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Medicine Applications 2017(540 Posts)
As UKCAT season is in full swing and I can't find a thread anywhere else I thought I'd start this off. This is for parents of children looking to apply for Medicine at University with courses starting in 2017. UCAS application is only a couple of months away. It is hard to watch our kids put themselves through so much to work in the hardest profession imaginable and I thought it might be useful to start some sort of discussion here.
<-- here, you'll be needing this.
Where is your DC thinking of applying or are they waiting to see how their UKCAT goes?
I can't believe the pressure of the whole process. You have to admire any DC that attempts it. I know that Medical Schools only want people that are totally committed but it seems counterintuitive that we have such a shortage of doctors in the UK and reject quite so many wonderfully qualified students from doing medicine.
I quite like the fact that the snobbishness of what Uni people go to is largely removed in Medicine though. So DC look at towns and courses that are going to excite them rather than go somewhere just because it is at the top of a league table.
Our DC has taken their UKCAT already so they could get it out of the way before going on holiday. I thought it might be a bit rash, in case a low score ruined the summer (I kept that to myself). But they got a score they were happy with.
Our DC is at their local excellent Comp but is the only student there interested in Medicine. I have read on some of the Mumsnet threads of schools with lots of medical candidates with their own societies devoted to getting them into medical school and I am now slightly worried that my DCs school might not have enough info on how best to do the reference for medicine.
Anyway a specific question. My DC liked Birmingham but can't find out exactly how they use the UKCAT to choose who to interview. Has anyone seen anything specific? I also read something about them wanting only people with all A*s at GCSEs. But that looked a bit out of date. Any thoughts anyone?
Just had a look again through another link to Birmingham and found the answers I was looking for. I think I was landing on older cached version of the website somehow. Let's start a chat anyway!
My DC was at a school where there were usually no medicine applicants and where they didn't give any support with personal statements or interview practice. I'm not sure it matters, in fact I've a suspicion that it actually helped him as he had to research everything himself. My DCs personal statement was not word perfect but at least it sounded as though he had written it. The admissions staff see 100's of medicine personal statements so I'm sure they can see what's what. My DC followed the advice given on various Universities websites about how to write a personal statement.
I think it's important to apply to the Unis that really suit your strengths - my DC had a strong UKCAT so applied to a couple of Unis where he was as good as guaranteed an interview.
The criteria used by different universities to decide who to make offers to changes year by year so it's important to make sure that your DC finds out the current requirements and learns to ignore out of date advice.
Most medical schools have clear and transparent admissions policies. They are not trying to trick applicants.
My DC found the medical school admissions staff to be very helpful when he contacted them.
That is really encouraging to hear. Got a feeling it is going to be a long year.
Had a chat with mine. It looks like favourites at the moment are Birmingham and Bristol out of the ones DC has seen and DC going to look at Leicester, Sheffield and Exeter in September. They got a UKCAT average of 746 and SJT level 1. DC knows Bristol don't use the UKCAT score as a big part of their selection process but really liked the Uni and the town. Are there any other Uni's you would suggest they should look at from your personal experience?
My top tip for applicants is to take a look at Leeds. Even just to have as a backup. I know that means having to do the BMAT as well (though my dd found that easier than the UKCAT) but currently they don't over-offer places and changing to BMAT reduced the number of applicants.
They took dd with a dropped grade last year (thankfully) and white a few people on her course got offers after results day. Technically medical courses don't go into clearing but they seem to keep an unofficial waiting list of people they had initially rejected.
Try the student room as this may give info on the individuals med schools. Also try e mailing med school admissions.
Each med school have their own criteria for example Cardiff puts a lot of weight on personal statement and interview and only looks at UKCAT score for marginal cases.
Also be prepared for UKCAT score cut off to vary from year to year eg Portsmouth put theirs up for 2016. In 2016 Exeter was only looking at candidates forecast all A stars.
So with only 4 applications I would say chose the med school with the best fit in order to maximise chances of selection for interview.
Obviously a stand out personal statement is key and if the school does not have any experience of med applications DC may need some help - do you know any med students who can look it over?
Some med schools also try to encourage students from outside the grammar/independents type schools.
Also interview practise is important again my ds was told in Brighton that over 60% of interview candidates don't get an offer.
You can get books off amazon but med schools guard their question banks very strongly. My ds was told that any candidate found sharing (or selling) their interview questions would lose their offer.
Actual interview practise is key, again do you know any med students? Find out what style of interview the med school operates ie panel or mmi.
My ds was lucky as he had plenty of preparation but still found it stressful and when I was waiting for him to emerge several candidates came out in tears.
Also look at the fifth choice if worse comes to worse some med schools allow a transfer from first/second years of biomed or similar courses.
Also don't be put off if they don't get an offer - this happens to many many applicants. If that happens get DC to work hard for their A levels get AAA or better and apply again with improved personal statement/ work experience.
Good luck x
Thanks everyone. All great advice and made me feel a lot better.
I'd seen from last years thread that Leeds gave out fewer offers and had an unofficial reserve list. Very interesting.
I think my DC is a bit intimidated by the essay writing element of the BMAT. They thought it seemed a bit more suited to people used to debating societies etc. It can't be that hard, though, can it?
Someone mentioned that some Uni's have a culture of encouraging State School applicants. Was there any, in particular, they were thinking of?
I was recommended to message here by a Mum at mumnet.
I am a Dental Student in my 3rd year, I have been through the admissions process and know what its like!
Its tough for the students, and even more so for the Mums and Dads!
If you would like any advice or insight please do ask me, if its a Medicine based question and I cant answer, I can ask one of my Medic colleagues or perhaps a Medical tutor.
Re the BMAT, from what I remember it is very science based (rather than abstract in the UKCAT). Assuming your dc is doing all science/maths for A level they should find it ok. My dd is allergy to essays & didn't find it too bad.
The issue with BMAT is that it isn't done until after the UCAS applications deadline so you don't know the result when you apply. This makes it less popular obviously. Plus it's another exam to study for etc.
However certain med schools insist on it (Oxford I think is one) so if your DC has their heart set on one or more of those then they will have to do it.
Hi DentalPrep my dd is looking at dentistry and I am a bit worried about her lack of work experience. Would you mind telling me which uni you are at ? She has 3 definite choices and is going to the Cardiff open day in Sept.
King's College London for Dentistry - arguably the best dental school in the country.
I suppose this isn't helpful, but as a GP if you have a bright child I'd tell them to run a million miles from doing medicine. I really really hope mine don't want to be doctors and I don't know any doctors who want their kids to follow them into the profession in the UK.
If they insist and get in, make sure they do the USMLE as they go along and encourage them to learn some foreign languages so that they have options outside the NHS, which is possibly the worst employer in the world.
Story in the Times today - medicine places in clearing for the first time ever. It isn't the sought after degree that it once was and for very good reason.
Does the Times article say there are definitely places in clearing (because I can't see any on UCAS) or are they speculating that there will be?
At what stage should UK students think about taking the USMLE? Have you done it yourself?
My nephew is going into his second year at Leicester he is very happy with his choice.
I didn't do the USMLE but I would do if training now. you do it as you go along, so when you're doing your anatomy at med school you do the anatomy bit of the USMLE etc - so you don't have to go back to the basics when you are in clinical and have
forgotten everything lost the finer detail of it all
As a current doctor, I'm going to gatecrash here.
Medicine requires independence, dedication, persistence, an indomitable spirit and copious amounts of resilience.
Its great that parents want to support their children in their application, but if they are requiring lots of support, or you are doing lots of it for them, do think about whether they are really suited to it. One of my housemates was pushed into medicine by parents, pushed through the course by her parents and quit
to pursue an infinitely more sensible career with a work-life balance within 6 months of qualifying.
Hello. Mum of an aspiring medic here. Much for all who partake.
I have quite actively tried to dissuade ds from this route because I don't actually think he's very well-suited to it as a career. But ds as ever has stubbornly taken no notice of me.
He is in active UKCAT panic at the moment, having realised
finally that it's a bloody difficult test and practice might help. He's done a couple of disastrous mock practices and is full of gloom and doom.
I hate the stress of watching helpless from the sidelines. Thank god for MN.
St George's are advertising places in clearing for medicine on their own website.
Hellsbells is right. I did not spot any others. I have not read the Times article, but it seems a sensible move on SGUL's part to go into clearing/adjustment, and need not indicate desperation or a dire shortage of would be medics.
DD went to the SGUL open day last year and reported back that they were looking for a relatively low minimum for academic achievement, but then set great store about character etc. They have traditionally encouraged access for non traditional applicants. All well and good, but this probably leaves them open to having a higher proportion than most failing to achieve grades. And might put off some like DD who was looking for something more "University like" and with a more traditionally academic teaching approach. SGUL is a popular choice locally, as it is reputed to be warm and friendly. "London" might also put off would be applicants from elsewhere in the country. In fact Tooting is very different from Imperial, UCL or Bart, surprisingly green and not a bad place to live for someone who wants to be able to access the centre but not live there.
At the same time DD knows a few good candidates who got no offers, and there will be plenty more out there. To some extent its down to canny tactical choice and luck. My guess is that SGUL will find themselves with a number of good applicants, with very good grades, and so by doing this, could end up with a stronger cohort than taking people who firmed but failed to meet grade requirements.
Anyone who is resigned to taking a gap year would be well advised to take a look.
Microscope speaks the truth. Places are going through clearing this year.
Steer them to do something else other than medicine. Seriously. Vet science or dentistry but NOT medicine.
Hell will freeze over before my kids apply.
Oh dear, that's going to be a bit of a thread killer :-(