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Sufficient Higher Subjects - Medicine?

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    Like 95% of the people on TSR, I am looking to go on to study Medicine provided all goes well. I was recently asked to select my S5 Subjects and hand in a 'rough' drafting of my course choices.

    I was planning on doing all three sciences - Chemistry, Biology and Physics - but my school couldn't offer that and so I picked the following:

    Mathematics
    English
    Chemistry
    Physics
    History

    History seems to comply with most Scottish Universities 'approved' list but I just feel my UCAS application would appear stronger with Maths, English and then the three Sciences. Is there any other relevant subjects to Medicine that I could take instead of History?

    Also, if I were to go ahead with these subjects - it would mean taking Higher Biology in sixth year. I had previously been planning to do:

    AH Mathematics
    AH Chemistry
    AH Biology

    But now that I need to do another Higher in S6, I'm not sure whether I will be able to still do 3 Advanced Highers. Has anyone done 3 AH's and a Higher and still received A's? What do you all think?

    I'm just not sure whether or not I'm putting myself at a minor disadvantage..
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    (Original post by nerd434)
    Like 95% of the people on TSR, I am looking to go on to study Medicine provided all goes well. I was recently asked to select my S5 Subjects and hand in a 'rough' drafting of my course choices.

    I was planning on doing all three sciences - Chemistry, Biology and Physics - but my school couldn't offer that and so I picked the following:

    Mathematics
    English
    Chemistry
    Physics
    History

    History seems to comply with most Scottish Universities 'approved' list but I just feel my UCAS application would appear stronger with Maths, English and then the three Sciences. Is there any other relevant subjects to Medicine that I could take instead of History?

    Also, if I were to go ahead with these subjects - it would mean taking Higher Biology in sixth year. I had previously been planning to do:

    AH Mathematics
    AH Chemistry
    AH Biology

    But now that I need to do another Higher in S6, I'm not sure whether I will be able to still do 3 Advanced Highers. Has anyone done 3 AH's and a Higher and still received A's? What do you all think?

    I'm just not sure whether or not I'm putting myself at a minor disadvantage..
    If three sciences is not an option, History is an excellent choice as a fifth Higher. I know many people who have taken Higher History (or Geography or Classical/Modern Studies) and gone on to study Medicine. In reality, it's the grades which matter, not the course content. I assume you are aiming for 5 As and wish you the best of luck!

    If you are still concerned, contact admissions offices and find out what they are looking for. Many of them will be happy with that as an offering and if not you will always have the option to take up Higher Biology in S6. Is there an option to take Biology over Physics in S5? If so I would advise this as Biology is more likely to be a requirement than Physics, which can always be picked up in S6.

    Good luck!

    (And I have done 3AHs and a Higher and achieved 4As!) :-)
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    I think you'll be alright with those choices, but you'll most likely get a conditional for Higher Biology at least. I don't think three advanced highers and a higher is necessary - I'm doing AH Chemistry and Biology and crash Higher French. Sure, I could have taken advanced maths but in interview I argued that I'll probably use French at some point in the future, whereas Maths would not be as handy for me. They seemed to agree, since I am sitting here with three offers! Hope that helps.
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    (Original post by Stuart93)
    If three sciences is not an option, History is an excellent choice as a fifth Higher. I know many people who have taken Higher History (or Geography or Classical/Modern Studies) and gone on to study Medicine. In reality, it's the grades which matter, not the course content. I assume you are aiming for 5 As and wish you the best of luck!

    If you are still concerned, contact admissions offices and find out what they are looking for. Many of them will be happy with that as an offering and if not you will always have the option to take up Higher Biology in S6. Is there an option to take Biology over Physics in S5? If so I would advise this as Biology is more likely to be a requirement than Physics, which can always be picked up in S6.

    Good luck!

    (And I have done 3AHs and a Higher and achieved 4As!) :-)
    In terms of the workload and difficulty, how was 3 AH's and a Higher compared to 5 Highers?
    Did you work/study as hard in sixth year compared to fifth year?
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    (Original post by nerd434)
    In terms of the workload and difficulty, how was 3 AH's and a Higher compared to 5 Highers?
    Did you work/study as hard in sixth year compared to fifth year?
    It's a different kind of workload - most S6 courses have some form of project (arts/social sciences have dissertations and sciences have investigations) so that takes up a large part of the time. I wouldn't worry at all about the workload in S6 though. Your main focus should be your Highers and getting top grades in them, at least for the moment, and working on your work experience etc. If you're looking to apply to Scottish universities, all will likely give you unconditionals if you have the necessary requirements. One obstacle to this may be Higher Biology/Human Biology so a condition may be placed solely on that (likely to be no higher than a "B"). If you decide to take Biology in S6 and obtain a conditional, you should focus on achieving that before thinking about your Advanced Highers. You will always have the option to drop down to 2 AHs and a Higher and nobody can say that won't be just as difficult a workload!

    Personally I worked equally hard in S5 and S6 as I didn't want to end up with anything less than a "B", but I'm like that :-P there's no requirement to work as hard in S6 if you obtain an unconditional.

    How are your extracurriculars shaping up?
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    (Original post by Stuart93)
    there's no requirement to work as hard in S6 if you obtain an unconditional.
    This is the worst thing ever. Since getting an offer, my motivation has turned to ass.
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    (Original post by JackG1)
    This is the worst thing ever. Since getting an offer, my motivation has turned to ass.
    Oh dear! I completely agree, but I kept myself motivated until the end out of the fear of getting anything less than an A. Complete nerd, I know :rolleyes: Where are you going in September?
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    Maybe do bio this year and then physics next year? Just AH bio might help you at uni more than physics
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    (Original post by Stuart93)
    It's a different kind of workload - most S6 courses have some form of project (arts/social sciences have dissertations and sciences have investigations) so that takes up a large part of the time. I wouldn't worry at all about the workload in S6 though. Your main focus should be your Highers and getting top grades in them, at least for the moment, and working on your work experience etc. If you're looking to apply to Scottish universities, all will likely give you unconditionals if you have the necessary requirements. One obstacle to this may be Higher Biology/Human Biology so a condition may be placed solely on that (likely to be no higher than a "B"). If you decide to take Biology in S6 and obtain a conditional, you should focus on achieving that before thinking about your Advanced Highers. You will always have the option to drop down to 2 AHs and a Higher and nobody can say that won't be just as difficult a workload!

    Personally I worked equally hard in S5 and S6 as I didn't want to end up with anything less than a "B", but I'm like that :-P there's no requirement to work as hard in S6 if you obtain an unconditional.

    How are your extracurriculars shaping up?
    Thanks for the advice!

    Regarding conditional offers - Do you think it would simply be ¨A/B in Higher Biology¨ or do you think I would required to achieve good grades in my Advanced Highers as well?
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    (Original post by nerd434)
    ...
    I'm assuming you have read the up to date course requirements for medicine in the Scottish unis as I haven't for a wee bit.

    Your course choice seems reasonable, chemistry is the preferred of the 3 sciences by the medical schools - however there is no requirement for Higher physics and I'd say biology is more useful in medicine and being able to do it to AH would be good.

    Also note no requirement for Higher english.

    I did AH applied maths: mechanics, biology and chemistry and Higher art and got all As so its definitely possible.
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    (Original post by nerd434)
    Thanks for the advice!

    Regarding conditional offers - Do you think it would simply be ¨A/B in Higher Biology¨ or do you think I would required to achieve good grades in my Advanced Highers as well?
    For Scottish universities you would either receive an unconditional offer or a conditional offer in Biology/Human Biology. The only exception to this is Glasgow where you would more than likely be expected to achieve certain (fairly low by the standards of English universities) grades. If you were to take 3 Advanced Highers it would probably be BCC and there would be no condition on any Highers. However, if you were to take 2 Advanced Highers and a Higher (or in the case of Biology being deemed necessary by Glasgow) you would receive an offer of BBC in any combination.

    Have you got work experience sorted for this summer?
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    (Original post by nerd434)
    ...
    Another point is you could do 2 AHs and Higher Biology and choose another course at int 2, Higher or perhaps not even examined but that interested you, it was the norm at my school if you did 2 AHs to do another 2 subjects. Extracuricular activity and work experience will be a heavy component of your application so it is likely you will want time for this in S6 too. Medical schools generally look for a well rounded individual with a variety of interests.
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    (Original post by Stuart93)
    For Scottish universities you would either receive an unconditional offer or a conditional offer in Biology/Human Biology. The only exception to this is Glasgow where you would more than likely be expected to achieve certain (fairly low by the standards of English universities) grades. If you were to take 3 Advanced Highers it would probably be BCC and there would be no condition on any Highers. However, if you were to take 2 Advanced Highers and a Higher (or in the case of Biology being deemed necessary by Glasgow) you would receive an offer of BBC in any combination.

    Have you got work experience sorted for this summer?
    I'm currently in fourth year and therefore acquiring individual work experience in the likes of hospitals, GP Surgeries etc can be quite difficult as most require you to be over the age of 16.

    However I was able to receive one week in the Royal Infirmary hospital shadowing Doctors as part of my school ¨Work Experience¨ week. I also volunteer one day a week at the local Charity shop - just some things for now really.

    When I do reach sixteen I will be looking into some serious work experience. How about you? What did you do in regards to work experience before you applied? Did you do a lot or was it that you seemed to reflect on it and gain a lot from it?
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    (Original post by TheRabbit)
    I'm assuming you have read the up to date course requirements for medicine in the Scottish unis as I haven't for a wee bit.

    Your course choice seems reasonable, chemistry is the preferred of the 3 sciences by the medical schools - however there is no requirement for Higher physics and I'd say biology is more useful in medicine and being able to do it to AH would be good.

    Also note no requirement for Higher english.

    I did AH applied maths: mechanics, biology and chemistry and Higher art and got all As so its definitely possible.
    That's a good point, I have read about AH Biology being desirable. It's just that I find Physics to be one of my strong points whereas Biology requires a lot of memorisation of content - something I feel I would have more time for in S6.
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    (Original post by TheRabbit)
    Another point is you could do 2 AHs and Higher Biology and choose another course at int 2, Higher or perhaps not even examined but that interested you, it was the norm at my school if you did 2 AHs to do another 2 subjects. Extracuricular activity and work experience will be a heavy component of your application so it is likely you will want time for this in S6 too. Medical schools generally look for a well rounded individual with a variety of interests.
    (Original post by nerd434)
    x
    What 'TheRabbit' said is completely correct. When it comes to making your application (and the interview process) grades and the UKCAT/BMAT are just the baseline. You've got to demonstrate a wider variety of skills, hobbies, interests and career exploration. This can take the form of work experience, voluntary roles or even talking to doctors if none of these is possible!

    I'm not sure I would have picked a course at Int2 but that's probably down to my strong interest in the subjects I had taken at Higher. However a broad range of subjects is excellent if you achieve everything you need in S5.
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    (Original post by nerd434)
    When I do reach sixteen I will be looking into some serious work experience. How about you? What did you do in regards to work experience before you applied? Did you do a lot or was it that you seemed to reflect on it and gain a lot from it?
    I think its Dundee that like 2 weeks of work experience, but generally its what you learn from it and not the quantity thats important. I did 2 weeks - one in a cardiothoracic surgery ward and another (advertised through Edinburgh's pathways scheme) which was mixed between different hospital specialities. I didn't manage to get a placement shadowing a GP. I also volunteered regulary at a home for elderly with dementia (after a week long stint of work experience there). and had a week at a nursery to see what working with kids was like.
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    (Original post by nerd434)
    That's a good point, I have read about AH Biology being desirable. It's just that I find Physics to be one of my strong points whereas Biology requires a lot of memorisation of content - something I feel I would have more time for in S6.
    Hmm, a large chunk of medicine is memorisation of content in terms of learning anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology and management options!
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    (Original post by nerd434)
    I'm currently in fourth year and therefore acquiring individual work experience in the likes of hospitals, GP Surgeries etc can be quite difficult as most require you to be over the age of 16.

    However I was able to receive one week in the Royal Infirmary hospital shadowing Doctors as part of my school ¨Work Experience¨ week. I also volunteer one day a week at the local Charity shop - just some things for now really.

    When I do reach sixteen I will be looking into some serious work experience. How about you? What did you do in regards to work experience before you applied? Did you do a lot or was it that you seemed to reflect on it and gain a lot from it?
    I was in the same position as you at the age of 14/15 but do keep trying, many places may be willing to have you in a voluntary role (though usually nothing involving handling of cash - apparently over 16s are the only ones to be trusted with this!)

    In Fourth Year that's really good. If you turn 16 before/over summer or before the October holidays you should look into arranging some work experience for then. If this isn't possible, aim for summer 2013 as it will really boost your application when you come to make it in the October of that year and your subsequent interviews (which I'm sure you'll get with no problem).

    For work experience I visited a GP surgery once a fortnight, shadowed junior doctors, senior doctors and nurses over about 7 weeks in total and spent time in an outpatient clinic and two research laboratories.

    I also spent a lot of time doing extracurricular activities all of which were, while enjoyable, geared towards making my application the best it could be :-)
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    Those subjects seem fine, Chemistry is the most important science and seeing as you're planning on Biology in 6th year thats fine too.
    I didn't do Biology until 6th year either, my highers were Maths, English, German, Chemistry, Physics.

    Make sure you do some work exp/voluntary and practise for the UKCAT

    I did 3 AH and a H in 6th year as well, and got ABB adv and A for Higher Bio, and that hasn't disadvantaged me in the slightest, the fact I didn't get all As.

    Edit: having read that Physics is one of your strong points, I'd recommend doing that for 5th year to ensure you get the grades you need (at least AAAAB), rather than risking Biology if you don't think you'll perform as well. Taking it in 6th year would be 'safer' as you'd probably only be conditioned for a B in it (if you get the required grades in 5th year that is)
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    I notice you said you volunteer at the charity shop, I'd highly advise you to keep that up. I'm not a medical applicant but I know of a girl who received 5 rejections from Medicine with 5 As at higher level (3 Sciences, maths and english) and a well above average UKCAT. She had good work experience too, but no volunteering. Shes adamant that was the reason for the rejections, as other people got offers with the same grades and much poorer UKCAT scores, however they'd done years of volunteering with disabled scouts etc.

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