Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Entering Graduate Medicine


Hi Guys! :)

I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine now that it has finallllyyyyyy arrived... (I know I am!!!)

Last Thursday, I attended a GET Workshop at our university about entering Graduate Medicine and thought I'd share some of the important information that was given to us with all you budding Medics like me! 
Graduate Medicine, I'm sure you all know, is a four year course which is open to students who wish to study medicine after completing an undergraduate degree. It is a very competitive course to get into ( if Undergraduate Medicine is very hard to get into, there are much fewer Medical Schools around the UK who actually do Graduate Medicine and the number of places that are available at each of these schools is much fewer than for Undergraduate Medicine); and so a lot of preparation is required to ensure  we have done all we can to guarantee the best chance of gaining a place at our desired medical school.

Here are just a few things you should be aware of when applying for Graduate Medicine:

1. Research! Each medical school has a slightly different entry criteria, so it is important that you do a lot of research about each medical school in order to find the medical school which best suits you. Some medical schools require certain medical entrance tests, whereas others may not require any. Some medical schools  may focus more on your undergraduate degree and  your medical entrance test scores, whereas  others may focus on GCSEs, A-Levels and other similar qualifications, alongside your undergraduate degree. Most Medical Schools carry out interviews, however a few schools make their decisions by looking at your qualifications, the scores you obtained in the medical entrance tests and your personal statement. So with all these different selection processes, you have plenty to think about! Attend university open days, read through the university's' prospectus and visit the university's website to gain as much information about the university, the course and the selection process before making  your decision. REMEMBER: there are only four choices you can put on your UCAS form so it is really important to make the best four choices for you.

2. Medical Entrance Tests. There are three main medical entrance tests, the UKCAT, GAMSAT and BMAT, which may be required by the medical school you are applying to. Each of these three tests differ in their assessment methods and test applicants on their Science knowledge, Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics and English (depending on which of the three tests you sit). All the important information that you need to know about these exams are on the UKCAT, GAMSAT and BMAT websites so it is well worth visiting! A wide range of books and special courses are also available to help you prepare for these tests as best as you can.

3. The Personal Statement. This is the place where you can really shine and sell yourself! As you have a limited number of words in which you can do this, make sure you emphasise your reasons for wanting to study medicine,  what you have learnt from any relevant work experience such as the work you have done in hospitals, GP surgeries etc. / voluntary work you have done in places such as  charity shops, nursing homes etc, any other outstanding achievements that you have done and your hobbies/interests.  It is very important that your personal statement shows that you are academically able as well as showing that you are a well rounded person!

4. Deadlines! This may be very obvious...but make sure you meet  deadlines!!! It is important you register for UCAS and submit  your UCAS application by the 15th of October 2013 ( yes applications for Medicine is much earlier than the deadline for other applications). And if the Medical School you have chosen requires a medical entrance test, make sure you apply for these before the deadline, prepare for the exams  in advance and sit the exam on time on the appropriate day.

5. The Interview Process. If you are fortunate enough to be offered an interview, make sure you go well -prepared,  dress smartly, adopt the correct body language and answer all the questions confidently, to the best of your ability. ( I previously attended an interview for Undergraduate Medicine and unfortunately wasn't offered a place at the medical school after my interview . I feel that the main reason for this outcome was the fact that I started to panic after being thrown off by one particular question which I didn't expect to be asked and so didn't answer most of the questions after this properly. So what did I learn from this??? Be prepared for the unexpected and never panic under any circumstance!!!)

6. An Alternative Choice.  Choose the fifth choice on your UCAS form wisely so that you have a back-up plan if you unfortunately don't get a place onto the Graduate Medicine Course. Alternatively, you may want to think about searching for a job in the field you have obtained your degree in ( in  my case, as I am studying Biomedical Science, I may want to think about finding a job in a research lab).

So all what's left for me to say is...GOOD LUCK!!! Applications for the 2014 cycle is just round the corner now!  If you continue to work hard, gain as much experience as possible and be well prepared, your DREAM of studying Medicine can become a REALITY.