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average uk cat, low band in sj, do i have a chance of getting in?

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    • Thread Starter

    hi there, just sat my uk cat and did alright.
    sj-band 3
    average 640
    since I am just under average for this year so far and sj is low I don't know If I stand a chance of getting interviews, which Scottish unis should I apply to? I have lot of good experience and all As through school, doing 2 adv highers with predicted As. any response would be appreciated.

    Hey, I applied to medicine last year with similar stats to yours ( average of 645 in UKCAT, band 1 stj, all As apart from a B for Higher English - I was a mark off an A and I was predicted to achieve 2 As in my advanced highers (chem and maths) and an A in Higher Spanish) and I received 3 outright rejections from (Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews), although I did make the waiting list for Aberdeen and I would advise the following:

    Your STJ is not even looked at by Aberdeen and a few other Scottish universities ( worth doing a quick bit of research there) so I wouldn't fret too much about that. Although, I am aware that St. Andrews use it instead of an interview station and that Edinburgh apply something like 20% of your overall application score to situational judgement so I wouldn't advise applying to either of those unless you have to, St Andrews before Edinburgh.

    Glasgow operate a relatively high UKCAT cut-off. For example, last year I was rejected solely on the basis of my UKCAT being too low at 645 so I wouldn't really advise applying there either unless you are part of the Reach Programme - in which case you would receive a 10% UKCAT boost on account that you meet the 5A requirement ( Reach either bumps up your grades to 5 As or gives you a 10% UKCAT boost).

    Your best bets are probably Dundee and maybe St. Andrews. Aberdeen receive a high volume of applications and applicants with only predicted grades rather than achieved are scored much less favourably so I wouldn't advise applying there unless you are really drawn to aspects of the course such as the rural medicine opportunities etc. You have good stats, but unfortunately competition in medicine is such that many strong applications are rejected during each cycle. You might want to consider applying to Dentistry: altruistic, science based vocational course with slightly laxer entrance requirements than medicine. You might also want to consider focusing on reaching your predicted grades this year and to then take a gap year to get a second shot at the UKCAT and to have some memorable experiences - that's what I'm doing just now. I scored 680 and a band 1 for STJ in my UKCAT this year, it's not a huge improvement on my score last year, but it should be enough to get me in because most applicants score in the range of mid 600 so an improvement of 35 points places me above quite a few other applicants when UKCAT ranking is used in interview and offer selection. If you have any other questions then please feel free to ask
    • Thread Starter

    Thanks so much for your helpful reply!!! Do you think your rejections where due to your uk cat or academic scores ? Frustrating how the uk cat can prevent you from getting in! I also have a lot of good experience and extra curricular activities if that helps

    (Original post by _sophieebennett)
    Thanks so much for your helpful reply!!! Do you think your rejections where due to your uk cat or academic scores ? Frustrating how the uk cat can prevent you from getting in! I also have a lot of good experience and extra curricular activities if that helps
    Glasgow rejected me outright on the basis of my UKCAT being too low and the rest said that the main limiting factor in my application was the UKCAT so I would say for definite that it was my UKCAT which prevented me from getting in last year. I agree with you about the UKCAT, unlike school exams even a bad test day experience can have a huge impact on an applicants score whereas in a school exam there aren't the same time constraints or anything so its still easy enough to apply your knowledge in academic exams rather than your ability in aptitude tests even if you are having a tough day or get difficult questions .

    Experiences and extra curricular activities can be valuable at interview, but with the exception of Edinburgh the other universities really just have a quick look at your personal statement and reference to make sure that you have a satisfactory amount of work experience and the right motivations in applying etc.. They are handy at interview, but really as long as you can talk confidently about what you've done and its relevance to your medical application and whatnot then its not too important.

    You might want to apply to Edinburgh if you think that you're non-academic aspect is quite strong, although its difficult to judge how members of the admissions panel will respond to your personal statement - I was fortunate enough to know someone who previously served on the admissions panels and they thought that my personal statement was excellent, although Edinburgh said that my ps was average in their feedback. You should definitely consider Edinburgh, although its just your luck because they receive so many applications and they don't give school leavers the opportunity to demonstrate their suitability to medicine in person with an interview.

    You might want to apply to a couple of universities down south because a few accept 2 advanced highers rather than the usual 3 which universities down south tend to ask for. If I remember correctly Sheffield and Leeds are 2 universities down south which will take 2 advanced highers.

    I would advise against an application to Glasgow because of your UKCAT score, but the rest are all fairly reasonable to apply to with more balanced applicant scoring. Other than applying this year, I would recommend focusing on your advanced highers and then taking a year out to reapply where you would have more time to prepare for the UKCAT and you could polish the rest of your application with more experience, work, travel etc. I can't stress enough the fact that you can definitely improve on the UKCAT with careful preparation, in my UKCAT this year I actually under- performed in VR and QR considerably in comparison to what I had scored in those sections last year and in mock tests, but I managed to improve my AR score by 120 points which enabled me to still do well. You have done really well so far and you are clearly passionate about studying medicine so just don't give up. Let me know if you have any other questions. All the best
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