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Independent school pupils dominate medicine courses watch

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    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...e-courses.html

    Independent school pupils accounted for 28.5 per cent of all accepted offers for medicine and dentistry as well as 25.7 per cent of European language offers, according to UCAS figures from 2009.
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    There is something very unsettling about what goes on in the Medicine application process. The system is quite simply flawed. Many very capable applicants do not stand a chance because they are not fortunate enough to have the necessary contacts required to receive work experience.

    Out of interest, does anyone know which other subjects have a large ratio of students from the private sector?
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    Your point being?


    (I'm from a state school btw)
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    (Original post by Teveth)
    There is something very unsettling about what goes on in the Medicine application process. The system is quite simply flawed. Many very capable applicants do not stand a chance because they are not fortunate enough to have the necessary contacts required to receive work experience.

    Out of interest, does anyone know which other subjects have a large ratio of students from the private sector?
    Well, you don't need contacts to get a work experience placement. It will probably help but it isn't required by any means since many hospitals run their own work experience programmes which applicants can apply for, regardless of their background.
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    Oh well? You can't flaw people because they happen to know the right people to get them things like work experience.
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    (Original post by gildartz)
    Well, you don't need contacts to get a work experience placement. It will probably help but it isn't required by any means since many hospitals run their own work experience programmes which applicants can apply for, regardless of their background.
    Its true you don't need contacts, but it definately does help.

    I have one work experience week which was organised through the hospital work experience programme, and in all honesty, it was rubbish. I was placed on a trauma and orthopaedic ward where most patients were in and out in a day. The only doctors who appeared on the scene were coming to collect patients for surgery, and since I wasn't 18, I couldn't go with them. So basically, I had the fantastic oppurtunity to watch a load of nurses do nothing.

    I had another week's placement with a consultant who is a friend of a friend, and that was fantastic. Saw loads of different things, lots of ethical issues brought up etc etc.

    So basically, I only had something valuable to say about the placement I had sorted through my contacts. Hospital placements are easy to get, but the quality of them isn't always great.
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    (Original post by gildartz)
    Well, you don't need contacts to get a work experience placement. It will probably help but it isn't required by any means since many hospitals run their own work experience programmes which applicants can apply for, regardless of their background.
    I can testify against that

    My friend who goes to private school, his school organised hospital w/e placement for him and a few other medicine applicants. My mate told me said name of the hospital and said i should ring them up and ask if i can do work exp there since he was, when i rang and asked the woman she told me the hospital doesnt do work experience placements and i told her that my friend was there all last week on a placement and she still refused to give me any details or admit they do do work experience.

    apparently his private school had "special contacts at the hospital".
    I go to a catholic state school. The only contacts we have are with Jesus. :|
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    (Original post by gildartz)
    Well, you don't need contacts to get a work experience placement. It will probably help but it isn't required by any means since many hospitals run their own work experience programmes which applicants can apply for, regardless of their background.
    Of course it will help. I know a number of potential medics who, despite achieving A* grades, were unable to pursue a career in medicine because they were unable to secure sufficient work experience. I also know somebody whose father is a GP, and guess what, he's now studying medicine. The system is an ass.

    (Original post by Genocidal)
    Oh well? You can't flaw people because they happen to know the right people to get them things like work experience.
    We could always take the preference for candidates with large amounts of work experience out of the selection procedure. Everybody knows it's unfair, and it's costing the system thousands if perfectly capable doctors who weren't as advantaged as to get a pointless stint sitting around at daddy's surgery.

    It's not just about private schools, it's also about family ties.
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    (Original post by Teveth)
    Of course it will help. I know a number of potential medics who, despite achieving A* grades, were unable to pursue a career in medicine because they were unable to secure sufficient work experience. I also know somebody whose father is a GP, and guess what, he's now studying medicine. The system is an ass.



    We could always take the preference for candidates with large amounts of work experience out of the selection procedure. Everybody knows it's unfair, and it's costing the system thousands if perfectly capable doctors who weren't as advantaged as to get a pointless stint sitting around at daddy's surgery.

    It's not just about private schools, it's also about family ties.
    There's a difference between saying it'll help and it's required. Do you know about their UKCAT scores? BMAT scores? GCSEs? Personal statement? Interviews? I should think they matter more than getting A* grades or having a GP for a dad.


    (Original post by twelve)
    Its true you don't need contacts, but it definately does help.

    I have one work experience week which was organised through the hospital work experience programme, and in all honesty, it was rubbish. I was placed on a trauma and orthopaedic ward where most patients were in and out in a day. The only doctors who appeared on the scene were coming to collect patients for surgery, and since I wasn't 18, I couldn't go with them. So basically, I had the fantastic oppurtunity to watch a load of nurses do nothing.

    I had another week's placement with a consultant who is a friend of a friend, and that was fantastic. Saw loads of different things, lots of ethical issues brought up etc etc.

    So basically, I only had something valuable to say about the placement I had sorted through my contacts. Hospital placements are easy to get, but the quality of them isn't always great.
    Yeah, I basically shadowed the receptionists for the whole of my GP placement and that was organised through a contact :rolleyes:

    Were both placements at the same hospital?

    (Original post by laurenl93)
    I can testify against that

    My friend who goes to private school, his school organised hospital w/e placement for him and a few other medicine applicants. My mate told me said name of the hospital and said i should ring them up and ask if i can do work exp there since he was, when i rang and asked the woman she told me the hospital doesnt do work experience placements and i told her that my friend was there all last week on a placement and she still refused to give me any details or admit they do do work experience.

    apparently his private school had "special contacts at the hospital".
    I go to a catholic state school. The only contacts we have are with Jesus. :|
    It could have been the case of the school having links with a particular doctor at the hospital who organised the placement personally rather than through an actual work experience programme run by the hospital.
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    (Original post by gildartz)
    Yeah, I basically shadowed the receptionists for the whole of my GP placement and that was organised through a contact :rolleyes:

    Were both placements at the same hospital?
    No, different hospitals, but I'm not sure how much of a difference that made. The nurses did try and get me a place shadowing one of the on call doctors in my hospital placement, but none of them were willing to take me. I think the thing that made the difference was that the consultant wanted me there - she knew how interested I was in the whole thing, and knew how important it was to get good quality work experience. Whereas for the nurses on the ward, I was basically just a nuisance.
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    so the fact that the proportion of offers is pretty much exactly the same for medicine as for language courses hasn't stopped anyone from talking about how unfair the requirement for medical work experience is? the problem doesn't seem to be that much worse for medicine than anything else.
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    Medicine is a course that often requires you to get AAA or similarly high grades at A-level.
    Therefore, the proportion of independent schooled students is likely to be higher, because independent schools punch above their weight when it comes to the number of students getting three As-and-Bs.

    See:

    http://www.isc.co.uk/tiny_mce/plugin...s/scatter2.gif
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    Well its not impossible to get into medicine from any background, my school for one is underachieving...
    You just have to be a little more resourceful, and work experience in a hospital itself is not even a mandatory thing; work experience in a care home, hospice or disabled center would be be fine if you've done enough and can reflect on it well. And all those things are pretty easy to get into tbh (of course depending where you live).
    That said, my best bit of work experience was shadowing a consultant neurologist. I was lucky- my mum is a HCA and asked a nice doctor if he wouldn't mind
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    Medicine is a course that often requires you to get AAA or similarly high grades at A-level.
    Therefore, the proportion of independent schooled students is likely to be higher, because independent schools punch above their weight when it comes to the number of students getting three As-and-Bs.

    See:

    http://www.isc.co.uk/tiny_mce/plugin...s/scatter2.gif
    Thats an over-simplistic way of looking at it. The main restriction on applicants getting offers is at the pre-offer stage, not achieving the AAA of the offer. Getting the offer is based more on GCSEs, Interview, Personal statement, Work Experience, Admission Tests and a well-targeted and intelligent application.

    Lets remove the impact of independent schools in achieving better academic results, which one could argue is a fair thing to do, since these students have sat the exams, not the schools and also overlook the admissions tests factor for the same reason.

    Work experience is easier to get if you have family ties (not necessarily correlated to private schools, but perhaps more likely), interview practice/training and guidance is easier from private schools and so is the amount of guidance on your application as a whole (incl your PS).

    So, all-in-all, the statistics aren't surprising given the amount of extra help and guidance students from private schools get.

    Do I agree with that? Well, to be honest, yes. If you pay more money to educate your child, you should get a better outcome as a parent.

    What if it doesn't promote social mobility? Well actually all I would do is ask the question 'is having a more socially mobile medical work force necessarily good for patient care?' - I don't think it is, I don't think it makes any difference. Other than that, I don't believe in this word 'fair'.
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    (Original post by Teveth)
    Of course it will help. I know a number of potential medics who, despite achieving A* grades, were unable to pursue a career in medicine because they were unable to secure sufficient work experience. I also know somebody whose father is a GP, and guess what, he's now studying medicine. The system is an ass.



    We could always take the preference for candidates with large amounts of work experience out of the selection procedure. Everybody knows it's unfair, and it's costing the system thousands if perfectly capable doctors who weren't as advantaged as to get a pointless stint sitting around at daddy's surgery.

    It's not just about private schools, it's also about family ties.
    sorry but you dont really understand this very well - to be fair, not many people really do (even some of the people who offer help on here)

    Work experience criteria isn't really one of those which people will use in ranking applicants across the board

    what tends to happen is the following-

    You need to answer two questions before you give someone an offer for medicine

    1. Has this person got a realistic idea of the career ahead, are they mature and dedicated enough to study for a medical degree and will they become a good doctor?

    => If they see you have hospital or GP work experience, they will ask you about it! So "pointless stint around daddy's surgery" is a silly thing to say; if you did that you would look like such an idiot when they asked you about your work experience.
    If you have got work experience and have been able to use that to build up good reason as to why you want to medicine - great - thats what they want. If they see you havent got work experience in a hospital or GP but see you've made the efforts to find an alternative (a care home etc) and have come to similar conclusions about your own suitability for medicine - then again - great, thats what they want to see.

    2. Given we feel this person is appropriate for medicine, do they deserve an offer given the applicants we have far outweigh the number of offers we can make?

    Work experience doesn't count here, at all. They're looking for hard facts: grades, admission test results, interview performance, school reports etc. You cannot ask questions like 'HOW realistic were this candidates ideas about medicine?' and start doing things like 'well this person had 4 weeks of cardiology experience but this one had 2 weeks of paediatrics experience'

    So really, if you can prove to a medical school that you have made a good choice of career for your strengths, work experience or no work experience, your chances of getting an offer don't really lie in your family ties at all. Going to private school though, helps criteria number 2 a lot too - that is undeniable.
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    (Original post by Vazzyb)
    Going to private school though, helps criteria number 2 a lot too - that is undeniable.
    I'm not sure that is so clear-cut. A large proportion of successful applicants do go to private school, and private school A level results are generally better than those of state schools but I would contend that this is largely because most of these schools are acadademically selective and their pupils would have achieved better results than the state school average no matter what school they went to. The parents of bright children who can afford it have quite a strong tendency to replace selective grammar schools with selective private schools.
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    I don't think the percentage is unreasonable. Apparently, about 20% of 16-18 year-olds are educated in independent schools. About 30% of AAA grades go to pupils from independent schools. So I think a 72-75% success rate of state schools in medical admissions is actually very good / probably as high as one would expect.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    I'm not sure that is so clear-cut. A large proportion of successful applicants do go to private school, and private school A level results are generally better than those of state schools but I would contend that this is largely because most of these schools are acadademically selective and their pupils would have achieved better results than the state school average no matter what school they went to. The parents of bright children who can afford it have quite a strong tendency to replace selective grammar schools with selective private schools.
    Hmm its a difficult question to answer because there's no objective way of looking at the exam performance of students at 11 years old (everyone does well at SATs so the amount of differentiation is quite poor and students tend to flourish at different ages) and then comparing that information with GCSE and A-Level results.

    My personal take on this is that putting any student in two completely different environments, statistically speaking, you would get a different outcome. Of course, any student has the ability to overcome difficult circumstances and get good grades but I think that when you're put in an environment that challenges you academically, puts pressure on you to perform, gives you the best possible resources to do well at exams and in some extreme cases even makes your academic success central to your feeling of self-worth, exam success becomes more likely (not 'easier').

    And another point which i think is important to make is that exam success on the whole is the product of intelligence and hard-work in unequal proportions - the latter is a lot more important in the current examination set up. A private school would give you more motivation to put that hark work in and it would also give you the guidance to perform better in exams by coaching you. So, you're not making these already smart (or dumb) children any smarter or any dumber but you would statistically increase their chances of success in exams a great deal.
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    (Original post by Vazzyb)
    Thats an over-simplistic way of looking at it. The main restriction on applicants getting offers is at the pre-offer stage, not achieving the AAA of the offer. Getting the offer is based more on GCSEs, Interview, Personal statement, Work Experience, Admission Tests and a well-targeted and intelligent application.
    While I agree that it's more the pre-offer stage that's important, you're either intentionally missing the point or being silly. Independent schools on average achieve better results because a lot of them are selective and because the teaching is, on average, better. Therefore, while A level results are a very good indication of that performance, they aren't the only thing that is better. The same students who got AAA at A-level are very likely to have got a handful of A*s at GCSE and to do well in admission tests, and they are likely to be better supported by teachers in other aspects of the application. I'm sure work experience has something to do with it as well, but it's not the only element, and the more impressive average academic performance of the independent cohort is likely to have a significant role.
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    While I agree that it's more the pre-offer stage that's important, you're either intentionally missing the point or being silly. Independent schools on average achieve better results because a lot of them are selective and because the teaching is, on average, better. Therefore, while A level results are a very good indication of that performance, they aren't the only thing that is better. The same students who got AAA at A-level are very likely to have got a handful of A*s at GCSE and to do well in admission tests, and they are likely to be better supported by teachers in other aspects of the application. I'm sure work experience has something to do with it as well, but it's not the only element, and the more impressive average academic performance of the independent cohort is likely to have a significant role.
    Someone posts three things in a post

    1. A level results from ind. schools are better
    2. Medical schools need good alevel grades as part of the offer
    3. Here's my reference for this information

    How is someone to just assume that actually what you meant is:

    1. Students from private schools will do better in admission tests
    2. Students from private schools get more support in other aspects of their application
    3. Work experience is also easier for these students.

    Its not exactly a simple extrapolation of what you said, AT ALL.

    Alevel grades are not actually correlated that well extra support and advice either - my school has excellent alevel grades yet the amount of support and advice medical applicants get is horrendous.
 
 
 
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