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Flexi entry requirements for medical science/s at Uni?

(21 Posts)
CerysBore Sun 13-Jan-13 18:59:16

DS, first year sixth form, is really and truly stuggling with AS Maths. Upcoming January exam, likely, in his own words, to fail badly. Was deaf to our suggestions/pleas for a tutor - has found it so hard to grasp basic concepts that he'd kind of frozen up and finding it hard to get started. Now, on the eve of the exam, he knows he should have worked a lot harder, accepted help and he's reconciled to re-taking it, along with the second unit, in May. But highly unlikely to proceed to A2.

Also doing biology - going better - and physics - doing better and had been told that maths was a real boon to physics. True but doesn't stop DS from having had great difficult with maths. Such a huge change from GCSE.

He's also doing a non science subject.

Talking of medical science as a career - but would have to rule out anything that required, at A Level, maths or chemistry. I've done some looking around and I think that, especially as he'd have to mention all his AS grades, medicine (which he'd like) might be tricky.

Questions: Anyone had/has a DC who's made strides in something as (I think) fiendishly difficult as maths after getting good 1:1 support?
Anyone's DC's held back, as far as they know, by having to enter poor (including U) grades on an UCAS application?
And, do you know of any higher ed courses in a field of medicine science (medicine itself - one of the longer programmes?) with perhaps a more flexible approach to entry requirements? He's likely to have an AS maths (maybe not a high grade and which will include a re-sit of the January unit); biology, physics and history.

This is a turning point for DS - knows he's got to ask for help, to accept it and to stop using the computer as a prop - I think it's become something of a safety net - an excuse not to knuckle down to past papers, notes and text books.


timidviper Sun 13-Jan-13 19:12:33

I believe medicine has become even more competitive recently and some unis will only consider applicants with excellent GCSEs, AS and As with no resits but I have no direct experience

ggirl Sun 13-Jan-13 19:17:26

no experience of medicine application but dd did take a level maths and also found it a struggle
we got her a tutor for the mechanics side of it
she got loads of 1-1 from her teacher at school at lunch and after school
she pulled off an A
she worked bloody hard for it

she also found gcse maths easy and got A* a yr early

so I guess with a lot of hard work it is possible

deadlift Sun 13-Jan-13 19:20:02

I'm afraid that without taking chemistry at A Level he's not going to be able to do Medicine. I can't think of any medical school that doesn't require it. Also, to be a bit blunt, if he's struggling with A Levels he's really not going to stand much of a chance at doing Medicine anyway.

I do know of people that have improved their grades significantly with tutoring so that would be worth a go. You don't have to declare U grades on UCAS but I believe you do have to declare all other grades and, depending on the subjects, and that is going to put off certain universities. If he really did want to do medicine then he could think about graduate entry medicine, but that's even more competitive than undergraduate medicine so he'd be likely to need a first in a strong science subject. There are however lots of different medical science courses that accept people with a wide range of grades so he might want to look into that.

NewFerry Sun 13-Jan-13 19:23:55

I believe a good maths tutor could help your DS. But I think you are right to assume that if he is struggling a lot this early on, he is unlikely to want to take this beyond AS level.

Re medicine or medical science degrees, I have absolutely no experience, but I would have thought Chemistry would have been a useful topic, perhaps more so than Physics. However, as I say, I have no experience of DC wanting to study medicine, so apols if I am wrong.

NewFerry Sun 13-Jan-13 19:26:44

X-posted smile

Percephone Sun 13-Jan-13 19:43:38

He might find it difficult to get a place in the UK without top grades. Other options might be going in as a graduate or trying medical school abroad eg Croatia where teaching us in English but entry requirements lower. However if he is struggling now he has to think his he might cope with the work on a medical degree course and eventually postgraduate exams. It only gets harder.

MariscallRoad Sun 13-Jan-13 19:57:22

I think so, like NewFerry, that a good maths tutor, and one to one tution would help your DS. In maths and science, a pupil might do better when he is taught at his pace - but check with his school. It is important not to leave gaps! Science subjects require good maths. It is best that you discuss with his school whether they feel DS has some difficulties which might requires extra time.

VinegarDrinker Sun 13-Jan-13 20:02:23

There are various Access courses you can do to try and get into medicine without the traditional need for Chemistry and AAA/AAB. Several medical schools run their own 'Widening Participation' schemes where you do a 1 year Foundation year before starting the MBBS. Kings was one of the first to pioneer this, George's does it too, and a quick Google brought up this page

Another option is to do another medical sciences/biomedical sciences degree then apply for a Graduate Entry Medicine course, of which there are lots. Some places which offer BMedSci and MBBS will let the top eg 5% of BMedSci transfer to MBBS after 2nd year.

As well as the academic side, he needs to be working hard on his non academic stuff, especially work experience. This is probably the biggest thing medical schools go by to try and sift those who are serious about it.

VinegarDrinker Sun 13-Jan-13 20:03:30

Oh and I don't agree that doing badly in AS level Maths is in any way a predictor of not coping with MBBS.

deadlift Sun 13-Jan-13 20:14:34

Doing badly in maths might not predict how well you can cope with MBBS (although really, if he can't manage to do enough work to do well at 4 AS subjects is he really going to do well at Medicine?) but it is likely to predict your chance of actually getting into the course in the first place.

VinegarDrinker Sun 13-Jan-13 20:20:20

Hence my suggestions for other routes into medicine. He is doing well in his other subjects according to the OP.

True there is a lot to learn in MBBS but actually I don't think much, if any of it, is particularly conceptually difficult. Others may disagree of course! Obviously they need to be reasonably bright, but study skills and self discipline are probably more important imho. It sounds like this boy is learning a big and important lesson about those right now, so it could go either way!

deadlift Sun 13-Jan-13 20:33:06

I agree that no part of the MBBS is conceptually difficult but neither is AS maths and he hasn't shown himself to be good at that. He could fix his study skills and self discipline by the time he applies to graduate medicine but that is still hugely competitive. The access courses also tend to be for those with some form of mitigating circumstances and the OP hasn't mentioned any.

VinegarDrinker Sun 13-Jan-13 20:41:44

Some people just struggle with certain things, though, don't they? If I set a maths test for colleagues I doubt they'd all fly through easily despite having passed MBBS.

I think the OP's son is best applying for BMedSci if he is set on a medical route. By the end of the 3 years it will be evident whether it would suit him or not. I agree that Graduate Medicine is ultra-competitive but some teenagers do need a bit longer to learn those study skills (dare I say especially boys).

titchy Sun 13-Jan-13 21:47:01

Tbh I think he needs to look at other alliesd professions, medicine is virtually impossible without chem unless he is a serious academic high flyer (in which case the foundation year could be an option), and struggling at a2 would suggest he probably isn't quite high flying enough. He really should have started work experience in year 11. I guess medicine is a new idea given he didn't start chemistry?

DoodlesNoodles Sun 13-Jan-13 21:50:51

You DS still has time to do ok at his maths AS, it is not unusual to do poorly in the Jan. modules and then turn things around.

Here are entry requirements for medical science at Birmingham. Your DS is studying the right range of subjects. You could google some other Universities.

Getting into medical school without chemistry would be challenging but not impossible. He would be able to meet, for example, Durham Universities academic requirements and possibly some others.... You can check here on The Student Room website. Their info is not always 100% correct but it's a great starting point. They have a wiki page on foundation / widening access courses for non-standard entry to medicine.

As other posters have pointed out, there is a lot more to medicine applications than academic. confused

alreadytaken Mon 14-Jan-13 12:54:43

how well are his subjects going? For medicine he would need straight As and ideally A*s. Also although Durham, Newcastle (can apply to both) and East Anglia do not, in theory, require Chemistry for the standard course I suspect they may not take applicants without it. Some schools only require AS chemistry, although often at grade A. Medicine is a tough course where some students repeat a year, if he's struggling with A level it may not be the best choice for him.

There are 6 year medicine courses where I believe you can apply with one or two science subjects. I don't know a great deal about these but would suggest looking on the Student room website then checking with medical schools. I believe Bristol, Dundee, Keele, Nottingham, Manchester, Sheffield and St Georges would be worth checking. He could also check for other courses that allow transfer to medicine after a year, I know that Newcastle Biomedical do this but they require Chemistry.

He does need to get some work experience to help him decide on possible careers.

alreadytaken Mon 14-Jan-13 12:59:46

sorry that should have been ideally an A*. Not all medical schools require it and I don't want to frighten people off. However some schools do require an A* now.

CerysBore Mon 14-Jan-13 19:30:47

Thank you, all. Some very practical and eminently sensible suggestions, here - from alternative routes to giving serious thought to work experience placements.

I've noted everything - student room; BMedSci possibilities and the pre-clincial/foundation year schemes. I'm very grateful - I'm going to talk DS through these possibilities and, especially, (and I take the point completely which several of you are making) the need to vastly improve study skills.

I can't, very unfortunately, count on his school for any help in this department but I can count on myself (I know, mostly from bitter experience, the consequences of not studying well and consistently) and on DS's aptitude generally. A bright boy, very interested in and curious about science in particular and now set on medicine - but he realizes that he may have to consider a range of possibilities in this overall field.

I will get a tutor - he was so set against it but not fully understands why this is so important. Came back from his exam today saying it went 'as expected' ie very badly. If only he could unravel some of the complications as he sees them - 1:1 could be a step in the right direction.

Above all - study skills. They are pretty bad. He has more or less forsaken books and note taking for the computer - DH and I need to get a very firm handle on this.

Many thanks again.

Scrazy Mon 14-Jan-13 19:38:32

My DC got onto a widening access course for medicine. The requirement was chem and bio at A level, and also had to meet certain social criteria and it was extremely competitive. I believe there are courses which don't require sciences but think these might be aimed at older candidates.

Mine struggles with AS maths and dropped it at AS level. It seemed to be the physics students that coped with it at A2.

alreadytaken Tue 15-Jan-13 09:41:51

CerysBore if he's really set on medicine there is no time to waste. Voluntary or paid work in a care home, hospice or other way of working with the less able shows long term commitment. Medical schools vary in how much they ask about this but it can be a significant part of the interview. Also only a few medical schools will consider applicants who resit outside the normal 2 year period for A levels. If he needs to pick up an AS in Chemistry after completing A levels they would probably accept that but you'd need to visit or e-mail medical schools and ask. The schools that do consider resit applicants generally want an A* in the subject they resit and they may only accept a resit in one subject.

Most medical schools will have open days in June, some earlier. Take him to visit your nearest medical school at their next open day and if possible also sign up for others he may consider. At the open days schools are far more honest about what they actually do, their websites give a theoretical minimum requirement but they don't usually give places to those with minimum requirements. If his academic results are likely to be at the lower end of the applicant scale then his voluntary work/work experience become more critical.

Graduate medicine is even more competitive than undergraduate. For that reason graduates quite often apply to the 5 year course after graduating. It's a very expensive route into medicine. He would also find that many medical schools still ask for Chemistry A level from graduates. He could do something like a Biology degree. Medical Physics might require more maths than he could handle. Would he consider a Nursing degree? Clinical Psychology is about as competitive as medicine and many courses want Maths, although an AS might be enough. He could consider therapy jobs - you might find this interesting

If he likes using the computer point him at the Khan academy

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