Tag Archives: ucas

Medical School: Don’t be disheartened.

I’ve heard so many tales, including my own, of people being told by their colleges (or people on The Student Room) that they’re not cut out for medicine. To not even bother trying. This is absolute rubbish.

This is a message to all those who want to do medicine and have been told they can’t:

If you really want to do it, there is nothing that can stop you. If your GCSE’s are not 50 A*’s, you may not be able to take the most direct entry into the most prestigious university, but there will be a way. Whether it’s graduate entry, or a foundation year, or working your backside off at A level and getting those results that the unis are looking for, there is a way. Don’t be told that you’re not good enough. Don’t be told that you’re from the wrong background, or not right as you’ve never captained a polo club or been part of the schools rowing team. It is rubbish.

Some of the best doctors come from non-standard backgrounds, with life experience and a good work ethic.

Don’t let them tell you no. I decided in 2006 that I wanted to do medicine and my night college and then my full time college in 2007 told me not to bother. I was already 18 and just starting a full set of AS levels, didn’t have straight A’s at GCSE, my parents were not doctors, I didn’t live at home and I had not been striving for it my whole life. But being stubborn I decided to ignore them and plough onwards. Now, 5 years later, I’ve got a bunch of A levels, I’ve done my foundation year, I’ve started BM5.

I sent a polite email from my uni account to all the doubters when I started…

Nailed it!

BM6: Getting the grades

Just wanted to outline the importance of getting the grades. This is vital to all medicine applications and seems obvious, however in my class many people got turned down who had not quite made the requirements of CCC. This included those with CCD (and extenuating circumastance) and even those with BBD.

This was a little overshadowed by the fact that 33 people did make it, 3 over the normal class size already, however in the class of 2011 only 29 students made it. This goes to show that even when there is space, those without the minimum grades are no longer considered, even if only missing out by one grade in one subject.

Although this is not great news, it just reinforces the idea that once they’ve given you an offer, if you meet it in, you’re in. If you don’t, you’re not. It’s clear cut and simple, no confusion of will I won’t I.

So to those applying good luck! And those lucky 29 who made it this year, congratulations! It was all worth it in the end.

BM6: Medicine Interview – How I prepared.

Step 1: Read your personal statement.

Step 2: Read up about the university – what are they proud of? What do they strive to do? What features of the course make you perfect for it and it perfect for you?

Step 3: Write a list of everything you want them to know about you by the end of the interview.

Step 4: Find a list of typical medical school questions (try here, here, here and here.)

Step 5: Answer each question working in one of the points on your list from step 3. Then answer it again using a different point. This may seem stupid at first, but it will get you used to answering random questions and also fitting questions to the answers you want to give, working in the details that you want to get across.

This is all I did! It seemed to work for me haha. Remember they’re not there to trick you, or to confuse you. If you don’t understand a question, ask what they meant (I did!). They’d prefer you to ask for clarification and answer the right question then make no sense at all.

Relax. It will be over so quickly you won’t believe and I don’t even remember most of mine!

Good luck.

The Application: The Interview

Drove up to Southampton this morning. It seems really nice! Got there far too early but at least I wasn’t late. There were loads of us there, and someone said the numbers were at around 1000 applications, and 200 interviews. There are 30 places! The odds are against me but oh well. I just keep on thinking “someone has to get in, why not me?”.

I wore a white shirt (Japanese style collar) with a v-neck jumper (sleeves folded up of course) and black pinstriped trousers. There were a few people in suits so hopefully I wasn’t too underdressed!! Hair was in a grippy thing all tied up and hands were in my lap (except when I was waving then about and gesticulating which I did try to keep to a minimum, somewhat unsuccessfully).

I was called in by a very nice gentleman, and was led to a room with himself and another lady in there. They introduced themselves but I can’t remember who they were, I shook their hands, and from then on is pretty much a blur. I remember at one point, talking so fast that I wasn’t finishing the last word of a sentence before moving onto another. I remember telling myself not to say “fabulous” which is a word I use a lot at the moment, and instead found that I said “sort of” making me seem very indecisive.

I was asked ‘why Southampton?’, ‘why BM6?’, and examples of how I had learnt independently. There was a question that I had to ask to be clarified about what sources I used for research, and I waffled on about the internet for a while before going on about how it can be unreliable but backed up by other sources. At one point the chap writing down notes on his little yellow form stopped and looked up at me, nodded a lot, smiled, and carried on writing which really worries me. It was either “omgshuttup” or “omg you’re amazing”… hoping it was the latter!

Other than that I don’t remember much. It definitely didn’t seem 20 minutes long, but we shall see! On the way out the lovely lady at the front wished me well and said she hoped to see me in September which was nice!

Long drive home – definitely not going to commute that. Am going to have to think of something else.

Oh well. Back to the waiting game.

The Application: The Interview Preparation

So I’ve spent the last few days before my interview, sitting down and thinking… at the end of this, what do I want them to know about me? I’ve made a list of the things I really wanted to get across and looked up possible interview questions on the internet, trying to answer each question once for every item on the list, each time incorporating the idea I was trying to project. It seems to be going well and I seem to be getting better at reflecting on experiences! After getting bored of this however, I’ve also been picking a random list item, and a random question and just trying to make it work. It’s amazing how much better I’ve become at making connections between an experience and the things it has taught me!

I’ve done some serious research on Southampton and the BM6 course, and figured out what they are proud of, what they pride themselves on, and I am hoping that I can bring this up in the interview!

I’ve also been trawling through forums (The Student Room is AMAZING!) and it seems that there have been a lot of interview letters sent out so am not getting hopes tooooooo high. Ok, maybe a little high.

Exams are going alright  I suppose. One biology paper was insanely hard and stupid and rubbish. Oh well. I won’t need it for Southampton!

2 days to go!

The Application: Good news!

I have an interview @ Southampton for BM6! It’s on Craig’s birthday but still! Doesn’t give me long to prepare though! 2 weeks!!!!

Revision is insane at the moment, and interview is in the middle of exams but it’s all good.

The Application: Things are getting interesting….

Still volunteering at WBC which is inspiring. Went along to my day at the GP practice which was AMAZING. Saw lots of patients each with unique and interesting cases and even got to attend a house call to a patient unable to make it into the surgery. Seeing a GP’s work from the “other side of the desk” was eye opening especially within a village environment where everyone knows the doctor, and the doctor knows everyone.  I got to sit in the antenatal afternoon clinic where mums were measured and heartbeats were monitored and it was nice to see anxious first time mums and confident experienced mums equally relieved when everything was okay.  A friend of mine has arranged some work experience in Wales to spend 3 days in theatres which I have been invited to, so the work experience just keeps rolling in!

No major updates yet although I have had a letter asking me to prove my entitlement to study the BM6 course at Southampton which I very VERY promptly returned in the post.

We shall see!