My experience with Access to Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy Watch

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GennaHibbs
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Hello,

I just wanted to write about my experiences from last year (September 2016) till now (May 2017) with my access course. I am an aspiring dentist.

Being from Sheffield, I didn't imagine myself doing an access course in Manchester, however, the 'access science' course Sheffield conducts actually advised me not to do the course as I wanted to study dentistry, and they informed me no one has ever been accepted into Sheffield university via this method.

So, broadening my horizons I researched and found the Manchester access to medicine, dentistry and pharmacy course.
After searching through many forums on here and various chats I didn't find much solid evidence that the course actually WORKED - as in, I would be accepted to study dentistry for the year after.

I rang the college itself, which this particular course is held at city labs near the Manchester eye hospital. Despite speaking to some informative people, they also had no solid stats as to students success rates of getting into uni. I was actually disappointed by this, but upon finishing the course I understand why.

The course is relatively new, and many students have their own circumstances, i.e. some people may not achieve their grades, some will drop out, some will differ a year, some will have a change of heart and change what they want to study (sometimes too late and so will have to wait for clearing or the year after), so all became understandable.

Before starting the course I gathered all the work experience I needed (ensure you check university websites as different uni's require different things).
I also studied for my UKCAT - which I highly recommend as it can be difficult to do the course and study for this!
And lastly, I started my personal statement, I did not have my final draft before starting, but I had a nice template to build upon.

The course itself requires you to be at college 2 days a week. For me, I attended on Thursdays and Fridays, which is great as I was commuting along with a few other people. You will study biology, chemistry, physics and maths. There are 5 units for each subject and you will be assessed throughout the whole year, not all towards the end.

Luckily for me, my tutor and teachers were all as supportive as they can be, and they understand if you have had a break in education it can be a struggle to get back into the swing of it. For me, maths proved to be the hardest as I haven't studied maths since my GCSE's 6 years ago!

Many past students on here have complained about various things on the course, but truth be told, there will always be struggles and complaints, no matter where you go. Things can and probably will be difficult, but prioritise the course and stay determined to get your grades and you will pull through. People complain about teaching methods, anything during university too, so just take what you need and you'll get through this step.

I just wanted to add, during my experience I observed some students who were very hostile towards the teachers and staff - seriously respect the teachers and they will respect you! They want to get you into uni! I've been absolutely mortified when I've seen students raise their voice at teachers as they didn't hand in work in time or for whatever reason, people who want to become professionals should reflect on their own behaviour.

The work itself can seem overwhelming at first, some of the people in my class have already done their A-levels and so weren't as shocked as I was, and were used to the content. But what I'm saying is, if I can do it, you can too!

Your tutor will assist you when you apply to university, which for those who want to study medicine, dentistry and vet science it will seem like straight away you're applying to uni before you've barely got into the access course! Other students who wanted to study pharmacy, optom, nutrition had more time as the deadline was in January for them.

It is also possible for you to have a job around studying, during a medicine talk where a past student was talking to us about her experience doing the course and getting into medicine, she advised everyone 'not to work'. Funnily enough for many people, this is not possible and not everyone is so financially stable, but I assure you it is possible to hold down a part time job whilst doing this course. Some people were even able to condense their full-time job into 3 days! It all depends on how good your time keeping skills are, but always prioritise the course and your future goals.

As you get a few months into the course (and I assure you you'll be banking those distinctions!) you will probably become restless whilst waiting for decisions from UCAS. For me, my first decision was a rejection from Sheffield uni! It is okay to be devastated, but don't give up.
I (eventually) received three other offers from Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester uni to study dentistry.

If you are worried about the interviews, don't be. Most of the time they are wanting to know you as the likeable person you are, and that you are passionate about what you want to study. If you are very nervous you can arrange practice interviews with the college.

I accepted my Manchester offer last month and chose Newcastle as my insurance. I have had my last chemistry exam this morning and felt it went well.

This course does work if YOU work. You can achieve that goal of studying medicine, dentistry ect. if you make your dream work! Reflecting back it does feel surreal that this course has enabled me to achieve my goal, and I am truly grateful for all the support I have received.

Overall, as hard as it has been, it has not always been hard, we've has our Christmas and Easter breaks, and luckily for me my class has been lovely and so we've always had a nice atmosphere. Compared to my teaching experiences in Sheffield, this has by far been my favourite and I think coming from a smaller city, this course is a great opportunity. And believe me, one year goes FAST!

*Lastly, there have been many lovely comments about a member of staff named Nigel. He is truly the person who reassured me throughout this whole year, and I am so thankful that he was my tutor and maths teacher. He will always go above and beyond for every student. Being 22 myself I don't think I've ever had a teacher/tutor like him in my whole life! The teachers only want the best for you and the support you will receive is amazing.


If anyone would like to ask for any advice or opinions you are more than welcome to, you may have to be patient as I am not always online on TSR.

** I would like to add that any questions may have already been answered in this thread already **

Thanks,
Genna xx
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Poor student
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Hi,

Is this at Manchester Uni or some other place.

cheers
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GennaHibbs
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(Original post by Poor student)
Hi,

Is this at Manchester Uni or some other place.

cheers
Hey it's part of Manchester college, it's a building called city labs. When you enrol it's through the Manchester college not uni/ucas.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by GennaHibbs)
snip
Great post, I'm sure people wanting to do the access course at Manchester will find this encouraging. Good luck with Dentistry!
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Reality Check
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GennaHibbs


Very balanced and informative post. Thank you.
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GennaHibbs
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(Original post by Snufkin)
Great post, I'm sure people wanting to do the access course at Manchester will find this encouraging. Good luck with Dentistry!
Thank you! There were so many discouraging posts and comments about this course from previous years, I think it's needed for future students.
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Dann.It
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Hi, thank-you for your post offering an insight on this access course. I myself is from Sheffield too, and planning on applying for this course (next year) as i'd like to go on and study medicine at Univerisity.

Is it relatively hard, to get accepted onto this access course? I.e do they do interviews? Also, could you offer some advice on studying for UKCAT, and gaining experience (as I'd imagine they like dentistry applicants to have relevant work experience too)?

I'm just trying to get all of this sorted (lol) especially before applying for the access course for next year entry - so any advice would be helpful.

Thanks,

Dan
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GennaHibbs
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Hello,
To get onto the course itself is just like enrolling onto a normal college course. They do require a minimum B grade in English and Maths GCSE, so some people retook their GCSE's to get onto it.

As Sheffield advised me to not do their course quite late on after I applied, I was quite late when applying to the Manchester course, so I didn't have an interview, however, I know many people did, but they said it was quite casual. If you ring up you'll get put through to the course leader and she will provide advice if needed.

For medicine students many uni's focus heavily on the UKCAT score, whereas for dentistry it seemed that the main focus was getting a good band on it.
So my advice would be to practice hard for the UKCAT early on so it's not too daunting when it comes around, and also Medify is a great website to practice on as it is the same layout as the test itself.

Getting work experience for me was pretty hard, as many dental practices don't want students for confidentiality reasons. But keep ringing up and you will eventually find somewhere! I honestly think I rang about 80 places...

Also, think about the uni's you'd like to study at which accept the course and try to get the work experience and amount of work experience they'd like. A lot of medicine people can volunteer in care homes ect, which isn't as hard experience to get as opposed to at a GP practice or something. But variety is always good when it comes to work experience

I hope this is helpful! Best of luck with medicine, the course itself is fine if you just prioritise it

Genna xx
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sd2d
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hi
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sd2d
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HI- just wanted to know- i've applied 3 months ago and still haven't heard back. If i start September then when do i finish ? does it also mean i will be possible applying for universities in October 17 for courses beginning September 18.

How is the work load are you given home-work/controlled assessments is there lab work.
How often are the exams.

What other uni's can you apply to with this qualification other than Liverpool and Manchester for example: Kings College London?

Also are there other Access to Medicine and Dentistry courses other than this one?


How many Hours / Days per week do you go in for and when does the first class start and last class end?


Thank you x
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Blackstarr
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Thats great
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MedicineMaybe
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(Original post by GennaHibbs)
Hello,

I just wanted to write about my experiences from last year (September 2016) till now (May 2017) with my access course. I am an aspiring dentist.

Being from Sheffield, I didn't imagine myself doing an access course in Manchester, however, the 'access science' course Sheffield conducts actually advised me not to do the course as I wanted to study dentistry, and they informed me no one has ever been accepted into Sheffield university via this method.

So, broadening my horizons I researched and found the Manchester access to medicine, dentistry and pharmacy course.
After searching through many forums on here and various chats I didn't find much solid evidence that the course actually WORKED - as in, I would be accepted to study dentistry for the year after.

I rang the college itself, which this particular course is held at city labs near the Manchester eye hospital. Despite speaking to some informative people, they also had no solid stats as to students success rates of getting into uni. I was actually disappointed by this, but upon finishing the course I understand why.

The course is relatively new, and many students have their own circumstances, i.e. some people may not achieve their grades, some will drop out, some will differ a year, some will have a change of heart and change what they want to study (sometimes too late and so will have to wait for clearing or the year after), so all became understandable.

Before starting the course I gathered all the work experience I needed (ensure you check university websites as different uni's require different things).
I also studied for my UKCAT - which I highly recommend as it can be difficult to do the course and study for this!
And lastly, I started my personal statement, I did not have my final draft before starting, but I had a nice template to build upon.

The course itself requires you to be at college 2 days a week. For me, I attended on Thursdays and Fridays, which is great as I was commuting along with a few other people. You will study biology, chemistry, physics and maths. There are 5 units for each subject and you will be assessed throughout the whole year, not all towards the end.

Luckily for me, my tutor and teachers were all as supportive as they can be, and they understand if you have had a break in education it can be a struggle to get back into the swing of it. For me, maths proved to be the hardest as I haven't studied maths since my GCSE's 6 years ago!

Many past students on here have complained about various things on the course, but truth be told, there will always be struggles and complaints, no matter where you go. Things can and probably will be difficult, but prioritise the course and stay determined to get your grades and you will pull through. People complain about teaching methods, anything during university too, so just take what you need and you'll get through this step.

I just wanted to add, during my experience I observed some students who were very hostile towards the teachers and staff - seriously respect the teachers and they will respect you! They want to get you into uni! I've been absolutely mortified when I've seen students raise their voice at teachers as they didn't hand in work in time or for whatever reason, people who want to become professionals should reflect on their own behaviour.

The work itself can seem overwhelming at first, some of the people in my class have already done their A-levels and so weren't as shocked as I was, and were used to the content. But what I'm saying is, if I can do it, you can too!

Your tutor will assist you when you apply to university, which for those who want to study medicine, dentistry and vet science it will seem like straight away you're applying to uni before you've barely got into the access course! Other students who wanted to study pharmacy, optom, nutrition had more time as the deadline was in January for them.

It is also possible for you to have a job around studying, during a medicine talk where a past student was talking to us about her experience doing the course and getting into medicine, she advised everyone 'not to work'. Funnily enough for many people, this is not possible and not everyone is so financially stable, but I assure you it is possible to hold down a part time job whilst doing this course. Some people were even able to condense their full-time job into 3 days! It all depends on how good your time keeping skills are, but always prioritise the course and your future goals.

As you get a few months into the course (and I assure you you'll be banking those distinctions!) you will probably become restless whilst waiting for decisions from UCAS. For me, my first decision was a rejection from Sheffield uni! It is okay to be devastated, but don't give up.
I (eventually) received three other offers from Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester uni to study dentistry.

If you are worried about the interviews, don't be. Most of the time they are wanting to know you as the likeable person you are, and that you are passionate about what you want to study. If you are very nervous you can arrange practice interviews with the college.

I accepted my Manchester offer last month and chose Newcastle as my insurance. I have had my last chemistry exam this morning and felt it went well.

This course does work if YOU work. You can achieve that goal of studying medicine, dentistry ect. if you make your dream work! Reflecting back it does feel surreal that this course has enabled me to achieve my goal, and I am truly grateful for all the support I have received.

Overall, as hard as it has been, it has not always been hard, we've has our Christmas and Easter breaks, and luckily for me my class has been lovely and so we've always had a nice atmosphere. Compared to my teaching experiences in Sheffield, this has by far been my favourite and I think coming from a smaller city, this course is a great opportunity. And believe me, one year goes FAST!

*Lastly, there have been many lovely comments about a member of staff named Nigel. He is truly the person who reassured me throughout this whole year, and I am so thankful that he was my tutor and maths teacher. He will always go above and beyond for every student. Being 22 myself I don't think I've ever had a teacher/tutor like him in my whole life! The teachers only want the best for you and the support you will receive is amazing.


If anyone would like to ask for any advice or opinions you are more than welcome to, you may have to be patient as I am not always online on TSR.

Thanks,
Genna xx

Thanks Genna for this amazing article. I've been offered a conditional offer on the course for September on the basis I get a B in maths. Like you I'm wanting to get into dentistry. Sat my exam yesterday and really know I'm going to get a C so really gutted . I've done my 2 week of shadowing at 2 dental practices, voluntary work and have started my PS but really feel maths is going to let me down in that case will have to re-apply next year for the course ✌🏽
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moq1992
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Hi thanks for sharing your story, my girlfriend is currently looking to start the course in September st Manchester, she was just wondering what acedmic background she needs in terms of gcse or a levels she is 21 and had medical issues which is why she didn't do the traditional route, also how did you make yourself stand out in your application, also did you know of anyone the course who was offered a place on medicine Thankyou
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Hi Genna its Pete from group 4. Not long til graduation now!
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GennaHibbs
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(Original post by sd2d)
HI- just wanted to know- i've applied 3 months ago and still haven't heard back. If i start September then when do i finish ? does it also mean i will be possible applying for universities in October 17 for courses beginning September 18.

How is the work load are you given home-work/controlled assessments is there lab work.
How often are the exams.

What other uni's can you apply to with this qualification other than Liverpool and Manchester for example: Kings College London?

Also are there other Access to Medicine and Dentistry courses other than this one?


How many Hours / Days per week do you go in for and when does the first class start and last class end?


Thank you x
Hello, first of all, I have pretty much finished by the end of May.

I actually applied rather late as Sheffield advised me not to do their course around a month or two before starting?? (Organisational skills of Sheffield)

I thought that the Manchester course was open to applications from May onwards, so I would just ring up to confirm they've received your application

Yes if you don't plan on deferring a year then you will be applying for university in October this year to start the following year.

I mean, like I mentioned there is a lot of work depending on your situation i.e. if you work or have kids (or both). For people who don't have to work at all I'd say the workload is fine, but even whilst working it is still manageable, as many people do get on with it and get into uni.

I can't really give you a set in stone answer regarding which uni's will accept this course, as it depends on what course you want to study, and you just have to look at the universities you're interested in and look at their entry requirements

Classes are over two days and are both 9-5 with breaks and tutorials inbetween. And the only other course like this I am familiar with, other than the normal access science course is the 'Liverpool year 0' foundation year.

Good luck and all the best!
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GennaHibbs
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(Original post by MedicineMaybe)
Thanks Genna for this amazing article. I've been offered a conditional offer on the course for September on the basis I get a B in maths. Like you I'm wanting to get into dentistry. Sat my exam yesterday and really know I'm going to get a C so really gutted . I've done my 2 week of shadowing at 2 dental practices, voluntary work and have started my PS but really feel maths is going to let me down in that case will have to re-apply next year for the course ✌🏽
Hello and thank you!!

Aw well done though for your offer! And that's really great you've got a start on everything else too!

All the best for maths (I know how you feel about maths - its hard haha) - you don't know your official result yet right? So don't give up! x
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Blackstarr
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(Original post by GennaHibbs)
Hello,

I just wanted to write about my experiences from last year (September 2016) till now (May 2017) with my access course. I am an aspiring dentist.

Being from Sheffield, I didn't imagine myself doing an access course in Manchester, however, the 'access science' course Sheffield conducts actually advised me not to do the course as I wanted to study dentistry, and they informed me no one has ever been accepted into Sheffield university via this method.

So, broadening my horizons I researched and found the Manchester access to medicine, dentistry and pharmacy course.
After searching through many forums on here and various chats I didn't find much solid evidence that the course actually WORKED - as in, I would be accepted to study dentistry for the year after.

I rang the college itself, which this particular course is held at city labs near the Manchester eye hospital. Despite speaking to some informative people, they also had no solid stats as to students success rates of getting into uni. I was actually disappointed by this, but upon finishing the course I understand why.

The course is relatively new, and many students have their own circumstances, i.e. some people may not achieve their grades, some will drop out, some will differ a year, some will have a change of heart and change what they want to study (sometimes too late and so will have to wait for clearing or the year after), so all became understandable.

Before starting the course I gathered all the work experience I needed (ensure you check university websites as different uni's require different things).
I also studied for my UKCAT - which I highly recommend as it can be difficult to do the course and study for this!
And lastly, I started my personal statement, I did not have my final draft before starting, but I had a nice template to build upon.

The course itself requires you to be at college 2 days a week. For me, I attended on Thursdays and Fridays, which is great as I was commuting along with a few other people. You will study biology, chemistry, physics and maths. There are 5 units for each subject and you will be assessed throughout the whole year, not all towards the end.

Luckily for me, my tutor and teachers were all as supportive as they can be, and they understand if you have had a break in education it can be a struggle to get back into the swing of it. For me, maths proved to be the hardest as I haven't studied maths since my GCSE's 6 years ago!

Many past students on here have complained about various things on the course, but truth be told, there will always be struggles and complaints, no matter where you go. Things can and probably will be difficult, but prioritise the course and stay determined to get your grades and you will pull through. People complain about teaching methods, anything during university too, so just take what you need and you'll get through this step.

I just wanted to add, during my experience I observed some students who were very hostile towards the teachers and staff - seriously respect the teachers and they will respect you! They want to get you into uni! I've been absolutely mortified when I've seen students raise their voice at teachers as they didn't hand in work in time or for whatever reason, people who want to become professionals should reflect on their own behaviour.

The work itself can seem overwhelming at first, some of the people in my class have already done their A-levels and so weren't as shocked as I was, and were used to the content. But what I'm saying is, if I can do it, you can too!

Your tutor will assist you when you apply to university, which for those who want to study medicine, dentistry and vet science it will seem like straight away you're applying to uni before you've barely got into the access course! Other students who wanted to study pharmacy, optom, nutrition had more time as the deadline was in January for them.

It is also possible for you to have a job around studying, during a medicine talk where a past student was talking to us about her experience doing the course and getting into medicine, she advised everyone 'not to work'. Funnily enough for many people, this is not possible and not everyone is so financially stable, but I assure you it is possible to hold down a part time job whilst doing this course. Some people were even able to condense their full-time job into 3 days! It all depends on how good your time keeping skills are, but always prioritise the course and your future goals.

As you get a few months into the course (and I assure you you'll be banking those distinctions!) you will probably become restless whilst waiting for decisions from UCAS. For me, my first decision was a rejection from Sheffield uni! It is okay to be devastated, but don't give up.
I (eventually) received three other offers from Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester uni to study dentistry.

If you are worried about the interviews, don't be. Most of the time they are wanting to know you as the likeable person you are, and that you are passionate about what you want to study. If you are very nervous you can arrange practice interviews with the college.

I accepted my Manchester offer last month and chose Newcastle as my insurance. I have had my last chemistry exam this morning and felt it went well.

This course does work if YOU work. You can achieve that goal of studying medicine, dentistry ect. if you make your dream work! Reflecting back it does feel surreal that this course has enabled me to achieve my goal, and I am truly grateful for all the support I have received.

Overall, as hard as it has been, it has not always been hard, we've has our Christmas and Easter breaks, and luckily for me my class has been lovely and so we've always had a nice atmosphere. Compared to my teaching experiences in Sheffield, this has by far been my favourite and I think coming from a smaller city, this course is a great opportunity. And believe me, one year goes FAST!

*Lastly, there have been many lovely comments about a member of staff named Nigel. He is truly the person who reassured me throughout this whole year, and I am so thankful that he was my tutor and maths teacher. He will always go above and beyond for every student. Being 22 myself I don't think I've ever had a teacher/tutor like him in my whole life! The teachers only want the best for you and the support you will receive is amazing.


If anyone would like to ask for any advice or opinions you are more than welcome to, you may have to be patient as I am not always online on TSR.

Thanks,
Genna xx
Are there any exams in access courses, did you sit any?
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GennaHibbs
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(Original post by moq1992)
Hi thanks for sharing your story, my girlfriend is currently looking to start the course in September st Manchester, she was just wondering what acedmic background she needs in terms of gcse or a levels she is 21 and had medical issues which is why she didn't do the traditional route, also how did you make yourself stand out in your application, also did you know of anyone the course who was offered a place on medicine Thankyou
Hello,

Aw nice, well to get onto the access course itself they just require a B in GCSE English and Maths.

I would look at the websites of places she would like to study medicine, and just be sure her GCSE's are what they want, and you can ring up uni admissions to clarify anything you need.

In regards to A-levels, say she's already studied them and not got the grades she wanted for example, don't leave them out on the application - put them in, even if you hate the grades they don't want any weird gaps in the application. A girl got into medicine through this course and she put down two B's and a U or a D I think?

I'm not really sure how I made myself 'stand out' in particular, I was just myself in my application. My reason for my break in study (I quit A-levels after a few months) was due to my mum getting ill, so I was just honest about that on my application.

I'd say work experience makes you stand out, as you'll have a great understanding of healthcare roles and in my interviews I was asked a lot about WE and I mentioned quite a bit on my PS too.

If she has a hobby or passion (aside medicine) that's probably her way to make her stand out. My passion is music as I'm a guitarist, so I blabbed about that in my interviews and on my PS.

There was only one person who wanted to study medicine in my class, and they got in! Medicine seems to require a good UKCAT score, so I'd focus on practising that too

All the best for you both! x
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GennaHibbs
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(Original post by Blackstarr)
Are there any exams in access courses, did you sit any?
Yes, I'm probably not the best person to speak to regarding this, as the way they assess a unit may change, but we had a mixture of both exams and assignments.

And obviously depending on which access course you want to do, they're all likely to have their own way of assessment. x
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GennaHibbs
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(Original post by wheeler3)
Hi Genna its Pete from group 4. Not long til graduation now!
Woooo hey!!!! Ah at least you're going too - I'm not sure many are going to be there out of my class!

Hope you're having a lovely summer )
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