Are you thinking of entering Medicine?
If yes! Then this is the right place to start for both those without and with a degree….
First… Why do you want to study medicine?
Watched Scrubs and House and thought it looked cool? Want to be loaded with cash in your early 20’s? If you have answered Yes to either of these 2 questions then you need to rethink what medicine is. It’s not got the glitz and glammer, it’s hard work and a long slog to study and get promotions in. It’s not easy, before you think of applying for medicine think carefully on why you want to do it. Don’t just do it to please your mum and dad or for the status Dr. (You can do a PhD in a subject of interest and get a Dr title). If you are unsure or want to explore another option there is the Graduate Entry route for anyone.
So… Medical school? Is it hard to get in to?
Yes. In short… 40% of applicants get 4 rejections for medical school on their first application, many applicants have done 3 or more applications before getting successfully accepted. Myself I am on number 2!
There is another Page on this for both undergraduates and graduates however i will do this in short… For undergrads AAA at A level (Most need both Biology and Chemistry!) is the bare minimum now, along with a wealth of GCSE’s for some Universities (Again most just want A*’s, A’s and a few B’s).
Graduates: some universities will accept a 2:2 in any subject as long as you sit another exam (GAMSAT), most want a 2:1, some unis in any subject but most are asking for a biological science or if your degree is not a biological science they are asking for a chemistry A level… And then for A level and GCSE it is the same, None care about GCSE from what I have gathered, however some like to give minimum A level requirements and others don’t (i.e Warwick!)
Are there entrance exams???
There are 3 types of entrance exams. Not all universities use them but most Universities use one or the other to reduce the amount of applicants they review. Often the scores are used as a cut off. For example… Warwick Medical school last year set a cut off score for the UKCAT exam so all those people with a score below didn’t get interviewed. It does seem unfair, but, due to the competitiveness of medical school it is often necessary for medical schools to do it.
UKCAT – Is used by the vast majority of medical schools (26) and is a logic, reasoning and analysis style of exam, many graduates have heard of or done psychometric testing as part of a job interview and that is what the UKCAT is in essence. (Read the UKCAT page to find out more)
BMAT – BMAT is used by only a few universities (Oxbridge being the most well known) and consists of 3 sections on various topics related to medicine. (See BMAT page)
GAMSAT – The GAMSAT is for Graduates that want to enter a select number of medical schools. Many people have described it as epic, long, hard and draining. it covers 3 sections and lasts all day (See GAMSAT page)
How long does medical school last for?
There are 3 types of medical degrees
the first is the standard medical degree which is 5 years in length. However, there is the opportunity to add an extra year between your 2-3 years where you study for a Bsc on top of your medical degree, most places recommend this option even if it makes your course 6 years long.
Next is the 6 year course or foundation medicine degree as they call it. Often these courses are designed for students from ‘poor’ schools or disadvantaged backgrounds, often the entry requirements are less than AAA, but before you jump up and down there are set specific criteria you have to meet first. Then, this course can be extended to 7 years when including the extra year for a Bsc.
Then there is the 4 year Graduate entry route. This route is only 4 years due to the applicants already having a previous degree (3 years). So when looking at the numbers there isn’t much difference in the length of study time with either of the options.
Either way you won’t be cutting any hearts out any time soon….
There will be a page on work experience and the types that you can get. A lot of people ask me about my work experience, the thing is i didn’t go to Haiti or Nepal to get work experience for medical school, I did it because i was interested and was offered to go. The thing with work experience is that EVERYONE should have some before thinking about going to study medicine.
So.. this is the short introduction into wanting to study medicine. Follow my own journey into medicine and have a look at the various sources of information around, it will help you!