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*MEGATHREAD* - The Ultimate 'Am I Good Enough For Medicine?' Angst Thread Mk II

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    How could i decide what i want to even do? I'm deciding between medicine and chemistry and natural sciences.

    If i'm not this sure about medicine now, is it not the right thing for me? Everybody seems to go on about being 100% for it, and all passionate.

    I love human biology and the idea of being active as a doctor is something i would enjoy (i can't sit in one place for too long without getting fidgety and annoyed).

    SO WHAT DO I DO?!?!
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    (Original post by Abhalla)
    How could i decide what i want to even do? I'm deciding between medicine and chemistry and natural sciences.

    If i'm not this sure about medicine now, is it not the right thing for me? Everybody seems to go on about being 100% for it, and all passionate.

    I love human biology and the idea of being active as a doctor is something i would enjoy (i can't sit in one place for too long without getting fidgety and annoyed).

    SO WHAT DO I DO?!?!
    The reason why people say you need to be 100% is because it's so hard to go through the rigorous process of applying with every chance you could end up with no offers. Not everyone who applies is 100% on medicine, some put down fifth choices in a subject which they would seriously consider doing at university. You need to have a certain degree of passion and dedication to medicine because you need to be able to convey that in an interview situation. The degree is long and you will continue to study even after you graduate so you need to really be prepared for what you are getting yourself in to. Work experience and volunteering really help you decide whether its the career for you. It's a chance for you to familiarise yourself within a clinical environment and if gives you an insight into what you could potentially be doing in five years time. Out of the three degrees you have listed which is the one you want to do most? If you decide on medicine your application has to be completely devoted to the subject but you could send a supplementary personal statement to your fifth choice institution.
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    (Original post by myyrh)
    The reason why people say you need to be 100% is because it's so hard to go through the rigorous process of applying with every chance you could end up with no offers. Not everyone who applies is 100% on medicine, some put down fifth choices in a subject which they would seriously consider doing at university. You need to have a certain degree of passion and dedication to medicine because you need to be able to convey that in an interview situation. The degree is long and you will continue to study even after you graduate so you need to really be prepared for what you are getting yourself in to. Work experience and volunteering really help you decide whether its the career for you. It's a chance for you to familiarise yourself within a clinical environment and if gives you an insight into what you could potentially be doing in five years time. Out of the three degrees you have listed which is the one you want to do most? If you decide on medicine your application has to be completely devoted to the subject but you could send a supplementary personal statement to your fifth choice institution.
    Thanks for all the information. I can't really decide on which i favour the most, i want to do all of them! They all interest me a lot! But my mum clearly wants me to do medicine. I'm just unsure right now, but i need to decide soon. I think i'll do work experience in the summer (hopefully) and see how it goes, but i really like biology and chemistry, so i'm looking for anything involving those subjects, BUT well paid. I need to do some volunteering too (i've done nothing except get good grades )

    Somebody told me that if you're applying to medicine, you can only apply to 4 universities, because it's so competitive.

    BUT, Could you explain why everyone says it's so competitive? In many prospectuses, it says that there is 1 place given per 7 applicants. I'm not saying that's good or anything, but i've seen a lot worse for natural sciences/chemistry/etc. So why? Thanks for the help.
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    (Original post by Abhalla)
    Thanks for all the information. I can't really decide on which i favour the most, i want to do all of them! They all interest me a lot! But my mum clearly wants me to do medicine. I'm just unsure right now, but i need to decide soon. I think i'll do work experience in the summer (hopefully) and see how it goes, but i really like biology and chemistry, so i'm looking for anything involving those subjects, BUT well paid. I need to do some volunteering too (i've done nothing except get good grades )

    Somebody told me that if you're applying to medicine, you can only apply to 4 universities, because it's so competitive.

    BUT, Could you explain why everyone says it's so competitive? In many prospectuses, it says that there is 1 place given per 7 applicants. I'm not saying that's good or anything, but i've seen a lot worse for natural sciences/chemistry/etc. So why? Thanks for the help.
    It's very competitive for a number of reasons. Number one being it's over subscribed. You won't find medicine courses through extra or clearing. The application process itself is grueling. You apply before everyone else and are usually the last to hear :rolleyes: You have to cross hurdles like obtaining work experience/volunteering, doing well in admission tests and showing you are a well rounded individual on paper through lots of extra curriculars. If a university feels that out of the thousands of applications, they see that you are a strong candidate you will be invited to an interview. This in itself is another giant hurdle. Even if you think your interview went smoothly and you felt you said all the right things and demonstrated all the right qualities, you could still end up getting rejected. Lastly if you are lucky enough to secure an offer, it would be a minimum of AAA or equivalent. For most other courses available, it's not uncommon to obtain 5/5 offers with a decent set of grades and a good personal statement. For medicine you have do exceptionally well to obtain 1/4 of your choices. Medical schools each have their own unique admission policies which are strictly adhered to e.g. one medical school could place massive emphasis on personal statement whilst another places a lot on a good UKCAT score. The selection process in some cases is subjective and unsuccessful applicants are left thinking what more could they have done. The key to a maximising your chances is to research your choices extensively and apply to your strengths. Through this, you have a greater chance of obtaining interviews and then offers :cool:
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    (Original post by Abhalla)
    Thanks for all the information. I can't really decide on which i favour the most, i want to do all of them! They all interest me a lot! But my mum clearly wants me to do medicine. I'm just unsure right now, but i need to decide soon. I think i'll do work experience in the summer (hopefully) and see how it goes, but i really like biology and chemistry, so i'm looking for anything involving those subjects, BUT well paid. I need to do some volunteering too (i've done nothing except get good grades )

    Somebody told me that if you're applying to medicine, you can only apply to 4 universities, because it's so competitive.

    BUT, Could you explain why everyone says it's so competitive? In many prospectuses, it says that there is 1 place given per 7 applicants. I'm not saying that's good or anything, but i've seen a lot worse for natural sciences/chemistry/etc. So why? Thanks for the help.

    I am in the same boat. Good grades but not enough experience. It makes me think I might fail at interview. Me and two friends saw this medical experience week online with a company called Medic Journey International. Have you heard of it? Apparently you get experience and they teach you about getting into medical school at the same time.

    Was wondering if anyone has done this course?
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    I applied for Medicine last year with AAA predicted grades, I had three interview and one immediate rejection, I didn't get any offers. I also didn't get my grades due to illness and a family upheaval. I applied this year and still no offers. If I apply again, do I stand a chance?

    My current grades are;
    AS Biology: B
    AS Chemistry: B
    AS Physics: A
    A-level Photography: A

    I'm on track for an A* in Physics as I got 90% in the EWP's exam, so if I repeat this for the A2 exams and manage to retake my A2 practical, this is a possibility. I also think I could get an A in Chemistry (I have personal tutors helping me though)
    This year I could end up with A*AAB (Physics, Photography, Chemistry, Biology).
    Though I think a B in Biology is likely to be a hinderance.

    As for work experience, obivosuly I will need some more up to date work. I spent a month volunteering in Ghana in a local hospital and treating children in local schools and orphanages. I spent two weeks in a hospital near my old home. I also spent a year volunteering with a charity, that was set up to help adult-learners achieve GCSE's in Mathematics and English. (I spent a couple hours a week helping with teach maths).

    I'm a little torn, this is what I want, but even if I get the grades I've mentioned, do I actually stand a chance. Should I just give up?
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    Interview technique is the problem.
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    The B in Biology might be a problem, but if you do indeed pull off the grades you hope to get and apply to less competetive courses you do have a standing chance.

    You must be wary of the fact that getting in does NOT mean finishing the course! Birmingham (a Russel group Uni) actually has a 20% drop out rate for medics! (apparently)

    On another note, dentistry is (I think) easier to get in for and I would guess easier to complete also ends up paying quite high at the end of the day.
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    Hang on, if you applied last year, and have current as grades, are you repeating the whole two years of A-levels? or just repeating A2?
    Secondly, where were your interviews from? well done, you still have a chance, its probably smaller than it was before, but if you managed 3 interviews last time, thats awesome so theres still hope
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    (Original post by saey)
    On another note, dentistry is (I think) easier to get in for and I would guess easier to complete also ends up paying quite high at the end of the day.
    :facepalm:
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    A level photography? Wtf? Imperial, UCL, Oxbridge and King's will laugh at that shizz.
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    (Original post by Picture~Perfect)

    My current grades are;
    AS Biology: B
    AS Chemistry: B
    AS Physics: A
    A-level Photography: A
    Your signature has AS maths in it too...?

    Are you repeating a year? If so your chances are greatly reduced and you'll need to choose your medical schools very carefully. I would email the schools you are interested in before you apply to see if they will consider your application.
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    (Original post by saey)
    The B in Biology might be a problem, but if you do indeed pull off the grades you hope to get and apply to less competetive courses you do have a standing chance.

    You must be wary of the fact that getting in does NOT mean finishing the course! Birmingham (a Russel group Uni) actually has a 20% drop out rate for medics! (apparently)

    On another note, dentistry is (I think) easier to get in for and I would guess easier to complete also ends up paying quite high at the end of the day.
    There aren't really any less competitive courses for medicine, there are just schools who's selection criteria are more suitable for certain applicants. If you were to look at applicant to place ratios then Oxbridge would be amongst the easiest to get into.

    Birmingham medicine does not have a 20% 'drop-out' rate. If 20% of medics don't eventually graduate then the majority of these will be due to exam failures (mostly pre-clinical).

    Dentistry isn't easier to get into or any easier to complete, but you are correct on one point: the wages are high.
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    Hello,
    I am an 18 year old A-level student; I am currently seriously interested in pursuing a career in medicine although I am starting to feel that this is an unattainable goal. I would just like some inspiration and guidance about what options there are for me.

    I have always been interested in science and performed well academically in biology chemistry and physics at GCSE level but It wasn’t until I suffered from a period of ill health that I become particularly interested in medicine. Neither of my parents or grandparents had been to university and I didn’t have any members of my family in the field of medicine, so I decided to seek career advice from my comprehensive school; They simply told me how challenging the application would be and to realistically think through my options, after this I found it hard to stay inspired. I began to feel that my hopes of one day becoming a doctor was irrational and that medicine was a goal reserved for students from a more privileged background. Once I left school I took up a job and spent a year working as a sales adviser, after working for some time I decided that I should go back to education and study my A-levels at my local community college. I am currently studying A-level Law, human biology and Psychology. Studying A-level human biology began to cement my decision to try and pursue a career in medicine; as I have particularly enjoyed exploring the different ways in which our bodies fight infectious disease and learning how the human body produces specific immune responses. I know that I would like the chance to implement my biological interests and abilities into real life situations.
    I managed to secure myself a scholarship at Liverpool University to study human anatomy, and I am currently part of the realising opportunities scholarship which can be applied to 12 research intensive universities. Although I am not studying A level chemistry and only have my GCSE grades in maths an English at a C and a D. although at A-level I am predicted the grades AAB.

    To further my insight into the medical profession I participated in a work experience placement in the Royal Liverpool university hospital throughout the summer. I gained a valuable understanding of the workings of the hospital. During the placement I shadowed consultants throughout ward rounds, spent time in the AMAU, and also had the opportunity to join a surgeon and observe several ocular operations, I witnessed first-hand the many challenges facing not only healthcare professionals but also patients; this involvement highlighted the essential nature of teamwork in all aspects of medicine. I also spent some time on a ward where I became familiar with some of the patients; I was encouraged to talk to patients where appropriate this helped me learn the importance of the role of empathy and good communication with both patients and other members of staff. I feel that this volunteering has been invaluable in the development of my communication skills and my ability to work as part of a team.
    I will be 19 when I finish my A-levels and I am contemplating re-sitting my GCSE maths and English next year. So I will be 20 once that has been done, I don’t know what options there is for me. I just know that I don’t want to make the wrong decision and I feel pressured to take my scholarship and study human anatomy this year but I feel that I will be selling myself short and that It’s not truly what I want.

    any advice is welcome
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    Post is too long, we don't care about your drive to study medicine. Yes, aunt died from cancer when you were 5 and that motivated you to pursue medicine :rolleyes:. Tell us, concisely:

    GCSE grades
    A-levels grades
    work experience

    These are the things people need to know or else we can't judge.
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    I just wanted to give a thorough idea of my background in case that would help in any way.

    GCSE’s
    English Language C
    English Literature C
    ICT A*
    Business Studies B
    Core Science A
    Physics B
    Chemistry B
    Biology A
    Additional Science A
    Drama B
    Sociology C
    Religious Studies A
    Mathematics D

    Currently sitting my A-levels
    Human Biology A (predicted)
    Law B (predicted)
    Psychology A (predicted)

    I have completed a 2 week 9-5 work experience placement in a hospital, I also volunteer at my local children’s youth charity regularly and take part in a multitude of fund raising activities. I have also recently contacted my GP to see if there is any chance I could do some work experience but have yet to gained a response.
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    I'm sorry but the chances are very bleak. With a C and D in English and Maths you pretty much wont meet the gcse requirments for any medical school. You can resit them though. Also without a level chemistry you can only apply to a select few schools which offer foundation courses which are more competitive too. You would need to get a minimum of AAA as this the minimum for medical schools now. I know this post sounds really negative and I understand that you have gone through all the lengths to show your commitment. However all the things you have done won't even be looked at unless you pass the academic stage of the application process
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    I suggest you resit those English GCSE's and some others so you get a few A's at least. Then do Chem and Bio A levels at grades A. Then apply.
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    I would first just like to thank you for your fast responses.
    I’m aware that I have the wrong combinations of subjects at A-level and that I wouldn’t be eligible to apply for a 5 year programme, although I’m also aware that there are access courses and foundation years for people that have taken humanities subjects. I was just wondering what would be the best option for me if there even would be an option.
    I am planning on re-sitting my GCSE in maths and English this September after I have completed my current A-levels however I will be 20 years old during that time and If I was then going to take up chemistry at A-level it would mean me being 22 before being eligible to apply. most universities expect all of you’re A-levels to be taken in a two year period so I don’t know if this would just be a waste of time?
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    I don't think it's very realistic with those GCSEs unfortunately. Your a-level choices and grades will also add insult to injury. It's one hell of a slog but it might be worth considering graduate entry as I can't imagine resits will do much good.
Updated: September 5, 2012
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