How to make your UCAS application for medicine stand out from the crowd, amplifying your chances of success.
Steve Martin, university expert and our Director of University Guidance provides a highly bespoke service to support and advise students throughout the UK university application process. In this blog you will find key information related to constructing an application to study Medicine ensuring that your application stands out from the crowd.
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1. Understanding the commitment
A career in medicine is a real vocation. Whilst immensely rewarding, being a doctor is also challenging, heartbreaking and exhausting. More than any other course, the decision to apply to train to be a doctor should be one that should be very carefully researched and well thought out over a significant period.
2. Understanding how you will learn
There are 45 medical schools in the UK although several of them are private and therefore have very high fees. In 2021 8,835 students qualified as doctors in the UK. Universities don’t all teach in the same way, so you need to carefully research the teaching methodology, which is either traditional, case-based learning, inquiry-based learning, or problem-based learning. You need to choose the mode of learning that suits you best.
3. Understanding the application process
To apply to medical school in the UK you will need a very strong set of GCSE results and be predicted to achieve at least AAA at A level or 36+ IB points. You will also need to take an entrance test (UCAT or BMAT) and undergo an interview at each university that invites you to interview.
Most universities (30+) ask for UCAT and a small number ask for BMAT. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as saying that you just need to get all the above right because each university uses the information in a slightly different way. Some will have a cut-off score for UCAT/BMAT and if you’re below that cut off you won’t be interviewed. Some of them, however, don’t do it like that so research and expert advice is vitally important at every stage of the process. To understand how we can assist in guiding your son or daughter through the application process to a vocational course, click here.
4. Understanding entrance tests
Almost all medical schools will require students to take UCAT – which you can find the guide to by clicking here – or BMAT – which you can find the guide to by clicking here. Both tests are very time intensive and there are a lot of questions to complete in a short time. This is to test students’ ability to think correctly under pressure. The UCAT/BMAT mark is a vital part of the admissions process and cannot be underestimated. Lots of practice and ideally coaching is a key requirement.
5. Understanding the application timeline
Applying to medical school is a time-consuming process that needs to start at the beginning of Year 12. During Year 12 students should be researching medical schools and their entry requirements. Below you will find a table that will outline the timescale of your actions towards a successful application to medicine.
September – January of Year 12
Medical school research via Unifrog
September – January of Year 12
Work experience and/ voluntary work
January – June of Year 12
Open days and UCAT/BMAT coaching
Late June of Year 12 – late September of Year 13
UCAT taken online
October 15th of Year 13
Final deadline to submit applications
November of Year 13
BMAT taken at a test centre
December – April of Year 13
Medical school interviews take place
Find out how we can support you to make an irresistible UCAS application or guide you through UCAS clearing by clicking here.
6. Understanding the interview process
As part of the selection process, each medical school will review the following:
A Level/IB predicted grades
Evidence of motivation and commitment in your personal statement and specifically, evidence of relevant work experience.
A supportive and positive school reference.
If an applicant is selected for an interview, then you will attend either in person or online. There are two main formats
Multi Mini Interviews (MMI): where students will attend up to 8 different stations where short conversations/tasks will be carried out and scored. Students may be given an ethical dilemma/roleplay at one station and then a scientific problem at the next and so on. As with UCAT and BMAT testing, practice and coaching are essential to amplify the chances of success at this stage.
Traditional/Panel interviews: less common but tend to focus on a conversation with the panel rather than roleplay-type scenarios. As with MMI, the key is practice and coaching. Interviews will be no more than 30 minutes so there is little room for error.
Applying to study Medicine in the UK is an intensively competitive and demanding process where decisions are made on fine margins. It’s essential to spend time on the process and, ideally, work individually with an educational consultant who has in-depth experience of supporting families through the entire process. The entire preparation process should start at the beginning of Year 12 (or during the summer holiday at the end of Year 11).
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