Last Tuesday, one of the tutors from my college gave a talk to all of the people hoping to become medics, dentists and vets. Everything that she said was great advice, and i thought that some of you might find some benefit in it!
The first thing she said was; “this time last year there were 120 people sitting here. Of those people, 29 applied for medical school. 20 got a place.” And that really bought home just how hard the next year is going to be. Only 17% of the people who thought they wanted to go to medical school when they were in the position i am now, actually got accepted! And i found that really scary. But, it just makes me realise how determined i am; how much i want to be part of that 17%...
To get into a medical school, you need to have strong GCSE’s. A’s and A*’s are basically a requirement- better not tell them about the B in English Language then!
Apparently, if a university has to choose between two students with identical A levels and extra curriculars, then they will look at your GCSE’s- and with the number of students applying, there is quite a good chance that there is going to be someone with the same credentials as you.
A must is having an A in AS level Chemistry, and very strong A2 predictions- but the requirements will vary from year to year and from university to university.
Also, depending on where you want to go, you may need to sit an entry test. The most common one is the UKCAT; Clinical Aptitude Test. The other one is the BMAT; Biomedical Aptitude Test. This will only be required if you apply for Oxford or Cambridge.
Her biggest piece of advice she gave on work experience was to have a balance; its great to have loads of good work experience, but you still need to get good grades. And you need to be realistic- is what you want to do actually going to be of benefit, and is it actually possible for you to do it?
These are a few of the things she suggested we have a look at doing;
- shadow a GP
- care home
Also, make sure that you write a diary, or like me, keep a blog, so you can keep a note of everything you have done to help you write your personal statement; what you did, how you coped and how it made you feel.
You can also go on residential trips, but apparently these can be quite expensive and universities don’t specifically look out for them.
As well as having good work experience, admissions tutors also look for other interests. They show that you have other skills outside of science, and that you can keep a balance with work and play. Some interests can also show a lot of perseverance; an essential part of making it through university.
Universities will also being looking at your personal qualities. Can you work well in a team? Communicate well with lots of people? Show empathy in difficult situations? Be academic? Have adaptability? Are you decisive? You will be making life and death situations on a daily basis.
One thing you should bear in mind is that there is more than one medicine course you can do, and more than one university you can apply to, so its important to consider what would be the best option for you. You have a look at what else they offer- sports clubs? Societies? Student associations?
Also, it might be worth having a look at the UCAS website to see what the minimum requirements are. There are quite a few things you should try and read a few times; but the two most important ones are probably the BMJ Student and the New Scientists.
But probably the most important thing to consider is; why do you want to apply? What do you want to get out of it? And what will you bring to the medical profession?
Peace out and much loves, Lottie <3
These are the links to some of the things i have mentioned above;