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Which medical school?

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    Hi all

    Im relatively new to TSR so hi everyone

    Im a maths and science student currently in my first year of a levels and this year I'm applying to medical school. Ive heard that the best way to increase your chances of being accepted is to apply to schools which suit you, i.e. some medical schools look more heavily at different qualities e.g. results, UKCAT, BMAT etc.

    Obviously I haven't sat the UKCAT or BMAT yet so I'm not sure what my result for these will be like, but I think my strongest aspect is probably my grades. I have a few examples of work experience and volunteer work; Hopefully i have a placement to shadow a consultant for a week in summer and I've been on the wards a few times in a hospital with pharmacists, talking to some patients and helping to do drug histories. I also volunteer at a secondary school helping in science which ill have done for 9 months when i apply and I'm hoping to volunteer in a care home by early june so it will be for around 4 months when I apply as well as hopefully working with some disabled children. I have a few extra curricular actives; I run and cycle and I'm doing the coast to coast for charity. Im also grade five saxophone thinking of doing grade 7, I used to be in a band as a bassist and I taught myself the piano. Student rep for college, prefect etc etc but nothing that would really stand out.

    What I was really wondering was can anyone give me a hand with which universities would suit me and can anyone tell me how to find out what universities focus on when considering applicants so that I know where to apply to when i get my UKCAT results. I suppose i'd mainly be looking for ones which don't focus too heavily on volunteer work and extra curricular activities and what certain universities do look for.

    Thanks guys!

    Sam
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    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki...ements_Program
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    Thanks a lot thats really helpful for me

    However it doesn't seem to involve voluntary work and work experience. I was wondering which medical schools if any focus slightly less on work experience and slightly more on academics
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    (Original post by el.sammo)
    Thanks a lot thats really helpful for me

    However it doesn't seem to involve voluntary work and work experience. I was wondering which medical schools if any focus slightly less on work experience and slightly more on academics
    Well they all focus on that as part of their interviews, don't know of any that don't take them into account. Can't see what the problem is though, your work experience and volunteering are fine.
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    ah I see, Ive just heard of people who've done over a years voluntary work in different places and loads of different stuff like work abroad and they've still been rejected! I guess I'm just worrying about it too much. Hopefully as long as i explain what i wanted to get out of each volunteer work and what I actually gained and learned from them it should be ok. Thanks guys.

    So worried about the UKCAT! the practise tests online are so hard
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    (Original post by el.sammo)
    ah I see, Ive just heard of people who've done over a years voluntary work in different places and loads of different stuff like work abroad and they've still been rejected! I guess I'm just worrying about it too much. Hopefully as long as i explain what i wanted to get out of each volunteer work and what I actually gained and learned from them it should be ok. Thanks guys.

    So worried about the UKCAT! the practise tests online are so hard

    I applied for the 2012 entry so I'll try to help you!

    You should try to do as much work experience as possible but, I think that the most important thing is being able to say what you learnt from it. I believe most unis prefer a student who has a reasonable amount of work experience and is able to reflect and say what he/she learnt from it, than a student who has loads of work experience but isn't capable of that.
    I didn't have lots of years of work experience but I still got an offer!

    For the UKCAT i would advise you to get the 600 q book. Although some parts are harder than the real test, I think it's a good preparation.

    If your UKCAT doesn't go very well, you always can apply to medical schools who don't require it (eg: Birmingham).

    Hope this helped
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    Yeah hopefully Ill be able to impress them by mentioning everything i took from my volunteering and give some specific examples of times which helped this.

    Congratulations on your offer! Where are you going?

    Ill be sure to get that UKCAT book and hopefully ill be able to get an average score. Thanks for the help!
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    (Original post by el.sammo)
    Yeah hopefully Ill be able to impress them by mentioning everything i took from my volunteering and give some specific examples of times which helped this.

    Congratulations on your offer! Where are you going?

    Ill be sure to get that UKCAT book and hopefully ill be able to get an average score. Thanks for the help!
    You're an ambitious bugger, aren't you
    (Or perhaps too modest...)
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    Ha, I think its just that I worry too much. And the fact that I basically failed the practise tests on the internet... its not that they're too hard, its that you get so little time to complete the questions! I like to have a good think about things before committing to an answer...
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    (Original post by el.sammo)
    Yeah hopefully Ill be able to impress them by mentioning everything i took from my volunteering and give some specific examples of times which helped this.

    Congratulations on your offer! Where are you going?

    Ill be sure to get that UKCAT book and hopefully ill be able to get an average score. Thanks for the help!
    Thanks! Newcastle.

    Yeah, and once you've sat the UKCAT and BMAT you can use your strengths wisely in order to decide to which medical schools you should apply.

    You're welcome. Good luck with your application. If you have any questions that I can help, let me know.
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    Super jealous, Newcastle is where I've always wanted to go since I live only about 20 minutes away

    Thanks a lot.

    One more question, Im not too sure how the BMAT works. Is it the same as the UKCAT i.e. you need to register and go and do it or do you do it when you've applied to the university? Its just that I don't know where Im applying yet and i might be applying to a one which needs the BMAT so if its the same as the UKCAT I think i should do it just in case
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    (Original post by el.sammo)
    Super jealous, Newcastle is where I've always wanted to go since I live only about 20 minutes away

    Thanks a lot.

    One more question, Im not too sure how the BMAT works. Is it the same as the UKCAT i.e. you need to register and go and do it or do you do it when you've applied to the university? Its just that I don't know where Im applying yet and i might be applying to a one which needs the BMAT so if its the same as the UKCAT I think i should do it just in case
    I didn't take the BMAT so I'm not sure how it works, but I think you can find all the information here:

    http://www.bmat.org.uk/
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    (Original post by el.sammo)
    Ha, I think its just that I worry too much. And the fact that I basically failed the practise tests on the internet... its not that they're too hard, its that you get so little time to complete the questions! I like to have a good think about things before committing to an answer...
    I know what you mean, in my actual UKCAT, I think I was lucky to get above 600 because in Quantative and verbal reasoning, I blindly guessed half the questions, concentrated on the ones I knew I could do (possibly without a calculator because the computer calculator is just rubbish and time consuming unless I knew what I was doing quick enough), and estimated the more simpler ones.

    As long as you finish ALL the questions which is what I did, you'll have more of a chance of getting a higher mark.

    In terms of uni choices, most look at you overall. Most also look at your gcses so that is a big factor (especially minimum requirements).

    When it comes to choosing, choose after you've done the UKCAT, which is why it's better to get the ukcat done early and out of the way so that you have more time to think. Some are competitive when it comes to the UKCAT like King's College London.

    With the bmat, it's a bit of a gamble because you don't do this until after you've submitted your choices (me choosing 2 wasn't the best idea because I messed up the bmat so I was already half way out before it even really started). So think about the bmat unis (Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and UCL) carefully.

    Good luck with your choices
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    Just been out and bought the 600 q's book and also a neat little book with the imaginative title "how to get in to medical school". Hopefully these two should be of some help to me
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    (Original post by el.sammo)
    Just been out and bought the 600 q's book and also a neat little book with the imaginative title "how to get in to medical school". Hopefully these two should be of some help to me
    yes, they are very helpful, indeed!
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    (Original post by el.sammo)
    Ha, I think its just that I worry too much. And the fact that I basically failed the practise tests on the internet... its not that they're too hard, its that you get so little time to complete the questions! I like to have a good think about things before committing to an answer...
    It's not all about right answers, it's about using your head. If a question's gonna take 3 or 4 minutes, skip it and go back to it later. Answer all the quick questions quickly then do as many of the slower ones as possible. When you've only got 30 seconds left, rapidly guess any remaining questions.

    I did that for QR and AR and got something like 660 and 610 for them respectively. I literally guessed just over a quarter of the maths ones and still got a good score. I guessed probably 60% of AR.
    I then pulled my average score up to 707.5 by nailing the two sections i was better at.

    The marking system for the UKCAT has never been released to my knowledge, i wouldn't be surprised if you gained some extra marks for approaching the test in a logical manner and completing all the questions.

    Just be smart with it, getting a high score is so useful for an application. For example, it gets you interviews at Sheffield and Newcastle straight off the bat.
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    great advice, ill keep it in mind
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    Im really struggling to think of anything i could carry out that would demonstrate good teamwork/leadership skills The only sports I do are cycling and running, kind of solo sports although I'm doing the coast to coast in summer. Any ideas/advice? I also used to play the saxophone for a few years and did grade three but then kind of lost interest (mainly because my music teacher was evil). Im thinking of picking it back up again and doing a few more grades but I'm worried in case an interviewer rips me apart from loosing interest for those years i stopped. I was thinking of saying it was due to academic stress and wanting to focus on my GCSE's but I'm not sure if this will cut it :/ any advice is greatly appreciated
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    (Original post by el.sammo)
    Im really struggling to think of anything i could carry out that would demonstrate good teamwork/leadership skills The only sports I do are cycling and running, kind of solo sports although I'm doing the coast to coast in summer. Any ideas/advice? I also used to play the saxophone for a few years and did grade three but then kind of lost interest (mainly because my music teacher was evil). Im thinking of picking it back up again and doing a few more grades but I'm worried in case an interviewer rips me apart from loosing interest for those years i stopped. I was thinking of saying it was due to academic stress and wanting to focus on my GCSE's but I'm not sure if this will cut it :/ any advice is greatly appreciated
    Well, I don't really play sports alot. I used to play Ice Hockey, which is a team sport, but that's all I've played. When they want you to demonstrate leadership skills on your personal statement, you can choose it from your various extra-curricular activities. I personally wrote about my time in Prefects, as I was in the executive committee and it was crucial to maintain storng group dynamic throughout the school year.

    For your saxophone case - if you feel that quitting saxophone was justified but going to prevent your personal statement from standing out, I wouldn't include it at all. Why include something that is detrimental to your PS?

    My point being, you don't need to be an extra-curricular freak to do well on your personal statement. Think about what you're good at, and make that point strong and clear on your personal statement. Think about the activities you have participated in and what you have learned from it. It's all about APPLICATION of what you've done. You could have done millions of ECs, but if you can't really explain it or even relate how the EC will benefit your career in medicine, your personal statement will be just you talking about yourself in a very illogical and unorganized way. Make sure to talk about what you have done in your ECs and how it will act as a transferrable skill/activity that you can utilize in your medical career.


    It's great that you're thinking about your PS early. Write alot of drafts, read over it from time to time (you got alot of time!), and make sure it is in its top form when you submit it.

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