2022 Medicine Gap Year Stories!

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IBkidinthecorner
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Hello and Welcome!

In this thread, us re-applicants of 2022 will share our gap year experiences to remind you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. From UCAT and interview prep to joining the workforce, we've got you covered!

Get to know the people who were in your shoes last cycle alongside your fellow 2023 entry re-applicants.

About me (Incoming first year at KCL):
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I graduated high school as 'The Girl with No Offers', having received pre-interview rejections from Cambridge, UCL, Nottingham and Birmingham as well as Imperial for Medical Biosciences. In my reapplication, I focused on improving my UCAT score and applying strategically. A score increase of 560 points to 3120 gave me the advantage I needed to secure four interviews and later, four offers from King's, Bristol, Newcastle and UEA. During my gap year, I have worked as an operations assistant in a department store, volunteered in charity shops and done hospital work experience. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the application process or gap years in general!

KA_P (Incoming first year at ARU):
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I'm an incoming 1st year at Anglia Ruskin university.

I basically didn't know I wanted to take a gap year until results day, so I'm going to backtrack to the last day of school. I applied for a HCA (Healthcare Assistant) job in a nursing home. I did that just to pass some time and get some money in my savings. It's was difficult but an eye-opening experience. I got so much interaction with patients and learnt so many new skills. I did that job for around 6 weeks. I took a break after this until results day. Honestly, you may not have gotten any offers but that in no way means you don't deserve a break. You've been working so hard continuously, so plan out your time and set aside time to re-energise and laze around.

During all of this, I still relied on options like UCAS Extra and Clearing, since it's always worth a shot. It may not have worked for me but one of the people in my year did get into Medicine through clearing (unfortunately I do not know her so I have no information regarding this), so there is still hope.

When I realised none of those options would work, I decided on taking a gap year. I made a checklist of things I wanted to improve and do and then contacted school. I want you to also realise that you are never alone. You don't have to take it all on your shoulders. Get advice from TSR, from your teachers, from parents, siblings and friends. I also asked colleagues for help as well.

I managed to get a job as a junior HCA at a local hospital - this is on a Bank contract and that was such a valuable experience. I worked in different departments (a perk of being on a Bank contract) and learned as many new skills as possible and interacted with various patients. I reflected on what I saw and did and ways I could improve and jotted them down when I got home. I cannot stress how flexible a bank contract job is. You can work as much and as little as you want according to your availability. I worked more shifts when I was free and fewer shifts around UCAT and interview time.

I also got some colleagues to do some mock interviews with me which really changed my interview performance. I constantly tried to do interview prep before and after shifts, with my mum and on TSR. Get yourself talking. Record yourself. Plan and be efficient. Reflect. You've got this.

I improve by 60 points in my UCAT (2670 B3) and applied strategically. I knew my band 3 would disadvantage me if I applied to a university that dedicates points to SJT pre or post interview, so I avoided applying to those universities. I got 3 interviews, only attended 2, since I got an offer and that was basically the one I really wanted to go to.

Quite a few people from my friendship group were in the exact same position as me, so I didn't exactly feel alone. But even if you are the only one in your friendship group who didn't get any offers, remember that you will never be the only one. It's so competitive and every obstacle you face on your route to reaching your dream, it makes you that much stronger. You've got this!

A final piece of advice from me. Don't go into a gap year thinking you're not going to get in. That it's going to be a waste of time. That you're not good enough. That it's too much for you. Because it's not. What is one year in the long run to achieving your dream. You do your best. That is all you can do. So give it your all. Don't put yourself down when you make a mistake. Treat yourself. Know what you're good at and what you need to improve. Key phrase here is POSITIVE VISUALISATION.

I'll be on here a lot, so do tag me if you want to chat, ask any questions or rant :hugs:

Best of luck!

Vanqueef (Soon to be second gap year student):
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Hey guys, so unfortunately after taking a gap year I don’t have a med offer (yes it is possible to be in this predicament haha). That being said, I was able to significantly improve my application by achieving a much higher ucat score and securing two interviews. My first application to medical school was really bad if I’m honest and I didn’t actually know why I wanted medicine. After taking this year out and working in healthcare I can confidently say medicine is what I want and something I will achieve I have taken the decision to do my ucat again in July and really focus on interviews because that’s where I missed out this time. It was not an easy decision but I know I want medicine and I know I can do it and have it in me. I know it’s rough to be in this position but everything happens for a reason and I feel so happy having taken a year out to try and properly figure life out and I hope you guys also make the most off your gap year(s). Good luck to you all and remember you are not alone, if anyone needs any advice or guidance then please feel free to come on tsr. I’ve met some amazing people here who have helped me see good in this situation and have encouraged me to re apply as well haha.

CoochieMan (Incoming first year):
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Hii thanks for tagging me

Okayy so directly after I got my final rejection (I got rejected from my last two choices just hours apart) I was debating whether I still wanted to go onto doing medicine. I slipped into a low because I felt like a failure who couldn't do anything right. I'm sure other med applicants can relate to being one of the best people in their classes, so being rejected really gave me a massive hit to my self esteem especially because I put in so much effort (or at least, at the time it seemed like a lot of effort. Looking back at it now, I don't think I worked that hard). Family and friends were wonderful in getting me out of the negative headspace.

Decided on putting the whole process behind me as I knew that no matter what I ended up doing, I'd need good A Levels (unless I was gonna go down the sugar baby route...) ANYWAY Yeah I put all my focus into A Levels. I did almost every single PPQ I could find online. I pestered my teachers to get access to those PPQ sites where you'd need to pay to access them. There was one particular site for chemistry which I forgot the name of but I'm pretty sure all chem teachers use those PPQs so definitely bug them to get those questions, even if the teachers don't like you :rofl:. I remember going to my local library and just forcing myself to revise nearly everyday after school. Some people say group revision is really productive but I personally disagree, especially if you're revising with friends. I find that I'm a lot more productive when I'm revising alone. Less distractions I feel like. Like even if I'm not talking directly to them I still find a way to get distracted. I don't get it lmao. In my school we did a lot more exams than I think everyone else's schools were doing because people cheated in the first set of mocks so they had to create their own exam papers instead of using the exams that were supposed to be used last yr if it weren't for covid. People managed to cheat in these exams too somehow... I don't get it. BUT ANYWAY I came out with A*A*A*A (A in chem because I didn't kiss my teachers *** enough ig </3). I'm really happy with these results I put in sm effort and it makes me glad that I've got proof of this effort in the form of grades. Even though online learning was absolute hell, I still did really well It did bring up my self esteem after those rejections and increased my confidence in terms of applying to med.

Before results day and during the summer, I was researching so so so many courses. I didn't know whether I wanted to do medicine or nursing or engineering (found out I couldn't do that anyway bc I'm colourblind </3) or psychology or economics or computer science or an apprentiship or being a detective etc. I sat down and researched everything I was interested in, everything I could do with my A Levels and the career prospects they could lead to and whether I'd be interested in those careers or not. Long story short, I just didn't have the same connection to those careers as I had for medicine. I remember waking up at like 3am one night and hopping onto my laptop to book myself to do the UCAT and waking up confused to a confirmation email of my booking :rofl:

Anyway I personally used medify to revise for the UCAT. I think I got like the 45 day subscription? Idk if that's a thing I revised for like a month and a half. I firstly started by doing untimed qs to get used to the different types of questions they could ask before adding a time limit. I slowly brougfht the time limit down until ti was the same as the actual time limit. Always make sure to check the explaination before you close off completely. Even though you got an answer right, there's a chance you only got it right bc of luck. You could've like, used a method that fortunately worked on one occassion and won't work again. Also use the UCAT thread if you're stuck. You can annoy the helpers on there for an explanation and ask them to re explain again and again and again but you can't do that with like... pre written explaination. I wouldn't recommend the UCAT courses, they seem like a waste of money to me.

I told myself that if I didn't get a good enough UCAT (i.e if I got less than 2700) I wouldn't do medicine and I'd choose something else. I ended up getting 3100 band 2 weeeeeeeeeee idk how that happened I'm certain it's luck but I was really happy with it regardless

OH ALSO If you qualify for UCATSEN, USE IT!! Sosososo useful.

Uhh anyway after I got my UCAT score I hopped on the which med school should I apply to thread and annoyed everyone on there for months and months and months bc I didn't want to make the same stupid mistake I did last application where I applied just based on the name. Everyone there is super helpful so I defo defo defo recommend going on there for advice.

In terms of personal statement, I used my old personal statement as like, a foundation? I like got it up on a word documment and I added all the things I did/was going to do on my gap year and then reworded some things so it fit the word limit. If you're still in contact with your teachers, SEND IT TO THEM!! They really do help a lot in terms of rewriting personal statements to fit the character count.

On my gap yearrrrr I volunteered in covid clinics and also in a hospital so I could get that healthcare experience I lacked the first time I applied. I volunteered as a ward helper it was sosososo informative (is that the word? idk i learnt a lot from it) because it let me shadow doctors and nurses in a healthcare setting. I saw really clearly the differences in their roles through this and it really did make me want to be a doctor even more. Some people say do HCA stuff but my friend is a HCA at the same hospital I volunteered at and hearing her stories put me off it Massive respect for all the HCAs who need to deal with all that stuff.

Away from healthcare stuff, I also got a few jobs. At first I worked in some stadiums. The pay was really good and it taught me good communication skills and teamwork. Even though it wasn't healthcare related, I was able to bring my experiences up in my interviews and link it back to medicine. Just goes to show that you shouldn't worry too much if you don't have proper health experiences! Just as long as you can link what you have been through to med, you should be fine Although the stadium job paid well, I ended up looking for another job cusssss racism and little hours put me off lmao

I ended up doing waitressing which I literally quit after working for 3 days after a kid ran into me to hug my legs while I was carrying a tray of drinks. Thank God they were cold drinks but still, never again :cry:.

Finally I ended up working as a receptionist which is still my current job now (but I handed in my notice 2 days ago so I'm quitting this job once again 💀💀). The job itself isn't bad (nothing ever happens which ig is a con but it means I can be on the computer all day long) it's just my managers who give me wayyyy too many hours and ignore me whenever I complain and remind them that I only want to do 35 hours max. I just felt like I wasn't enjoying my gap year as much as I wanted to be yk? I didn't just wanna work work work I've been working so much even before this point in terms of academics.

Jumped in time a bit lets go back

SO I got 4 interviews this year which is absolutely AMAZING I was so proud of myself. What I did to prepare was google "____ medical school interview stations" and look and see which stations came up previously and made a word document with the stations as subtitles. I'd then google the station interview qs so like "communication medicine interview questions" and paste all the questions that I could find into that word document and then work through them slowly. Last year, I wrote down paragraphs for my answers and sat there and memorised it word for word which is something you SHOULDNT do. I know I must've sounded boring and robotic and I know my answers were really general. Instead, you should bullet point some answers and use these to give your answer so you don't sound robotic but you've still got a structure to your answers. You should also try and incorporate your own experiences where appropriate so it sounds unique to YOU. It'll make you stand out from everyone. I practiced with my friends, with my mum and with my niece (who'd stare at me blankly and even on one occassion throw a toy train at me :cry: ) . Even though you can learn the best from getting feedback from others, I find talking at someone else or even at your reflection really teaches you to like, notice your body language and try to sound engaging and maintain eye contact. If you've got no one to practice with, record yourself speaking so you can hear how you sound

I think what was different about me when applying this yr compared to last year was being more aware on like the whole process. Being aware of what unis wanted and being aware of like, what to improve about yourself. If you haven't already, bug the unis you got rejected from for feedback so you can really understand where and how you went wrong, and you can use this to better your application next year Good luck I believe in you Prove the unis who rejected you this time around wrong with all the offers you get the next cycle

Clintt15 (Incoming 1st Year at Lancaster University):
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Rewind back to 2020 when I sat my UCAT. I put so much time into that and didn't come put with the best score at the end of it so it severely limited my options. The places I applied to in the 2021 entry cycle were not strategic at all and as a result, I came out with 4 pre-interview rejections and thought my dream of a career in Medicine was over. One fundamental piece of advice I would give any applicant applying for Medicine, and if you take nothing else from this post besides this please just remember this, apply to places that fit your specific strengths and give you the best chance of securing an interview ie. if you've got mediocre GCSEs don't apply to Cardiff or if you've got an amazing UCAT score apply to somewhere that heavily weights shortlisting for interview on it ie. Newcastle.

So fast forward to my A-Levels and I knew I had to do very well in those and I ended up coming it with A*A*AB with that B being in Chemistry so once again I was limited in medical schools. If you can take both the BMAT and UCAT it does open up a few more doors. I also reiterate to check different universities' contextual criteria as there are so very strange criteria that mean you get reduced offers.

After some careful consideration, I decided on a GAP year after my 4th rejection in January 2021 and knew I had to really knuckle down and try to achieve the best scores possible in UCAT and BMAT and on both tests I was able to secure high enough scores to get over the thresholds for all my universities that I applied to. Medify and BMAT Ninja were godsends for both of these. UCAT is really just getting used to the question structure and being able to identify what you can and can't do quickly. Triaging is really key for that exam so flag and skip are so useful. Daily practice as well is very useful as well - doesn't have to be hours upon hours but a little and often is perfect. By changing my strategy to this the 2nd time I managed to increase my score by 240. Watch your timings as well and check beforehand they give you a working pen - cut 3 minutes off my decision making time due to the invigilator going to find a pen.

For interview preparation, wise I'd say some key things that worked really well for me were ensuring the common questions that are outlined online in multiple places I had points for and I could bounce ideas off on the spot in an interview scenario. Alongside knowing medical ethics and roleplay framework ie. SPIKES, SPIES and NURSE etc were all really good. ISC interview book if you are able to get it was an absolute game-changer for me this cycle and doing mock interviews with friends and ex-teachers etc.

I ended up with 3 interviews this cycle and 2 offers. Managed to secure my first choice that's been my dream university for the last 18 months and couldn't be more excited to start my journey there in October. So anyone that's sat there with 4 rejections don't lose hope and know that when that offer does come through in that next cycle the hard work is all worth it.

I'll be on here a ton from now on so please if anybody needs anything or has any questions just tag or PM me

Ria_xx2022 (Incoming first year):
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Last year I had two interviews and only got 1 biomed offer, and after taking a gap year I got all 4 med offers. Definitely didn't want to go down the gap year route at first since everyone was persuading me about doing graduate entry med but I'm glad I listened to everyone on TSR and took a gap year. Taking a year out from education isn't a bad thing at all and I learnt so much that I wouldn't have if I went straight to university.

I started focusing on my UCAT a few days after Results Day after realising I wouldn't be able to get a place through Clearing. Even though I was so upset, I chose to try once more by choosing to apply again. Last year I got 2730 B1 after frantically trying to cram in 6-7 hours of prep a day in less than 3 weeks. However this year I gave myself 8 weeks and only spent max. 2 hours a day. Also writing down what type of questions you got wrong in AR really helps since you'll be able to remember the patterns when you practice. Doing a little a day and effectively revising helped me improve my score to 2880 B2.

Applying strategically is key, I applied to places which rank by UCAT (excluding SJT) or where I could be guaranteed an interview (Leicester). And I redrafted my personal statement straight after finishing my UCAT, which allowed me to focus more on what unis I wanted to put down. I'd definitely recommend posting in the Which Medical School Should I Apply To Megathread since you'll get lots of useful advice on there!

Don't leave interview prep until you get an invite. I made that mistake and only had 1 week to prep which really threw me off. If you're on a gap year and working, you'll definitely have more time for interview prep than when you were doing your A-levels, so definitely start a week after you send in your application. It gave me time to practice with friends, go to a mock interview, read about health related articles in the news and improve my answers. Also making sure to put yourself on the spot and practice with others is key, don't make long notes, read them and go to interviews because it really won't help prepare you for them. Definitely getting the ISC Medical Book helped guide my prep and I definitely tried to incorporate the acronyms (like SPIKES, STARR etc.) to structure my answers and to stop me from waffling!

Penultimately, work experience/ job/ volunteering wise, try and find something healthcare related e.g. HCA, care home volunteer or working in admin in a healthcare setting. After COVID, it's been really hard to find these types of jobs or even get work experience in a health care setting but it's not compulsory. I've been working in a school for a year and volunteered as a vaccination steward earlier on. It's more about being able to get something out of your experience (e.g. new skills) and talk about it in interview rather than list the different types of places you've worked at.

Lastly, take the time to enjoy having a year out, focus on your mental health, pursuing your hobbies and going out with friends and doing the things you love. I know applying to med school can be so so tough and to be honest, it really is a two (or more) year process so don't be disheartened if you don't get in straight away. You've made it this far and that's already something! So good luck and don't lose hope!

Husky. (Incoming first year):
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Hey guys! I'm a gap year student this year and I have successfully got an unconditional offer from Liverpool and still waiting for King's post interview (as of 10th May) .

My wild journey started last year when I applied for medicine not fully understanding just how competitive and difficult it was. My UCAT and BMAT were both a little above average and I didn't apply strategically at all. I even had one teacher constantly telling me I wasn't medicine-worthy and wouldn't achieve A grades in my A Levels. In the end I had 3 pre-interview rejections and 1 post-interview rejection which was heartbreaking Furthermore, my TAGs had derailed me completely. Despite achieving A*AA in my end of year exams, I was awarded A*BB because of my weak December mock results. As at the time I had to make a sacrifice between focusing on my BMAT or my mocks (and we all had thought the real exams were still going ahead) I chose to focus on my BMAT. At the end of the year, it was apparent I had taken the wrong gamble.

I was determined to do better during my gap year, get my medical school spot and prove the teachers wrong. Luckily our year were given the chance to sit the real official exams in October if we were unhappy with our TAGs instead of doing the resit exams in the summer. I decided to do these exams but I had to revise two years worth of content for both chemistry and maths, as well as juggling my UCAT/BMAT revision, in the space of around 2/3 months. I luckily walked out of November with a 3080 B1 for my UCAT (almost 500 increase from last year), 5.9, 5.2, 3A for my BMAT ( 1.1 increase from last year) and A*s in both chemistry and maths This allowed me to get interviews from Liverpool, King's, Imperial and Southampton.

I spent the interview season focussing on my interviews and grinding questions online and in textbooks. As interview season ended I eventually got an offer from Liverpool, waitlisted from Southampton, rejected from Imperial and still awaiting King's. I was absolutely delighted with my offer and even cried (a little) when I received it.

For the other half of my gap year (the half I am in currently) I decided to get a job at my old school as a science technician to help around and earn some money before I go university. I'm planning on relaxing for this half of the gap year before I dive into medicine as I can tell it'll be very intensive And for those wondering, yes I did come across the teacher who told me I'd not make it or get As in my A Level while working at school. I told him what I had achieved and I could tell he was a little annoyed (he does this annoying laugh when a student starts irritating him).

For those wondering if they want to go into a gap year, if you're serious about medicine, I could not recommend it ENOUGH. An opportunity to improve your stats, chance of getting into medicine AND to relax and earn money before diving into medicine? Almost too good to be true If you do still have any questions feel free to tag me in this thread or PM me!

WTSBLG (Incoming first year):
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Hi everyone!

Let's start with my first application for Medicine! I didn't apply strategically even if I thought I was, and that resulted in no interviews. Needless to say, it was definitely a blow to my confidence and the idea of studying Medicine now felt so far away. Waiting for those rejections was the worst since some only got back to me in late March (it's not any better this year, some are still waiting :bawling:), but by then I had already made up my mind to take a gap year and apply again. The hard part was convincing my parents to accept the fact I'll be taking a gap year, but it eventually worked when they realised how going through any other route would be more expensive, takes longer and far more competitive.

Moving forward to results day, I ended up with A*AB. I was devastated but I couldn't let it affect me for too long as I had my UCAT second sitting in a couple of weeks. Making a clear plan was what helped me get through it without feeling too overwhelmed. I would be sitting my UCAT, finishing my personal statement, studying for my resit and applying to unis in the span of a couple of months! Unfortunately I hit another wall when I ended up with a UCAT score that I was unhappy with (2730 which wasn't a huge increase from last year ), despite preparing for it for so long but I can safely say now that I was horribly burnt out, so over preparing is definitely a thing!! Please remember to take breaks and take care of yourself! If anyone is curious, I used Medify but I've heard that Medentry is great too.

I was incredibly thankful to have the threads here on TSR to help me decide where I should apply this time round, and I sent my application to my school in early September (my school had an internal deadline). I had to move onto studying for my resits, so the whole of September until around mid October I was studying for those. I was so determined to do well, and prove that I can get the grade I was predicted and after many many hours, I could finally relax a little after getting an A*, changing my grades from A*AB to A*A*A.

Then came my first interview invite! I was so excited to finally get an interview and so I started interview prep in November (I would have started earlier but I had resits to do as well). I had a few mocks with some GPs that were kind enough to help me out but I also asked family members to ask me questions so that I'd be comfortable with speaking out loud. Watching youtube videos and using the interview thread here was what helped me understand the types of things I should/shouldn't talk about.
Things really started to pick up when I received my second interview invite, not too long after a third one came in, and then a fourth one. You can probably imagine how surprised I was to get 4 interviews, an improvement from none last year!

Once the interviews were done, it was now the long wait for decisions. There was definitely a lot of doubt and fear that I wouldn't get any offers, especially after the quite hectic few months. Then sometime in February, I got an email telling me I had received an offer!!! Still makes me smile a lot to think about that day cause I was so relieved to be able to tell my parents that I got one and there were a lot of tears

Fast forward to now, I have two offers, one rejection and still waiting on another. To all those reading this, I understand the worry and the frustration but taking a gap year was one of the best decisions I could have made. Of course, everyone is different, with different stories but I hope that I was able to provide at least a little insight into the gap year I've had so far! I will still be around and so please let me know if you have any questions. Lastly, people here are all so supportive, so if you ever need words of encouragement or advice, I'm sure there will be many here to help out

Good luck, you got this!


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CoochieMan KA_P Clintt15 WTSBLG Husky. Vanqueef kekedoyouloveme
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Sally253
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Hi! Replying so I can watch the thread. It gives me hope! Thanks
I’m a school leaver taking a gap year next year as I received 3 pre interview rejections from UCL, Barts and the London and Aberdeen and a post-interview rejection from Imperial.
My stats are A*A*A*A (Chem Bio Further maths and maths), got a 2530 on the UCAT and 6.3 5.4 and 3A on the BMAT.
I really really want to get an offer from Imperial next year, as it is my dream school. Any tips? Thanksss
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IBkidinthecorner
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(Original post by Sally253)
Hi! Replying so I can watch the thread. It gives me hope! Thanks
I’m a school leaver taking a gap year next year as I received 3 pre interview rejections from UCL, Barts and the London and Aberdeen and a post-interview rejection from Imperial.
My stats are A*A*A*A (Chem Bio Further maths and maths), got a 2530 on the UCAT and 6.3 5.4 and 3A on the BMAT.
I really really want to get an offer from Imperial next year, as it is my dream school. Any tips? Thanksss
Hi! Your A-Level and BMAT stats are fantastic so it sounds like with Imperial, your issue was with the interview. Have you requested feedback from them? It might give you an idea as to where to improve. I’m not an Imperial applicant so don’t know anything about their interview structure, but generally speaking, I found the ISC book and The Medic Portal’s 112 free interview questions really helpful as a starting point. Really, you just want to be able to discuss your personal attributes and motivation to study medicine as well as have an understanding of the NHS and the current healthcare news and be able to express yourself fluently. Try to practice with other people if possible, otherwise speaking out loud in front of a mirror really helps to build confidence as well as highlighting your weaker areas. I hope this helps!
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AnonymousPotat0
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Hi,
What an interesting thread.
I applied to Dentistry while doing my A-levels, I got into interviews but got rejected.
I was feeling really disappointed because taking a gap year & thinking of not studying for a whole year was just a nightmare.
During my gap year I forgot about Dentistry and applied for Medicine instead. I received 4 interview but got rejected AGAIN.
Those were my worst times of my life XD.
I thought I just cannot really stand with doing UCAT for the 3rd time but I did it but was hopeless. I did not even apply for a different course, I was believing all or nothing. I started a business during this gap year and luckily it was really successful now I'm thinking about not going to Medicine at all. This is ridiculous because it just mean all my hard works just waste hahaah.
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IBkidinthecorner
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(Original post by AnonymousPotat0)
Hi,
What an interesting thread.
I applied to Dentistry while doing my A-levels, I got into interviews but got rejected.
I was feeling really disappointed because taking a gap year & thinking of not studying for a whole year was just a nightmare.
During my gap year I forgot about Dentistry and applied for Medicine instead. I received 4 interview but got rejected AGAIN.
Those were my worst times of my life XD.
I thought I just cannot really stand with doing UCAT for the 3rd time but I did it but was hopeless. I did not even apply for a different course, I was believing all or nothing. I started a business during this gap year and luckily it was really successful now I'm thinking about not going to Medicine at all. This is ridiculous because it just mean all my hard works just waste hahaah.
Wow so you're on your second gap year at the moment? What was it like starting a business? Are you considering a third gap year or are you going to invest your time into your business instead? Maybe before you decide against medicine, consider why you chose it over Dentistry in your second application. If those reasons no longer apply, then it might be worth looking into other courses assuming you still want to go to university.

It sounds like you've had a really interesting experience since graduating school; would you like to share any advice for others considering a second or third gap year?
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KA_P
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(Original post by IBkidinthecorner)
Hello and Welcome!

In this thread, us re-applicants of 2022 will share our gap year experiences to remind you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. From UCAT and interview prep to joining the workforce, we've got you covered!

Get to know the people who were in your shoes last cycle alongside your fellow 2023 entry re-applicants.

About me (Incoming first year at KCL):
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I graduated high school as 'The Girl with No Offers', having received pre-interview rejections from Cambridge, UCL, Nottingham and Birmingham as well as Imperial for Medical Biosciences. In my reapplication, I focused on improving my UCAT score and applying strategically. A score increase of 560 points to 3120 gave me the advantage I needed to secure four interviews and later, four offers from King's, Bristol, Newcastle and UEA. During my gap year, I have worked as an operations assistant in a department store, volunteered in charity shops and done hospital work experience. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the application process or gap years in general!

My fellow re-applicants (please write your own introductions and I'll link them here :smile:)

Reply below if you'd like to be tagged!
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Hey! This is a great idea! :hugs:


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I'm an incoming 1st year at Anglia Ruskin university.

General overview:
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I basically didn't know I wanted to take a gap year until results day, so I'm going to backtrack to the last day of school. I applied for a HCA (Healthcare Assistant) job in a nursing home. I did that just to pass some time and get some money in my savings. It's was difficult but an eye-opening experience. I got so much interaction with patients and learnt so many new skills. I did that job for around 6 weeks. I took a break after this until results day. Honestly, you may not have gotten any offers but that in no way means you don't deserve a break. You've been working so hard continuously, so plan out your time and set aside time to re-energise and laze around.

During all of this, I still relied on options like UCAS Extra and Clearing, since it's always worth a shot. It may not have worked for me but one of the people in my year did get into Medicine through clearing (unfortunately I do not know her so I have no information regarding this), so there is still hope.

When I realised none of those options would work, I decided on taking a gap year. I made a checklist of things I wanted to improve and do and then contacted school. I want you to also realise that you are never alone. You don't have to take it all on your shoulders. Get advice from TSR, from your teachers, from parents, siblings and friends. I also asked colleagues for help as well. Don't forget to ask for feedback from the universities you managed to interview at!!

I managed to get a job as a junior HCA at a local hospital - this is on a Bank contract and that was such a valuable experience. I worked in different departments (a perk of being on a Bank contract) and learned as many new skills as possible and interacted with various patients. I reflected on what I saw and did and ways I could improve and jotted them down when I got home. I cannot stress how flexible a bank contract job is. You can work as much and as little as you want according to your availability. I worked more shifts when I was free and fewer shifts around UCAT and interview time.

I also got some colleagues to do some mock interviews with me which really changed my interview performance. I constantly tried to do interview prep before and after shifts, with my mum and on TSR. Get yourself talking. Record yourself. Plan and be efficient. Reflect. You've got this.

I improve by 60 points in my UCAT (2670 B3) and applied strategically. I knew my band 3 would disadvantage me if I applied to a university that dedicates points to SJT pre or post interview, so I avoided applying to those universities. I got 3 interviews, only attended 2, since I got an offer and that was basically the one I really wanted to go to.

Quite a few people from my friendship group were in the exact same position as me, so I didn't exactly feel alone. But even if you are the only one in your friendship group who didn't get any offers, remember that you will never be the only one (with there being a whole population of applicants in the same position as you here on TSR. It's so competitive and every obstacle you face on your route to reaching your dream, it makes you that much stronger. You've got this!

My stats:
Spoiler:
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My stats for this year:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...postcount=2347

In both applications, I only applied to 4 choices, as I knew I definitely only wanted to do Medicine. When it comes to being eligible for UCAS Extra, I just applied to a random choice then withdrew after a few minutes.

Last year, I got 2610 B3. 2 pre and post interview rejections.

In terms of UCAT, I used Medify but I have heard people using MedEntry as well. Check out the UCAT thread of TSR (2023 entry linked below): https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=7161733

Applying Strategically
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Compile a list of universities' entry requirements you meet. This includes UCAT (score and SJT), GCSEs and A-Levels etc.

Next you need to look at your likelihood of getting an interview, that means looking at the selection criteria and scoring systems (see if you meet widening participation criteria as well or contextual points as that could really benefit your application). To get this information, I looked at the previous year's thread on TSR for that specific university and on FOIs (Freedom of Information requests) released so far and on the university's course website. If you're confused, please do take part in thread discussions or tag any one of us.

After you've compiled a list, post your stats on here (https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...64&postcount=1) after having a read of the first post to get some great advice.

You will also need to look at post-interview selection criteria before applying as that determines your likelihood of getting an offer. Look at interview to offer ratios from previous year's FOIs etc. and the website to see what the percentages of the points are allocated to. For example a percentage of the overall points might be 100% based on interview performance or a mixture of academic, UCAT and interview performance or contextual points or other things like SJT band. Apply strategically so that you're able to get the most out of your application.

Some useful things I remember making a while ago that might help you:


A final piece of advice from me. Don't go into a gap year thinking you're not going to get in. That it's going to be a waste of time. That you're not good enough. That it's too much for you. Because it's not. What is a year or a few out in the long run to achieving your drea?. You do your best. That is all you can do. So give it your all. Don't put yourself down when you make a mistake. Treat yourself. Know what you're good at and what you need to improve on. Key phrase here is POSITIVE VISUALISATION.

What is positive visualisation? (Okay I went on a tangent and I popped this at the end of the spoiler :rofl:
Spoiler:
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So this is something a Consultant Anaesthetist also someone knowledgeable about the interview process told me to do. It really helped me.

First of all, let me tell you what I felt about the interview process in my first application. I was scared of getting interviewed. I wasn't as scared as I was for the UCAT, but I really wasn't prepared. I didn't know where to start and I put myself down so much. I used to write chunks of text as answers on a word document and try and learn that. I couldn't remember any of it when it came to the real thing. I didn't really know the pillars of ethics either and I didn't have confidence in myself.

So what did I do this time round? I made a start by buying a book (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Medical-Int.../dp/1905812051). I read this most of the time, before my shifts and after my shifts then jotted down important and useful information. There's definitely pros and cons to this book, one con being it is out of date. I continued this way (I also watched videos and looked at websites like the Medic Portal and Medic Mind etc. for a while until I actually did a mock interview, which was a whole disappointment. It got me motivated to reflect on what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do next. I looked at my feedback from last year and made a checklist of things to improve. I looked on the interview thread on TSR and joined in on the discussions there. I got my mum to test me daily and just forced myself to talk - I recorded myself and tried to get varying perspectives from different people on what I could do better (reflection at its best is when you're able to pick out not only your worst points but also your best points). Whenever I was reading things I read them out loud and tried to improve my flow of speech and tone and body language.

I was texting the anaesthetist constantly and they gave me little exercises and tips and advice and that really pushed me to improve and I'm so grateful that they helped me.

So when I came to my next mock interview, I blew them away with how much I improved. Obviously I wasn't perfect. No one is and I'm not and I never will be. As ecolier says, you don't need to stand out, just hit as many points as possible.

What changed the most was my confidence and structure of my answers. I practiced a lot and looked at the common questions that popped up and tried to bullet point and practice them in different structures as well. I'd also like to point out that there are many variants of one question so you need to be prepared to answer them on the spot, which is why rote learning passages doesn't help at all. I recorded my mock interview and jotted down what I did well on and things I could improve and some pointers for the future like (TAKE A BREATH AND THINK BEFORE YOU ANSWER).

So I told you that I got 3 interviews. I only attended 2 since I got an offer before my third and I just accepted. My first interview was ARU. I felt like that was so challenging and I could've answered the questions better. I really didn't think I was going to get in. My second interview was Plymouth. I thought that was my best interview and I felt like I answered the questions well.

Come a few weeks later and I receive offer replies. I got an offer from ARU and a rejection from Plymouth. I heard something a few months prior that we're all in the same boat. If the questions are difficult, they're difficult for everyone. If the questions are easy, they're easy for everyone. Now think about it this way. If the questions are difficult for everyone, then it's harder for not only you but everyone else go answer well. But if the questions are easy for everyone, it's easier for more people to answer well, making it that much harder for you to get an offer. I know that sounds confusing but I guess the main thing to take away is that we are the worst judges of our own performance. Give it your all, that's all you can do and that's all that's expected of you. Don't mull over every single moment of the interview. Once it's done, it's over and you move on and be proud of yourself no matter what. Being able to get here is a whole challenge in itself so give yourself a pat on your back and make sure you eat well, stay hydrated, sleep well and share your worries and de-stress with friends and family.

So how does one use positive visualisation? Let me break it up. Visualise the interview or test day in a positive light. See yourself acing it. Imagine yourself looking and feeling confident. That you're not feeling like you're going to mess up at any given second. That although the interviewer has a stoic face, you know that you're acing it (I made it a mission to remind myself not to trust interviewers' facial expressions). Basically just visualise yourself at your best and doing your best and everything going well, that you're talking with confidence and with a great flow of speech and tone. You do that regularly, before you sleep and when you wake up and when you feel nervous. I coupled it with a breathing exercise and pressing the tips of my fingers or just moving my toes to know that I'm grounded and that I'm there to show them how hard I've worked. Believe in yourself and your abilities. The more you do positive visualisation, the more used to you will be to the notion of getting interviewed being alright and that it's not some games last boss level. Each experience is a learning opportunity. If it's doesn't go well, then you have so many learning opportunities in that one experience to utilise.


I'll be on here a lot, so do tag or PM me if you want to chat, ask any questions or rant :hugs:

Best of luck!



Edit: Oops I wrote so much IBkidinthecorner
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Vanqueef
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(Original post by IBkidinthecorner)
Hello and Welcome!

In this thread, us re-applicants of 2022 will share our gap year experiences to remind you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. From UCAT and interview prep to joining the workforce, we've got you covered!

Get to know the people who were in your shoes last cycle alongside your fellow 2023 entry re-applicants.

About me (Incoming first year at KCL):
Spoiler:
Show

I graduated high school as 'The Girl with No Offers', having received pre-interview rejections from Cambridge, UCL, Nottingham and Birmingham as well as Imperial for Medical Biosciences. In my reapplication, I focused on improving my UCAT score and applying strategically. A score increase of 560 points to 3120 gave me the advantage I needed to secure four interviews and later, four offers from King's, Bristol, Newcastle and UEA. During my gap year, I have worked as an operations assistant in a department store, volunteered in charity shops and done hospital work experience. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the application process or gap years in general!

My fellow re-applicants (please write your own introductions and I'll link them here :smile:)

Reply below if you'd like to be tagged!
Tags:
Hey guys, so unfortunately after taking a gap year I don’t have a med offer (yes it is possible to be in this predicament haha). That being said, I was able to significantly improve my application by achieving a much higher ucat score and securing two interviews. My first application to medical school was really bad if I’m honest and I didn’t actually know why I wanted medicine. After taking this year out and working in healthcare I can confidently say medicine is what I want and something I will achieve I have taken the decision to do my ucat again in July and really focus on interviews because that’s where I missed out this time. It was not an easy decision but I know I want medicine and I know I can do it and have it in me. I know it’s rough to be in this position but everything happens for a reason and I feel so happy having taken a year out to try and properly figure life out and I hope you guys also make the most off your gap year(s). Good luck to you all and remember you are not alone, if anyone needs any advice or guidance then please feel free to come on tsr. I’ve met some amazing people here who have helped me see good in this situation and have encouraged me to re apply as well haha.
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Gill2021
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Hi. I'm on one waitlist (may turn into two after June 9...) but holding out little hope of either. I had a pre-interview rejection from my "safety net" choice (despite being more than 100 above their UCAT threshold) because they didn't like how my teachers had expressed the predicted grades, and fell 10 points short of the UCAT cutoff for my other choice. So... part of me is gutted and part of me excited by the prospect of a gap year!
I've already taken on board advice about working and volunteering. Improving my UCAT will be one aim, if I can, so as to widen my application possibilities. I think I did a decent job of applying strategically, entirely thanks to the input and excellent advice of people on this forum, but my biggest problem was interview technique and prep, particularly understanding how to see and use the opportunities to talk about myself and my qualities.
Posting here to follow the thread and looking forward to reading some inspiring stories!
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IBkidinthecorner
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(Original post by KA_P)
Hey! This is a great idea! :hugs:
Edit: Oops I wrote so much IBkidinthecorner
It's brilliant! Thank you so much!
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IBkidinthecorner
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(Original post by Vanqueef)
Hey guys, so unfortunately after taking a gap year I don’t have a med offer (yes it is possible to be in this predicament haha). That being said, I was able to significantly improve my application by achieving a much higher ucat score and securing two interviews. My first application to medical school was really bad if I’m honest and I didn’t actually know why I wanted medicine. After taking this year out and working in healthcare I can confidently say medicine is what I want and something I will achieve I have taken the decision to do my ucat again in July and really focus on interviews because that’s where I missed out this time. It was not an easy decision but I know I want medicine and I know I can do it and have it in me. I know it’s rough to be in this position but everything happens for a reason and I feel so happy having taken a year out to try and properly figure life out and I hope you guys also make the most off your gap year(s). Good luck to you all and remember you are not alone, if anyone needs any advice or guidance then please feel free to come on tsr. I’ve met some amazing people here who have helped me see good in this situation and have encouraged me to re apply as well haha.
Thank you so much! It's lovely to hear from someone who unfortunately hasn't managed to secure a place on a gap year. No doubt your resilience and determination will stand you in good stead for next cycle. Best of luck with everything!
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Coolkingz
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(Original post by Gill2021)
Hi. I'm on one waitlist (may turn into two after June 9...) but holding out little hope of either. I had a pre-interview rejection from my "safety net" choice (despite being more than 100 above their UCAT threshold) because they didn't like how my teachers had expressed the predicted grades, and fell 10 points short of the UCAT cutoff for my other choice. So... part of me is gutted and part of me excited by the prospect of a gap year!
I've already taken on board advice about working and volunteering. Improving my UCAT will be one aim, if I can, so as to widen my application possibilities. I think I did a decent job of applying strategically, entirely thanks to the input and excellent advice of people on this forum, but my biggest problem was interview technique and prep, particularly understanding how to see and use the opportunities to talk about myself and my qualities.
Posting here to follow the thread and looking forward to reading some inspiring stories!
We can do this!! Wishing the best for you
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IBkidinthecorner
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(Original post by Gill2021)
Hi. I'm on one waitlist (may turn into two after June 9...) but holding out little hope of either. I had a pre-interview rejection from my "safety net" choice (despite being more than 100 above their UCAT threshold) because they didn't like how my teachers had expressed the predicted grades, and fell 10 points short of the UCAT cutoff for my other choice. So... part of me is gutted and part of me excited by the prospect of a gap year!
I've already taken on board advice about working and volunteering. Improving my UCAT will be one aim, if I can, so as to widen my application possibilities. I think I did a decent job of applying strategically, entirely thanks to the input and excellent advice of people on this forum, but my biggest problem was interview technique and prep, particularly understanding how to see and use the opportunities to talk about myself and my qualities.
Posting here to follow the thread and looking forward to reading some inspiring stories!
Best of luck for your waitlisted choice(s)! I hope you're able to secure a place this cycle, but if not, know that there are exciting times ahead! We're all here to support you!
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CoochieMan
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Hii thanks for tagging me

Okayy so directly after I got my final rejection (I got rejected from my last two choices just hours apart) I was debating whether I still wanted to go onto doing medicine. I slipped into a low because I felt like a failure who couldn't do anything right. I'm sure other med applicants can relate to being one of the best people in their classes, so being rejected really gave me a massive hit to my self esteem especially because I put in so much effort (or at least, at the time it seemed like a lot of effort. Looking back at it now, I don't think I worked that hard). Family and friends were wonderful in getting me out of the negative headspace.

Decided on putting the whole process behind me as I knew that no matter what I ended up doing, I'd need good A Levels (unless I was gonna go down the sugar baby route...) ANYWAY Yeah I put all my focus into A Levels. I did almost every single PPQ I could find online. I pestered my teachers to get access to those PPQ sites where you'd need to pay to access them. There was one particular site for chemistry which I forgot the name of but I'm pretty sure all chem teachers use those PPQs so definitely bug them to get those questions, even if the teachers don't like you :rofl:. I remember going to my local library and just forcing myself to revise nearly everyday after school. Some people say group revision is really productive but I personally disagree, especially if you're revising with friends. I find that I'm a lot more productive when I'm revising alone. Less distractions I feel like. Like even if I'm not talking directly to them I still find a way to get distracted. I don't get it lmao. In my school we did a lot more exams than I think everyone else's schools were doing because people cheated in the first set of mocks so they had to create their own exam papers instead of using the exams that were supposed to be used last yr if it weren't for covid. People managed to cheat in these exams too somehow... I don't get it. BUT ANYWAY I came out with A*A*A*A (A in chem because I didn't kiss my teachers *** enough ig </3). I'm really happy with these results I put in sm effort and it makes me glad that I've got proof of this effort in the form of grades. Even though online learning was absolute hell, I still did really well It did bring up my self esteem after those rejections and increased my confidence in terms of applying to med.

Before results day and during the summer, I was researching so so so many courses. I didn't know whether I wanted to do medicine or nursing or engineering (found out I couldn't do that anyway bc I'm colourblind </3) or psychology or economics or computer science or an apprentiship or being a detective etc. I sat down and researched everything I was interested in, everything I could do with my A Levels and the career prospects they could lead to and whether I'd be interested in those careers or not. Long story short, I just didn't have the same connection to those careers as I had for medicine. I remember waking up at like 3am one night and hopping onto my laptop to book myself to do the UCAT and waking up confused to a confirmation email of my booking :rofl:

Anyway I personally used medify to revise for the UCAT. I think I got like the 45 day subscription? Idk if that's a thing I revised for like a month and a half. I firstly started by doing untimed qs to get used to the different types of questions they could ask before adding a time limit. I slowly brougfht the time limit down until ti was the same as the actual time limit. Always make sure to check the explaination before you close off completely. Even though you got an answer right, there's a chance you only got it right bc of luck. You could've like, used a method that fortunately worked on one occassion and won't work again. Also use the UCAT thread if you're stuck. You can annoy the helpers on there for an explanation and ask them to re explain again and again and again but you can't do that with like... pre written explaination. I wouldn't recommend the UCAT courses, they seem like a waste of money to me.

I told myself that if I didn't get a good enough UCAT (i.e if I got less than 2700) I wouldn't do medicine and I'd choose something else. I ended up getting 3100 band 2 weeeeeeeeeee idk how that happened I'm certain it's luck but I was really happy with it regardless

OH ALSO If you qualify for UCATSEN, USE IT!! Sosososo useful.

Uhh anyway after I got my UCAT score I hopped on the which med school should I apply to thread and annoyed everyone on there for months and months and months bc I didn't want to make the same stupid mistake I did last application where I applied just based on the name. Everyone there is super helpful so I defo defo defo recommend going on there for advice.

In terms of personal statement, I used my old personal statement as like, a foundation? I like got it up on a word documment and I added all the things I did/was going to do on my gap year and then reworded some things so it fit the word limit. If you're still in contact with your teachers, SEND IT TO THEM!! They really do help a lot in terms of rewriting personal statements to fit the character count.

On my gap yearrrrr I volunteered in covid clinics and also in a hospital so I could get that healthcare experience I lacked the first time I applied. I volunteered as a ward helper it was sosososo informative (is that the word? idk i learnt a lot from it) because it let me shadow doctors and nurses in a healthcare setting. I saw really clearly the differences in their roles through this and it really did make me want to be a doctor even more. Some people say do HCA stuff but my friend is a HCA at the same hospital I volunteered at and hearing her stories put me off it Massive respect for all the HCAs who need to deal with all that stuff.

Away from healthcare stuff, I also got a few jobs. At first I worked in some stadiums. The pay was really good and it taught me good communication skills and teamwork. Even though it wasn't healthcare related, I was able to bring my experiences up in my interviews and link it back to medicine. Just goes to show that you shouldn't worry too much if you don't have proper health experiences! Just as long as you can link what you have been through to med, you should be fine Although the stadium job paid well, I ended up looking for another job cusssss racism and little hours put me off lmao

I ended up doing waitressing which I literally quit after working for 3 days after a kid ran into me to hug my legs while I was carrying a tray of drinks. Thank God they were cold drinks but still, never again :cry:.

Finally I ended up working as a receptionist which is still my current job now (but I handed in my notice 2 days ago so I'm quitting this job once again 💀💀). The job itself isn't bad (nothing ever happens which ig is a con but it means I can be on the computer all day long) it's just my managers who give me wayyyy too many hours and ignore me whenever I complain and remind them that I only want to do 35 hours max. I just felt like I wasn't enjoying my gap year as much as I wanted to be yk? I didn't just wanna work work work I've been working so much even before this point in terms of academics.

Jumped in time a bit lets go back

SO I got 4 interviews this year which is absolutely AMAZING I was so proud of myself. What I did to prepare was google "____ medical school interview stations" and look and see which stations came up previously and made a word document with the stations as subtitles. I'd then google the station interview qs so like "communication medicine interview questions" and paste all the questions that I could find into that word document and then work through them slowly. Last year, I wrote down paragraphs for my answers and sat there and memorised it word for word which is something you SHOULDNT do. I know I must've sounded boring and robotic and I know my answers were really general. Instead, you should bullet point some answers and use these to give your answer so you don't sound robotic but you've still got a structure to your answers. You should also try and incorporate your own experiences where appropriate so it sounds unique to YOU. It'll make you stand out from everyone. I practiced with my friends, with my mum and with my niece (who'd stare at me blankly and even on one occassion throw a toy train at me :cry: ) . Even though you can learn the best from getting feedback from others, I find talking at someone else or even at your reflection really teaches you to like, notice your body language and try to sound engaging and maintain eye contact. If you've got no one to practice with, record yourself speaking so you can hear how you sound

I think what was different about me when applying this yr compared to last year was being more aware on like the whole process. Being aware of what unis wanted and being aware of like, what to improve about yourself. If you haven't already, bug the unis you got rejected from for feedback so you can really understand where and how you went wrong, and you can use this to better your application next year Good luck I believe in you Prove the unis who rejected you this time around wrong with all the offers you get the next cycle
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CoochieMan
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I need to shut up istg I'm so sorry for waffling
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IBkidinthecorner
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CoochieMan Omg queen, you're putting me to shame! I feel like I need to put some more detail into mine now ahaha. Tysm for sharing your experiences in such detail!!
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(Original post by IBkidinthecorner)
CoochieMan Omg queen, you're putting me to shame! I feel like I need to put some more detail into mine now ahaha. Tysm for sharing your experiences in such detail!!
NO DON'T SAY THAT :jumphug:

Most of mine is me just waffling istg

Thank you for making this! So thoughtful of you
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IBkidinthecorner
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(Original post by CoochieMan)
NO DON'T SAY THAT :jumphug:

Most of mine is me just waffling istg

Thank you for making this! So thoughtful of you
It was TCL's idea, I can't take credit for it! I think I'll add in a bit more detail about how I improved my UCAT score and interview prep so it's easily accessible as I keep having to retype it out ahaha. Also, TSR on a computer is so much better omg! I exclusively use the app so this is mind-blowing lmao
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Gill2021
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(Original post by Coolkingz)
We can do this!! Wishing the best for you
Thanks! You too!! 🙏
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(Original post by IBkidinthecorner)
Best of luck for your waitlisted choice(s)! I hope you're able to secure a place this cycle, but if not, know that there are exciting times ahead! We're all here to support you!
Tysm! I can't believe how kind and supportive people are here, and I certainly wouldn't have managed to get even my two interviews without the help of the forum. Exams first, then onwards and upwards!! 😀
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CoochieMan
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#20
(Original post by IBkidinthecorner)
It was TCL's idea, I can't take credit for it! I think I'll add in a bit more detail about how I improved my UCAT score and interview prep so it's easily accessible as I keep having to retype it out ahaha. Also, TSR on a computer is so much better omg! I exclusively use the app so this is mind-blowing lmao
Oooh I see thanks TCL

Thank you for setting it up though :hugs: And for providing your experiences :jumphug:

Isn't it
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