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UCL Medicine Applicants 2012

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    I went to the UCL open day and they said I had to declare my A levels but I thought all med schools had to do that? I was confused at first in thinking I would have to declare my UMS on my UCAS but Dr. Cross said that I could just put my A level results on there and they don't care?
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    (Original post by chiny94)
    I went to the UCL open day and they said I had to declare my A levels but I thought all med schools had to do that?
    No, you could put them as "pending" if you school allows you to.

    I was confused at first in thinking I would have to declare my UMS on my UCAS but Dr. Cross said that I could just put my A level results on there and they don't care?
    You only have to put the grade that you got at AS. UCL will contact your school separately to have a look at your AS scores. You may not be notified when this happens.
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    Ah I see! Thanks I didn't know that!

    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my GT-I9100
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    Good luck for all those receiving A2 results soon

    If any of you have any questions regarding UCL, the medical school, the course or living in London/London expenses etc - do not hesitate to message me so long as its not asking about:

    1) books to buy - wait until the course starts and you decide which physiology textbook you're most comfortable with. The med school recommends a few and you only need to use one (cost around £18-35) and its not needed until a good 6 or so weeks into the term. the only other book you'll need is an anatomy book written written by your lecturer, which you need after christmas. Books for all other topics can be readily got from the library.

    2) what to read/do before you come here - there's no point doing any reading as all the lectures tend to cover whatever you did at A-level very quickly in a fraction of the lecture. any extra reading you do now will be out of context without your lectures. most importantly, just enjoy the remaining month or so of your holidays, save up money and work out what stuff you need to bring to uni (pens, pencils, bottle openers and rulers are not needed as you'll get a year's supply of them if you pick one up from each stall at the fresher's fayre )

    All the best!
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    ucl A100 confirmed
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    (Original post by purplefrog)
    THIS IS BASED ON 2011 ENTRY (my year of application)

    SUBJECTS:
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    You should be taking 4 AS subjects. Two of which must be biology and chemistry. The other two do not matter at all (so long as they are not general studies).
    To be in the best possible stead, you really do need to get As in Biology and Chemistry at AS. Even better would be As in each module, including coursework units or practicals your board throws at you. This will put you in a good running in terms of your academics.

    Contrasting Subject:

    I know UCL say they give a “slight preference” to those with a contrasting third A2 subject. Please note the word “slight”. From what I can see from my cohort, it genuinely is a slight preference. There are LOADS of coursemates who have taken Chem/Bio/Maths, Chem/Bio/Physics, Chem/Bio/Maths/F.Maths and have got places.
    And for those of you who are taking a contrasting subject just for UCL’s application – you’re idiots. You should generally enjoy your subjects well enough to do well in them – not just for the sake of an application. If you will perform better with Bio/Chem + Maths/F.Maths/Physics, then take that. The difference to your application is negligible.

    A2 Subjects:

    Similarly with AS, so long as you have chemistry and biology at A2 – UCL do not care at all what the third subject is (so long as its not general studies).


    UCAS REFERENCE:
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    Based on the admissions talk given my Dr Brenda Cross at the UCL Medical School open days, they look for the following in a reference:
    - Suitability and robustness to study the course (ACADEMIC AND PERSONAL SUITABILITY)
    - Intellectual curiosity
    - It should be an academic and personal character reference
    - Any extenuating circumstances they should be aware of that have occurred prior to the application deadline

    For schools that do not cash in AS grades, they also want your referee to explicitly state what you got at AS.

    UCL also require your referee to state your predicted grades for each and every subject you will be sitting that year (A2 subjects, EPQs, any additional AS subjects you pick up etc.)

    MAKE SURE YOU ARE PREDICTED AT LEAST AAA at A2. If you take 4 or more A2 subjects – make sure two of those As are in Bio/Chem. Nobody gives a crap about what you’ll be predicted in the 4th (or more) A2 subject.

    NB: Most of you will be like my school/college, where you have no say or idea in what is in your reference. You can only hope your referee naturally writes about such things or you can try to inform them well in advance and trust them to do so. Luckily, with my school, apparently most of our references are taken up talking about academic performance in each subject and the final paragraph is apparently my form tutor’s comments on my personality.


    BMAT
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    You need to sit the BMAT in order to successfully apply to UCL.

    Use of the BMAT:
    UCL use the BMAT to help shortlist candidates for interview. The better your BMAT score is, the higher you get priority ranked to be called up for interview. Getting a lower BMAT score will not get you negative points, but you won’t be given as much of a priority.

    What BMAT Score to get:

    As high as possible! Up until 2010 entry, UCL used to stipulate a 5.0, 5.0, 9.0 score on the BMAT would guarantee interview. This is now NOT TRUE for 2011 entry onwards. This is because S3 in the BMAT has undergone a new marking criteria of 1-5 (strength of argument) and A-E (effectiveness of communication). They currently (at time of writing, 2012) do not have enough data to make such cut-offs.
    However, UCL do really want people to get As and Bs in S3 – so make sure you stay calm during the BMAT essay and write clearly and succinctly!

    There is no universal cut-off.

    The effectiveness of your BMAT score will be judged not upon the raw value itself compared nationally, but against the BMAT applicants who apply to UCL Medical School that year. So if for instance, UCL by luck have a really magnificent set of applicants who all tend to get 7.0 (a godly score) in S1+2 and 4A in S3 – getting a well above average score of 6.4 is unlikely to go in your favour in this case. And vice versa, if the UCL applicants have relatively low scores (4.2, 3B) then having something like 4.6, 3B will place you in better stead. The score you get and its effectiveness is RELATIVE to the rest of your UCL cohort.

    UCL will publish the average applicant’s score of your cohort shortly after BMAT results day. This can be found on their medical school website page.


    INTERVIEWS:
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    Shortlisting:
    UCL tend to take your application as a whole to short list candidates for interview. As said previously, your BMAT score helps them priority rank you. However getting the best marks in the BMAT will not guarantee you interview if your personal statement, reference, AS grades, predictions etc. are poor.

    Interview Season:
    Interviews occur from early December until late March. They will keep interviewing until they have given out all the offers they can.

    Some candidates, who get interviews in early December, will have been called up because UCL loved their overall application. These invites will get sent before BMAT results are published! If you get one of these, give yourself a pat on the back.

    If you are in school, UCL will tend not to give you January interviews as this is when Jan exams occur and they use this time to interview graduates. However it is not unheard of for the odd school applicant to have a January interview.

    Just a note:
    On my interview day, there were around 20 being interviewed in the morning session (there are around 2-4 panels interviewing in parallel). There was such a broad range of GCSE grades, BMAT results and A2 subjects - it became instantly clear that people had been called up for interview based on individual merits of their overall application. Some people had way above average BMATs whereas others had even lower than average BMATs. So not all hope is lost if your BMAT misses the average mark - so long as it is not too low across the board.

    Non-competitive interviews:
    If you get summoned for interview at UCL, well done! This means there is a place for you, they want to give it to you but you have to first justify them giving it. All interviews for UCL Medical School are non-competitive. You are only competing against yourself. Unlike Oxford/Cambridge where there might be 30 of you competing for 10 spaces, at UCL you are only called up if there is a place on the course for you.

    What is means is that you CAN talk and you CAN be friendly to all your fellow applicants in the interview waiting room There is good chance you’ll be future coursemates together!

    Relevance of grades, BMAT, academia after being shortlisted:
    Once you are shortlisted for interview. UCL are satisfied with your academic ability and your grades, BMAT score etc. WILL NOT BE TAKEN INTO FURTHER ACCOUNT. Once you are called up for interview, you and every other applicant there are on a level playing field and have an equal shot at a place regardless of previous merits.

    It is solely your interview performance that seals the deal:
    Once you are at interview stage, the only thing that will get you a place will be your individual performance. As said, grades and other merits are not considered after being shortlisted. Now its time for you to deliver in person!

    Interview setup:
    You will have a panel of 3 interviewing you. They can range from clinical lecturers, pre-clinical lecturers, medical students, local teachers, members of the public, doctors, researchers, patients from hospitals, medical school admin staff… literally anyone!

    Only two of the interviewers will engage in conversation with you. The third will be watching your body language and reactions.

    Interviews last approximately twenty minutes and they tend to get through around 5-8 questions depending on your answers and other points of discussion.

    YOU WILL NOT BE ASKED ANY SCIENCE QUESTIONS IN INTERVIEW. Unless of course you decided to be a smartarse and wrote about a condition “I have particular interest in” in your personal statement Though that’s your fault for putting yourself in a hole there – as they will then pick you up on that to validate it, should they be in a mood.

    Interview Questions:
    UCL Medicine interviews vary greatly. From what I’ve found, they do a fantastic job of tailoring it to your personal statement very closely. So more than likely, your interview will be nothing like that of others. My sole tip would be to learn your PS very well and be ready to elaborate on or justify anything you’ve written about.

    BMAT Essay:

    Before your interview (when you go into the waiting room), you will get given a photocopy of your BMAT essay to look at. Don’t worry about this. They only want to see how you defend yourself, communicate a logical argument and see if you can reflect upon what you’ve done. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT SCORE YOU GOT. In your interview you’ll just pretty much get asked things like “why did you choose this question?” “what would you change, if anything?” “what did you mean by this?”. Sometimes, they will challenge you and say “but surely this is wrong?..” You either stand your ground and justify your statement or weigh up both sides of the argument and then conclude that it is wrong.

    My interview:

    Here are just my reflections and recollections of my interview. I had a panel of 3, two men and a woman. I first got asked about my work experience and then my views on political issues. I later got asked about challenges I faced as a senior prefect and how I overcame them. Funnily enough, I got asked NOTHING on my BMAT essay! I came out of my interview thinking it was a disaster as I had got asked nothing argumentative or worth debating. Nor did I get asked anything generic like "why UCL/Medicine?" "what are your hobbies?" "why not nursing?". However I do know of applicants who did get asked such questions.
    Funnily enough, despite all my doubts, I got an offer in the end!


    OFFERS:
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    The standard offer for applicants after interview is AAA at A2. The offer will state you must have grades AA bio and chem. If you take 4 or more subjects, they won’t specify the 3rd A.

    You will hear if you have have an offer or rejection after interview via UCAS Track within 14 days (usually do they do it by 5 days). You will also receive a letter in the post from UCL.

    Preferential Offers:
    Every year, UCL gives around 20 preferential offers. These are ABB-AAB offers. If you REALLY REALLY impress them in interview you’ll get given one. Don’t worry if you don’t get one though, they rarely give out all 20 or so, often is just around 10 and are incredibly rare.

    Recommendations for a gap year:
    They sometimes want to give you an offer but will think you will benefit from a year out to mature. In this case, they will give you a deferred entry offer. It is of course up to you whether you take it or not.
    Hey i was wondering what you thought about UMS and individual modular results, would it really damage an application to get a B in one chemistry exam, and not great UMS for Bio and chem, whilst still getting AAAA ?

    Any ideas ?
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    (Original post by Orinincandenza)
    Hey i was wondering what you thought about UMS and individual modular results, would it really damage an application to get a B in one chemistry exam, and not great UMS for Bio and chem, whilst still getting AAAA ?

    Any ideas ?
    Well UCL do ask for 'a strong background in AS chemsitry and biology' for applicants who apply in Y13. By strong background, most have interpreted that to mean an A (and some say A+B). To the best of my knowledge, UCL do not make it mandatory for people to declare their UMS, however for your application year they said they may contact individuals (very rare) to disclose such information. Chances are, if you have an A over all with just one B in a module, it won't damage your chances at all as you've shown consistency in your performance at the highest levels possible. With those results you mentioned, you should be safe - even if you scraped As (which is what I'm assuming 'not great UMS' means for somebody with an A)
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    (Original post by purplefrog)
    Well UCL do ask for 'a strong background in AS chemsitry and biology' for applicants who apply in Y13. By strong background, most have interpreted that to mean an A (and some say A+B). To the best of my knowledge, UCL do not make it mandatory for people to declare their UMS, however for your application year they said they may contact individuals (very rare) to disclose such information. Chances are, if you have an A over all with just one B in a module, it won't damage your chances at all as you've shown consistency in your performance at the highest levels possible. With those results you mentioned, you should be safe - even if you scraped As (which is what I'm assuming 'not great UMS' means for somebody with an A)
    Ok, thanks, all helpful stuff. Still not sure if i'm going to apply, so much to consider.
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    (Original post by Orinincandenza)
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    (Original post by purplefrog)
    To the best of my knowledge, UCL do not make it mandatory for people to declare their UMS, however for your application year they said they may contact individuals (very rare) to disclose such information.
    An email I got from UCL (underlining is mine) :

    Thank you for your enquiry.

    All candidates must include AS level grades. However, when assessing
    applications if UMS scores are not included for all modules and all
    subjects we will most likely request this information if we are
    considering interviewing the applicant.

    With regards
    Amy Davis
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    (Original post by SaintSoldier)
    An email I got from UCL (underlining is mine) :

    Thank you for your enquiry.

    All candidates must include AS level grades. However, when assessing
    applications if UMS scores are not included for all modules and all
    subjects we will most likely request this information if we are
    considering interviewing the applicant.

    With regards
    Amy Davis
    I stand corrected. Thanks for pointing this out I'll be sure to remember that for further queries. I understand you're applying the coming cycle? Are you able to confirm for me whether on the UCAS form it is now mandatory to declare all module results (and resits??) for each AS/A2 course? And whether there is now a separate box for UMS?

    I've heard whispers about both, but have no way of verifying. Would be nice to hear it from somebody with actual access to the e-form. And will help me hone any advice I give later on, given the floods of PMs and quotes people send to query UCLMS' procedures.
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    (Original post by purplefrog)
    I stand corrected. Thanks for pointing this out I'll be sure to remember that for further queries.
    No problem

    I understand you're applying the coming cycle?
    Yes, although (I hope this doesn't sound arrogant) I am having trouble deciding between here and Cambridge. I'm 80% on the side of applying to UCL, but I'm not quite sure yet.

    Are you able to confirm for me whether on the UCAS form it is now mandatory to declare all module results (and resits??) for each AS/A2 course?
    I said:

    "My school has a policy of only declaring grades for whole AS-Levels, as opposed to individual unit scores on the UCAS form. However, they always include the total UMS score for each AS-Level in the reference. Will I need to negotiate this with the school before I submit my application to UCL?"

    To which UCL replied;

    "If your application includes both the whole AS level grades on the form and UMS in the reference you will not need to negotiate anything with your school."

    So I'm not too sure.

    And whether there is now a separate box for UMS?
    From what I remember from the last time I went on UCAS, you can only put the grade in for each module. But I'm not 100% sure on that one.

    I've heard whispers about both, but have no way of verifying. Would be nice to hear it from somebody with actual access to the e-form. And will help me hone any advice I give later on, given the floods of PMs and quotes people send to query UCLMS' procedures.
    What e-form?
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    (Original post by SaintSoldier)
    No problem

    From what I remember from the last time I went on UCAS, you can only put the grade in for each module. But I'm not 100% sure on that one.



    What e-form?
    That was the UCAS set up when I was there too. If you are able to take a screenshot of just that section, I'd much appreciate it - but no worries if not.

    By e-form, I meant the whole UCAS application online.
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    (Original post by purplefrog)
    That was the UCAS set up when I was there too. If you are able to take a screenshot of just that section, I'd much appreciate it - but no worries if not.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    ^^ That's my Biology AS

    You can only pick grades, not UMS marks
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    (Original post by SaintSoldier)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    ^^ That's my Biology AS

    You can only pick grades, not UMS marks
    Cheers so basically its identical to when I applied. So UMS would have to be explicitly stated in the reference or they'll contact you should they be desperate to have it.
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    (Original post by purplefrog)
    Cheers so basically its identical to when I applied. So UMS would have to be explicitly stated in the reference or they'll contact you should they be desperate to have it.
    Yes, but according to them they'll most likely be desparate to have it if they're considering calling you for interview.

    They said somewhere (I can't remember which email) that they'd contact the schoo directlyl, so you won't be notified of when your results are revealed. It's to keep you in suspence obviously
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    Hello and congrats to everyone with offers. I completed my a levels this june and would want to apply to UCL for 2013 intake.
    My grades are A*A*AA, with A*s in Maths and physics. And A's in Chem and bio. I am an international, and do you think I would be
    at least called up for interview? Its a shame since nobody got A*'s in my school for AQA science subjects due to the practical (ISA)....
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    AS: AAAA
    A2 Predictions: A*A*AA
    Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Economics (contrasting subject supposed to be helpful)
    GCSE: A*A*A*AAAABBB
    UKCAT: 705 (as minor indication of what my BMAT may be)

    What do you think? I'm not sure whether I should try it the BMAT is such a risk. Do you think i should go for it, and can get in with an average score?

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Updated: September 19, 2012
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