Medicine - who's interested?

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My name's Sach, and I applied to study medicine this year and currently hold offers from Southampton & UEA (Norwich Medical School).

I've been getting a fair few questions recently on the Live Discussion board about medical applications, so I've started this thread in the hope that all you potential medical applicants can congregate and ask your questions here! Whether you're at Y10/GCSE level and considering it but don't know what to do next, or AS level and are stuck with a bit of your application, all questions are welcome.

There are certainly a lot of myths about applying to Med School, particularly about what you have to have achieved; while I most certainly don't know everything, I hope I'll be able to shed some light on these. 

Also, if you like me applied to study medicine this year, it'd be great to hear from you! Your input would be very much appreciated as your experiences will undoubtably be different to mine. 

Posted: 15-04-13 22:14 by ex-Lechiayim

hi, i'm in year 11 and because my brother was applying last year, i got to read the prospectuses of lots of med schools. some med schools ask us to do bmat such as ucl; i'm quite interested in applying to ucl. So i was wondering Sach if you could tell me how to revise for these exams once my gcses are over and throughout yr 12. thanks :)

Posted: 15-04-13 22:25 by IQRA

oh and ukcat. thanks

Posted: 15-04-13 22:25 by IQRA

Hi,

If your brother's done it then you probably know a fair bit already! Which Med School is he at currently?

I'll start with UCKAT, as it's the one I know most about. It's computer based, and you sit it in your local driving test theory centre any time between July and mid-September of Y12/13. Obviously there isn't a set syllabus, but the test is broken down into five units; these are Verbal Reasoning, Quantative/Numerical Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Decisional Analysis, at the new Situational Judgement test (starts this year). You find out the result as soon as you finish the test

There are many books & websites out there that will help you to prepare for the test. I used the OnExamination tool from BMJ learning; it cost about £30 for three months but was well worth the money. When it got nearer the exam time, I did the mock tests provided by the UKCAT website. Both links are below:

http://www.onexamination.com/students/ukcat

http://www.ukcat.ac.uk/preparation 

Quite honestly there is absolutely no need to be preparing all year, there really is only so much preparation you can do for this test. It's meant to test aptitude rather than your ability to learn things, and as such they won't ever repeat the same question twice, so it's highly unlikely you'll get any scenario you've seen before in the test. I would focus on your AS's for most of the year, and once they're out of the way, book the exam for late August and prepare over the summer, that'll be ample time to still do as well as you can.

I didn't sit the BMAT as I ruled out London (I'm more of an easy-access-to-the-countryside person!) & Oxbridge, but I've been told a bit by a friend who sat it. You sit the exam in Y13 after you've submitted your application; it's therefore a massive gamble, as if you muck up the BMAT you can't alter your choice of uni, whereas it you muck up the UKCAT you know straight away and have time to choose unis which will take you regardless of your score. You'd therefore be wise to choose perhaps only one or two BMAT universities, just in case the worst happens.

Again, there are loads of books out there. Your best bet is to have a look on TSR and other websites where students who have sat the BMAT have rated their preparation books. They may be able to recommend some good ones.

Hope that helps!

Posted: 15-04-13 22:52 by ex-Lechiayim

I'm going to apply during my gap year next year. I'm researching places, but I literally have no idea where to start! How do you choose?!?!

Posted: 18-04-13 19:30 by Alex Broughton

Hi Alex,

The way I did it was I printed off a map of the UK and marked on where all the medical schools were. I then crossed out places where I knew I didn't want to go (I knew I didn't want to go to London or too far up North/Scotland).

Of the remaining places, I went onto their websites and had a glance at the course details e.g. what they teach (pretty much the same everywhere), when they teach it (e.g. time to first patient contact, timing of the elective), how they teach it (e.g. PBL/lectures). From here, I narrowed it down to a list of about eight or nine.

From there, it was simply a matter of rigorous research and analysis of entry criteria; academic are pretty much the same everywhere (with some slight differences), but non-academic do vary, so it was about matching what they were looking for in a potential medical student to the kind of person I am and the skills I have to offer. It was also about how they weighted the application, and how well I would fare within this weighting system. This cut my list down to five, and then it was a case of visiting on open days and getting a feel for the places. This gave me my four.

I think you're wise to start by looking at places you'd like to go, and then from that list looking at which places you're likely to do well at; remember, you're picking them as much as they're picking you!

Hope that gives you a starting point.

Posted: 18-04-13 22:30 by ex-Lechiayim

Thanks Sach :). Sorry it took so long to reply and my brother's at liverpool.

Posted: 20-04-13 11:16 by IQRA

No problem, good luck! :)

Posted: 20-04-13 12:19 by ex-Lechiayim

thanks :)

Posted: 20-04-13 22:41 by IQRA