(Original post by Harbour Seal)
Hi missus, I am a 25 year old single parent who is reapplying for medicine. My academics are a bit shaky, but I worked hard to update them and I am also on an Access course. I have had 4 interviews over 2 years (all in Scotland), so I am going to give you a bit of advice:
1. I cannot stress the importance of the UKCAT and how it has played a part in your application. Your score of 600, while it's perfectly average, is just that. I wouldn't bother with the Kaplan course (I distrust anything that profits from people applying to medicine) rather look at the breakdown of your score and see where you were weakest. Bad at maths? Practise distance, speed and time, percentages, area and volume, etc Basic GCSE stuff, until you barely have to think about it. Abstract Reasoning? Decision Analysis? Verbal Reasoning? Loads of test prep books out there with loads of practise, but the problem is you must identify where you went wrong. Is it timing? People in my class complained last year about the on screen calculator not working properly with the keyboard - I practised with the mouse only, meaning for each question I needed it I saved valuable seconds as I didn't have to look at the keyboard and back at the screen. In verbal reasoning I skimmed over the passage only, and then read the question and just read in depth the parts that applied. VR was my worst one the year before, so I made sure to finish that section, giving me time to look it over. AR I've always been naturally good at, so I made sure to concentrate on the other sections more, while not ignoring it entirely. Do you see? I practised the things I worse at, identified my timing as a problem and sought to shave seconds where I could. The result was that I got 732.5 compared to 680 the year before. You need to do the same.
2. Applying for Medicine is lonely. I thought that joining an access course would help support me in my application, not through qualifications, but through shared experience with other people. I had spent the year before at a college surrounded by people who didn't care very much about education (though they were loads of fun) and, because I devoted my entire time to studying, I missed out on things I now regret (one of them being that my boyfriend and I split up after my exams). It is important to have a life outside of applying to medicine, incredibly so, because it keeps you sane and on an even keel and helps put things in perspective. It is just a job, like digitalis says. Remember that.
3. I know what it's like to feel disappointment and self-doubt, and I know the difference between that and feeling worthless. It happens when I'm depressed, and depression can become severe. Go see your doctor about this: there is no shame about it, and it is better for you and your daughter that you do something now.
4. Being rejected last year was tough for me too. I questioned leaving the course and working full time in the coffee shop. I didn't because all I could think of was how much time with my daughter I had sacrificed for this, and how it would have been all for nothing if I left without perfect results. I got straight As in all my exams and reapplied.
5. Get a part-time job. Yes, you'll be stretched for time, but it will keep you normal and give you some money as well. Customer facing jobs will give you confidence in dealing with the public and the interview will give you some more practice.
6. PRACTICE INTERVIEWS. I got a very good friend of mine to look at how I stand and walk and sit and gave me some pointers. 1) Be deliberate in your motions - control your movements, take your time, any gestures must not be flappy or display nerves 2) Be confident - THEY OFFERED YOU AN INTERVIEW. They want to see you, no matter the questions they are asking you or how horrible they seem, they are considering offering you a place! Keep that in mind! 3) Do not sweat the small stuff. You will make a mistake in your interview, forget a word or phrase, or do or say something stupid. You will. Accept this and don't worry about it.
Get people to practise with you, people whose feedback you trust and will listen to. Follow their advice. Interviews are a lot calmer once you get the hang of them.
7. If I were you? I'd reapply one more time. I gave myself two cycles to get a place, and the time limit has helped as I can make some sort of plan for the future. I currently have an unconditional for genetics which I'll happily take up if I get rejected for medicine. It has helped give me some perspective (what is two years in the grand scheme of things) and it feels good knowing I'll be back in uni soon either way
PM me if you need to chat, and if you're ever up in Glasgow, let me know. We'll go for a drink