How to Secure Four Medical School Offers
Advice & Insight From Medicine Application Specialists
Work Experience and Volunteering – the backbone of Medicine applications
The key to Medicine applications is having a bank of experiences that you will be able to reflect on which will prove vital to your personal statement and interviews – which are very important factors that determine whether you get an offer or not. So, what kind of experiences are medical schools looking for?
Medical schools know that securing work experience is not always easy so they will be accommodating to other forms of experience for example, in the form of volunteering. There are many opportunities to volunteer, whether it is in your local hospital or high street charity shop. The challenges and experiences you gain there will enable you to reflect on the skills you have and need to work on which is great to talk about in an interview.
Therefore, start early and be prepared by applying and getting involved in volunteering and trying to gain work experience which will make your whole Medicine application much easier!
What factors work for you? – Apply strategically
There are over 30 medical schools in the UK, each with their own requirements, course styles and locations. Looking at medical schools can be overwhelming and confusing, but let’s break it down and look into the best way to secure all four offers – applying strategically!
Firstly, have a look at the medical schools in the UK and have a rough criterion of what you would like in a medical school but do not get too fixated on specific schools! Always keep an open mind but condense the 30 medical schools down to around 10-15 based on your criteria which may include:
- Location: Do you want to be far from home or close? Do you want to be in a city or perhaps more rural?
- Course style: Traditional, Integrated or PBL?
- Is it a BMAT university?
- Is it a big or small cohort?
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Factor 1: GCSEs
Next, think about the factor you cannot change – your GCSEs. If you got excellent grades in your GCSEs – use this to your advantage! Have a look at universities that place importance on GCSEs so that you have a higher chance of being invited to interview and be given an offer. If not, there are also universities that do not place much importance on GCSEs such as Keele University.
Factor 2: Predicted grades
The medical school application process usually starts halfway through Year 12 for most undergraduate students, shortly after undertaking some mock exams that will likely account for UCAS predicted grades when your application goes off in Year 13. This may be different for different schools and colleges. This is your first hurdle to cross when applying strategically. Try to apply to universities where your predicted grades at least match or exceed the minimum grade requirements for the course, increasing your chance for being invited to interview. Universities get thousands of applications each year and it is likely there is a computer automated system that will filter those who do not meet their minimum grade requirements. This is usually for standard entry courses and may differ for widening participation schemes and outreach programmes.
This is not a hard and fast rule as some universities do not look at your predicted grades with great weighting, but remember, this is a limited few however, this could be a small chance if your predicted grades are not as you hoped.
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Factor 3: Entrance Tests
The next hurdle is your entrance tests – the UCAT and BMAT. This is a really important part of applying strategically. It is similar to your GCSEs, if you got a high UCAT score – apply to universities that take a large weighting to your UCAT and if you didn’t – don’t fret, there are many universities that place weighting on other parts of your application such as your personal statement and predicted grades.
Factor 4: Personal Statement
One aspect of your application that you are in complete control of is your personal statement. This A4 page of writing is your way of selling yourself and proving to the admissions officer how worthy you are of studying Medicine! Make sure you structure your personal statement carefully and include reflections of your work experience and why you would like to study medicine.
Factor 5: Interview
Next, hopefully you have been invited to interview by applying strategically to your medical schools – this is the last hurdle to cross in getting an offer. The most important thing to emphasise is PRACTICE! If it’s with a friend or parent or even in front of your mirror, every bit of practice you do will be beneficial, as you will gain confidence answering questions that will be thrown at you. Ensure you now whether your interview will be MMI or Panel and tailor your practice to that format.
Now, it is a waiting game! By applying strategically and utilising your work experience and volunteering, you have maximised your chances of getting an offer from each of your medical schools. Good luck!