The process of applying to medical school can be daunting. There are so many things to complete, plus juggling college work and so things can pretty soon build up and seem impossible to complete. But never fear! The application process doesn’t have to be like this. Below are a few tips I have to help…
Before even starting the application process, you need to make the decision of where you want to apply? The sort of university you are looking for? And the type of teaching you’re after?For medicine the most important aspect in my opinion is whether you want problem based learning, integrated or majority lecture based study. This will be the biggest part of your degree and so you need to make sure you chose one where you will thrive and get the most out of. The second most important thing for me was whether I wanted a campus or city location. You’re going to be at university for a long time and so you need to find a place that you’re happy to call ‘home’! Another factor which may affect your decision is whether the university does dissection or prosection. For those who are very new to the application process, dissection is when you as the student does the cutting and prosection is when the demonstrator has pre-cut for you. From here you should be able to whittle down the choices of universities to find the few that offer everything you are looking for.
The admissions test for medical school can be a hugely scary experience, but something that is required by the majority of schools in the UK. Depending on the universities you are wanting to apply to, you may be required to sit the UKCAT or BMAT or both. I’ve only sat the UKCAT so have no comparison to the BMAT, but from my own experience I would highly recommend the UKCAT books available online (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Medical-School-UKCAT-Practice-Questions/dp/1905812183/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483817337&sr=8-1&keywords=UKCAT is where I got mine). The biggest part of succeeding at the tests is to practice, practice and practice. The questions in the books are not the ones you get on the test day, but they are very similar and really helped me to ensure I got a score I was happy with both times I sat the test. In the exam, remember to stay calm. Read the question carefully. Stay focused. And if your stuck on a question then flag for review at the end of the section, or guess (there is no negative marking)!
Once you have the universities you want in sight (and you are well on your way with the admission test) you need to get down to business and get started with your personal statement. As one of the BIGGEST parts of a medical application, I hope by this point you will have done plenty of volunteer work, paid work, shadowing, work experience placements etc…things that are going to make you stand out and show your commitment to a career in medicine. Once you have begun your volunteering jouney (my favourite part!) you need to start with writing everything down that you have done and what you learned from them in order to make up your personal statement. Include things you have done which link to medicine as well as any hobbies you have and situations in which you have shown good leadership skills or been part of a team. Make sure you really sell yourself and prove that you deserve a place. For those who have not succeeded first time, this is where you can shine and show the medical schools that they were wrong in not grabbing you first time around. The personal statement is like your golden ticket into medical school, so make it count!!!
If you don’t manage to get an interview from your university choices then this does not mean the end of the world. This does not define you as a person, this should make you a stronger person. From here stand tall and brush yourself down. Don’t push your dreams aside, work harder to achieve them. And don’t ever stop!
Hope this helps someone out there,