All Things Medicine
 
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All Things Medicine


Mahnoor
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Hi guys! I have been getting questions from some of you guys about applying for medicine, work experience, etc. 

I made this thread so you guys can post anything you want to ask about applying, preparing for interviews/entrance exams, and essentially the whole process really (even your worries or if you feel anxious about the process)!

I know because of the current situation, work experience programmes have been cancelled but try to make the most out of it.

If you need help with your personal statements, feel free to send me a draft of it.

Closer to the interview cycle, we could also discuss potential interview questions here and what would be the best way to tackle them (especially ethical questions).

Post any questions you have about medicine or anything medicine-related on this thread.

P.S. Anyone who has done any hospital work experience (or in a healthcare setting), do share your insights and what you learned down below! 

Also, if you just stumbled upon this thread, I recommend you read it from the start. You might come across something new! ? 

MASTER LIST of all work experience/volunteering opportunities during lockdown: https://lifeofamedic.com/2020/04/30/work-experience-opportunities-during-covid-19-lockdown-for-aspiring-medical-students/

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Arezoo
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@mahnoor

Hi, i would like to ask about, UKAT and BMAT tests! When did you start revising for the tests, and which date did you do them?  

I am currently reading some books related to science, would they help me in my application? 

What else can I do to get to medicine?!

thank you! ?  

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Mahnoor
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Hey @arezoo

I did the early BMAT (in August) and I did the UCAT in late September. I used Medify for both BMAT and UCAT. I started preparing just over a month before the exam. However, I would recommend spending a bit longer especially on the BMAT because there is actual content you have to know for that. 

Use the official past papers for BMAT on this website: https://www.admissionstesting.org/for-test-takers/bmat/preparing-for-bmat/practice-papers/

On Youtube, Ali Abdaal has got a really good series on BMAT. Check that out too!

Yes, of course reading books can help. Whatever you read, make a note of anything you found particularly interesting and what it made you think. Universities want to see HOW you think so make sure to be specific in your personal statement. 

I have included some recommendations down below (some of my personal favourites):
1. This is going to hurt 
2. Twas the nightshift before Christmas
3. Do no harm
4. Fragile lives
5. Being mortal

Keep up to date with the latest developments in Medicine. Stay proactive and do things like summer schools, work experiences or maybe even starting a medical society/club in your school! Do extracurriculars that would highlight the skills doctors have such as leadership, teamwork and communication.

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Arezoo
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@mahnoor

I haven’t even done any work experience in a hospital or gp, or any volunteering! Would this make it harder to get to medicine. ? 

Also would teaching kids help me in the interview or my personal statement ?! 

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Mahnoor
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@arezoo Most applicants tend to have some sort of work experience/volunteering. It does not necessarily have to be in a hospital or GP. It could be in a care home as well. Anything that highlights taking initiative and shows empathy would be good. 

Here are some links to different volunteering programmes: 
https://do-it.org
https://volunteeringmatters.org.uk
https://www.youthactionnet.org
https://www.sja.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer-opportunities/

For work experience, because they have been cancelled because of Covid-19, you are in the same boat as most other applicants. However, sign up for these virtual work experience programmes (remember: take initiative to do things!)
https://www.rcgp.org.uk/training-exams/discover-general-practice/observe-gp.aspx
https://bsmsoutreach.thinkific.com/courses/VWE

And yes, of course! Tutoring is something really good to talk about in an interview. Just remember, whatever you do, spin it around and link it back to medicine. ALWAYS!

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Fardin
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@mahnoor does doing the BMAT help even if the uni does not require it?

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Mahnoor
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Hey @fardin

Oh no, you don't have to do the BMAT at all if the university does not require it. Doing it (if the uni doesn't require it) does not give you any advantage over other applicants. 

Before applying, check which uni requires what. Some require BMAT while others require UCAT. 

Only the following Medical schools require BMAT: 

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford Medical School
  • Imperial College London
  • University College London
  • Leeds’ School of Medicine
  • Brighton & Sussex Medical School
  • Keele University
  • Lancaster University

Here's the list of the universities requiring UCAT: https://generationmedics.org.uk/complete-list-of-universities-that-require-ucat/

Carefully look at each university's entry requirements as they tend to be very specific.

Let me know if you have if you have any other questions!

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Fardin
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@mahnoor Thank you

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saads
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@mahnoor are there any members of the admin team who applied for/ study dentistry?

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Leanorad
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@saads

@omar is studying dentistry at kings

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Leanorad
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Also there was a dentistry applicants thread on the forum recently

https://examqa.com/forum/discussions/dentistry-applicants-2020/

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saads
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@leanorad yes I made that forum. Thanks for you help.

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Leanorad
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@saads

Oops ? 

If you'd like to ask omar a question, write it on the thread that you make then write "@omar" at the end so he gets the notification

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saads
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@leanorad alright thank you ? 

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Mahnoor
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Guys this is a really cool online course on the NHS (you'll most likely get questions on the NHS in your interviews). Give it a try!

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/health-care-explained/online-course

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Mahnoor
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groot
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@mahnoor

hey I wanted to ask what age do you start looking into BMAT and UKAT and is it something your sixth form helps you with or do you have to do it outside of school independently, also medicine is quite hard so let’s say you don’t get the grades, what alternative options do you have from there to go into career wise for something similar?

thanks

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Mahnoor
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Hey! @therealgroot 

You start preparing for BMAT and UCAT in year 12, usually around the summer at the end of the year.

It varies between sixth forms whether they provide support or not but most people prepare for it independently outside of school. Your sixth form might provide financial support/access to resources but your learning has to be self-directed.

Most people who apply for medicine put down pharmacy (see more on that down below by @m-tawofi) or biomedical sciences as one of their choices. This allows you to apply for graduate entry medicine later on as a lot of medical schools require an undergraduate degree in something science-related.

But there are a few medical schools who don't really mind what your undergrad is in (could be in humanities subjects too!). 

Some medical schools have this scheme where you start off doing biomedical sciences but they allow you to transfer onto medicine after your first year but they allow very few people to do this so it is highly competitive.

A few universities have gateway to medicine/medicine with a foundation year courses too so look into that. King's College has an EMDP programme that has reduced entry requirements for medicine but it's a year longer (so kind of like medicine with a foundation year).

Other healthcare courses are nursing, physiotherapy, radiography, and physician associate to name a few.

If you're keen on doing medicine you could take a gap year and reapply as well because graduate medicine is generally considered more competitive than undergrad medicine. 

Is there a particular alternative career you want to know more about?

And on a side note, although it is good to have a backup plan, you'll have two years to work towards your A levels so if you really put in the work, you should be able to get the grades you need for medicine! ? 

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g_daniel
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This lock down has given me a lot of time to ponder about what I want to do post A Levels, and medicine has been a lot on my mind

The thought of being in charge of someone's life scares me, but I do want to study the subject even if I don't become a GP/Consultant. I really like Biology and Chemistry.

Would you recommend for someone like me to apply for Medicine at university? For some reason Biomedical science / a science alternative doesn't seem to attract me. Or am I essentially wasting a position for someone that deserves to study medicine and wants to become a doctor

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Mahnoor
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Hi @g_daniel

Suppose it was a medicine interview and they asked you "Why medicine?", what answer would you give? 

Also, why do you want to pursue medicine if you don't eventually want to become a GP/Consultant?

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g_daniel
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@mahnoor

I just know I love Bio and Chem and would love to undergo further study in a field that combines both of them

And I guess the reason I want to pursue medicine is I really like the work that doctors do and I want to study it more, but I dont want to be the person making the decisions over someone's life - and I heard that even if you dont become a doctor, having a medicine undergrad degree is quite powerful to have in terms of a CV

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Mahnoor
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@g_daniel Have you considered Pharmacy? Of course having a Medicine undergrad degree would be impressive, but you have to dedicate 6 years of your life to that. For that, you need to have a good set of reasons for wanting to do it. Otherwise, you might become unmotivated or lose interest. 

Going into research is a good idea as well. It requires a PhD usually. 

Also, do you have any idea about what an Academic Doctor is? It's something not a lot of people know about. It is essentially where doctors split their time between seeing patients and conducting their own research. Have a look into that as well!

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g_daniel
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@mahnoor

Yeah, I've considered pharmacy but medicine seems much more intense which I like. Although, pharmacy is probably quite intense too. But I understand what you mean as doing a medicine degree essentially is preparing you for the life of a doctor.

and I've never heard of an academic doctor but that sounds quite interesting, do you know any websites where I can read a bit more about it?

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Mahnoor
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@g_daniel Yes, research pharmacy a bit more. @m-tawofi could you please tell them more about pharmacy in terms of how intense the course is?

Yes, it's the Academic Foundation Programme (AFP). Read up more about it here:
https://www.students4bestevidence.net/blog/2018/03/02/what-is-the-academic-foundation-programme/
https://foundationprogramme.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/11/Rough-Guide-to-the-Academic-Foundation-Programme.pdf

Also, compare it to the normal Foundation Programme and see how the two are different!

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M.Tawofi
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@mahnoor

 

Hello @g_daniel

 

The pharmacy course at UCL changed three times during the 4 years that I studied there.

However, in all scenarios, pharmacy is a tough degree. It requires a lot of reading and memorising. We had to memorise 100 most common drugs throughout the four years.

 

Here is an example of what we had to memorise:

 

Screenshot 2020 04 19 at 23.07.27

this is for one drug.

 

Despite memorising a lot of material, there were some highlights to the degree.

 

1) Using sterile labs - Here we dressed up like this:

Screenshot 2020 04 19 at 23.09.13

The room we were in had zero life (apart from the scientists working in it) an it was designed to stay like that. The walls were curved so that you can wipe away any possible contamination. The air flow in and out of the room had special filters. 

 

2) Extemporaneous production of medicines - this was basically like cooking class - it was fun, refreshing and something different to usual 'boring' lectures. 

Screenshot 2020 04 19 at 23.11.34

3) 3rd year projects - this heavily depends on which professor you are as-singed to. My project was probably the best in the whole year.

 

I got to use a 3D printer to make medicines. ? ? - Yes.. i know, pretty cool.

 

However, my friend was stuck in a lab for 3 months analysing piles of poo to see how much medicine came out of the patient. ? ? 

(I guess it will help someone, somewhere in the world...)

 

Oh... and also, my professor was cool with me using the 3D printers to make other stuff, so naturally I took this opportunity to build myself an Iron man arc reactor.  

Screenshot 2020 04 19 at 23.15.26

Unfortunately, I couldn't find Thanos so It is now used to power my calculator. (Oh just kidding, my arc reactor was made from plastic, but still it was Awesome). 

 

 

Let me know if you want to know anything else. 

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Mahnoor
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@m-tawofi wow that's so cool, thank you!

@g_daniel if I were you, I'd be completely sold on Pharmacy after that ?

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M.Tawofi
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@mahnoor @g_daniel

 

Do you what you love!

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g_daniel
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@m-tawofi

Wow, cheers for the insight. Sounds really cool - definitely need to consider more options in terms of university choices rather than jumping into one that I think would be good solely for career prospects

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M.Tawofi
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@g_daniel

 

No problem.

 

Despite studying Pharmacy, I have realised that I enjoy teaching more than being a pharmacist. Don't get me wrong, a pharmacist is an incredibly important member of the healthcare system. However, I feel that you should do what you think you will be the BEST at.

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j.uk
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 j.uk
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Is taking a gap year after a-levels before you apply to medicine put you at a disadvantage?

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Mahnoor
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Hello @jheel! 

No, of course not. So many people take gap years before applying for Medicine for various reasons (wanting a break, to work, go travelling, etc).

I once asked an admissions officer the same question. What they said is that taking a gap year certainly does not put you at a disadvantage. In fact, a lot of the times, taking a gap year can make your application more impressive, provided that you use it wisely.

You could use this time to improve your experiences e.g. by getting a hospital work experience, working to earn some money, volunteering or doing something you've always wanted to do! 

As long as you do something productive and you can link it back to Medicine, it would certainly not put you at a disadvantage!

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r_tenz
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I do Biology, Chemistry and Physics for my A-Levels. Do you think I am at a disadvantage for applying to medicine than someone who takes Maths instead of Physics?

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Mahnoor
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Hi @r_tenz

No not at all! Most universities require Biology and Chemistry (except Oxbridge you only require Chemistry with the other two subjects usually being a science or maths). The third subject can be anything else, so taking Physics instead of Maths does not put you at a disadvantage in any way.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

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Narsingh
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@mahnoor

physics is actually more impressive than maths imo

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Mahnoor
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@narsingh As far as the university admissions are concerned, it doesn't matter whether you do Maths or Physics (as long as you do the essential subjects)!

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Mahnoor
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j.uk
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Hi again @mahnoor

I was going through this forum again and I had some more questions. For someone that wants to pursue a career in medicine, how many hours do you think I should be studying a day during quarantine?... also since we’re always home now it’s really hard to focus sometimes and get on with work, do you have any advice on how to stay motivated? 
- maybe any advice on how you stayed motivated and focused to achieve the best grades during your alevels?..

thank you

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Mahnoor
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@jheel Hello!

To be honest, when I was doing my A levels I never had a set number of hours I did in a day. I just had a to-do list of everything I wanted to get done that day and I would continue working through it regardless of how much time it took. And I would recommend that you do the same.

And the best advice I can give you is just to remind yourself of your goals. If you want to do medicine then getting good grades should be your top priority. I wrote down the grades I was aiming for on a flashcard and put it up on my wall so every day I woke up I saw them and that kept me going.

I hope that helps and let me know if you have any more questions!

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M.Tawofi
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@mahnoor

My motivation was that I looked in the mirror and said to myself - this is it - All these years  of primary school, middle school, high school and sixth form comes down to this. A few more months. A final stretch. It will be over and what will I have to show for it. 

 

(I don't know why I am writing in this tense, maybe because its 5am in the morning and I haven't slept all night).

 

I also stuck my UCL offer letter on my desk where I studied and kept looking at it. 

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Mahnoor
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@m-tawofi

That's a really good one! And that's exactly the mindset I'd encourage all the students to have.

(That's an extreme sport, don't try this at home kids?)

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clubpenguin
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Posted by: @mahnoor

@m-tawofi

(That's an extreme sport, don't try this at home kids?)

??

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M.Tawofi
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@mahnoor

? ? ? ? 

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j.uk
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Thank you so much!! @mahnoor @m-tawofi      Examqa actually motivates me so much!!

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Mahnoor
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@jheel You're welcome! Let us know if you have any other questions.

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M.Tawofi
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@jheel

Thank you!

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