Anyone applying for Medicine or Dentistry?!

(56 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

mummywithquestions Fri 29-Aug-14 20:34:08

Anyone started preparing their application yet? It seems a bit earlier than it was when I first went to uni but my son is already well underway with his personal statement and UKCAT/BMAT preparation.

Just wanted to speak to other mothers to share the stresses of UCAS and chat about upcoming interviews etc!

fairywoods Sat 30-Aug-14 11:08:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lljkk Sat 30-Aug-14 11:24:04

How did you know that those things were what Birmingham-Newcastle-Leeds- most valued? Was it clearly stated by them? Stated out loud or in writing?

mummywithquestions Sat 30-Aug-14 13:18:02

(Can't see fairwoods' comment anymore)

It's so hard to know exactly what the universities are looking for. We have gone by the school's recommendations so far. They have told him which UKCAT/BMAT books to use... however, they're aptitude tests so it's more a case of knowing what to expect on the day rather than practice-makes-perfect. They have also recommended an organisation which consists of admissions panelists to go to for personal statement help.

I just hope he gets an interview... he has so much to give and if they meet him face-to-face, they will be able to see that. On paper, it's hard to make your personality stand out above the crowd's!

lljkk Sat 30-Aug-14 14:18:37

In the Guardian League med-school table, why do Oxbridge have the lowest employment statistics 6 months post finish of the course? Do their graduates tend to go volunteering maybe?

mummywithquestions Sat 30-Aug-14 16:02:08

I assume because more of them go into research? Not entirely sure though. All I know is that when I finished medical school, I just wanted to pay off student debts!

lljkk Sat 30-Aug-14 16:12:28

research is still employment, and the statistic is for % of those in employment or future studies so that will cover those who go onto do PHDs or further internships (I would have thought).

Most puzzling!!

mummywithquestions Sat 30-Aug-14 19:05:32

Ah I see, then I really don't know. I thought you meant those that didn't get F1 jobs. I work in medical education and on an admissions panel. When I ask applicants at the end, "so do you have any questions you would like to ask us?" I often get hit by a questions about league tables "why so high/low?" "am I more likely to get a job because of this university?" etc... they vary so much year to year that I tell people to pay no regard to them. However, if Oxbridge have had low employment stats consistently over many years, it's a valid point as to why this has happened!

Molio Sat 30-Aug-14 23:23:39

Sept issue of Student BMJ seems to think highly of Oxbridge med schools in its article 'Does it matter which medical school you go to', so probably not worth fretting too much.

Mindgone Mon 01-Sep-14 01:33:20

Another mum-of-a-medicine-applicant over here! It seems that we're in for a tough year, so many more hoops to jump through than other courses it seems. DS has done his UKCAT, not planning on doing BMAT, and needs to crack on with his PS.

titchy Mon 01-Sep-14 07:53:28

They're all probably doing a gap year, funded by parents whereas at other places they need to start to earn!

AllMimsyWereTheBorogoves Mon 01-Sep-14 15:16:17

Is that comment based on knowledge, titchy, or is it a snide reference to the myth that Oxbridge students are all from affluent homes?

titchy Mon 01-Sep-14 15:17:08

Bit of both mimsy.... wink

titchy Mon 01-Sep-14 15:23:17

And actually the Guardian league table data is pretty out of date - the most recent stuff puts Oxford and Cambridge at 98 or 99% employed or studying.

AllMimsyWereTheBorogoves Mon 01-Sep-14 15:28:26

Odd that it would ever be less than that - I wonder if they had a few pregnant students skewing the stats?

mummywithquestions Mon 01-Sep-14 17:02:55

Mindgone, I'm going to msg you a secret tip for your son for his application smile

newnameforanewstart Mon 01-Sep-14 17:07:56

I´m NOT applying but I am a consultant in charge of a busy A and E, I a have been through it all, if anyone has any questions etc I am happy to answer as best I can.

Mindgone Mon 01-Sep-14 18:37:11

Mummywithquestions, ooh, please do! Every little helps!

Newname, any advice would be most welcome! Is there anything in particular that you wish you knew at this stage?

DS is a kind, caring and bright boy who loves science. He has good stats so far, but it's hard knowing that so many great candidates get turned down each year! Any tips on how to get looked on favourably?!

newnameforanewstart Mon 01-Sep-14 19:42:40

Ok, these are the things I tend to say to people that ask me about applying for medicine.

Is it something you simply can not imagine not doing or is it something you want to do because it seems like a good idea? If its the first then you have a good chance of getting into uni if its the second then you probably wont.

Can you deal with the fact that at some point you will lose someone or have to tell someone that they are going to live in pain, they are terminally ill. Its not the hours, hard work or even politics that get to most Dr´s it having to deal with loss. Maybe because we missed something, maybe because they didn´t seek treatment or follow treatment etc. Could you look someone in the face and give them to worse news possible? If not then maybe medicine isn´t for you there are a LOT of similar disciplines that might be.

Could you treat someone that you hate with every ounce of your being? Could you treat someone that is known paedophile, terrorist, drug dealer etc. etc. because you probably will. Can you put aside your personal feelings and treat them the same as if they were an saint?

It is a career of hard work, long hours, extremes in everyway, heart break and the biggest joys that you will ever know. You will work anti social hours, have to deal with people in extreme distress, you will come across the most heart breaking situations both medically and in the lives of your patients. You will also deal with some exceptionally wonderful people that really touch you, You will deal with people that you don´t like both in the profession and as patients, families etc.

Obviously different specialties deal with different problems and callings. For example - I deal with split second decisions, running a department, organising a team, over seeing other doctors, teaching, I deal with trauma and accidents, dunks, overdoses, end of life, birth, the police, social services, abuse, rape, fights, and everything else in between. I don´t build long term relationships with patients and their families other specialties do. I am a generalist that is expect to have excellent multi disciplinary knowledge and skill. Other specialties are exactly that they are specialties. Some prospective doctors will have an idea of where they want to specialise sometimes this is right and sometimes this is wrong.

This is going to sound like a platitude medicine is no longer looking for JUST exceptional academic achievements, its looking for exceptional students. You need to have a life beyond studying and school but NOT at the expense of your grades. A few things you really need to be able to demonstrate.

Can you demonstrate team work, Maybe you are on a team, DofE etc.
Working under pressure,

Have you got work experience in a medical or care setting in more than one setting, I´m happy to help people with getting access to work experience if you finding it difficult eg. pointing you in possible directions etc.

Can you demonstrate a caring personality, Perhaps you have been a school mentor, or volunteer somewhere.

Can you show leadership skills maybe your a team captain

Can you deal with death etc, maybe volunteered at a hospice

Hobbies and interests are important how can you communicate and empathise with patients if all you have done is work your butt off to get good grades. Uni´s want you to have a life as well as studying

Can you demonstrate that you can take pressure? maybe you have entered a competition etc. etc.

Can you demonstrate that you have responsibilities? Maybe you have a part time job and have worked your way up to opening up etc. etc.

Have you been researching medicine as a career? READ READ and do more READING, talk to as many doctors as you can get near, talk to other disciplines eg physio or pharmacists etc. etc.

KNOW YOUR UNIVERSITIES and COLLEGES if appropriate. Find out everything you can about them, what makes you want to go there, what they are looking for, what sort of people have gone there and been successful, then think about what you can offer them.

IF this is the career for you then it is a wonderful thing, but getting into UNI is the easy bit, staying the course and dealing with the pressure whilst you there is harder. If you graduate you are in for a life time of studying, reading, researching etc. Financially yes if you graduate there are well paid jobs, but there are other well paid professions and studying medicine costs a fortune but if this is the career for you then there is nothing like it.

If anyone has any specific questions I am more than happy to try and answer them.

As a btw, I went to oxford, came from a working to middle class family, was the first person in my family to go to uni and I was one of 3 girls in my year. Just because you don´t come from the "right" background doesn't mean you will fall at the UNI hurdle.

lljkk Mon 01-Sep-14 19:54:56

Epic essay, Newname!! I'm sure it will be much appreciated.

How bad does it sound if I say DD wants to be a doctor because she loves watching Scrubs? wink

She's only 12, we're still exploring. She is first to say Scrubs is probably not quite realistic...

======
Oh, that's weird, I only just realised Fairywoods' post got deleted. I wonder why? She just said something about what Leeds & Newcastle Unis specifically liked. Becoming increasingly obvious that DD will have to do a huge amount of research in 4-6 yrs if she continues with the Med-school ambition.

Mindgone Mon 01-Sep-14 19:56:02

WOW newname, what a post! Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to really pour your heart into that! I will show it to DS and am sure he will find it very eye opening and helpful. thanks

mummywithquestions Tue 02-Sep-14 01:52:04

Wow newname... that will be appreciated by so many people!

Thanks :D

sallysparrow157 Tue 02-Sep-14 02:13:30

Lljkk, I am a paeds intensive care doctor and absolutely love my job. I went into medicine because of one episode of silent witness (they were doing some pathology stuff, someone vommed, I thought I could do that and not be sick, it planted a seed and here I am almost 20 yrs later loving what I do and getting paid for it!)
Of all the tv medial things, scrubs is actually one of the most realistic, the medical stuff is quite well researched and the cynicism is very true to life! If she wanted to be a doc cos she liked holby city I would be a bit more cynical but liking scrubs and doing well in science and maths at school will get her into med school as she will be going in with the right attitude
(The op I think is selling a personal statement writing service, this is the second time I have reported her so don't take her suggestions too seriously)

alreadytaken Tue 02-Sep-14 08:17:44

asked my child about the Cambridge stats - they thought it was probably misrecording of those who go into research. A few will go off to work in Australia or elsewhere but not many. They are happy with the course but did say that feedback could be of variable quantity and quality.

It is an intensive course and I wish people would encourage their children to think harder about whether Oxbridge would suit them. Colleges also vary considerably in welfare provision.

Theas18 Tue 02-Sep-14 08:32:29

Good luck to the prospective medics.

My 2p worth is also be prepared to fail and survive. DS applied with the " perfect profile" . Everything newname said was in place.

He was kept dangling till the last possible day in March then received rejections from the 2 places that interviewed him.

We could get no feedback. The only thing we could see was a high B in AS chemistry ( though predicted A at A2). He took it very very personally to start with. After all if " everything is in place it must be ME they don't like/want" .

Anyway, the good news is he did absolutely mentally stick two fingers up and graft.

He got A* A* AA in the end and is off to do neurosciences which is where he wanted to be specialism wise (though from a doc rather than science perspective). He thinks it'll offer him enough patient contact. He'll certainly have an relatively easy /fun 4 years I think. He didn't want a gap year.

What did he not do that he could should have done?

Apply to Ireland. I can't recommend this enough. They allocate places after A2 results and don't interview. DS almost certainly would have had a place there given his grades. They seem to put much more emphasis on grades.

Consider applying abroad to a course taught in English. DS viewed this as a " second rate" plan and in his naiive way didn't consider this ( as it is the route, at his school, that the pushy medic parents use to get their offspring into courses with ABB type profiles- Romania/Bulgaria being favoured but there are courses say in Holland that really would be UK equivalents, and where ever you go, you get an EU recognised medial degree).

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