What to do after an unsuccessful first medicine application

Article by the fantabulous @KA_P!

  • You’ve just finished ALevels:
    • Take a break and replenish your energy.
    • UCAS Extra and Clearing is an option.
    • After leaving sixth form, there’s time until result day: I got a job as a healthcare assistant at a nursing home after giving myself a bit of a break. To do that you need to write up a CV and apply to various nursing homes until you get a job. This was easier to apply to as compared to applying through NHS Jobs, since most of that needed prior work experience or NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) Level 1 or 2 in Health and Social Care. I think there’s agencies that you can apply through as well, but personally I applied directly to the nursing home.
    • There’s other options such as volunteering at charity shops or at St John’s Ambulance, as well as volunteering to vaccinate people.
    • Otherwise, tutoring or mentoring younger students, whether voluntary or paid work. You could get in touch with school to do this maybe? I’m sure there’s agencies for this as well online.
    • Of course, work experience does not need to be medically related, but writing up a CV will still help. I got two references from my sixth form head and one of my subject teachers.
    • Try not to fill up all your time with work etc. as you still need a break. Try to keep up with your hobbies as well!
  • Book the UCAT
    • Look at the deadline to book and prep well for it. I would consider sitting it early just in case you need to resit any of your subjects
    • You can definitely overprepare for UCAT and burnout, so ensure you spend a reasonable amount of time prepping
  • Results Day
    • I personally spent Results day calling up universities as part of clearing, but no luck – I did hear one of my friends getting into Medicine through Clearing though! I celebrated with my family. Just because you don’t have offers does not mean you are not allowed to celebrate the fruits of your labour and the huge achievement you’ve made.
    • If you need to resit any of your subjects, then get in contact with your school to do so. I would also try and reduce working hours here, in order to allocate time to revise and do UCAT prep/BMAT prep and personal statement etc.
    • In order to allocate more time to UCAT prep, I resigned from my job at the nursing home and applied to work as a HCA at a local hospital – on a bank contract which is a lot more flexible.
  • Personal Statement and UCAS Application
    • You can just edit last year’s personal statement. It will not be considered as plagiarism.
    • Ensure that your sixth form is happy to help you.
    • To get the same UCAS ID as the previous year, ensure your name is the same (e.g. putting your middle name as part of your first name?)
    • Ensure you apply strategically, the “Which Medical School Should I Apply to?” thread is really useful, but make sure you enter your details in the correct format I order to get the best advice and try to do researching yourself first.
    • For resit applicants, ensure you look at university policies on resits
  • Interview Preparation
    • Make sure you prepare as much as possible.
    • Use the interview thread.
    • Look at the common questions, medical ethics, NHS hot topics, current affairs, roleplay scenarios.
    • Research your universities.
    • Don’t wait until you get an interview invite to start prepping – unlike UCAT you can’t overprepare for interviews.
    • Practice! Record yourself, whether voice/video recording. Practice with teachers, friends, family – it can be virtual/face to face. Get in as much practice as possible. Reflect on your answer and learn from feedback.
    • Learnt to structure answers (STARR/SPIKES/CAMP etc.)! Limit to 2/3 points and time your answers to maybe two to three minutes or half of the MMI station, as there will usually be follow-up questions. Sitting in silence after answering the question is okay as well