How to successfully reapply to medical school

Advice & Insight From Medicine Application Specialists

The first thing to do when reapplying to medical schools is that you must identify where you went wrong the first time. The main parts of the application cycle are the pre-interview stage, interview stage and post interview stage. If you did not receive many interviews invites, the chances are your problem lies in meeting the screening requirements for the universities you applied to, if however you received a number of interview invites but few or no offers, your interview technique might need to be worked on and finally, if you received plenty of offers but unfortunately did not manage to meet their requirements, you should be revising a lot more. Once you have identified at which stage of the application cycle you were most weak at, you should analyse its aspects, identify where there is room for improvement and set out a plan of action to improve it.

Pre-interview Stage

If you struggled to receive interview invites, there’s a very good chance you did not apply to your strengths as different universities place different amounts of emphasis on different parts of the application; So no matter how your application may look it’s very likely there is a university that will give you an interview based on it. When looking to reapply to medical schools the first thing you should look at is what they emphasize, for example some medical schools put a lot of importance on UCAT score before giving an invite, other medical schools rank applicants based on their GCSEs, etc. You should identify which parts of your application are strong and which are weak. For example, if your GCSEs are not very impressive it is not worthwhile to apply to a university that uses GCSE results to decide who to invite to interviews. Make sure your strengths and weaknesses align with the university’s requirements in a way which is most likely to obtain you an interview, thus it is important to choose universities carefully and to confirm with them their pre-interview requirements. Also, edit your personal statement to show that you took up responsibilities over the summer, like volunteering for red cross, etc. It is important that you can show that you have been doing something over the summer before reapplying, even if it is something as minor as talking to more medical professionals and medical students.

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Interview Stage

If you managed to obtain interviews but unfortunately no offer from them, you should be focusing a lot more on your interview technique. Unfortunately, interviews are one of those things on which not enough importance is placed on and students do not prepare for enough. Like the pre-interview stage of the application process, the interview stage itself is different in each university. Most universities assess candidates based on standard MMI stations but others have their own unique style, the common denominator between them is that they all test qualities you should have as a medical student, such as empathy, communication skills, team working skills etc. Ideally you should obtain feedback from universities regarding your previous interviews and they should give you a general idea of where there is room for improvement. Focus on your weaknesses when practicing for interviews, so if for example your performance in ethical stations was weak, you should be reading up on all the standard ethical scenarios interviews can present, you should be learning about the medical ethics pillars and you should be trying to discuss it with anyone you can to try to deepen your understanding of the concepts. If your communication skills were lacking try to put yourself into situations where you must interact with people, be it getting a job, volunteering, peer tutoring etc. At the end of the day you should be very comfortable talking about or demonstrating these attributes and skills and you should also have examples and evidence to demonstrate you have them; All of this is achieved by practicing as much as you can, whenever and wherever you can.

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Post-interview Stage

If you are resitting one or more of your subjects, the only thing you should be doing once you have given your interviews and are waiting for offers, is to be revising as much as possible. Even if your interviews are close to your exams you should be revising as early as possible. It is understandable that without an offer students can become very anxious and studying can be difficult in such a state, however, genuinely the best thing one can do at that point is to just focus on the upcoming exams. 

Further Reading....

How to successfully reapply to medical school

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