Why is getting into Medicine much harder now than 25 years ago? Watch

Ambitious1999
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So, I got some old books & prospectuses from a charity shop about getting into Medical school dating back to the mid 1990s and from what I’ve seen getting into Medicine was so easy then compared to now.

All you needed to do was complete your UCAS form and there was a book on applying to medical school to help with the personal statement. Healthcare related work experience then was advantageous but not really essential.

Some universities only required 3 Bs at A’level !
All you needed at GCSE was at least 5 GCSEs of grade C or above including maths & English.

There was no need for an additional entry test like UKCAT, BMAT etc.

Back then there were no tuition fees, so going to university was very attractive. Now people are deterred from university with having to pay over £9k a year. Surely the tuition fees would be a deterrent?

Why was it so easy to enter med school then but so much harder now?
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LeapingLucy
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A medicine offer at UCL used to be CCC...
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junior.doctor
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i applied in the late nineties... Believe me, it wasn't a complete walk in the park, but yes, it was different. Yes, there were no entrance tests. No, in fact work experience and volunteering were very much needed. I definitely needed more than 5Cs at GCSE - I remember all my my universities stipulating a certain number of As. Yes, my offers were lower - I got 4 offers, and 2 were AAB and 2 were ABB. I think A-levels were different then too - I wouldn't go as far as saying they were harder per se, but getting an A was a big deal and not many people got As. I got AAA at A-level and that was pretty unusual babck then, even in the selective school that I was in. I'm thankful that. although I paid tuition fees, it was £1k/yr rather than the current rates.

Interviews were still tough - can still remember parts of mine, 20 years on!

Remember too that 20 years ago, we didn't have the wealth of internet and forum resources that you have now - that was MUCH harder. Trying to do research on universities, their requirements, the hidden-between-the-lines stuff, getting others' opinions - it was a very differen time when you couldn't just search the internet and get piles of immediate, relevant information...

Different times, probably easier in some ways but harder in others.
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ecolier
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(Original post by Ambitious1999)
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I agree with @junior.doctor above. I applied for undergraduate medicine the last year that tuition fees were ~ £1100 per year and there was still no UKCAT for most med schools. The BMAT was there though for Oxbridge. It definitely was not a walk in the park.

My offer was for AAB and I remember Keele's (my friend) offer was ABB. However As were less common then. In 2005 as an example only 22.4% students in England got an A; whereas in 2018 > 26% got an A / A*.

I also remember interviewing in the late 2000s as a medical student in a panel interview setting and the scoring criteria (obviously I am not allowed to say!) was very, very tough. It was a "mess up one question and you'll be rejected" situation.

Importantly, you must also remember that being a junior doctor was much, much harder in the 90s and early 2000s. The working conditions were horrible with nearly 100 hour weeks and little protection for working extra. Progression in medical training was also not well-defined - some doctors are literally stuck being an SHO or junior / senior registrar for years / decades even. Post-grad exams were similar to an old boys' club too.

So things are now much more transparent, accountable and objective - be it medical school admissions, examinations in med school, post-graduate training and post-graduate exams. There really isn't a better way that I can think of, can you?
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Helenia
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My dad got CCC offers for medicine back in the early 70s (and missed it :facepalm: ) My offers in 2001 for 2003 entry were AAA-AAB (no A* grades at the time), though I think a few places were still offering ABB.

Everything junior.doctor and ecolier have said is true though - getting AAA was rarer than it is now, and the range of resources not just for school work but also entrance tests, guidance for applicants, finding work experience/voluntary work is SO much greater now. I sat the MVAT (BMAT precursor) with one past paper (for the essay questions, no previous questions in the MCQ bit) and my GCSE/A-level revision books! Interviews were still hard and scary.

There's also a fair bit more social mobility now than there used to be - medicine has gradually become seen as a viable option for a wider range of students from backgrounds that might be considered less traditional, so I think the number of applicants has also gradually increased.
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Doonesbury
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(Original post by Ambitious1999)
Some universities only required 3 Bs at A’level !
All you needed at GCSE was at least 5 GCSEs of grade C or above including maths & English.
Quite simply, grade inflation (and fewer pupils went to university). Also there was no A* anyway.

You might be interested in nulli tertius post (from 2013) here:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...4&postcount=10
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HoldThisL
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(Original post by LeapingLucy)
A medicine offer at UCL used to be CCC...
Pretty sure UCL used to be an unimpressive uni.
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Doonesbury
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(Original post by Drewski)
Another thread where Ambitious is an idiot. Don't feed the troll
#BREXIT
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999tigger
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(Original post by LeapingLucy)
A medicine offer at UCL used to be CCC...
When though? 25 years ago. I highly doubt it but feel free to provide the proof.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by HoldThisL)
Pretty sure UCL used to be an unimpressive uni.
(Original post by Ambitious1999)
So, I got some old books & prospectuses from a charity shop about getting into Medical school dating back to the mid 1990s and from what I’ve seen getting into Medicine was so easy then compared to now.

All you needed to do was complete your UCAS form and there was a book on applying to medical school to help with the personal statement. Healthcare related work experience then was advantageous but not really essential.

Some universities only required 3 Bs at A’level !
All you needed at GCSE was at least 5 GCSEs of grade C or above including maths & English.

There was no need for an additional entry test like UKCAT, GAMSAT etc.

Back then there were no tuition fees, so going to university was very attractive. Now people are deterred from university with having to pay over £9k a year. Surely the tuition fees would be a deterrent?

Why was it so easy to enter med school then but so much harder now?
I knew fantastic people who failed to get into medicine in the late 80;s when - as you say - BBB was a pretty typical offer. I was some stats which indicated that about the same proportion of people sitting the exams got an A or B then as get an A grade now - so grade inflation may be a big factor. Plus only around 15% of the population passed 2 or more A levels so few people were trying.

If university was so attractive why did far fewer people want to go?
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ltsmith
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Ambitious is just trolling you. Look at his previous threads.
he might be but it's true.

remember the grade distribution was much different today vs the bygone times

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999tigger
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(Original post by ltsmith)
he might be but it's true.

remember the grade distribution was much different today vs the bygone times

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Nit sure what you are saying is true?
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ltsmith
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Nit sure what you are saying is true?
it's true the grade reqs were lower. i don't know if it's true that it's easier/harder now because i haven't applied yet nor did i apply 30 yrs ago.
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999tigger
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(Original post by ltsmith)
it's true the grade reqs were lower. i don't know if it's true that it's easier/harder now because i haven't applied yet nor did i apply 30 yrs ago.
I dont believe I was disputing that. I am asking for evidence it was CCC 25 years ago.
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ltsmith
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(Original post by 999tigger)
I dont believe I was disputing that. I am asking for evidence it was CCC 25 years ago.
i don't think it's that surprising given that a C grade 25 years ago is the percentile equivalent of an A/B grade today.

tbh, i don't think you'll find hard evidence about the grade reqs 25 yrs ago. (unless anyone has an old prospectus?)

maybe waybackmachine might have archived some parts of the admissions website from years ago.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by ltsmith)
i don't think it's that surprising given that a C grade 25 years ago is the percentile equivalent of an A/B grade today.

tbh, i don't think you'll find hard evidence about the grade reqs 25 yrs ago. (unless anyone has an old prospectus?)

maybe waybackmachine might have archived some parts of the admissions website from years ago.
I'm wondering if I knew anyone who went there then to ask! Thinking about it a bit more I don't think any of the decent applicants from my high school (who had the grades and came across as half normal) didn't get offers so in reality I'd say it was far easier to get in than it is today if you had the luck to go to a school where the teaching was appropriate to getting the grades.
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999tigger
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(Original post by ltsmith)
i don't think it's that surprising given that a C grade 25 years ago is the percentile equivalent of an A/B grade today.

tbh, i don't think you'll find hard evidence about the grade reqs 25 yrs ago. (unless anyone has an old prospectus?)

maybe waybackmachine might have archived some parts of the admissions website from years ago.
I would need to go to the library. An old copy of Heap university offers would have the grades in. CCC is way too low imo for 1994.
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999tigger
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(Original post by ltsmith)
i don't think it's that surprising given that a C grade 25 years ago is the percentile equivalent of an A/B grade today.

tbh, i don't think you'll find hard evidence about the grade reqs 25 yrs ago. (unless anyone has an old prospectus?)

maybe waybackmachine might have archived some parts of the admissions website from years ago.
I would need to go to the library. An old copy of Heap university offers would have the grades in. CCC is way too low imo for 1994. Anyway its an ambitious thread, so I ahree with anything Doones and Nullius have posted. Its not worth the effort. Your point about grade distribution was never in question.
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Doonesbury
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(Original post by ltsmith)
maybe waybackmachine might have archived some parts of the admissions website from years ago.
1999 was AAB-ABB, but it was quite possibly lower in Clearing.
https://web.archive.org/web/19991011...MedicineF.html
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LeapingLucy
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(Original post by 999tigger)
When though? 25 years ago. I highly doubt it but feel free to provide the proof.
I’m talking about around 40 years ago.

My aunt did medicine at UCL in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and her offer was CCC. As was the offer she got from the Royal Free, though I don’t think that exists anymore.

I don’t know how accurate this is, but as she recalls it, medical schools in London interviewed and gave CCC offers while medical schools outside of London (e.g. Manchester) didn’t interview and gave BBB offers.

For what it’s worth, she’s been a GP for almost 30 years, but doesn’t think she’d get into medical school nowadays.
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