Thinking of applying for medicine?

Thinking of applying for medicine?

• You’ll probably need predicted grades of at least ABB in order to apply for medicine, however many medical schools require 360-400 UCAS points (That’s AAA – AA*A* at A-Level)

• A-Level subject choices are very important if you want to apply to medicine. Chemistry and biology are essential choices. Mathematics and/or physics are also required by some universities, and it’s a good idea to take them even if the universities you are applying to do not list them as mandatory. Check university prospectuses for their individual subject requirements

• Applicants to medicine may need to sit an admissions test. The UCAS website will inform you of any tests you may need to take, but as a general guide:

    o Undergraduate applicants to medicine at Cambridge, Imperial, Oxford and UCL will need to sit the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). The BMAT is a 2-hour test. It is designed to test skills and knowledge that you ought to possess already and therefore shouldn’t require much preparation.  The general deadline for registration for the BMAT for applications made in 2013/14 is 1st October 2013 (late entry may be possible until 15th October, but late fees apply), and testing begins on 6th November 2013. Specimen papers are available on the website at: http://www.admissionstestingservice.org/help-me-find/resources/specimen-papers/

    o 26 UK universities require applicants to medicine to sit the UK Clinical Admissions Test (UKCAT). The Registration for the UKCAT for 2013/14 cycle closes 20th September 2013, and the last testing date is 4th October 2013. The UKCAT is an aptitude test, but it’s still really useful to do some practice. Practice tests can be found on the website: http://www.ukcat.ac.uk/preparation/practice-test/

• It’s also possible to get into medicine through a foundation course. Each foundation course is different, so check the individual university websites. A full list of medical foundation courses can be found here: http://www.medschools.ac.uk/Students/Courses/Pages/FoundationPre-clinicalyear.aspx

• It’s important to remember that the UCAS closing date for applications to medicine and related courses is earlier than the general deadline. For candidates applying in the year 2013/14 the deadline is 15th October 2013 (whereas the general deadline is 15th January 2014).

Enhancing your application to study medicine

• Work experience is key. Apply to your local NHS Trust to get experience at a local hospital, clinic or a GP’s practice. Keep a portfolio of all your experiences and follow up on all you see by researching the various conditions you come across and learn more about them. If you are unable to do this, then try and get some work experience in another caring role, such as a volunteering in a hospice or a job looking after children with disabilities. Universities are looking for people who have a caring nature, are good communicators, and work well as part of a team. Work experience is a great way of developing and demonstrating these skills.

• Join the Junior British Medical Association

• Read the BMJ (British Medical Journal)

• As with any other highly competitive subject, reading around the subject is essential. Universities want to see a passion for your subject, and evidence of independent research. The following list is a (non-exhaustive) list of suggested reading:
        o Hippocratic Oaths - Tallis
        o A very short introduction to Medical Ethics 
        o The Rise & Fall of Modern Medicine - Le Fanu
        o NHS Plc – the privatisation of health care - Pollock
        o Betraying the NHS - Mandelstram
        o The Political Economy of Health Care - Tudor Hart
        o Complications: A surgeon’s notes on an imperfect science  - Gawande
        o Causing Death & Saving Lives - Glover
        o How doctors think - Groopman
        o Diagnosis; Dispatches from the Frontlines of Medical Mysteries - Sanders

Interviews for Medicine

• Applicants for medicine and related courses will almost always have to attend an interview as part of the assessment process. The interview aims to assess competencies and skills such as:
        o Motivation
        o Communication skills
        o Professionalism
        o Personality

• Interviewers may also question your choice of course and institution. There will also be some competency questions, based around key skills such as team work and empathy. Successful candidates will need to demonstrate a broad awareness of healthcare and related issues

Want to find out some more?

• Compliment your reading with some TED talks: http://www.ted.com/topics/medicine

• For work experience in the NHS, try: http://www.stepintothenhs.nhs.uk/work-experience.aspx

• The Do-It website may be useful in finding a volunteer placement: http://www.do-it.org.uk/

• The NHS careers website has valuable information on all aspects of applying to medicine, including work experience and information on interviews: http://www.medicalcareers.nhs.uk