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Can I ever get into Medicine after spending my entire teens in hospitals

Hello! This is my first ever post, big time guest reader but I've just made my account as I've made progress in my study journey. So essentially I have no GCSEs/A Levels due to my units not providing exam facilities despite my constant and thorough independent study of the subjects I wanted to take exams in. I've been in hospital since I was 14, I'm now nearly 20. I adore learning and have spent most of my admissions studying from anatomy and physiology books, reading medical journals and setting myself learning goals.

I have always wanted to study Medicine and I want to know, is it too late? I was predicted 7s+ for practically all of my GCSEs when I was 14 (apart from maths, that was a 5 but I've worked hard over the years to improve my knowledge of it) and I'm keen to continue studying even if it means for the next 4 or so years I will be doing GCSES and A-levels. I've also seen some Uni's don't take resits, will it count as a resit seeing as it is later in life or will it technically 'not' be a resit because I never took them in the first place? Will 24 be too old to stand a chance with medicine? I'm so worried about me being past my sell by date. PMs and discussions are appreciated as I need to pick some Medical student brains about the process but it's all I've ever wanted and I don't want my mental illness to not only take my childhood itself away but also the dreams I have.

I was thinking of GEM but I have been put off of it by the *spooky noises* GAMSAT and having to spent 3 years doing a degree in something else first potentially slowing my pathways. Any advice around the possible pathways I can take is so greatly appreciated :smile:

Thank youuu!
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Ok firstly, if you can write well this is a fantastic experience to reflect on in your application as to your tenacity and courage despite what I would consider near overwhelming odds. Plenty of people in all kinds of adverse situations have gone on to become great doctors: teen mums, people with chronic health conditions, refugees, you literally name it... I highly doubt you'll be the first person an admissions team has seen that has your background. I have a similar background as you, I wish I could say I am a medical student now, but I'm not, though I am applying this September! I went through a brief depressive phase for a while thinking I was past my expiry date , until I realised I absolutely am not and I can be a doctor.
It won't take you 4 years to get there... I would advise if you have no qualifications at all to start with maths + English GCSEs (whatever the uni specifies as necessary) and study for those during one cycle. Then immediately after once you get results in August start an access to medicine course. During this time get some work experience, probably as a HCA, or given your background maybe look into becoming a mental health support worker, as I think you could firstly and foremost do truly meaningful work for people who were struggling like you were, and secondly given your background, saying you've done this can help emphasise your 'I have grown stronger from this experience and now want to help others' / 'this experience will make me a compassionate and understanding doctor' vibe, as you need to reassure medical schools that your past history isn't going to impact you now as an adult medical student; this should be emphasised as well in your reference. Your reference can be a tutor btw, maybe hire one now and see them every week or month even while you start the process, so when the time comes to apply in hopefully 2 years, you will have someone who can give an exemplory reference for your character and why you're not just academicably able, but truly meant for this.
Regarding the GAMSAT, one university I wrote to said they would ignore my definitely not medicine standard grades if I took this exam and did well at interview. Maybe in your situation they might offer you a similar deal? DM for details as I don't want to give away too much publicly.
I think it would be tragic if what you went through as a child stops you from persuing your dream career. I'm in the same boat and the idea I'm barred from this due to my childhood fills me with equal heartbreak and rage that it can still control me like this. This simply isn't fair and I hope admissions will see it that way as well, they seem to from my brief experience want to encourage more non-traditional and mature students who have our backgrounds.
I wish you the best and if you want to DM then that's cool, just send me one :smile:
Original post by HalliePerrieDoll
Hello! This is my first ever post, big time guest reader but I've just made my account as I've made progress in my study journey. So essentially I have no GCSEs/A Levels due to my units not providing exam facilities despite my constant and thorough independent study of the subjects I wanted to take exams in. I've been in hospital since I was 14, I'm now nearly 20. I adore learning and have spent most of my admissions studying from anatomy and physiology books, reading medical journals and setting myself learning goals.

I have always wanted to study Medicine and I want to know, is it too late? I was predicted 7s+ for practically all of my GCSEs when I was 14 (apart from maths, that was a 5 but I've worked hard over the years to improve my knowledge of it) and I'm keen to continue studying even if it means for the next 4 or so years I will be doing GCSES and A-levels. I've also seen some Uni's don't take resits, will it count as a resit seeing as it is later in life or will it technically 'not' be a resit because I never took them in the first place? Will 24 be too old to stand a chance with medicine? I'm so worried about me being past my sell by date. PMs and discussions are appreciated as I need to pick some Medical student brains about the process but it's all I've ever wanted and I don't want my mental illness to not only take my childhood itself away but also the dreams I have.

I was thinking of GEM but I have been put off of it by the *spooky noises* GAMSAT and having to spent 3 years doing a degree in something else first potentially slowing my pathways. Any advice around the possible pathways I can take is so greatly appreciated :smile:

Thank youuu!

Since you never took the qualifications in the first place, I'm not sure how it could possibly be construed as a resit.

No, 24 is not "too old" to do medicine. As far as admissions go there is no age restriction for medicine. There may be a reasonable consideration that working as a junior doctor with all the shift work etc might be harder later in life for various reasons but plenty of people do manage it, so it's really an individual matter.

Don't aim for GEM unless you are already in another degree. As you are not, there is absolutely no reason to aim for it. It's more competitive than standard entry medicine, takes longer to actually qualify as a doctor that way, and costs more out of pocket (as you will need to pay part of your GEM fees out of pocket in first year...).

Note that as you would be a mature student anyway you may want to explore Access to Medicine course options rather than A-levels as well - bear in mind however not all medical schools accept all Access to Medicine courses.

There's literally no reason you couldn't apply for standard entry medicine though.
Reply 4
Original post by silentstarlight1
Ok firstly, if you can write well this is a fantastic experience to reflect on in your application as to your tenacity and courage despite what I would consider near overwhelming odds. Plenty of people in all kinds of adverse situations have gone on to become great doctors: teen mums, people with chronic health conditions, refugees, you literally name it... I highly doubt you'll be the first person an admissions team has seen that has your background. I have a similar background as you, I wish I could say I am a medical student now, but I'm not, though I am applying this September! I went through a brief depressive phase for a while thinking I was past my expiry date , until I realised I absolutely am not and I can be a doctor.
It won't take you 4 years to get there... I would advise if you have no qualifications at all to start with maths + English GCSEs (whatever the uni specifies as necessary) and study for those during one cycle. Then immediately after once you get results in August start an access to medicine course. During this time get some work experience, probably as a HCA, or given your background maybe look into becoming a mental health support worker, as I think you could firstly and foremost do truly meaningful work for people who were struggling like you were, and secondly given your background, saying you've done this can help emphasise your 'I have grown stronger from this experience and now want to help others' / 'this experience will make me a compassionate and understanding doctor' vibe, as you need to reassure medical schools that your past history isn't going to impact you now as an adult medical student; this should be emphasised as well in your reference. Your reference can be a tutor btw, maybe hire one now and see them every week or month even while you start the process, so when the time comes to apply in hopefully 2 years, you will have someone who can give an exemplory reference for your character and why you're not just academicably able, but truly meant for this.
Regarding the GAMSAT, one university I wrote to said they would ignore my definitely not medicine standard grades if I took this exam and did well at interview. Maybe in your situation they might offer you a similar deal? DM for details as I don't want to give away too much publicly.
I think it would be tragic if what you went through as a child stops you from persuing your dream career. I'm in the same boat and the idea I'm barred from this due to my childhood fills me with equal heartbreak and rage that it can still control me like this. This simply isn't fair and I hope admissions will see it that way as well, they seem to from my brief experience want to encourage more non-traditional and mature students who have our backgrounds.
I wish you the best and if you want to DM then that's cool, just send me one :smile:


but he has no alevels, how is that gonna work out?

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