(Original post by SchoolKid.)
I will be studying Bio, Chemistry, English Lit and law or Business studies
You have Bio + Chem that most uni's require so that's good, I'd stay away from softer subjects like business studies, however, AAA in subjects you enjoy is better than AAB in subjects that may necessarily be 'better' for medicine.
Is the A levels significantly harder than GCSE as everyone makes out and does anyone have any tips on how to do well?
A-Levels are a HUGE step up from GCSE. The workload is massive and you have to be working constantly. None of this, revising a month before the exam nonsense. You have to be revising and self studying all the time. My A-level tips -
Put the work in every single night. There is a simple 4 step process for A-levels which I am going to follow.
Pre-read, Attend, Post-read, Revise.
Meaning I will read up on the topic we're going to study before the lesson to familiarize myself with the terms and ALWAYS keep the syllabus with me to make sure I'm learning everything I need to know. Attending the lesson is the most important part for most, as this is where most of the learning will be done. Post-reading will be done after college, going over what we done in lesson to make sure I understand it fully. Then revising at least a month or two before exams so that I can go over everything I need to.
For revision (especially for maths), past papers are absolutely crucial, do them all and do them multiple times to familiarize yourself with the exam layout, etc.
I have been told by my future tutors that you should be doing at least 5 hours of self study per week, PER SUBJECT. This time counts as the post-reading stage in the process, however the time differs between individual. Some may only need to spend 3-4 to understand everything if they pick things up easily and others may need to put more work in if they're not understand the concepts as easily.
If you don't do so well in an exam then it's not the end of the world, you can always resit. Re-sits are really the safety net for A-levels, you can go from low grades to high grades very easily if you do well in a re-sit.
Don't waste your free periods. I'm not sure how your college works, but most colleges or further education time-tables have set free-periods for self study or whatever. This is when most people go out for a tab or go to the pub, but don't get caught in a crowd when you could be doing work. I know how easy it is to get distracted from doing something important because a bunch of mates are going to the pub. But come on, it's 2 years of knuckling down and putting the work in. There'll be time for the pub when you've bagged all those A's. Don't succumb to peer pressure.
Either way, work hard from the very start of the year. When exams come around you don't want to be thinking 'Ah, I could've done some more on x'.
Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail, as they say.
When should we start planning / write up our ps?
Start thinking about this once your AS level exams are done. The summer after the exams you should be preparing for UKCAT and drafting your PS.
Can someone give me tips on how to get WE in a hospital (shadowing a doctor or something)? Also, I am planning to do all this...should i do slightly more or will this be fine.
Email your local hospital and ask if they have any work experience placements. Similarly, talk to a careers adviser at your school/college and see if they can sort something out for you. Hospitals usually have access days for students wishing to study medicine and learn a little bit more about it.
It's not about quantity of work experience, but quality. As long as you're learning something from it and can talk about these things in the interview, if you're lucky enough to get one. I spoke to my future Bio teacher who is a master on medical applications and he said you should only do about 1-2 hours of volunteering a week because you will be so busy with all the A-level work, you just won't have time to do anything else. Especially if you plan on doing extra-curricular activities as well, which are necessary. What extra-curricular activities do you do/going to do?
Almost all universities (well i think all) require three A's at A2. However, what happens if you don't get the AAA but get AAB / ABB / BBB. What is the reapplication process and what other courses can you do beside medicine?
If you do not achieve AAA, most universities will not take you on, however I am not sure about this. My advice would be to work as hard as you can and REALLY put the work in so you don't have to worry about this situation. However, I do realize it happens sometimes. So if you were to not achieve the grades, then you would have to re-sit, and re-apply to universities that accept re-sits outside the regular 2 years of A-levels. There are also foundation courses for medicine, but they are mostly designed for people who didn't take science A-levels, etc.
I tried hard with my GCSE's but I think im going to get 4-5 A, 3-4 B, 1 - D, 1 - F (I.T Dont ask!) Will these be good enough for any uni. I do know that i may get better or worse results but I am just trying to get an answer.
It's definitely not the end of your medical journal, however it WILL damage your application a lot. Apply to universities which do not necessarily take GCSEs into account and kick ass on the rest of your application. (PS, UKCAT, Interview) As long as you have Maths, English Language and the sciences at C+ you should be able to apply to none heavy GCSE uni's. With B's in Maths, English Lang and the Sciences you will be able to apply to significantly more uni's.