The Student Room Group

Gap Year before Medical School

Hello!! I am a Year 12 Student about to go into Year 13 who decided to commit to Medicine only around a month ago, and i’m considering not applying this year (for 2024 entry) and instead pushing it until 2025 to better prepare. I’m looking for some advice on whether this seems reasonable.

I’m predicted pretty good A level grades (Three A*s although I think realistically I will achieve atleast one A* and two As), so this is the area i’ve been most secure with about applying to Medicine.
However, Ive had a month until now to study for my UCAT which is next week, and i’m really not feeling confident about it at all. I didn’t take studying for it seriously in the beginning and it all has felt very rushed, so this has been causing me quite some stress and im close to cancelling the exam altogether.
In terms of work experience, I have done a week in the Chemistry department of UCL, which I would say wasn’t entirely relevant to medicine but I could try stretch some of the skills I learnt to make it relevant/use it in my personal statement. I’m also set to do 3 days in a GP practice next week.
Other than that, I haven’t really done anything that would strengthen my application - i’ve never even had a part time job or done any kind of volunteering.
So, even though I do very well in school, I don’t feel confident at all in applying to Medicine this year. I also really want to go to a Medical school in London, so if i did want to apply this year and instead do it strategically, it won’t be as strategic if you get what i mean (since the options are limited). I feel that if I apply this year, I will either get 4 rejections or maybe, if i’m REALLY lucky, 1 acceptance into a university that I wouldnt prefer to go to compared to others.

What’s holding me back from taking the gap year is that my dad (who is a doctor) is very opposed to the whole thing. Even though he was fine with my older brother taking a gap year before studying Economics, he views it as a waste of a year and laughed at my prospect of getting a job during that year, justifying it as okay for my older brother to do because “he’s a man”. I don’t feel like he understands the application process here in the UK much at all as he studied Medicine in Syria, where all you needed to get in was high enough grades, so he thinks that just because i’m smart I should be able to get in this year.

Rather than cancelling the exam, my dad wants me to just do it and then move from there if I score badly, which sounds good in theory, but I feel like my mental health recently has plummeted and I do not have the energy to study for the exam, nor can I handle the stress any longer. I have 10 days until the exam and on top of this I have a mountain of schoolwork I need to get done before I travel abroad with my family at the end of next week, returning just a couple of days before school starts again. I know it’s all very last minute but i’ve been trying to focus my time on studying for the UCAT rather than on any other work I have from school, and I haven’t really enjoyed this summer much at all because of the pressure.
I’m starting to feel like my whole plan was doomed from the beginning, deciding to commit to Medicine only a month ago and still apply this October. I don’t know how I can succeed this year if I can’t even believe in myself.

If I do take a gap year, I will use it to strengthen my application by getting more experience, perhaps working a job that is in some way healthcare related, taking more time to study for the UCAT/BMAT. Working on myself and my mental wellbeing in general and just gaining more life experience.

I’m practically begging for any of your input or advice, if you think taking a gap year will be a good idea for me. Thank you if you’ve read this far !!!
Hey there, thanks for posting a question in the Medicine forum. :biggrin:

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Megathreads
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The "Which Medical School Should I Apply To?" Uberthread
The Ultimate 'Am I Good Enough For Medicine?' Angst Thread
Medicine A-Level subjects queries
Work Experience and Voluntary Work

2023 Applicants:
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2023 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2023 Entry
Medicine 2023 entry for resit / retake / gap year applicants
A100 Medicine for International Students 2023 Entry
Medicine Interview discussion 2023 Entry
2023 entry A100 / A101 Medicine fastest and slowest offer senders
Index of Individual Medical School Applicants' threads 2023 Entry

2024 Applicants :
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2024 Entry
Graduate Entry Medicine 2024 Entry
GAMSAT 2024 / 2025 entry discussions megathread
UCAT 2024 Entry Discussions Megathread

Other application years:
Graduate Entry Medicine 2025 Entry
Official Undergraduate Medicine 2025 Entry

Useful Articles:
GCSE Requirements for Medicine
Everything you need to know about the BMAT
Work Experience as a Graduate or Mature student
Medicine Personal Statement Advice
Medicine Personal Statement Advice (Graduate Entry)
Interview Frequently Asked Questions
MMI Medicine Interview Tips
What to do after an unsuccessful first application

If your query is answered by one of the Megathreads or articles linked above, and you would like us to close this thread for you, please reply to this thread with just the words "thank you". A member of our team will then get it locked.
Original post by mrdrdlls
Hello!! I am a Year 12 Student about to go into Year 13 who decided to commit to Medicine only around a month ago, and i’m considering not applying this year (for 2024 entry) and instead pushing it until 2025 to better prepare. I’m looking for some advice on whether this seems reasonable.

I’m predicted pretty good A level grades (Three A*s although I think realistically I will achieve atleast one A* and two As), so this is the area i’ve been most secure with about applying to Medicine.
However, Ive had a month until now to study for my UCAT which is next week, and i’m really not feeling confident about it at all. I didn’t take studying for it seriously in the beginning and it all has felt very rushed, so this has been causing me quite some stress and im close to cancelling the exam altogether.
In terms of work experience, I have done a week in the Chemistry department of UCL, which I would say wasn’t entirely relevant to medicine but I could try stretch some of the skills I learnt to make it relevant/use it in my personal statement. I’m also set to do 3 days in a GP practice next week.
Other than that, I haven’t really done anything that would strengthen my application - i’ve never even had a part time job or done any kind of volunteering.
So, even though I do very well in school, I don’t feel confident at all in applying to Medicine this year. I also really want to go to a Medical school in London, so if i did want to apply this year and instead do it strategically, it won’t be as strategic if you get what i mean (since the options are limited). I feel that if I apply this year, I will either get 4 rejections or maybe, if i’m REALLY lucky, 1 acceptance into a university that I wouldnt prefer to go to compared to others.

What’s holding me back from taking the gap year is that my dad (who is a doctor) is very opposed to the whole thing. Even though he was fine with my older brother taking a gap year before studying Economics, he views it as a waste of a year and laughed at my prospect of getting a job during that year, justifying it as okay for my older brother to do because “he’s a man”. I don’t feel like he understands the application process here in the UK much at all as he studied Medicine in Syria, where all you needed to get in was high enough grades, so he thinks that just because i’m smart I should be able to get in this year.

Rather than cancelling the exam, my dad wants me to just do it and then move from there if I score badly, which sounds good in theory, but I feel like my mental health recently has plummeted and I do not have the energy to study for the exam, nor can I handle the stress any longer. I have 10 days until the exam and on top of this I have a mountain of schoolwork I need to get done before I travel abroad with my family at the end of next week, returning just a couple of days before school starts again. I know it’s all very last minute but i’ve been trying to focus my time on studying for the UCAT rather than on any other work I have from school, and I haven’t really enjoyed this summer much at all because of the pressure.
I’m starting to feel like my whole plan was doomed from the beginning, deciding to commit to Medicine only a month ago and still apply this October. I don’t know how I can succeed this year if I can’t even believe in myself.

If I do take a gap year, I will use it to strengthen my application by getting more experience, perhaps working a job that is in some way healthcare related, taking more time to study for the UCAT/BMAT. Working on myself and my mental wellbeing in general and just gaining more life experience.

I’m practically begging for any of your input or advice, if you think taking a gap year will be a good idea for me. Thank you if you’ve read this far !!!


Hi there,
I can see that you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. There are a number of options available to you:
- Don't sit the UCAT/BMAT and don't apply this year.
- Sit the UCAT, judge by your score on whether you should apply this year.
- Assuming you do well in the UCAT, you can apply for this year's application cycle (2024 entry) or defer for 2025 entry
- Assuming you apply for this year's application cycle but do not get any offers, you can take a gap year and reapply for 2025 entry
- If you do not get the grades, then you can take a gap year, resit and reapply for 2025 entry

It's important to think about the each of the options carefully. If I give my situation as an example: I did not get any offers in my first application cycle, so I took a gap year and reapplied. For my second application cycle, I went through it a lot more smoothly since I had already been through it once before. It may not seem like it right now, but it made a huge difference. Compared to other applicants, I had sat the UCAT before, as well as attended interviews etc. It puts you in a better position to ackowledge which areas to improve.

If you go through the first option, you may not have as much support from your teachers in the next application cycle as you would have done in this application cycle. It may not be the case for you but this was something that happened for me, where we were not able to rely on teachers as much since they thought we had already been through it once before as well as the fact that we had left school already.

The rest of the options would be a lot more useful to you. The UCAT is definitely hugely nervewracking, but you can only give it your best shot - nothing more. It's better to have at least given it a go. In terms of balancing your school work and UCAT prep, it may be a good idea to readjust the time you're spending on each. Sometimes giving too much weight to UCAT prep can burn you out, so do make sure that you are able to take proper regular breaks.

I realise this might be a bit of a long post, but just one last thing regarding applying for deferred entry (2025 entry). This give you a chance get some more hands on work experience, just as you would in a gap year without the added stress of another application cycle, since you'll be taking the gap year after your application cycle. It would give you a good break between A-levels and starting university. Hope that helps :hugs:
Reply 3
Original post by KA_P
Hi there,
I can see that you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. There are a number of options available to you:
- Don't sit the UCAT/BMAT and don't apply this year.
- Sit the UCAT, judge by your score on whether you should apply this year.
- Assuming you do well in the UCAT, you can apply for this year's application cycle (2024 entry) or defer for 2025 entry
- Assuming you apply for this year's application cycle but do not get any offers, you can take a gap year and reapply for 2025 entry
- If you do not get the grades, then you can take a gap year, resit and reapply for 2025 entry

It's important to think about the each of the options carefully. If I give my situation as an example: I did not get any offers in my first application cycle, so I took a gap year and reapplied. For my second application cycle, I went through it a lot more smoothly since I had already been through it once before. It may not seem like it right now, but it made a huge difference. Compared to other applicants, I had sat the UCAT before, as well as attended interviews etc. It puts you in a better position to ackowledge which areas to improve.

If you go through the first option, you may not have as much support from your teachers in the next application cycle as you would have done in this application cycle. It may not be the case for you but this was something that happened for me, where we were not able to rely on teachers as much since they thought we had already been through it once before as well as the fact that we had left school already.

The rest of the options would be a lot more useful to you. The UCAT is definitely hugely nervewracking, but you can only give it your best shot - nothing more. It's better to have at least given it a go. In terms of balancing your school work and UCAT prep, it may be a good idea to readjust the time you're spending on each. Sometimes giving too much weight to UCAT prep can burn you out, so do make sure that you are able to take proper regular breaks.

I realise this might be a bit of a long post, but just one last thing regarding applying for deferred entry (2025 entry). This give you a chance get some more hands on work experience, just as you would in a gap year without the added stress of another application cycle, since you'll be taking the gap year after your application cycle. It would give you a good break between A-levels and starting university. Hope that helps :hugs:

Taking the ucat may be good experience regardless. You can then reappraise. If you have strong ucat, apply and be able to talk about whatever experience you can get etc! It will be more about you as a person than what you have done come interview.

If ucat is not so good and you want to go for medicine, take the gap year. Stick to your guns. You will earn your own and parents' respect ultimately, rather than just doing what others say you should. It's your life.
Original post by Justapapa
Taking the ucat may be good experience regardless. You can then reappraise. If you have strong ucat, apply and be able to talk about whatever experience you can get etc! It will be more about you as a person than what you have done come interview.

If ucat is not so good and you want to go for medicine, take the gap year. Stick to your guns. You will earn your own and parents' respect ultimately, rather than just doing what others say you should. It's your life.


@mrdrdlls ^
Reply 5
ignore
(edited 9 months ago)
Reply 6
Original post by KA_P
Hi there,
I can see that you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. There are a number of options available to you:
- Don't sit the UCAT/BMAT and don't apply this year.
- Sit the UCAT, judge by your score on whether you should apply this year.
- Assuming you do well in the UCAT, you can apply for this year's application cycle (2024 entry) or defer for 2025 entry
- Assuming you apply for this year's application cycle but do not get any offers, you can take a gap year and reapply for 2025 entry
- If you do not get the grades, then you can take a gap year, resit and reapply for 2025 entry

It's important to think about the each of the options carefully. If I give my situation as an example: I did not get any offers in my first application cycle, so I took a gap year and reapplied. For my second application cycle, I went through it a lot more smoothly since I had already been through it once before. It may not seem like it right now, but it made a huge difference. Compared to other applicants, I had sat the UCAT before, as well as attended interviews etc. It puts you in a better position to ackowledge which areas to improve.

If you go through the first option, you may not have as much support from your teachers in the next application cycle as you would have done in this application cycle. It may not be the case for you but this was something that happened for me, where we were not able to rely on teachers as much since they thought we had already been through it once before as well as the fact that we had left school already.

The rest of the options would be a lot more useful to you. The UCAT is definitely hugely nervewracking, but you can only give it your best shot - nothing more. It's better to have at least given it a go. In terms of balancing your school work and UCAT prep, it may be a good idea to readjust the time you're spending on each. Sometimes giving too much weight to UCAT prep can burn you out, so do make sure that you are able to take proper regular breaks.

I realise this might be a bit of a long post, but just one last thing regarding applying for deferred entry (2025 entry). This give you a chance get some more hands on work experience, just as you would in a gap year without the added stress of another application cycle, since you'll be taking the gap year after your application cycle. It would give you a good break between A-levels and starting university. Hope that helps :hugs:


Hello, thank you so much for the input!! You were definitely right about me being overwhelmed but ive calmed down a bit and I think i’m still going to take my UCAT! I really don’t expect to do well at all but it will atleast give me the experience of being in the test centre and doing the test in person, so I can use this if i apply for 2025 entry instead. :smile:
Reply 7
Original post by Justapapa
Taking the ucat may be good experience regardless. You can then reappraise. If you have strong ucat, apply and be able to talk about whatever experience you can get etc! It will be more about you as a person than what you have done come interview.

If ucat is not so good and you want to go for medicine, take the gap year. Stick to your guns. You will earn your own and parents' respect ultimately, rather than just doing what others say you should. It's your life.


Hello thanks so much for your reply, this was really motivating!! I think I am going to take the UCAT just for the experience of being in the test centre and the test itself etc, and be prepared to not do so well - this way I can use this experience to apply more strongly next year :smile:
Reply 8
Original post by mrdrdlls
Hello thanks so much for your reply, this was really motivating!! I think I am going to take the UCAT just for the experience of being in the test centre and the test itself etc, and be prepared to not do so well - this way I can use this experience to apply more strongly next year :smile:

All the best!
Original post by mrdrdlls
Hello, thank you so much for the input!! You were definitely right about me being overwhelmed but ive calmed down a bit and I think i’m still going to take my UCAT! I really don’t expect to do well at all but it will atleast give me the experience of being in the test centre and doing the test in person, so I can use this if i apply for 2025 entry instead. :smile:

You've got this, I'm cheering you on all the way :jumphug:

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