Career options following BPS conversion course? Watch

auburnstar
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Hi guys

I've been studying a BA in music at Durham for two years now. I am enjoying it and like my course etc. I hope to graduate in 2020 and I'm on track for a 2:1, potentially a high 2:1 (66-68%) depending on the various module outcomes.

I originally went into music because I didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I just picked what I enjoyed doing. However, the more I think about it, the more I want to do something that actually makes a difference and helps people.

My experiences in the last few years, maturing and experiencing various things, have made me realise it's important for me to feel like what I do matters and has a positive impact. The internships and placements for music BA are either media (very competitive, low-paid, not very rewarding, hardly any where I live) or finance/marketing (better paid but would feel a bit meaningless to me). I wouldn't want to be a performing musician (too stressful) or music teacher (low job security). Whilst I wouldn't "hate" doing a musicology masters, I don't want to go into higher education so it would feel like a bit of a waste of time/money.*

I'm currently doing some music and psychology modules, and I've found it to be really fascinating to the point where I'm starting to read about psychology in my spare time. Even statistics and research methods, although it's new to me, appeals to me.

My plan currently is that sometime before I graduate (probably Autumn of this year), I'll apply for BPS-accredited conversion courses and do that, and hopefully, from there apply for assistant/trainee roles. If I wanted to go into psychiatry instead in the future, I figured I could also do a GEM or a regular med course as I would have the money to do that by that point (plus experience)?

It's probably not a road well-travelled by any means lol but my experiences w mental health and those of others have led me to become quite passionate about it. Just wondering if anyone had advice and/or had done something similar. (I know, thinking far ahead, but I tend to do that lol and it doesn't hurt to plan).

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*for personal reasons, mainly that a lot of undergrad teaching feels really esoteric and "chmess"-like and I'm not sure I have the type of brain that would enjoy something really niche for 3+ years
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Sinatrafan
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I’m a psychology graduate who later went on to do GEM; I’m currently a core psychiatry trainee. Happy to answer any questions about psychology/medicine/psychiatry. Don’t know much about music BAs sadly!
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auburnstar
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(Original post by Sinatrafan)
I’m a psychology graduate who later went on to do GEM; I’m currently a core psychiatry trainee. Happy to answer any questions about psychology/medicine/psychiatry. Don’t know much about music BAs sadly!
Hi! Thanks for your help

What degree classification did you get and where did you apply?
Did you do GAMSAT/UKCAT and how long did it take you to study for them and what grades did you get?
What and how much work experience did you do (would you say volunteering is enough, or would I need to have paid experience)?
People say GEM is really competitive (10% acceptance) - did you need more than one attempt or did you receive offers in your first try?

There's a couple of medical schools that accept graduate degrees from any discipline (Swansea, St George's, Newcastle, Warwick, Nottingham) so assuming 2:1 it shouldn't have much of an effect, either way, I don't think.

Sorry for all the questions lol I just have a lot of curiosity that the Music dept and/or emailing prospective schools doesn't satisfy :lol:
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I’d take what I say with a pinch of salt bearing in mind I applied for medical school 8 years ago; I’m sure things have changed significantly since then.

I say both the UKCAT and GAMSAT twice and the amount of preparation you need really depends on your existing level of science. UKCAT technically requires no revision but it is good to familiarise yourself with the questions beforehand. I would say if you haven’t studied science at A level then you’d need a good 6 months preparation, putting in at least good 10-15 hours a week

I got a 1st in my BSc and ended up applying for medical school twice (I did an MSc in the interim). I applied to very similar medical schools as you’ve listed and ended up graduating from Warwick.

Work experience requirements vary drastically between medical school so I would check with them. But volunteering is looked favourably upon. Fundamentally proper clinical shadowing work experience is best. Not only as it gives you plenty to talk about at interview and in your PS, but it’ll also help you decide whether medicine is for you or not.
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auburnstar
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(Original post by Sinatrafan)
I’d take what I say with a pinch of salt bearing in mind I applied for medical school 8 years ago; I’m sure things have changed significantly since then.

I say both the UKCAT and GAMSAT twice and the amount of preparation you need really depends on your existing level of science. UKCAT technically requires no revision but it is good to familiarise yourself with the questions beforehand. I would say if you haven’t studied science at A level then you’d need a good 6 months preparation, putting in at least good 10-15 hours a week

I got a 1st in my BSc and ended up applying for medical school twice (I did an MSc in the interim). I applied to very similar medical schools as you’ve listed and ended up graduating from Warwick.

Work experience requirements vary drastically between medical school so I would check with them. But volunteering is looked favourably upon. Fundamentally proper clinical shadowing work experience is best. Not only as it gives you plenty to talk about at interview and in your PS, but it’ll also help you decide whether medicine is for you or not.
Thanks for your reply

I haven't much of a science background other than AS biology so would have to brush up on that and chemistry as well as physics.

Is it possible to shadow without knowing someone? I don't have any family members etc in medicine.

Other than the MSc did you do anything different between the two applications?
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Sinatrafan
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The science section is by far the most challenging aspect of the GAMSAT; I believe it tests to 1st year degree level
Chemistry, biology and A level physics.

Most hospitals (especially those who have medical students) are very use to have work experience students and will have a named person who handles this. I’ve probably had 10 work experience students shadow me over the last few years.

In terms of me my MSc was full time so that took up the majority of my year whilst I was waiting for application cycle.
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auburnstar
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(Original post by Sinatrafan)
The science section is by far the most challenging aspect of the GAMSAT; I believe it tests to 1st year degree level
Chemistry, biology and A level physics.

Most hospitals (especially those who have medical students) are very use to have work experience students and will have a named person who handles this. I’ve probably had 10 work experience students shadow me over the last few years.

In terms of me my MSc was full time so that took up the majority of my year whilst I was waiting for application cycle.
Yes, I've definitely heard that before that section III is the most challenging part of GAMSAT and that the UKCAT functions as more of a critical thinking/biometric-type test.

That's good to hear re work experience. I might try, as I'm in the second year of my degree, to see if I can get some volunteer experience on the weekends and do more intensive stuff/placement/shadowing over summer and ibid for next year.

Did you get better scores the second time around for UKCAT/GAMSAT? Obviously, you were successful but would you say it is 'worth it' to apply to GEM?
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UKCAT is basically an IQ and a rather blunt instrument for sifting through the thousands of applicants sadly. I improved with my second sittings but the averages do vary from year to year so it’s hard to compare directly.

In regards to clinical work experience you don’t need that much, a few weeks will really help your application and help inform you about the job.

Fundamentally it depends if you want to be a doctor or not. It is incredibly hard to get in to. Medical school is even tougher to get though. Being a doctor is harder still. So it’s important to be honest with yourself, see how motivated you are and judge whether the juice is worth the squeeze
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(Original post by Sinatrafan)
UKCAT is basically an IQ and a rather blunt instrument for sifting through the thousands of applicants sadly. I improved with my second sittings but the averages do vary from year to year so it’s hard to compare directly.

In regards to clinical work experience you don’t need that much, a few weeks will really help your application and help inform you about the job.

Fundamentally it depends if you want to be a doctor or not. It is incredibly hard to get in to. Medical school is even tougher to get though. Being a doctor is harder still. So it’s important to be honest with yourself, see how motivated you are and judge whether the juice is worth the squeeze
Yeah, I did see that too just looking at sample papers especially with the part comparing different images and spotting the pattern (reminds me very much of those IQ test books).

It's more what you learn from the work experience (ie quality over quantity), right? And whether you can evaluate your experiences and what you learned from them.

That's wise advice, definitely something to reflect on. I am very motivated, it matters a lot for me to help people and to feel like I'm doing something meaningful - for me that helps give my life a greater sense of meaning. I do know it is a hard road ahead and I don't doubt that there are ups and downs. I have been through some difficult things in life but I do know I am determined if I want something hard enough.

I suppose the "is it worth it" question is a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" question lol. It depends how much you value it vs the required money, time and effort. But I do want to make a real change in the world and do something positive (and not selfish xD) with my life. :yep:
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Yes you’re absolutely right, it’s much more about what you get out of your work experience and how you sell that in an interview/on your personal statement that matters.

There are much easier ways to make money and probably easier ways to do a job that is rewarding. But medicine is a fantastic career that is interesting, constantly evolving, rewarding, reasonably well remunerated with excellent other job benefits. So if you are motivated and can see yourself enjoying the long haul then you should definitely go for it.
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