Postgrad medicine after a Biology degree - do I stand a chance? Watch

xoamy
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I am starting to realise how much I really wish I could do post-graduate medicine. I have heard there are a few people on my course at university (Bsc in Biology) that are wanting to apply to post-graduate medicine, and I just got this pang of regret because I realise that's what I want to do. I did a Biology degree because I wanted to keep my options broad but now I realise I want to apply knowledge in a clinical setting - i.e. in health care, whether that's as a doctor, dermatologist, dentist, etc. However, I really don't think I stand a chance of getting onto a program for several reasons which I'll describe below.

GCSEs: 11 As, 1 B.
A-levels: A*ABB in psychology, biology, chemistry and physics respectively.
Degree: have acheived a first in my 1st and 2nd year, currently in my 3rd year.

I have suffered with low confidence and shyness in the past which has meant I have underestimated myself repeatedly. For example, I could have gotten into a much better university with my grades but I underestimated what I would get in my a-levels, etc. Also this low confidence meant I really didn't feel comfortable or mature enough to gain any relevant work experience in biology or healthcare. The only work experience I have is working in childcare over the summer. At GCSE I got the highest marks in the year, same at a-levels, and at university I have received several emails from lecturers for getting within the top 3 of some modules in exam results - these modules were human physiology, pathology and biomedicine (i.e. very healthcare-based). This is not intended to brag as I realise anyone browsing the medicine forum on TSR is probably in a much better position than me.

It kind of breaks my heart because a girl I know is applying for post-grad medicine and she is so confident in getting work experience, traveling the World etc and I just feel like it would be impossible to catch up to the calibre of the people I would be competing for a place with.

What I'm trying to ask is do you think I stand a chance? I'm in my third year now so I'm too busy to do any work experience. Is there any similar alternatives I could do?
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xoamy
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Sorry to bump. Also I would appreciate honesty, don't worry about hurting my feelings. If I'm not good enough for medicine, are there any similar options I am eligible for?
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ForestCat
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(Original post by xoamy)
I am starting to realise how much I really wish I could do post-graduate medicine. I have heard there are a few people on my course at university (Bsc in Biology) that are wanting to apply to post-graduate medicine, and I just got this pang of regret because I realise that's what I want to do. I did a Biology degree because I wanted to keep my options broad but now I realise I want to apply knowledge in a clinical setting - i.e. in health care, whether that's as a doctor, dermatologist, dentist, etc. However, I really don't think I stand a chance of getting onto a program for several reasons which I'll describe below.

GCSEs: 11 As, 1 B.
A-levels: A*ABB in psychology, biology, chemistry and physics respectively.
Degree: have acheived a first in my 1st and 2nd year, currently in my 3rd year.

I have suffered with low confidence and shyness in the past which has meant I have underestimated myself repeatedly. For example, I could have gotten into a much better university with my grades but I underestimated what I would get in my a-levels, etc. Also this low confidence meant I really didn't feel comfortable or mature enough to gain any relevant work experience in biology or healthcare. The only work experience I have is working in childcare over the summer. At GCSE I got the highest marks in the year, same at a-levels, and at university I have received several emails from lecturers for getting within the top 3 of some modules in exam results - these modules were human physiology, pathology and biomedicine (i.e. very healthcare-based). This is not intended to brag as I realise anyone browsing the medicine forum on TSR is probably in a much better position than me.

It kind of breaks my heart because a girl I know is applying for post-grad medicine and she is so confident in getting work experience, traveling the World etc and I just feel like it would be impossible to catch up to the calibre of the people I would be competing for a place with.

What I'm trying to ask is do you think I stand a chance? I'm in my third year now so I'm too busy to do any work experience. Is there any similar alternatives I could do?
(Just to be pedantic, it is graduate entry medicine. It isn't a postgraduate qualification).

I don't think you need to be worried. You have the right subjects and you're on track for a 1st. This will leave open the vast majority of GEM courses.

Now you need to think about whether or not you want to take the GAMSAT. And whether you want to take a shot at it in the early sitting next year? This would give you a chance to see what the exam is like. If you do well, you can use this and apply score in hand next year. If not so good, it is a trial run and you'll have another chance to sit it if the UKCAT also doesn't go so well.

You also need to get some work experience under your belt over the next year. If you want to apply to Warwick this is vital.

GEM is competitive, and there is a decent possibility that you won't get any offers first time round (in which case you just reapply). This isn't a reflection on you, just the nature of the beast. But as it stands you are certainly at no disdvantage and actually your strong science background stands you in good stead. It will all come down to entrance exams and getting some work experience
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xoamy
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(Original post by Volibear)
I'm in the same boat as you - bio student going down the GEM path.

- Your academic record is fine. A few medical schools don't care about A-levels/GCSEs anyway but you should be fine for a lot of ones that do (you'll have to check with each one though).
- You seem to be on the path for a first and even if you get a 2:1, most medical schools will still consider you (even better if it's a high 2:1 as some will check). Also, your degree is a bioscience degree.
- Do I think you stand a chance? Yes. For one your academic record most likely won't be a problem and that is an advantage many GEM applicants/normal entry graduate applicants don't have. It seems your major problems are down to confidence with getting onto the course.

People decide to go down the medicine route at many different stages in life. Some people go straight into it at 18, others have different careers, have familes, and then go down the route in their 30s and 40s. What I mean by this is whilst you may have realised this is your calling in life, you still have time to decide if it's really for you. What I also mean is that there are so many different people who go down this path that you really shouldn't try to compare yourself or worry about comparing yourself, because it is genuinely impossible. Medical schools generally give offers to people they think will not only be good medical students, but will also be good doctors, and a lot of the characteristics of a good doctor are things that aren't determined by grades or how much experience you did before applying.

My suggestion is that you spend this year focusing on your degree and in the meantime maybe look around at some 'small' volunteering such as volunteering in a charity shop. This is moreso as a confidence building thing than anything else. If you have time, maybe get into a sport or something or find a new hobby you can develop. Then when it comes to after graduation, start looking for healthcare related volunteering opportuinities/work experience (and non-healthcare if you can) with the primary aim of determining if medicine is really right for you. I'm probably not going to bother with shadowing but if you can arrange that, that may be useful too. You may decide medicine isn't for you, or you may be even more set upon this path. Either way, you'll have experience under your wing and hopefully it will help you with your confidence too! This is what worked for me

Just try to remember that there are many different types of doctors, and if you are kind and have empathy, you have as good a chance at being a great doctor as anybody else. The same goes for getting into medical school.
Thank you! Your post has really inspired me. I think I was a little panicky that if I wanted to do medicine it had to be as soon as I graduated, but I think taking a "gap year" would be good for me for many reasons. Obviously the first main reason would it would give me term to immerse myself in work experience and build my confidence, and also I think it would be good to have a short break from academia so I don't burn out.
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xoamy
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(Original post by ForestCat)
(Just to be pedantic, it is graduate entry medicine. It isn't a postgraduate qualification).

I don't think you need to be worried. You have the right subjects and you're on track for a 1st. This will leave open the vast majority of GEM courses.

Now you need to think about whether or not you want to take the GAMSAT. And whether you want to take a shot at it in the early sitting next year? This would give you a chance to see what the exam is like. If you do well, you can use this and apply score in hand next year. If not so good, it is a trial run and you'll have another chance to sit it if the UKCAT also doesn't go so well.

You also need to get some work experience under your belt over the next year. If you want to apply to Warwick this is vital.

GEM is competitive, and there is a decent possibility that you won't get any offers first time round (in which case you just reapply). This isn't a reflection on you, just the nature of the beast. But as it stands you are certainly at no disdvantage and actually your strong science background stands you in good stead. It will all come down to entrance exams and getting some work experience
Thank you so much. Honestly I had never even let myself consider medicine as I always thought I wasn't good enough for it, but my exam results have been really high so far at university which has sort of proven to myself that I am capable.

I have a couple of questions. Firstly, would GEM admission tutors look down on a lack of work experience during a-levels and my degree? Or would it be acceptable to take a "gap year" after I graduate and gain a lot of work experience within that year?

I have been researching requirements but I'm a little confused regarding UKCAT, GAMCAT, MCAT. Do you need to do all three or just one? Also can you retake them as often as you like or is it something that would be on your record, where resits are frowned upon?

Thank you.
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ForestCat
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(Original post by xoamy)
Thank you so much. Honestly I had never even let myself consider medicine as I always thought I wasn't good enough for it, but my exam results have been really high so far at university which has sort of proven to myself that I am capable.

I have a couple of questions. Firstly, would GEM admission tutors look down on a lack of work experience during a-levels and my degree? Or would it be acceptable to take a "gap year" after I graduate and gain a lot of work experience within that year?

I have been researching requirements but I'm a little confused regarding UKCAT, GAMCAT, MCAT. Do you need to do all three or just one? Also can you retake them as often as you like or is it something that would be on your record, where resits are frowned upon?

Thank you.
You can take a year before you apply, no problem. As long as you have some recent experience, it doesn't matter when exactly it was.

The GAMSAT can be take twice a year (and results last for 2 years). Its expensive and long and not an easy undertaking, so you need a good amount of prep for it.

The UKCAT is once per UCAS cycle. It is more of an aptitude test and needs much less prep.

MCAT is american and not used here.
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