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Can you get into medicine purely by excellent academic record? Watch

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    I'm thinking of applying to GEM, but I've been working in finance for the last 6 years and am extremely busy at work and have no time to do do voluntary work let alone do a few months shadowing. I have absolutely no work experience in a medical setting but have loads of other work experience.

    I have all A* at gcse and all As at a level plus a whole load of other academic awards and went to oxford but did maths which probably is a minus.

    I really don't know how I can squeeze in time to do work experience unless I give up my job or something.

    Realistically how far will my good academics take me? Are there people with little experience who got into GEM, I am quite intimidated as lots of applicants seem to have worked in healthcare for 10 years etc?

    What is the most useful sort of work experience anyway? There are so many different types of voluntary work i dont even know where to start
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    (Original post by DimaTae)
    I'm thinking of applying to GEM, but I've been working in finance for the last 6 years and am extremely busy at work and have no time to do do voluntary work let alone do a few months shadowing. I have absolutely no work experience in a medical setting but have loads of other work experience.

    I have all A* at gcse and all As at a level plus a whole load of other academic awards and went to oxford but did maths which probably is a minus.

    I really don't know how I can squeeze in time to do work experience unless I give up my job or something.

    Realistically how far will my good academics take me? Are there people with little experience who got into GEM, I am quite intimidated as lots of applicants seem to have worked in healthcare for 10 years etc?

    What is the most useful sort of work experience anyway? There are so many different types of voluntary work i dont even know where to start
    It would be extremely unlikely, especially for graduate entry medicine which is very competitive indeed.

    Besides, how do you know what a career in medicine involves if you have no first hand experience of it? How do you know what you're getting into?

    Questions about work experience are commonly asked during interviews and reflections upon work experience should form a significant part of your personal statement - if you have no work experience at all then you'll be at a severe disadvantage compared to the other applicants.

    Frankly, nearly everyone applying to graduate entry medicine has a 2:1 or a 1st, so having a good degree classification is par for the course. Most GEPs don't care about GCSEs and being an Oxford grad won't make any difference either.

    You don't need tonnes of work experience: I'm a graduate entry medical student and I have three weeks worth of shadowing experience and a summer holiday's worth of voluntary experience - it's not about quantity, it's what you've gained out of it.

    Any sort of voluntary placement which involves interacting with other people would be fine: hospital, learning centre for adults with special needs, care home, hospice etc.

    Similarly, many hospitals have dedicated work experience programmes which you can apply for.

    Ultimately however you need to stand out, and if you start off your application to medical school by not doing what everyone else has found the time to do, well, that doesn't look very good, does it?
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    (Original post by DimaTae)
    I'm thinking of applying to GEM, but I've been working in finance for the last 6 years and am extremely busy at work and have no time to do do voluntary work let alone do a few months shadowing. I have absolutely no work experience in a medical setting but have loads of other work experience.

    I have all A* at gcse and all As at a level plus a whole load of other academic awards and went to oxford but did maths which probably is a minus.

    I really don't know how I can squeeze in time to do work experience unless I give up my job or something.

    Realistically how far will my good academics take me? Are there people with little experience who got into GEM, I am quite intimidated as lots of applicants seem to have worked in healthcare for 10 years etc?

    What is the most useful sort of work experience anyway? There are so many different types of voluntary work i dont even know where to start
    You can't get in purely on the basis of academic achievements, but it should be possible to make a strong application later in the year, if you do the right things in the interim. A maths degree will not be a disadvantage in any way.

    First, you need to understand why volunteering and work experience are valued. The med schools want to be sure you are committed to medicine, that you understand the downsides of the profession (death, stress, etc) as well as the upsides, and that you have some of the personal qualities which are considered valuable (empathy, compassion, etc). You will need to highlight those qualities in your PS.

    Work experience (shadowing a professional) is very useful, but not mandatory according to med school websites, at least for A100 applicants (I can't tell you if med schools would expect GEM applicants to be more resourceful). The quantity does not matter - it's what you get out of it, and a few days could be all you need (I did 3 weeks, and it was definitely too much - I couldn't fit it all into my PS, which was the whole point of doing it). Saturday morning GP clinics could be one way of achieving that, or you could take a few days leave from work.

    Volunteering demonstrates your commitment to a caring profession, and there should be plenty of evening and weekend opportunities to do that. I did Riding for the Disabled (RDA) for a couple of hours each fortnight for a year, so again it is not a huge commitment in terms of hours. An hour or two per week over 6-12 months is better than a few solid days, as it shows the long-term commitment. If you start it soon, you'll have plenty of hours racked up when you submit your UCAS application, and even more when it comes to interview.

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    It would be extremely unlikely, especially for graduate entry medicine which is very competitive indeed.

    Besides, how do you know what a career in medicine involves if you have no first hand experience of it? How do you know what you're getting into?

    Questions about work experience are commonly asked during interviews and reflections upon work experience should form a significant part of your personal statement - if you have no work experience at all then you'll be at a severe disadvantage compared to the other applicants.

    Frankly, nearly everyone applying to graduate entry medicine has a 2:1 or a 1st, so having a good degree classification is par for the course. Most GEPs don't care about GCSEs and being an Oxford grad won't make any difference either.

    You don't need tonnes of work experience: I'm a graduate entry medical student and I have three weeks worth of shadowing experience and a summer holiday's worth of voluntary experience - it's not about quantity, it's what you've gained out of it.

    Any sort of voluntary placement which involves interacting with other people would be fine: hospital, learning centre for adults with special needs, care home, hospice etc.

    Similarly, many hospitals have dedicated work experience programmes which you can apply for.

    Ultimately however you need to stand out, and if you start off your application to medical school by not doing what everyone else has found the time to do, well, that doesn't look very good, does it?
    This.

    For where you'd mostly likely to be looking to apply as a Maths graduate, GCSEs and A levels aren't really considered. And as Democracy mentions, going to Oxford conveys no advantage I'm afraid. My course is a broad cocktail of those from the OU, ex-polys, Russel group and Oxbridge unis; relevant experience and aptitude scores are the most vital credentials.

    Sorry to be blunt, but by graduate entry standards your academic record isn't that excellent. Everyone on my course has at least a 2:1/1st, but a good majority have multiple degrees, masters degrees and quite a few have PhDs. Even high level post graduate qualifications carry little weight in swaying the decisions of those selecting places. For right or for wrong, a few weeks shadowing can make you more competitive than a medically relevant PhD.

    Experience really is how you sell it in your personal statement. A few placements shadowing a Dr for a few days each will give you plenty to talk about, so I wouldn't worry about trying to get months and months of volunteering and shadowing.

    Best of luck.
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    (Original post by Pastaferian)
    Work experience (shadowing a professional) is very useful, but not mandatory according to med school websites, at least for A100 applicants (I can't tell you if med schools would expect GEM applicants to be more resourceful). The quantity does not matter - it's what you get out of it, and a few days could be all you need (I did 3 weeks, and it was definitely too much - I couldn't fit it all into my PS, which was the whole point of doing it). Saturday morning GP clinics could be one way of achieving that, or you could take a few days leave from work.
    Then you missed the point of work experience, surely? It's not about ticking a box or filling 47 lines, it's giving you an opportunity to see if you want to spend the rest of your life doing it. You think three weeks exposure to something is 'too much' to decide if it's something you could do for the next forty years?
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    I think you need experience, but also a good test score, ukcat perhaps
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    OP, I wouldn't see work experience solely as a means of boosting your chances, but as others have said, to decide whether this career path is truly for you. If you got to interview and were asked 'Why do you want to become a doctor?', things like 'I have a passion for helping people' won't really cut it. They'll want personal experiences, from shadowing or elsewhere, that have guided that decision.
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    (Original post by Becca-Sarah)
    Then you missed the point of work experience, surely? It's not about ticking a box or filling 47 lines, it's giving you an opportunity to see if you want to spend the rest of your life doing it. You think three weeks exposure to something is 'too much' to decide if it's something you could do for the next forty years?
    Yes, you're right that the comment you highlighted seems to contradict what I wrote in the previous paragraph about w/e, commitment to medicine, and understanding the downsides of the profession. I agree with you, of course, that candidates need to convince themselves that medicine is the right choice, before trying to convince a med school to make an offer. How much time is needed to accomplish that will depend on the person.

    What I meant by the highlighted comment was that the only visibility the med schools get into your motivation and character is what you write in the PS, and I found that 4 shadowing placements over 3 weeks, plus lots of volunteering, wouldn't fit into my PS. But even though I didn't mention half my shadowing placements, I still got 3 offers. In that sense, three weeks was too much, for me at least.
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    can you just do chemistry and biology for a levels to get into medicine?
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    (Original post by Sandra1)
    can you just do chemistry and biology for a levels to get into medicine?
    Very few graduates will be able to afford the standard 5/6-year Medicine course as a second degree, so that wouldn't be an advisable route to take. Plus the OP would still need work experience/volunteering work in a caring role.
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    (Original post by Sandra1)
    can you just do chemistry and biology for a levels to get into medicine?
    If you are applying as an undergrad, Chem and Bio are the best two A levels to have, but you need 3 A2s and ideally 4 AS's (any subjects will do). Applicants are normally expected to complete 3xA2 and 4xAS in two years, showing that they can handle the same workload as the other applicants.

    However, this thread is about graduate entry. Graduates can apply successfully without Chem or Bio, but they can apply to more med schools if they have them.

    The medicine wiki (top right of this screen) has articles on the qualifications needed.
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    (Original post by Pastaferian)
    Yes, you're right that the comment you highlighted seems to contradict what I wrote in the previous paragraph about w/e, commitment to medicine, and understanding the downsides of the profession. I agree with you, of course, that candidates need to convince themselves that medicine is the right choice, before trying to convince a med school to make an offer. How much time is needed to accomplish that will depend on the person.

    What I meant by the highlighted comment was that the only visibility the med schools get into your motivation and character is what you write in the PS, and I found that 4 shadowing placements over 3 weeks, plus lots of volunteering, wouldn't fit into my PS. But even though I didn't mention half my shadowing placements, I still got 3 offers. In that sense, three weeks was too much, for me at least.
    Of course the PS isn't the only chance for them to see your motivation etc, they all have to interview you, which is your chance to talk about anything you couldn't fit in your PS.

    I still think there isn't such a thing as 'too much'. It still sounds like you think anything you don't mention in your application is superfluous. I'm five years into medicine and still remember things I learned on work experience that have aided my experiences on the wards.
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    (Original post by Becca-Sarah)
    Of course the PS isn't the only chance for them to see your motivation etc, they all have to interview you, which is your chance to talk about anything you couldn't fit in your PS.
    That's not how any of my interviews went. They asked the questions, and I answered - there was no opportunity for me to be expansive. And the couple of questions that did relate to shadowing could have been answered with reference to any of the placements I did. But others may have had very different experiences.

    I still think there isn't such a thing as 'too much'. It still sounds like you think anything you don't mention in your application is superfluous. I'm five years into medicine and still remember things I learned on work experience that have aided my experiences on the wards.
    No, not superfluous, just less important than the things I did find space to write about. You're right that someone with more information and experience should make better decisions, and in that sense I agree that there's no such thing as 'too much'. But volunteering and shadowing have to be balanced against all the other demands of student life, so I'd argue that there is also such a thing as 'enough'. This might vary from person to person, but for me a year of volunteering and a couple of weeks of shadowing would have been enough.

    Having said all that, I take your point that applicants need enough experience to make an informed decision about committing themselves to medicine. Based on your years in med school, do you find that many medics question whether they made the right decision?
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    what are other good medical courses other than medicine?
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    (Original post by Sandra1)
    what are other good medical courses other than medicine?
    The only route to becoming a medical doctor is studying medicine.
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    The only route to becoming a medical doctor is studying medicine.
    Not true, there was a person I knew who became an apprentice of a really intelligent doctor, because the kids parents asked the doctor to take the son with them aamnesty he legally adapted him, and trained him.

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    (Original post by Atemukay)
    Not true, there was a person I knew who became an apprentice of a really intelligent doctor, because the kids parents asked the doctor to take the son with them aamnesty he legally adapted him, and trained him.

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    Being a doctor isn't like being a Jedi, you don't just do an apprenticeship in it. Medicine is a tightly regulated profession, this isn't the 18th century.
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    (Original post by Atemukay)
    Not true, there was a person I knew who became an apprentice of a really intelligent doctor, because the kids parents asked the doctor to take the son with them aamnesty he legally adapted him, and trained him.

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    Cool Story! But unfortunately probably not true. In the modern world becoming a doctor is a regulated profession which requires undergraduate and postgraduate medical training.




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    Yeah, unless this happened in, like, Mongolia or Burkina-Faso, *******s. And even then it's thin.
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    (Original post by DimaTae)
    I'm thinking of applying to GEM, but I've been working in finance for the last 6 years and am extremely busy at work and have no time to do do voluntary work let alone do a few months shadowing. I have absolutely no work experience in a medical setting but have loads of other work experience.

    I have all A* at gcse and all As at a level plus a whole load of other academic awards and went to oxford but did maths which probably is a minus.

    I really don't know how I can squeeze in time to do work experience unless I give up my job or something.

    Realistically how far will my good academics take me? Are there people with little experience who got into GEM, I am quite intimidated as lots of applicants seem to have worked in healthcare for 10 years etc?

    What is the most useful sort of work experience anyway? There are so many different types of voluntary work i dont even know where to start
    You will definitely need some form of work experience in order to stand a chance. It doesn't have to be much, necessarily, it's what you learn from it that's more important. A lot of Unis would much rather hear about what you'd learnt from observing one relevant procedure, than your list of many work experience placements and extra-curricular skills. I'd contact some GP Surgeries, and see if it's possible just to do a couple of hours a week. Any charity work, care home work, or first-aid courses (such as those from the St John's Ambulance) might help, too.
    I think a lot of the work experience focus that med schools have is just to differentiate those who are genuinely interested and therefore prepared to put in the hours to do caring voluntary work - those who aren't simply interested in the salary and prestige. If you mentioned the extent of your busy timetable in your personal statement, and that despite this you managed to fit a couple of voluntary work placements around it, and really described what you learnt during the experience well, then I'm sure you'd stand a good chance of entry.
 
 
 
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