration

Now that you did the pre-enrollment, you can register for the exam itself! Usually, during July, the online registration opens, and you will be able to register and pay the fees required to take the IMAT exam in September. Notice that even if you pre-enrolled in your embassy, you have to follow this step as well!

How to register for the IMAT on Universitaly.it

universitaly.it is the official website where you do the registration for the IMAT exam. Follow these steps to understand how to register for the IMAT exam.

Step 1: Click “Why and how to register”

Step 2: Fill in your details

Make sure to fill the form correctly. Double-check everything! Changing your details later is a complex process. Next, you will see your “Codice fiscale” (Italian tax code) Appear. This code is essential, and you should copy it and save it in a safe place.


Step 3: IMAT Pre-enrollment

Navigate to the home page again but this time, choose “IMAT 202X” (Depends on the year), fill in your details once again!


Step 4: “Step A”

After clicking on “apply now,” the “Step A” form window will open. Fill in the details and proceed to the next step.


Step 5: “Step B”

In this step, you will need to fill the “step B” form, where you will also be asked to upload a passport-sized photo of your face and a scan of your passport (page with your photo and your details)
After uploading a scan of your passport and a passport-sized photo of your face, you will need to fill in some details regarding the visa, I.e., in which consulate general or embassy you will be applying for the visa and why.


Step 6: “Step C”

In this step, you need to upload all the relevant documents of qualification your university has asked for. For a more accurate idea about what is to be uploaded, you need to mail the university you’re applying to


Applying to Scholarship and Financial Aid Before The IMAT Exam

Usually, at the time of the IMAT pre-enrollment, different universities open their application for scholarships. The body in charge of granting scholarships here in the north is “EDISU,” a European organization.

This body or the university will provide your “ISEE” number based on the documents you provided. The “ISEE” is just a numerical value that represents your economic conditions back home.

You will have to apply for this scholarship and translate your documents before the IMAT results. The scholarship is divided into several categories.

  • Free “Mensa” (cafeteria) card – usually obtainable only before the IMAT exam.
  • A grant of 3500-4500 euros – usually obtainable only before the IMAT exam.
  • Tuition fee discount – usually obtainable before and during the school year.

At my university (Pavia), we need to apply until mid-August* and send the translated documents (the documents differ significantly from country to country, so you should ask us on the forums which documents you need) to the university by mail after uploading a copy online. (I used DHL, it arrived after three days). It’s a bit complicated and specific, so I can’t cover the process in this article. However, if you need help getting a scholarship and financial aid, we will be more than happy to help! Just create a forum post!

*This year, it was different due to the pandemic.

Just remember that you can get a tuition fee discount (I didn’t pay the tuition fee in my first year) even if you miss the scholarship’s deadline before the IMAT exam. But if you apply for the scholarship in august and your ISEE is low enough, you might get all three! (No tuition fee, 3500-4500 euros, and free food in the cafeteria!)

What is the ISEE?

The ISEE is an indicator of the family’s economic condition, and the INPS issues it for those with income and assets in Italy. You can get your ISEE calculated even if you don’t live in Italy but a student in Italy. Based on your ISEE, all public universities (and EDISU) will calculate the tuition fee you need to pay and your scholarship.

What is my ISEE as an international student in Italy?

The ISEE is calculated based on the documents you translate and provides to your university or EDISU (if you apply to a scholarship before the school year, in many universities, EDISU will automatically send you ISEE results to your university.

How can I calculate my ISEE as an international student in Italy?

Here is how to calculate your ISEE as an international student.

1) Yearly income of your parents (of the previous year) or yourself, if you are an individual (times), the rate against the euro = A

2) Size of the apartment you live in (times) 500 (times) 0.2 = B

A + B = X (times) [Coefficient that depends on the number of people in your house] = ISEE UNI
B (times) 5 (times) [Coefficient that depends on the number of people in your house] = ISPE UNI
ISPE Is a value your nuclear family gets, and the ISEE is what you get.
The ISEE should be less than 23000 to get the scholarship, and the ISPE should be less than 50,000.

1 person = 1
2 persons = 1.57
3 persons = 2.04
4 persons = 2.46
5 persons = 2.85

Which University Should I Choose?

In 2011, when the university of Pavia was the first university to start teaching medicine in English, you didn’t have many choices to choose from.

Today, many universities all over Italy offer medical courses in English, and one of the hardest things is not the pre-enrollment process but the process of deciding on which university you are willing to study for the next six years! After talking with dozens of students all over Italy and becoming a medical student myself, here are the most important things to do and consider when choosing your university!

Which universities teach medicine in English in Italy in 2021?

14 universities teach medicine in English in Italy:
2021 Update: University of Parma!
– The University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli (Napoli)
– University of Napoli Federico II
– University of Pavia
– IMS Milan
– Rome la Sapienza
– The University of Milan-Bicocca
– The University of Turin
– The University of Bari
– The University of Bologna
– University of Siena (Dentistry)
– The University of Messina
– University of Rome Tor Vergata
– The University of Padova

  • City: Is it a big, crowded city like Milan, or a smaller city like Pavia? You will live there for the next six years, and you should ask yourself which kind of environment you prefer.
  • Rank: I’ll be brutally honest with you: Unless it’s not a “top 50” university, the ranking doesn’t matter when it comes to many universities in Italy (and in general). Many preparation courses will try to sell you the idea that the universities in Italy are the best in Europe because some of them (such as Milan and La Sapienza) are ranked in the top 100. The ranking mainly represents the amount of research the university conducts every year and has nothing to do with the ability of your future professors to teach, so it doesn’t matter. HOWEVER, if you want to get an idea about the quality of teaching in a specific university, the best thing to do is contact the students directly and not rely on the ranking online. You can use our website to meet many students all over Italy who already took the IMAT and now study medicine in Italy, and ask them yourself!
  • Budget: the expenses vary tremendously between every city! You might pay 800 euros every month like me for everything including rent, tuition fee (which I don’t pay), transportation and food and leisure, but in Milan, you could pay 1300-1500 euros for the same things! Usually, the bigger the city, the more expensive it is, and northern cities are more expensive than southern cities.
  • Friends: if you have people from your country who want to study in a specific university or a big community of people from your country within a particular city (such as the vast Israeli community in Pavia), it might be something to consider. This aspect is usually being forgotten but is so essential!
  • Minimum score: The minimum IMAT score varies among different universities around Italy. Some require 35 points, and some require 55 in the first round (don’t worry, I will explain the round in just a minute). The median score is usually around 35, but only 5% or less of the students get 55 and above.
  • Social Life: as mentioned earlier, the size of the city determines the environment, as well as the number of clubs, bars, and restaurants each city has. Here in Pavia, we are pretty limited when it comes to go out and do something. We usually go to the same place and the same club/bar, and if we want to do something special, we take the train to Milan. Don’t let it discourage you. As a medical student, you won’t have much time anyway (and you really shouldn’t) to go out too often. If you are someone whose social life is essential to them, you might want to consider choosing cities such as Rome, Milan, and Napoli (and similar cities) and not a city such as Pavia.

What is the minimum score for IMAT 2021?

The ranking system varies among non-EU and EU candidates. For non-EUs, only those with the highest score will get admitted to the universities based on the number of seats allotted to international students. The non-EU wouldn’t choose a different university if they didn’t score high enough to get a seat in their first (and only) choice university. For example, the University of Pavia usually has 40 seats available for international students, so the 40 people who score the highest will be admitted to the university. On the other hand, for the EUs, it’s an entirely different story. The European IMAT candidates have a process called “Rounds” or “Scrolling” – assuming they didn’t get a seat in the first round. They will be able to choose a different university based on the availability of spots in various universities.

What were the minimum IMAT 2020 scores to apply?

The University of Pavia 
EU – (54.5 – 2020)
Non EU – (41.8 – 2020)

The University of Tor Vergata
EU – (52.9 – 2020)
Non EU – (34 – 2020)

The University of Roma La Sapienza
EU – (53.7 – 2020)
Non EU – (42.3 – 2020)

The University of Torino
EU – (53.4 – 2020)
Non EU – (44 – 2020)

The University of Milan, IMS
EU – (57.8 – 2020)
Non EU – (47.8 – 2020)

The University of Milan, Bicocca
EU – (57.5 – 2020)
Non EU – (43.7 – 2020) 

The University of Bologna
EU – (57.8 – 2020)
Non EU – (50 – 2020)

The University of Bari
EU – (51 – 2020)
Non EU – (41.4 – 2020)

The University of Napoli Federico II
EU – (56.4 – 2020)
Non EU – (31.1 – 2020)

The University of Napoli Federico II
EU – (56.4 – 2020)
Non EU – (31.1 – 2020)

The University of Padova
EU – (55 – 2020)
Non EU – (27.5 – 2020)

The University of Messina
EU – (50.4 – 2020)
Non EU – (28.5 – 2020)

What is a good IMAT score?

The minimum IMAT score varies among different universities around Italy. Some require around 35 points, and some require close to 55 in the first round. The median score is usually approximately 35, but only 5% or less of the students get 55 and above. Therefore, a good IMAT score for 2021 will be around 50 points.

Does the IMAT score correlate with the level of the university?

Yes, definitely. The level of the university usually goes hand in hand with the minimum IMAT score required each year.
*There are many preparation courses which sell the idea to their student that a new university such as Messina (when they didn’t start teaching yet!) is the same level as Pavia (which is the first one to begin teaching medicine in English), encouraging them to enroll into less competitive university only to have more people who used their course and passed the IMAT exam.

What will be the minimum scores for IMAT 2021?

No one knows. The only way to know the minimum scores for IMAT 2021 is to wait until the official results come out. There are many surveys online, but they are usually biased and not reliable.
Just focus on doing your best, and don’t stress yourself about the score.
If you are taking an IMAT simulator and you want to estimate which university you’ll enroll in. I would take last year’s result and increase it by 5 points. But again – you can never know.

How do the rounds work for EU IMAT candidates?

As an EU candidate, if your score was too low to get a seat in your first choice university, you will be able to choose another university within five days. Then, every five days, a couple of the top students of each round will admit to the university they chose. The rounds continue until all seats are taken.

How Can I Study For The IMAT?

When I studied for the IMAT, the only available resources were overpriced online courses or in-person preparation courses (some are good but very expensive, and not many can afford them). So I decided that I would do something about the fact that people don’t get an equal chance to study for this exam. The IMAT exam is high-school level, and unlike what many preparation courses are saying, you can study for the IMAT by yourself.

So how can you study for the IMAT?

  • You can use our free study materials and the courses we publish here on EnterMedSchool.
  • Analyze and solve questions of similar exams such as the BMAT, TSA, NEET, and the AP/IB.
  • Please participate in our free classes and live events during the last few months before the exam.
  • Use sources such as Khan Academy to review Math and Physics or use high school books.
  • Check out “Ninja nerd lectures,” “AK Lectures,” “Armando Hasudungan,” and “Khan academy.”
  • Start managing your time and use your time to study efficiently.
  • Learn how to use Anki and how to make flashcards.
  • Use the books we mentioned on the website in our IMAT planner to learn what the relevant pages to study from in these books.

What is the best IMAT course?

The most comprehensive online course which is currently available for the IMAT exam is EnterMedSchool’s IMAT course. And it is free.

What are the best books for the IMAT?

We usually recommend using Pearson’s biology and chemistry books to study for the IMAT exam, as well as for the math and chemistry sections. Barron’s SAT books are great for reviewing the material as well.

Where can I find the IMAT’s past papers?

The IMAT past papers on worked solutions can be found for free here on EnterMedSchool. We don’t suggest trying to solve the IMAT questions too early, but keep them as simulators for when you finish studying.

Can I study for the IMAT by myself?

The IMAT exam is high-school level, and unlike what many preparation courses are saying, you can study for the IMAT by yourself.

University of Tor Vergata, Italy.


The day of the IMAT exam: What to expect?

The day of the exam can be pretty stressful. I took one week off before the exam, and I think I wasn’t stressed during the exam because I made sure to relax and destress at the right time and not burn myself out before the exam. If you study well enough, there is no reason to cram more material right before the exam, as you most likely won’t remember what you study. A part of this exam is to test your stress management. As a future doctor, you will face many stressful situations, and therefore, the exam writers compile the exam in a specific way that comes to test your reactions under stress.

Here is what you should do before the IMAT exam.

Before every exam, the team and I on EnterMedSchool are providing a free preparation marathon on Zoom! Last year the preparation marathon was a huge success, and it is available for free to watch on YouTube. So we are planning to do the same this year. We genuinely believe education should be free and accessible, and every year we are very excited to host our free classes and see so many people passing the IMAT exam.

In the last couple of weeks before the IMAT exam, you should:

  • Review the things you don’t know other than reviewing the material you are already comfortable with. – this is very common, as people seek to feel confident and are afraid of touching and perfecting the topics they are not so good at.
  • Review the past papers again and analyze your mistakes. Create a document and write down the question number and topic that you are struggling with, as well as the number of times you got the wrong answer in one of the past year papers (and similar exams, such as the BMAT, A levels, SAT and TSA)
  • Destress yourself, don’t study during the last days before the exam. Stress management is as important as studying well for this exam.

On the day of the exam:

You will be required to appear at the center of the exam a few hours before the exam. Therefore, you should bring all of your documents, passport, and the receipt you received when registering for the exam. Once the exam started, you’ll have 100 minutes to fill the answer sheet.


Naples, Italy. The city of Federico the II and Luigi Vanvitelli.


You have to do many things before taking the IMAT exam and studying medicine in English in Italy. Here is a timeline of everything we have just talked about and when you should do each one

  • Obtain your diplomas and documents and translate them into Italian. Then, go to the Italian embassy and validate the translation.
  • Do the pre-pre-enrollment if you want (or consider) to enroll in Turin, Pavia, or Messina.
  • Non-EUs – Revisit the embassy with your documents and the A-form so you can get the DoV! EUs – make sure you have the DoV as well.
  • Register for the IMAT exam and pay the exam fees through the website.
  • Apply to the EDISU scholarship, but calculate your ISEE first and see if you are likely to get one. Then, send your first choice university your documents after taking a copy of everything and uploading everything to EDISU’s website as well.
  • Take the IMAT exam.
  • Move to Italy.
  • Become a doctor.

I hope this article answered many of your questions, and if you want me to add anything, feel free to comment down below or create a thread in the IMAT forums!

Don’t forget to check our free courses and join our community. We are here to help!

Good luck!

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    1. Hey, if your documents are in english/italian(or some university allows other languages like french, spanish) then u can upload directly without translation.