How Useful is The Student Room for Medical School Interviews?
The Student Room is a great resource for those looking to apply to medical school. However, there are certain caveats and risks to be aware of when using it. Here we’ll take a brief look at how you ought to use the site, and what you ought to avoid.
Benefits of Using the Student Room for Medical School Applicants
The core benefit of the Student Room is that it has been, and continues to be, an active community of motivated students, many of whom are willing to share useful information regarding applications, interviews, and the processes that they are following to increase their own chances of admission. You can therefore find a range of information covering previous years and equally engage with students looking to apply in the current year as well.
Moderation on TSR is relatively strong, and you can therefore expect information to be accurate regarding universities and their respective processes, and also expect any offensive or overly negative content to be removed or otherwise swiftly dealt with.
You will be able to find different areas of the student room that correspond with your exact query – for example, forums that cover all universities for a given year, or a forum that covers a specific university for a specific year. In this manner you can zoom in and out and find a greater or lesser breadth of information as you need. This is particularly useful for finding information on particular scores that you might need, or that might make you competitive in comparison to other applicants in a given year.
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TSR will allow you to access information from previous applicants and current students as well. That means that you can both use it as a tool to help with more general aspects of your application, and as a tool specifically to find out more about a given course or university. You can find real, realistic and honest feedback from previous students. They will provide information on what it’s actually like to study at a given institution, what the interview process was like, and what in particular you ought to be aware of.
Crucially, TSR allows you to ask questions. That makes it an invaluable resource – you’re not constrained to simply looking at information generated by others, but able to direct your own questions at this broad community of students. Ensure that you use this in some way whilst researching your chosen university and course; get answers to any questions that you might be unsure of.
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Risks of Using the Student Room & What to Be Aware of
The first drawback is the sometimes over-zealous attitude of moderators, who will remove any information that could be seen to reveal ‘secret’ information regarding universities’ processes. In particular, this has led to useful information regarding interview questions being removed, and TSR therefore not being the best source of past interview questions. Instead, you’ll need to look elsewhere, or reach out to tutors or previous applicants who will have this information available. In general, asking for this type of information will see your question removed, whilst looking for it will likely yield little in the way of results.
The second major drawback of TSR is the site’s tendency towards bias or a lack of realism. This can work both ways – on the one hand, students have a tendency to catastrophize or outline unrealistic application goals, which can prove distracting. On the other, and more of a problem, is students’ tendency to brag or subtly boast about their own scores, which could prove rather demotivating for others (especially as these scores could simply be lies, of course). A typical post in this vein might be something like, ‘I’ve got 12A* at GCSE and a 750 UCAT, do you think this is good enough for King’s College – I’m worried it’s not!’ Take such posts with a pinch of salt, and cross reference any such information with other posts in the same thread that use official data from the university – or Google and find that information yourself.