Poll: Medicine at mediocre med school, or biology at UCL
Biology at mediocre med school (10)
41.67%
Biological sciences at UCL (14)
58.33%
NavSoc
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Hi all,

So I have an offer for medicine at a university that sits roughly in the middle of the league tables (I know league tables don't matter that much, it's just a good point of refernce) but I also have an offer for biological sciences at UCL. I don't know whether I should study biological sciences and then apply for medicine again and gain entry into a better medical school, or dive straight into medicine. Help please, what should I do? I think I want to eventually work abroad as a doctor, and surely going to a more prestiged university will help secure a good job.

My end goal is to become a doctor, and in a competitive field, so maybe the university I went to will play a role on whether or not I'll get the job I want.

Any advice on what I should do?
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bex.anne
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The uni you go to has no effect on you future. When you apply to F1 posts, they just see your ranking within your year at uni, not which uni you went to. If you're really considering whether you should do medicine or biology, after going through the difficult admissions process, then maybe you should consider whether medicine is for you. Prestige means nothing in medicine.

Graduate entry is so much more competitive and if you've only got one offer this year you could well end up with no offers when you apply next time. Massive risk.
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NavSoc
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Thanks for the reply!
But do you not think that the quality of teaching at different medical schools could vary? And so would a graduate from oxbridge be a better doctor than an average med student?
And if I applied to work abroad, say Australia, what if they take my medical school into account.

I understand however that you're ranked with in your year, and so ranking within the UK is of little relevance.

Also, if I applied to a really competitive speciality, like cardiothoracics or neurosurgery, would the medical school I went to make me a more or less competitive candidate? I think my biggest concern is having a limited speciality choice because I might look worse on paper than another candidate from a more prestiged med school
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bex.anne
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(Original post by NavSoc)
Thanks for the reply!
But do you not think that the quality of teaching at different medical schools could vary? And so would a graduate from oxbridge be a better doctor than an average med student?
And if I applied to work abroad, say Australia, what if they take my medical school into account.

I understand however that you're ranked with in your year, and so ranking within the UK is of little relevance.

Also, if I applied to a really competitive speciality, like cardiothoracics or neurosurgery, would the medical school I went to make me a more or less competitive candidate?
The quality of teaching definitely varies, but thats where you choose which course type you prefer; integrated,traditional, pbl. Oxbirdge graduates have often been judged for creating the least prepared F1 doctors due to their limited patient contact. Even cambridge is very low down in some of the league tables, and consistently low for student satisfaction.

It's not about prestige. Its all about which course stuctrure you prefer and the student satisfaction at the uni (youll be there for 5years so you need to like it. For example, UCL have a traditional course structure with 3 years of pure lectures then 3 years of placements and lectures. I didn't apply and would not like going there because of this. I would choose any other uni lower down the league tables with an intergrated course structure which has placements and patient contact from the first year of the course just because I prefer that. Even if the uni isn't russell group or whatever.

I have no idea about Australia, but I doubt it is of importance because if you're still one of the best within you're year you wont struggle to get a job. A medicine degree is a medicine degree. Which uni do you have an offer from?

And for your last point, no, the uni makes no difference.
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Dento5
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(Original post by NavSoc)
Hi all,

So I have an offer for medicine at a university that sits roughly in the middle of the league tables (I know league tables don't matter that much, it's just a good point of refernce) but I also have an offer for biological sciences at UCL. I don't know whether I should study biological sciences and then apply for medicine again and gain entry into a better medical school, or dive straight into medicine. Help please, what should I do? I think I want to eventually work abroad as a doctor, and surely going to a more prestiged university will help secure a good job.

My end goal is to become a doctor, and in a competitive field, so maybe the university I went to will play a role on whether or not I'll get the job I want.

Any advice on what I should do?
I'd be grateful you've received an offer, many do not. To answer your question, in the grand scheme of things it does not matter what medical school you go to. What matters more is how you perform at medical school and how much you push yourself to be the best doctor you can be. It is not worthwhile completing a full undergraduate course to then apply for graduate entry. Don't get hung up on how far up the league table the school is. Good luck.
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Marathi
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There's no guarantee you would get an offer at GEM.
There's no guarantee GEM will be around when you finish your undergrad.
You'll end up in a lot more debt.

Take the medicine offer.
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NavSoc
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(Original post by bex.anne)
The quality of teaching definitely varies, but thats where you choose which course type you prefer; integrated,traditional, pbl. Oxbirdge graduates have often been judged for creating the least prepared F1 doctors due to their limited patient contact. Even cambridge is very low down in some of the league tables, and consistently low for student satisfaction.

It's not about prestige. Its all about which course stuctrure you prefer and the student satisfaction at the uni (youll be there for 5years so you need to like it. For example, UCL have a traditional course structure with 3 years of pure lectures then 3 years of placements and lectures. I didn't apply and would not like going there because of this. I would choose any other uni lower down the league tables with an intergrated course structure which has placements and patient contact from the first year of the course just because I prefer that. Even if the uni isn't russell group or whatever.

I have no idea about Australia, but I doubt it is of importance because if you're still one of the best within you're year you wont struggle to get a job. A medicine degree is a medicine degree. Which uni do you have an offer from?

And for your last point, no, the uni makes no difference.
My offer is from HYMS, they're good for student satisfaction I believe, and I could see PBL working for me since I guess it would keep me on the ball throughout the course.
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NavSoc
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(Original post by Marathi)
There's no guarantee you would get an offer at GEM.
There's no guarantee GEM will be around when you finish your undergrad.
You'll end up in a lot more debt.

Take the medicine offer.

Thank you for your reply! Those are very true and sensible points. I will take them on board!
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Cave Felem
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The league tables mean next to nothing. Universities look at them, prospective students look at them and nobody else does. This is especially true for Medicine, where the rankings shift dramatically year on year. Put your God complex to the side and go to med school this year if you want to be a doctor.
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NavSoc
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(Original post by Dento5)
I'd be grateful you've received an offer, many do not. To answer your question, in the grand scheme of things it does not matter what medical school you go to. What matters more is how you perform at medical school and how much you push yourself to be the best doctor you can be. It is not worthwhile completing a full undergraduate course to then apply for graduate entry. Don't get hung up on how far up the league table the school is. Good luck.
Thank you for your advice
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nexttime
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Its difficult to comment on medical recruitment worldwide - that's 190+ countries with orders of magnitudes more individual recruiters. It is quite probable though that the majority will look closer at your much more recent postgraduate achievements, such as publications, references, teaching experience, speciality exam results, and how you interview, than which med school you went to.

What we can say for sure though: Getting into med school is very difficult. Graduate entry is even more difficult. Getting into specific universities because you're more worried about prestige than where you stand a chance of getting into makes it even harder. The most likely scenario here is that you complete a biology degree, then fail to get into medicine at all.
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NavSoc
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(Original post by Cave Felem)
The league tables mean next to nothing. Universities look at them, prospective students look at them and nobody else does. This is especially true for Medicine, where the rankings shift dramatically year on year. Put your God complex to the side and go to med school this year if you want to be a doctor.
Haha, I can't help but laugh at how savaged I just got. Thank you for your reply though!
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NavSoc
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(Original post by nexttime)
Its difficult to comment on medical recruitment worldwide - that's 190+ countries with orders of magnitudes more individual recruiters. It is quite probable though that the majority will look closer at your much more recent postgraduate achievements, such as publications, references, teaching experience, speciality exam results, and how you interview, than which med school you waent to.

What we can say for sure though: Getting into med school is very difficult. Graduate entry is even more difficult. Getting into specific universities because you're more worried about prestige than where you stand a chance of getting into makes it even harder. The most likely scenario here is that you complete a biology degree, then fail to get into medicine at all.
Thanks for your input
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NavSoc
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(Original post by nexttime)
Its difficult to comment on medical recruitment worldwide - that's 190+ countries with orders of magnitudes more individual recruiters. It is quite probable though that the majority will look closer at your much more recent postgraduate achievements, such as publications, references, teaching experience, speciality exam results, and how you interview, than which med school you went to.

What we can say for sure though: Getting into med school is very difficult. Graduate entry is even more difficult. Getting into specific universities because you're more worried about prestige than where you stand a chance of getting into makes it even harder. The most likely scenario here is that you complete a biology degree, then fail to get into medicine at all.
Okay thanks for the advice
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nexttime
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(Original post by bex.anne)
The quality of teaching definitely varies, but thats where you choose which course type you prefer; integrated,traditional, pbl. Oxbirdge graduates have often been judged for creating the least prepared F1 doctors due to their limited patient contact. Even cambridge is very low down in some of the league tables, and consistently low for student satisfaction.
I agree with the overall points but just some corrections: I am not aware of any league table that ranks cambridge low, they are consistently average for student satisfaction (I don't think they've ever been low (and of course, Oxford has been top in student satisfaction for the last 9 years running)), and Oxbridge does not have limited patient contact - its just delayed until the clinical years.

The F1 preparedness point is a good one - Cambridge is indeed the lowest - lots of data here.
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HopelessMedic
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(Original post by NavSoc)
Hi all,

So I have an offer for medicine at a university that sits roughly in the middle of the league tables (I know league tables don't matter that much, it's just a good point of refernce) but I also have an offer for biological sciences at UCL. I don't know whether I should study biological sciences and then apply for medicine again and gain entry into a better medical school, or dive straight into medicine. Help please, what should I do? I think I want to eventually work abroad as a doctor, and surely going to a more prestiged university will help secure a good job.

My end goal is to become a doctor, and in a competitive field, so maybe the university I went to will play a role on whether or not I'll get the job I want.

Any advice on what I should do?
Definitely take the offer if you want to do medicine, the school you go to is irrelevant (In the UK anyway, i'm not sure about internationally).

Also no medical school is "mediocre".
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poppyb787
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Medical schools are all very good. You will end up with registration with the GMC regardless, which means they all teach to a high standard.
If international recruitment is your concern, having a British medical degree will stand you in very good stead. British medical education is of a very high standard and you will be able to go anywhere.
As previously mentioned, if you're considering picking biology for the prestige instead of medicine for the degree, perhaps you need to reevaluate what you want to get out of your university experience.
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bex.anne
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(Original post by nexttime)
I agree with the overall points but just some corrections: I am not aware of any league table that ranks cambridge low, they are consistently average for student satisfaction (I don't think they've ever been low (and of course, Oxford has been top in student satisfaction for the last 9 years running)), and Oxbridge does not have limited patient contact - its just delayed until the clinical years.

The F1 preparedness point is a good one - Cambridge is indeed the lowest - lots of data here.
Yeah, I meant in terms of student satisfaction. But the limited patient contact has been brought up many time (on here, and I also have a friend in their 4th year at cambrdige) due to the traditional course, having 3 years of pure lectures means its limited until you get to the clinical years and even in the clinical years it still is very exam heavy, hence why at F1 posts they are lessed prepared I assume.
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bex.anne
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(Original post by NavSoc)
My offer is from HYMS, they're good for student satisfaction I believe, and I could see PBL working for me since I guess it would keep me on the ball throughout the course.
HYMS is really good, PBL is great preparation for F1 posts (moreso than traditional courses) and York is a russell group university. I'm not sure why this is even a question really. If you want to be a doctor, accept it.
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nexttime
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(Original post by bex.anne)
Yeah, I meant in terms of student satisfaction. But the limited patient contact has been brought up many time (on here, and I also have a friend in their 4th year at cambrdige) due to the traditional course, having 3 years of pure lectures means its limited until you get to the clinical years and even in the clinical years it still is very exam heavy, hence why at F1 posts they are lessed prepared I assume.
Only replying for the sake of factual accuracy for any potential applicants interested.

The topic is brought up in the context of early clinical contact, as that is what applicants like to focus on. However, all med school including Oxbridge have substantial time spent in hospital eventually. In fact, as Oxbridge have longer clinical year term times than other unis you'll probably find they have more clinical contact that a fair few unis. Your 4th year friend will soon learn this.

Anecdotally at Oxbridge there seems to be a lot less focus on guidelines and assistantship-type rotations are much shorter, which probably explains the F1 preparedness result*. On the other hand, Oxford does have 5 months with no exam pressure post-finals, which a lot of med schools don't have.

I also slightly object to '3 years of pure lectures' - most of your preclinical work comes from tutorials and lots comes from labs too, two things that actually are quite different about Oxbridge

*Cambridge's low result is based on the GMC survey. Interestingly, if you look at another measure, how many pass FY1/2 - Cambridge has substantially lower failure rates than average. Even more interestingly there seems to be something of a negative correlation between the two - the more confident you are the more likely you are to fail - though the graphs aren't clear enough to be any more specific.
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