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How to Get into Medical School in the UK

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Sponsored by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

Applying to medical school can feel pretty daunting. It’s one of the most competitive degrees out there, so your application really needs to be doing everything it can to prove you’ve got the brains and drive required for an amazing career in the health service.

Because we’ve got your back, we’ve spoken to Dr. Gerard Browne, Admissions Lead at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) about some of the practical steps he recommends you take to maximise your chances of getting in.

1. Draw up a shortlist of your top med schools

Make sure you’re fully prepared and do your research thoroughly. Draw up a list and make sure you visit the schools to get a feel for the place. Talk to the students and have a good look around the campus and city – five years is a long time to be based somewhere you don’t like. If you’re not able to visit, check out the website, look at what other students have to say and see if the university is making the effort to come and see students in your country.

2. Volunteer or intern at your local hospital

It’s definitely an advantage to get some experience in a hospital, doctor’s surgery or care setting – it will give you valuable first-hand experience of what being a doctor is really about. If you’ve tried applying for work experience and just cannot get any, then don’t worry, think about doing some voluntary or community-related work.

3. Aim for an AAB in your A levels

Med schools like UCLan can afford to screen all applications that fail to meet up every listed entry requirement, so it’s vital you’re perfect across the board. So, if you’re applying to their Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, you absolutely need to make you have got the required AAB in your A Levels (or any equivalent). Don’t neglect your English language standardized test either, if applicable. Aim for a minimum score of 7.0 in all categories in your IELTS.

4. Med schools won’t accept late applications

Unlike other subjects that tend to be more flexible, med schools are so oversubscribed that they’ll make you wait until the next year if you miss this year’s round. Usually, you will need to apply by October through the UK University and College Application Service (UCAS).

5. Don’t be too modest

Your personal statement needs to be giving evidence you have the qualities required by a trainee doctor. Universities look for direct, hands-on experience of helping ill, disabled, distressed or disadvantaged people. As well as your work and voluntary experience, you should also show evidence of a healthy work-life balance to demonstrate your ability to cope with conflicting demands on your time. Also, a career in medicine involves working as part of a team, so give examples of team-work. This doesn’t just mean times you led a team, it can include times you played a more junior role in a project too. Throughout your application, ensure that you demonstrate an understanding of what it means to be a doctor in the 21st century.

6. Get your favorite teacher to write you a reference

You’ll need an academic reference written by a member of staff from your school or college to support your application. A character reference isn’t sufficient so if you’re not currently in education you should ask a past academic supervisor.

7. Be prepared to fly to the UK for an interview

While some universities offer the chance to be interviewed elsewhere, it’s most likely that you will be expected to travel to the UK for interview. This will give you the chance to see the school first-hand and meet the team. Some universities like UCLan offer Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs), which most schools of medicine feel gives everyone the opportunity to demonstrate a range of skills and attitudes.

For further information on studying medicine at UCLan visit www.uclan.ac.uk/mbbs, call +44 (0)1772 892400 or email [email protected]

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