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wigman15
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Hey!!

I am currently in Year 12 and will be applying for Oxford to study Medicine. I am still researching to see which college I would like to apply to and would like some of your opinions to help me out.

Thanks
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Lucy
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(Original post by wigman15)
Hey!!

I am currently in Year 12 and will be applying for Oxford to study Medicine. I am still researching to see which college I would like to apply to and would like some of your opinions to help me out.

Thanks
Hello I should hopefully be studying medicine at Ox in October if I meet my grades so maybe I can help Firstly do you have specific requirements you want to look for in a college for example a small/medium/large college? A college which has a strong tradition in medicine? Lots of Fellows in medicine? Strengths in a particular extra curricular interest? Is prestige/traditions/a more laidback atmosphere important to you? Amount of competition? These are only a few of the questions you should be considering when picking a college.

I personally went about looking first for a medium-large college which was good musically (amongst other things but those were two of my 'main' requirements). It didn't really bother me whether it was high in the Norrington table (a league table for the colleges) or not. In the end I made up a shortlist of three (Exeter, New & Worcester) and went to visit all three on the science open day. The best way of choosing them is to actually go and visit so you can get a feel for the atmosphere. I was also quite lucky because I had the chance to talk to a medic at New and a medic at Worcester which really gave me an insight into what it's like at each of the colleges. I then semi-decided on Worcester and went on a specific open day for that college to meet one of the Fellows for medicine and to get a better chance to 'get to know' the college.

So that's about it really! Oh yes, some 'interesting' facts about medical applications at particular colleges include Somerville (which are likely to set an extra test for medical applicants at interview), Keble (you might have to do a 5-10min presentation) and Hertford (you may have 5 interviewers who will throw things at you ).

If you need any extra help/advice I'm more than willing to share my application experience
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wigman15
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Wow! Thanks very much for your reply.

I am looking for a medium-large sized college which is not too noisy nor too adventurous on the pub scene and is based in the actual campus. I would prefer a mix of uni students from various subjects. A prestigous college, in my opinion, would be better. However, are they better than the less prestigous ones? The college would have to cater for all life's essentials and be very modern. As I would probably live in the college throughout my entire uni life, the room would have to be slightly more than adequate, spacious, en-suite, etc.

I will be visiting Oxford in the Easter holidays as I am very busy now with exams and coursework!

Could I ask you what did you do to make you stand out from the "crowd" as there are 100s of students who apply for medicine at Oxford. Also, could you please tell me what grades you got at AS Level?

Referring to your "interesting facts," would it be better to apply to these colleges or ones which do not require these "extras."

Thank you Lucy and good luck with your A2 exams!!
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TomB2000
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Hello!

I also applied to medicine at oxford this year (and unfortunately was rejected). I applied to exeter college and also had interviews at new college - so those are quite similar to Lucy's...
None of the colleges are too noisy, and they all have quite secluded parts/gardens, so i wouldn't worry about that. Exeter is medium-sized, although physically quite small, but it has lovely gardens and is right in the middle of oxford - it is in a side street off the high street, you couldn't get more central.
On a more pessimistic note wigman15, don't get too set on oxford as there is a very real chance you won't get in (i fell in love with oxford probably a bit too much, and hadn't prepared myself fully of the upset of not getting in). If you look good on paper (good GCSEs etc) its better to apply to oxford than cambridge, as at oxford 70% of candidates are rejected before interview. However bear in mind that despite having brilliant GCSEs, good BMAT results, UCAS form etc, you may still not get in.
Don't choose your college based on the selection procedure as ALL the colleges have a very rigorous selection procedure, and whilst i may not have had things thrown at me, the interviews were very tough, and will be at any college you apply to.

Anyway, good luck!

Tom
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joyabbott
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When I was applying for med, I seriously considered Merton - although in the end I decided the Oxford course wasn't for me. I'd definately recommend having a look round though.
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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(Original post by joyabbott)
When I was applying for med, I seriously considered Merton - although in the end I decided the Oxford course wasn't for me. I'd definately recommend having a look round though.
The pressure of Medicine at Oxford is bad enough, so I wouldn't recommend a college more notorious than the rest for academic pressure. For Medicine I would however recommend a richer college with more academic provisions and library facilities, as the medics here often complain that the college library is inadequate.
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joyabbott
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Yeah, you're right about the academic pressure at Merton (I have friends there, and know a HO who studied there), however, personally I work well under pressure (as I find many medics do), so that aspect didn't bother me. I thrive in a competitive environment. It was the lack of clinical integration that put me off Oxbridge in the end. Had the course been right, Merton would definately have been my choice. That's my personal choice though, and it's important to consider what YOU want, and which college would suit you best.
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Lucy
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(Original post by wigman15)
Wow! Thanks very much for your reply.

I am looking for a medium-large sized college which is not too noisy nor too adventurous on the pub scene and is based in the actual campus. I would prefer a mix of uni students from various subjects. A prestigous college, in my opinion, would be better. However, are they better than the less prestigous ones? The college would have to cater for all life's essentials and be very modern. As I would probably live in the college throughout my entire uni life, the room would have to be slightly more than adequate, spacious, en-suite, etc.

I will be visiting Oxford in the Easter holidays as I am very busy now with exams and coursework!

Could I ask you what did you do to make you stand out from the "crowd" as there are 100s of students who apply for medicine at Oxford. Also, could you please tell me what grades you got at AS Level?

Referring to your "interesting facts," would it be better to apply to these colleges or ones which do not require these "extras."

Thank you Lucy and good luck with your A2 exams!!
A prestigous college generally performs better in the Finals but wherever you go you will be taught by specialists who may not necessarily be part of your college so you will still be 'taught by the best' as it were

Ok, well, Balliol and New are prestiguous but less so than the 'big players' e.g. Merton, Christ Church (I don't know if you want to go for the top-top colleges but I personally felt that they were a bit too scary/pressurised for my liking ). Balliol says that they have a strong tradition in medicine.

I had an interview at Somerville which is a really friendly/laid back college but isn't too good prestige-wise - however if you are a state school student it could be worth looking into because they are rumoured to positively discriminate state school applicants (well they definitely have a higher proportion of state school students).

And of course I would recommend Worcester (my first choice college) The college is huge - 26 acres + a lake so there is a really relaxing feel to it. The college performs well academically and the two medical Fellows are great - if you want more specific info on Worcester (or the other colleges I mentioned then I can try to help fill you in ).

Magdalen is prestiguous and really big and scary but some people like it - I would go and visit it on the open day anyway just to see the deer

As for the 'interesting' colleges - it really depends on you. If you feel you don't excel too well on BMAT-style tests then don't apply to Somerville. If you feel threatened by your interviewers acting like fools then don't apply to Hertford etc.

Just a little note on the admissions' procedure:

All of the colleges I mentioned (bar Somerville) are quite competitive. At Worcester even though they had got rid of 65% of applicants there were still about 5 applicants per place. As they are competitive quite a few applicants at these colleges were weeded out by the deselection pre-interview despite having say 7A*s and 3A*s. The colleges place quite a bit of weight on the BMAT results so excellent GCSE results are not sufficient. For example at the more competitive colleges, if you get 10A*s but receive a BMAT average of 4.95 (NB the average oxbridge candidate score was 5) you will not get an interview! They are ruthless simply because of the huge amount of competition. Therefor if you are unsure whether you will meet the GCSE/BMAT requirements then a) do not be shocked if you do not receive an interview or b) apply to a less competitive college. Your BMAT score no longer counts for much once you get through the deselection - your acceptance/rejection pretty much lies on the interview.

Of course, do check if they are going to use the same procedure this year !

As for 'standing out' all you can really do is have a dazzling personal statement, try you hardest on the BMAT, prepare as much as possible for the interviews and then try your best/be enthusiastic! Although the interviews can seem scary I personally had a light hearted approach - I wanted to enjoy it - after all you should look forward to talking to some of the 'best minds' in the field The more relaxed you are about it the better you will perform imo. They just want to see if they will enjoy teaching you so be really receptive and think of it more as a two-way conversation/lesson than an interview. As for my AS results, I got AAAAA (three sciences, maths & french).

Hmm, I think I'll stop blabbering now
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wigman15
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Thank you very much for your help guys, especially Lucy!

I am worried that I won't be accepted as I have 3A* and 8As for my GCSEs. Is this the case?

I am currently studying Biology, Chemistry, French and Spanish, and I will probably drop one of the languages for the A2. Would a college favour more Art subjects than another?

I used to study in a grammar school and am now in a private school for the sixth form...are there any colleges which I should think about not entering due to this discrimination? My school has not had a medic go to Oxford for the past ten years eventhough many reach the interview stage...so I'm kinda worried.

About the BMAT, I have no idea what it is like except that it is a compilation of the GCSE science subjects, so I don't know how I will do.

Which colleges are less competitive but still carry some prestige?

Did you do a lot of work experience or volunatry work for the personal statement?

Worcester college seems like a college I may want to apply to due to the huge plot of land and scenery and I will certainly check it out when I visit there.

When you say that a college is "really scary" what do you mean?

Again, I would like to thank everyone for their help/advice!!!
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Lucy
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(Original post by wigman15)
Thank you very much for your help guys, especially Lucy!

I am worried that I won't be accepted as I have 3A* and 8As for my GCSEs. Is this the case?

I am currently studying Biology, Chemistry, French and Spanish, and I will probably drop one of the languages for the A2. Would a college favour more Art subjects than another?

I used to study in a grammar school and am now in a private school for the sixth form...are there any colleges which I should think about not entering due to this discrimination? My school has not had a medic go to Oxford for the past ten years eventhough many reach the interview stage...so I'm kinda worried.

About the BMAT, I have no idea what it is like except that it is a compilation of the GCSE science subjects, so I don't know how I will do.

Which colleges are less competitive but still carry some prestige?

Did you do a lot of work experience or volunatry work for the personal statement?

Worcester college seems like a college I may want to apply to due to the huge plot of land and scenery and I will certainly check it out when I visit there.

When you say that a college is "really scary" what do you mean?

Again, I would like to thank everyone for their help/advice!!!
Although your GCSE performance was good, it will not be as high as the average medical applicant at Ox (this year the average was 60% A*s). Therefore I would recommend applying to a less competitive college if they are using the same admissions' procedure this year. To be completely honest, I don't feel any Oxford college is 'bad' and all students really like their colleges irrelevant to whether or not it is prestigious. Like I mentioned before, your tutors at Oxford will really try to provide for you the best teaching possible so they will invite in specialists to teach you or you will go into other colleges for some tutorials. Therefore I don't really think you'll be lacking much academically wise if you apply to a less competitive/prestigious college - the difference is likely to be that the more prestigious colleges are more pressurised which is not necessarily a good thing!

I don't think your AS/A2 subjects will hinder you. I know a girl who received a place at Magdalen with bio, chem, english lit & history and I also met an applicant at Worcester (don't know if she got in) studying bio, chem and french. I personally did a french AS and in a way it's nice to have an applicant who is slightly different from just studying the sciences.

As you studied in a grammar school you may have a better chance of getting into Somerville as they take in higher proportions of state/grammar school applicants. I didn't get a chance to have a proper look around Somerville but I really enjoyed my (short) time there. The downside is that it's the third most expensive college.

As for the less competitive colleges, my friend applied for St Edmund Hall and managed to get an interview will lower than average GCSE grades. I've also met a St Peter's medic who was really enthusiastic about the college and about learning medicine there. Exeter is also less competitive but definitely a good college

My advice for you now would be to really work hard towards your AS's so that your referee can really emphasise your AS grades on your form. You will need to give a higher than average performance on the BMAT to gain an interview and I would recommend applying to a less competitive college (which are still really good so don't worry about it being prestigious).

To prepare for your BMAT, if possible read over your GCSE notes in bio, chem and especially physics as there will be questions on physics! If you no longer have your GCSE notes (I didn't apart from biology) borrow/buy the CGP revision guides in these three subjects and if you know them back to front you will be absolutely fine with Section 2 (scientific knowledge). You should also practice a few maths problems (you will find some on the practice papers) if your maths skills are rusty.

For section 1 - it is pretty much critical thinking type problems (with data interpretation) and also logical thinking/mathy problems - they describe it as testing your aptitude. I prepared by doing the practice paper and going through the mark scheme afterwards to see how to go about answering the questions (I had never really done critical thinking before apart from the sorts of problems you get in "Maths Challenge").

There is also a section 3 - an essay of 1 side - the aim is to write coherently and concisely. Try to include as much scientific/medical knowledge as possible but sometimes it's quite tricky because the questions tend to be quite philosophical! If all else fails just ramble (but try to make sense )!

As for work experience, I did 2 weeks in total - 1 week in a lab with the National Blood Service and 1 week in a paediatrics department in a hospital. They quite like to see a long term commitment to voluntary work so I've been a volunteer for about one year and a half in a hospital ward and in a home as well as some 'different' volunteering stuff I've done abroad. If you haven't started doing any voluntary work yet than I would strongly recommend starting to look for placements and applying.

When I said that I thought a college was 'scary' I meant that I felt the atmosphere was quite tense and that a college seems to give off such a whiff of grandeur and prestige that it makes me feel small and insignificant I just wanted to find a college which I would feel comfortable it and it really depends on how you feel in the different colleges. It was more a personal gut feeling than anything and I'm sure lots of people feel differently
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Veedy
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(Original post by wigman15)
Thank you very much for your help guys, especially Lucy!

I am worried that I won't be accepted as I have 3A* and 8As for my GCSEs. Is this the case?

I am currently studying Biology, Chemistry, French and Spanish, and I will probably drop one of the languages for the A2. Would a college favour more Art subjects than another?

I used to study in a grammar school and am now in a private school for the sixth form...are there any colleges which I should think about not entering due to this discrimination? My school has not had a medic go to Oxford for the past ten years eventhough many reach the interview stage...so I'm kinda worried.

About the BMAT, I have no idea what it is like except that it is a compilation of the GCSE science subjects, so I don't know how I will do.

Which colleges are less competitive but still carry some prestige?

Did you do a lot of work experience or volunatry work for the personal statement?

Worcester college seems like a college I may want to apply to due to the huge plot of land and scenery and I will certainly check it out when I visit there.

When you say that a college is "really scary" what do you mean?

Again, I would like to thank everyone for their help/advice!!!
I think that the advice Lucy has already given you is fantastic, I can't think of much else to say. I do recomend, however, that you visit oa.waveflex.com and have a look at the medicine profiles.
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redcat
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(Original post by TomB2000)
If you look good on paper (good GCSEs etc) its better to apply to oxford than cambridge, as at oxford 70% of candidates are rejected before interview.
Tom can you expand on that, do you mean Oxford interview only 30% of their medicine candidates, or do you mean that secretly they rule out all but 30% before intereview but make them go thru the interview process anyway not realising they've been herded into the goat pen rather than the sheep pen ... which would be mean.
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Lucy
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(Original post by redcat)
Tom can you expand on that, do you mean Oxford interview only 30% of their medicine candidates, or do you mean that secretly they rule out all but 30% before intereview but make them go thru the interview process anyway not realising they've been herded into the goat pen rather than the sheep pen ... which would be mean.
Oxford only interviewed 35% of applicants in December which is good if you got an interview as over half of your competition was ruled out (still very competitive nevertheless though) However it was a last minute procedure as they had way more applicants than expected (the applicants : place ratio almost doubled in under a year).

Anyway, so they could still revert back to the 'original' procedure (where they interview around 90% applicants) this year (for 2005/06 entry) if the applicants : place ratio lowers.
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TomB2000
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I think Lucy's answered your question!
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redcat
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(Original post by TomB2000)
I think Lucy's answered your question!
yes, she did, thanks Lucy.
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casia
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Hi,

Which Oxford College is the strongest in terms of academics (in medicine specifically)?

Thanks
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r316
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(Original post by casia)
Hi,

Which Oxford College is the strongest in terms of academics (in medicine specifically)?

Thanks
Gonville and Caius has a great reputation for medicine in terms of its history; I don't know about medicine specifically but Pembroke is v. high academically.
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Helenia
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(Original post by r316)
Gonville and Caius has a great reputation for medicine in terms of its history; I don't know about medicine specifically but Pembroke is v. high academically.
Yes, but the problem with them (for Casia at least) is that they're at Cambridge
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r316
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(Original post by Helenia)
Yes, but the problem with them (for Casia at least) is that they're at Cambridge
Oh dear; so sorry! lol. I've been trying to find the best cam. medicine college; saw this on Oxbridge section; and thought I'd help. Never mind.
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gzftan
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(Original post by r316)
Oh dear; so sorry! lol. I've been trying to find the best cam. medicine college; saw this on Oxbridge section; and thought I'd help. Never mind.
Yay!! Someone else has actually heard of Caius!!!! WAHEY!!

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