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Medical school open days necessary?

(14 Posts)
tropicalfish Mon 19-Oct-15 10:14:39

hi all,
my dd has applied to do medicine but we haven't been able to visit Cardiff. Given she has now already applied do you think it is essential to attend the open day? With medicine, one is not likely to get 100% offers and so it could mean an expensive visit and one day's less bmat preparation. It is the bmat preparation I think is most important.
The only benefit is, is if you find out something that is going to be essential to know when it comes to interview time.
I am interested in the experience of how people gained from open days in previous years especially when it comes to the interview situation and what others would recommend in our position. One thing to note is that there is a lot of information available on their website and an open day talk.
If anyone has experience of Cardiff medical school perhaps they they could pass on their experience?
Many thanks

LessStress Mon 19-Oct-15 12:06:25

DD went to the Cardiff medicine open day in the Summer and absolutely loved it. I drove her as there wasn't an early enough train so I went along to the parents' programme (they very wisely split parents from students at the start of the day).
The day was very well organised, the facilities were brand new and everyone seemed knowledgable and friendly. Lunch was even provided free for parents as well as students.
At the parents' talks we were told that they use panel interviews that include a medical student. They didn't give much away but said that they would expect students to be able to talk about everything on their personal statement and be aware of current issues.
I just checked the website and there seem to be all of the talks posted there so I don't think your DD needs to go really.

I think Cardiff is keen not to discriminate against those who can't afford to travel to open days or go on UKCAT courses, hence their open approach and minimal use of UKCAT.
DD would be very happy to get an offer from Cardiff. She is also mid-BMAT practice at the moment. Which BMAT schools has your DD applied to?

Decorhate Mon 19-Oct-15 13:19:40

My dd applied to Cardiff last year, without having been to an Open Day. Mainly because she felt she had a good chance of being called for an interview & it is a biggish city, which is what she wanted.

Of the 4 medical schools she applied to, it was the only one she hadn't visited.

She did get an interview but not an offer. In spite of her online research it was only at the interview that she realised that their Case Based Learning teaching methods were really PBL in another guise. Which she was trying to avoid. So perhaps this affected her interview on the day, who knows?

She did get offers from the other three, which she had previously visited. Maybe just coincidence.

I did feel that the Open Days I accompanied her to were very useful for gleaning exactly how that medical school assessed applicants to determine who to call for interview. A lot of that information was not easily available elsewhere or not obvious from the prospectus or website.

Hope our experience is useful!

Molio Mon 19-Oct-15 13:33:58

tropicalfish my DS didn't go to any Open Days at all. He found all he thought he needed to know on the websites. As you say, these visits are expensive and time consuming. He got three interview invites and got an offer from all three of those and one rejection without interview. My own view would be that the Open Days aren't in any way necessary but I'm sure you'll find lots of different combinations of attendance/ offers, non attendance/ offers/ attendance/ rejection, non attendance/ rejection to shore up all theories! I'd say if she's no strong desire to go then save money and time and don't go.

tropicalfish Mon 19-Oct-15 13:34:39

hi Lessstress
Thanks for the information about Cardiff, DD has applied to Oxford and UCL.
Someone else dd knows has applied to Cardiff and said you can get posted all round wales for clinical experience.
Also I heard the campus and the city are great. First class facilities and would consider ourselves lucky to get an offer. Although I have heard (from mumsnet) that the accommodation is not that good. Did you have a look at any when when you went?

Its a nice day out in theory but I noticed the first talk is at 10. Then the next one is at 1 and 2. There is another site to go and would have to aim for the 10am talk to make the most of the visit. It looks like they've planned a fantastic day and if it wasnt for the bmat I think it would be great to go. It all adds up though doesnt it, open days and interview days, definitely not cheap! The open days are not that easy to attend, when you have to prepare for the ukcat, bmat or do work experience.

tropicalfish Mon 19-Oct-15 13:53:44

hi Decorhate,
My dd is also not too keen on PBL. I think Case based learning is a little different though as they do also have lectures. Its hard to avoid PBL.
DD decided not to apply to Manchester for this reason.
Thanks Molio for your advice as well. I just wondered if they ask you if you have been to their open days at the interview.

Molio Mon 19-Oct-15 14:07:16

Birmingham asked DS, yes. He said no so they offered a tour. Whether the tour was the point or not, who knows? smile Imperial didn't mention it, nor Oxford.

Decorhate Mon 19-Oct-15 15:15:20

Tropical, my dd was not convinced that cbl was different enough. Though obv one can't be too fussy with medical school places!

The other places she applied to (which were not heavy on PBL) were Leeds, Oxford & Birmingham.

LessStress Mon 19-Oct-15 19:52:27

Tropical- ditto here for the BMAT schools! DD knows that they're a bit of a long shot due to her less-than-perfect grades but is quite sanguine about her chances. She sees this as a two year process and wouldn't mind a gap year.

We didn't see any accommodation in Cardiff but I remember my student house way back when had slugs so anything better than that will be pretty good as far as I'm concerned.

DD isn't keen on PBL but Cardiff stress that CBL is more structured.

tropicalfish Tue 20-Oct-15 09:36:25

thanks LessStress, my dd is of the opinion that the pbl aspect is about a tenth of the course. Not sure if this is correct.
Slugs ? I had ants in the kettle. I still remember pouring my cup of tea down the sink and finding a deposit of ants at the bottom.

Wandastartup Wed 21-Oct-15 21:05:58

Cardiff do a tour in the morning of any interview led by current students so missing the open day is not important I don't think.

tropicalfish Thu 22-Oct-15 00:03:07

that sounds great Wanda, that has put my mind at rest. And obviously a chance to talk to the students as well as the tour.

CakeUpWall Thu 22-Oct-15 00:13:53

DS visited Cardiff and was very impressed. However, as you mentioned, the possibility of being posted to a remote bit of far-flung Wales was not his cup of tea.

DH went with him to the open day and had a thoroughly enjoyable day out; they did seem to take very good care of the parents. Good freebies too, although that's probably not the main criterion when choosing your med school. grin

Wandastartup Fri 23-Oct-15 19:49:16

Most medical schools send people far & wide for clinical e.g. Nottingham final years can be sent to Taunton. Dundee used to go to Middlesborough, Cardiff anywhere in Wales. There is very good experience to be had in DGH's particularly as there are often fewer students around. The facilities are often better too.

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