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    Hey 👋🏽 I'm in sixth form in year 12 and am beginning to choose my possible career but I just can't decide whether I should do dentistry or medicine.. they are both competitive and difficult courses but I want to do a challenging yet satisfying job but atm different people are suggesting the Advantages and disadvantages of both leaving me unsure of what is best for me. I personally prefer medicine slightly more than being a dentist as I feel I'm doing a more fulfilling job but in terms of working hours and pay dentistry is better. Please tell me what you would do if you were me or any possible advice from medical students or dentists. thanks 🙏🏻


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    I think you should try to get some work experience. This will allow you to get an actual feel for the job.
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    I second sophielophie that you should get some work experience because you'll be able to see what actually goes on in each profession.
    Content wise, the science you learn in both courses will overlap, but of course, there is focus on the teeth/jaw in dentistry. So I would say that a simple determining factor would be your interest in teeth/oral/maxillofacial surgery. It really comes down to personal preference, and if you can't see yourself working as a dentist, looking at people's mouths everyday, then you might want to rethink that. Some people know that they are interested in teeth from the start, so dentistry suits them. Medicine gives more room to explore, because you rotate between different specialties and find out which one you like during your training.

    Satisfaction really comes from doing what you like, and finding meaning in what you do. I'd advise you to go for job-shadowing/placement/work experience first for both dentistry and medicine to see what they're like. Then have a think about which one you like, and find more meaningful to you.

    From what you've written, seems like you're leaning more towards medicine at the moment but you're concerned about the downsides. And it is right to be concerned, because it is a big commitment. You will make a lot of sacrifices as a medical student, and a doctor. I'm pretty sure it holds true for dentistry as well. The question is whether you feel that the sacrifices you make are worth it. Whether you believe that running shifts on shifts are worth it for the sake of your patients. And your commitment to your beliefs will be tested again and again. It's not going to be fun all the time. But the thing is, if you truly love and find meaning in what you do, it will be okay. And you will find joy, and fun; the things you sacrifice will be worth it, and you will find a way to make everything work out in the end.
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    Thank you so much for that motivational and very helpful comment...your so genuine and caring..I will take ur advice ..I did 3 days at a hospital and will try to get one for dentistry ..but the 3 days at the hospital was very interesting to actually see the communication between the doctors to patients and families and then how they were so composed in such difficult situations, the way they communicated with other colleagues and the overall atmosphere was quite lovely. Yes medicine is a big expensive and long commitment ..well first I need the grades...but once I get them it will be a competitive process..I just wanted to ask do u have any medical background if so do u have any suggestions on what I could do being an alevel student wanting to study medicine in terms of books or videos or things I should read and do..and any general advice for how to get A* and As for Alevels since I've taken as the sciences and maths 😭🙄and suppose I don't get the grades AAA OR A*AA what else can I do as a course in uni that would allow me to get a good job with good working hours/good pay ..it's really hard since I don't have a person that could guide me on everything since my parents didn't study here and obviously didn't do medicine so I'm a bit stuck at times if I am making the right decision but ever since GCSE times and especially after results i felt that I should go into medicine. I don't get why interviewers want a unique answer for the question "why medicine" because I really don't know what they mean by unique answer?


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    (Original post by AngelinAugustine)
    Thank you so much for that motivational and very helpful comment...your so genuine and caring..I will take ur advice ..I did 3 days at a hospital and will try to get one for dentistry ..but the 3 days at the hospital was very interesting to actually see the communication between the doctors to patients and families and then how they were so composed in such difficult situations, the way they communicated with other colleagues and the overall atmosphere was quite lovely. Yes medicine is a big expensive and long commitment ..well first I need the grades...but once I get them it will be a competitive process..I just wanted to ask do u have any medical background if so do u have any suggestions on what I could do being an alevel student wanting to study medicine in terms of books or videos or things I should read and do..and any general advice for how to get A* and As for Alevels since I've taken as the sciences and maths 😭🙄and suppose I don't get the grades AAA OR A*AA what else can I do as a course in uni that would allow me to get a good job with good working hours/good pay ..it's really hard since I don't have a person that could guide me on everything since my parents didn't study here and obviously didn't do medicine so I'm a bit stuck at times if I am making the right decision but ever since GCSE times and especially after results i felt that I should go into medicine. I don't get why interviewers want a unique answer for the question "why medicine" because I really don't know what they mean by unique answer?


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    I would recommend that if you end up going into Medicine or Dentistry that you get a volunteering positions even if it is 3 hours a week at a care home or hospice because in the hospital and dentist your shadowing but with volunteering your showing that you can apply the communication, team work skills that you saw in your shadowing placement not to mention it shows your long term dedication. Theres different ways into medicine so I know people living in local area to a Univeristy that does Medicine/Dentistry there usually is a access program that could result in lower entry requirments with manchester the reduced offer is ABB the A has to be in Chemistry I know leeds do one which is a online access program so you maybe eligble for it their entry requirments would be AAB. The best thing you can do is ace your A levels and the entry exam(s). All access program depend on whether your parents went uni and your household income and a few other things. I would look into it because these programs application usually start in November of Year 12

    As for the big Why Medicine/Dentistry question this is how I answer these type of questions First I start of with why I am interested in science and helping people then I go into how this lead me to get experience and then how I used this experience and applied it to my volunteering position and then a quick sentence to tie everything together its not a perfect method and everyone has there own.

    Medical/dental school interview questions involve the following type of questions

    Motivational questions- why medicine/dentistry why this uni
    compotency based questions- you talk about your volunteering and shadowing use the STAR method which is recommened by the British Medical Journal it stands for Situation, Task, Action & Result. if you google it you"ll get examples for this
    scenario based questions - confronted with a scenario again you can use star here aswell try to bring in some experiences from volunteering and how this relates back to the shadowing, this is why volunteering is very important because interviewers want to see what you have done and how this relates back to the job

    Role play- you could get a role play depending on the interview type if its MMI your more than likely to get it dont be nervous and put off by Unis that do MMI if you've done your volunteering then you should be fine, this usually catches out the people who BS

    manual dexterity - this for dental schools only, best to ring the uni dental admissions and ask them prior if they have any of these tasks

    if you need any more info or whatever, contact me
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    (Original post by AngelinAugustine)
    Thank you so much for that motivational and very helpful comment...your so genuine and caring..I will take ur advice ..I did 3 days at a hospital and will try to get one for dentistry ..but the 3 days at the hospital was very interesting to actually see the communication between the doctors to patients and families and then how they were so composed in such difficult situations, the way they communicated with other colleagues and the overall atmosphere was quite lovely. Yes medicine is a big expensive and long commitment ..well first I need the grades...but once I get them it will be a competitive process..I just wanted to ask do u have any medical background if so do u have any suggestions on what I could do being an alevel student wanting to study medicine in terms of books or videos or things I should read and do..and any general advice for how to get A* and As for Alevels since I've taken as the sciences and maths 😭🙄and suppose I don't get the grades AAA OR A*AA what else can I do as a course in uni that would allow me to get a good job with good working hours/good pay ..it's really hard since I don't have a person that could guide me on everything since my parents didn't study here and obviously didn't do medicine so I'm a bit stuck at times if I am making the right decision but ever since GCSE times and especially after results i felt that I should go into medicine. I don't get why interviewers want a unique answer for the question "why medicine" because I really don't know what they mean by unique answer?


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    I'm glad you enjoyed your hospital attachment, and yes, it is lovely. You will be trained in communication and people skills through your medical journey, which will not only make you good at your job, but grow as a person as well.

    Unfortunately, I didn't take A levels and it's been a while since sixth form for me, so you'll probably get better advice from the A level forum in terms of resources/content. What i would say, is that you need to find which methods of learning work for you, use them, and commit yourself to doing well. There are many ways of studying - some ways work for some people, and some don't. For example, I can study off textbooks/slides alone, just reciting the content to myself, and get away with that because it works so well with me. Other people in my course study by taking notes and learning from their notes. There are so many different ways, but the way that works for you will be the best way. I found that doing past papers and getting familiar with the questions helped me a lot in the IB as well, but even in the IB itself, the syllabus has changed since i took it. The other important thing is committing time to it. Often times, people procrastinate, but if you really want it, remind yourself why you're doing what you're doing, and don't let your resolve waver. Also, have confidence in yourself. You've made it this far, you can do it. Work hard, but don't burn yourself out over it. Life is more than medicine. The universe is beautiful, and infinite, and possibilities are endless. Learn to enjoy what you're doing, what you're learning, and find joy in the journey as well.

    I understand your confusion over "unique answers", and while I can't speak for interviewers, my belief is that it simply means "why do YOU want to do medicine?", because your reasons for doing medicine, and your experiences will not be the same as someone else's. Yes, everyone who goes into medicine likes medicine, and they chose medicine because they want to help people, but beneath that lies your personal reasons, your personal motivations, your personal experiences. One of the reasons why I chose medicine is because I liked the idea of hospital work; and I job-shadowed in a hospital and confirmed that I really liked it for myself. I like the idea of working in wards, doing rounds, looking after patients, performing ops, working super late nights. For someone else, it might be the work in A&E (emergency procedures and the rush), GP (being a family doctor and helping families in primary care), paramedics, st. john's, caring for others in a hospice, or even out of the medical field itself. Yes, we all like medicine, but my reason is focused more on hospital work. And even in that, some people know they want to cardiology from the start, so your reasons can be broad, or specific, but the thing is, these reasons are yours. They are why YOU chose medicine, and they will be different from others. I didn't have some really exciting experience where I performed emergency CPR in the middle of a highway, and some people do have really interesting experiences; but I had my own reasons, and they were special to me, and they were good enough. And that's just the medicine side, you also have your own reasons for wanting to help people. So have a deep reflection about why you have this desire to help people. What experiences in your life may have motivated this? And you may have an event in your life that motivated you, or you may not. You may just have been born with an innate desire to help people, something that drives you towards people. And it may sound simple, but it is still your reason. Reflect on your feelings and what lies in your heart, and just share your feelings when you apply for medical school. Interviewers want to know you, they are interested in your unique story to medicine. Your story may seem ordinary to you, but it is your unique story and it is interesting. Be proud of it, open your heart, and share it.

    One of the benefits of finding volunteering/hospital attachment is precisely that they give you opportunities to learn more about medicine, and provide perspective on why you do medicine.

    About feeling lost: don't over-worry about it. I didn't start thinking about medicine until I received my IB results and I'm doing alright. Reflecting about your life choices is a necessary part of growing up and finding yourself. Even now, I still don't have all the answers. But that's okay. I'm not sure how much time you have till A levels, but give yourself time to reflect. You have to work hard for A levels anyway so that's a given, but you still have time to decide on course choices. Try out different things, do your medical/dental attachments, consult your family and friends, reflect, reflect, reflect, and listen to your heart. I can't advise you on which courses to take, because I simply don't know you well enough. Like I mentioned before, life is a balance. Working hours, pay, satisfaction, impact on others, all lie in a balance. You can't have all of them, but you have to decide which ones matter more to you. Have courage as well, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. There are many entries into medicine, and any other course you may find interest in. Just because you don't make it once, doesn't mean you can't do it. Pick yourself up and try again. It's not going to be easy, but it will be okay in the end.

    best wishes.
 
 
 
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