Medicine 2018?

(1000 Posts)
Katisha Sat 01-Jul-17 12:13:15

Is there already a thread for medicine applications for 2018 entry?
If not can I start one?
Wondered if anyone knew about the Birmingham GCSE situation as DS has A stars and As at GCSE and likely to be predicted A stars at A level but is coming up on their offers calculator as unlikely to get an interview.
Is it pointless to apply to Birmingham if not all stars at GCSE? Didn't get a star in biology.

OP’s posts: |
Decorhate Sun 02-Jul-17 08:01:08

I see they have changed their application criteria. It used to be something like 5 A stars at GCSE to have a chance of an interview.

Unless there are very compelling reasons for Birmingham I'd look elsewhere if you think it's an outside chance of getting in. With medicine you have to be extremely strategic and focus on where you have the best chances of getting in, not where you fancy studying (obv ideally these would coincide!)

swingofthings Sun 02-Jul-17 10:17:49

DD will be applying for 2018 entry. Her GCSE results were not great (mainly As, with a couple of A*s and one B). Need to wait for outcome of her AS and mocks, but expected to be predicted As in the three subjects.

No final decision on which school to apply to until she knows how she's done on the UKCAT and BMAT, but most likely will pick schools that value personal statement/experience as she's done quite well in that area.

Next step, practicing for the UKCAT which she is taking early August. It's very much a step by step tick box process!

I don't know anything about Birmingham I'm afraid. Would be great to have a thread for 2018 entry. Reading the previous thread, it seems we parents will also need plenty of support to get us through it with them!

Katisha Sun 02-Jul-17 13:26:44

Well shall we try and make this the 2018 thread?
DS went to see UCL yesterday which he liked but the accommodation looked pretty grim. I've been looking at the prices for student accommodation in London and am somewhat aghast! He could commute in from home for a lot less, and met a current student going just that, but that seems rather limiting socially.

OP’s posts: |
swingofthings Sun 02-Jul-17 17:51:58

I'm in smile and hope more join us.

What made your DS pick UCL as a possibility? DD isn't doing any visits, mainly due to both of us being extremely busy and taking the approach that she would be happy to go anywhere that offers her a place!

goodbyestranger Sun 02-Jul-17 21:22:14

You have to apply before the BMAT though, which can through up problems if it doesn't go according to plan. UKCAT is different and can certainly help with planning.

goodbyestranger Sun 02-Jul-17 21:24:42

Incidentally one of my DS's is currently borrowing the room of a school friend UCL medic and he reports back that the place is great.


goodbyestranger Sun 02-Jul-17 21:26:04

Borrowing out of term time for an internship but all the flat mates are there doing similar and it seems very civilised.

goodbyestranger Sun 02-Jul-17 21:29:33

Goodness - I shouldn't type while cooking and being jumped on by a puppy! Throw not through and DSs not DS's etc etc.

The new Birmingham thing is interesting (and helpful). My DS (just gone into his 6th year at Oxford) didn't visit either, on the grounds that he'd see places which chose to inerview him and no point seeing places which didn't.

RedHelenB Sun 02-Jul-17 21:37:24

You can get useful info at open days though on the application procedure and what they looked for in a candidate xx

Katisha Sun 02-Jul-17 21:42:26

Well he looked at UCL as we realised he could make the open day. Also wanted to see what a London school could be like as we'd been discounting them as too close and too expensive!
Has also seen Birmingham, Leicester and had a couple of oxbridge taster days through school. He really liked Birmingham.

OP’s posts: |
Needmoresleep Mon 03-Jul-17 09:07:13

Katisha, for Birmingham you need to read [ this]

and then work out what score he is likely to get. If it looks as if he will score below 7, which the University suggest is around the likely cut off level, it probably is not worth your DS putting it down. But the score will depend on his UKCAT mark as well as GCSEs and an A in Biology is OK as long as he makes up for it elsewhere.

DD applied two years ago and was offered a place. Her application was, in part, about relative advantage. She had quite good GCSEs but a pretty ordinary UKCAT score. Birmingham is one of the medical schools which give a high weighting to achieved GCSEs. It is also large so lots of places and therefore a reasonably good acceptance rate.

I was interested to see that they seem to have relaxed their offers a little. If you are offering four A levels you are not required to get an A star in one them, and with the A*AA there no longer seems to be a requirement that the A* is in a lab subject. (DDs choice of who to firm was made easier by the fact that the other offer was AAA. Just as well as she missed her chemistry A* by a single UMS, and the maths A* would not have counted, nor did the fact she was taking more than three A levels. )

Two tips:

1. practice UKCAT as much as you can. A good UKCAT score opens lots of doors.

2. Look at the intercalation options, as it may give an idea of a medical school's strength. From memory quite a lot of Birmingham's options were around public health.

DC knew quite a lot who went on to UCL It seems to attract some very academic applicants.

swingofthings Mon 03-Jul-17 18:48:51

You have to apply before the BMAT though
Not anymore, for the first time (I believe), there are two dates for the BMAT and the first one is early September.

This is great as it means that you can take it before applying, but it's a lot of revision/practice in the Summer between BMAT and UKCAT.

DD is just starting to practice for the UKCAT. She still has college until end of July, but is doing it with some of her friends during study times. She says that some she finds quite easy (where the others tend not to), but others not at all.

I have been beating into her for months now that doing well at the UKCAT is her best chance to get an offer so I think she gets it, can only hope she will do enough. Practicing is not her forte, she rather be designing revision sheets, but she knows that there are no alternatives. She is taking it the first week of August.

In a way, not getting many A*s at GCSE is making it easier to make her selection as it removes quite a number of options!

Abra1d Mon 03-Jul-17 18:54:32

My daughter has firmed a Birmingham offer this year. Her A* could well be in Drama, and this doesn't bother Birmingham. Her other A levels are chemistry and biology.

For context, she has 9A*s and 1A at gcse. Annoyingly the single A was in English Language, which usually has to be included in the various tarifs medical schools set for gcse scores. For UKCAT she was somewhere around top 25-30% of scores, so not super dooper. I agree that a good score helps. If she had done hers a little later in the summer and NOT at the very earliest slot in the day (not a lark), I think she could have done a little better, not that it mattered at the end of the day.

She wasn't one of the first to hear from her school, but got an offer in March. The girls who had almost immediate offers had very high UKCATs and similar or higher GCSEs. And of course the personal statements varied.

She interviews well, probably because of the drama she does, which may have helped at Brum. There is quite a lot of emphasis on communication skills in the MMI interview set-up.

It was also the last of her three interviews, so she may have been particularly confident then.

Trying to think if there is anything else I can remember...

Abra1d Mon 03-Jul-17 18:57:21

It is silly in some ways that GCSEs count so much. They are still so young at 16. My son wouldn't have been mature enough to pull his finger out at that age, but my daughter, one of the eldest in her year, was just more switched on and focused.

goodbyestranger Mon 03-Jul-17 20:24:17

swingofthings apologies then if it's changed. Certainly it was a gamble putting several BMAT unis down on the UCAS form in (what now appears to be!) the old days. I guess there could arguably be an advantage in taking the BMAT a couple of months later, in November (I assume that's the second sitting?). Presumably you can only take it once?

Abra1d when did Birmingham interview her, out of interest?

Needmoresleep Tue 04-Jul-17 08:34:00

Stranger, not hearing until late March/early April regardless of when you are interviewed is pretty standard. Only Oxbridge interview everyone in one go, so can make decisions relatively early. Others need to be sure that those with late interviews have equal opportunity, so seem to hold onto other applications until they have interviewed everyone. DD qualified for SEN interviews and the three she got all took place at the end of the interview schedule in the same week in March, with her being warned that she would still have to wait two/three weeks for a response. (She then got a rejection pretty much the next day so she must have bombed that one - despite thinking it had gone well!)

I am soooo glad it is over. I don't envy anyone who has to go through it this year.

Abra1d Tue 04-Jul-17 09:18:41

goodbye in January.

swingofthings Wed 05-Jul-17 06:05:00

It is silly in some ways that GCSEs count so much
Not all do so though, so as it is always advised, it is picking the right school for the right ability. DD has gained very good insight around medically related matters by doing volunteering, work experience in hospital, and working every week-end since last November in a nursing home. She has also been involved in a Med School programme for the last 5 years, so she has so far chosen schools that are more likely to value this over GCSEs.

Abra1d, yes, you can only take once and indeed, advantages and disadvantages in taking it early. Even taken early, they will still not know the cut off for interviews, so still a gamble, but a slightly more calculated one. DD is looking at potentially two BMAT applications.

swingofthings Wed 05-Jul-17 06:08:18

Needmoresleep, I got it in my head that DD won't get in this year, mainly because even though she is a mature teenager and showing some definite level of commitment into the process, I think it is still a bit surreal for her and she doesn't fully appreciate yet the total immersion she needs to get herself into to get in. I believe fully in her, but I think it will take two rounds! Would be over the moon if she proved me wrong!

goodbyestranger Wed 05-Jul-17 08:56:43

Yes Needmoresleep it seems to me that a number of places have pushed back their general date of notification. When DS did his applications a lot of medical schools gave out offers immediately after interview (certainly Birmingham, Bristol, Imperial, Nottingham, Southampton).

swingofthings I don't think there's any need for total immersion, and I don't think that that's something which has changed.

goodbyestranger Wed 05-Jul-17 08:59:23

UCL gives out offers withing a short time of interview too. In fact all those schools I mention still give offers shortly after interview at least some applicants, so perhaps it's just a few schools which don't? I'm confused!

goodbyestranger Wed 05-Jul-17 09:04:39

One question to swingofthings: how can a Y12 have been involved in a medical school programme for five years? That seems exceptional. What sort of experience did in involve and how did she get the place? Did the medical school look to local schools for Y8s to participate in a long running programme? Our most local large hospital offers a week long placement for Y12s but nothing more or earlier. I'm really interested to know about a five year programme and how effective it is - can those developing an interest later join in?

swingofthings Wed 05-Jul-17 11:10:09

goodbyestranger it was a programme aimed for Y9-Y12 local pupils organised by the local Med school. 6 days a year or so aimed at pupils from 'disadvantage' backgrounds (in this instance local comprehensives and parents who have not gone to Uni), interested in a medical career and with promising results. She is doing a week residential in a couple of weeks at the school.

It was been very valuable as worked alongside current medical students with a mixture of 'fun activities' but also some learning and at times demanding homework. It has given her access to a number of seminars this year.

It has really given her a flavour of what to expect both at Med school and as a clinician.

goodbyestranger Wed 05-Jul-17 11:45:01

Thanks for the reply swingofthings - interesting, sounds a good programme.

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