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Old 04-10-2010, 08:37 PM   #1
isaac
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Default A short guide to applications for medicine in the UK

Hi all, thinking of applying for med in the UK? This is a short guide from someone with too much time and who has been through the process.

So basically, you apply through UCAS, take the relevant entrance tests and that's it!

But, it's a lot more complicated than that!

Firstly, you're gonna have to score well for your A levels/IB. Most unis now require AAA, some like Cambridge/Imperial require AAA/A, IB 36-38. Certain universities like Sheffield, Glasgow etc still require only a AAB. This is subject to be revised up. Check their websites for more information.

Choosing your Universities

Choose them wisely. Some unis are very big on the UKCAT, some aren't, some are very anal about your results etc. Most however, place a huge % on your PS and Interview.

Most unis require you to take the UKCAT or BMAT(oxbridge, UCL and Imperial). 3 Unis do not require it (bristol, Liverpool and Birmingham). These tests are registrable online. Register early to avoid disappointment. UKCAT testing starts sept this year.

UKCAT

the UKCAT is taken before you submit your UCAS form. It is something like an IQ test, but can be prepared for. 4 sections, testing your verbal, quantitative, spatial and decision analysis. Go to the UKCAT website for more info. It costs £95 to sit the UKCAT. Certain unis like Sheffield Manchester, Bart's and the London, KCL etc place a huge emphasis on this test, so if your UKCAT is good (>700 average), consider applying for these unis. It gives you a huge boost in securing an interview. Obviously if your UKCAT is bad try to avoid applying for these unis

BMAT

the BMAT is used by UCL, Imperial and oxbridge. Not too sure abt the format, I didn't take it, but it's a paper and pen test, testing the 3 sciences and an essay. It is taken AFTER you submit your UCAS form, so try not to apply to 3 BMAT unis if you're not confident. A bad result could see you rejected w/o interview. Don't quote me on this, but I THINK all 4 unis place a huge emphasis on BMAT.

UCAS FORM

1.)Personal statement

your personal statement is probably the most important part of your UCAS form. It shows how committed you are to med, bla bla bla. Try to put these points across:

1.)Why you want to study medicine
2.)What you've done to experience the medical field (i.e. work experience which is very very important- you MUST have it.) and what you've learnt from it
3.)How your subjects taken in JC have shown your commitment to medicine (e.g. bio,chem,physics etc)
4.)What CCAs you have and what you've learnt from your CCAs.
5.)Hobbies
6.)any plans if you applied gap year (for me it was because of army)

2.)Teacher reference
Please ask your teacher to write one for you. I think there's a word limit.

UNIVERSITY CHOICES!!!

In general, all unis require you to have Chem at H2 level. Most require you to have bio at at least H1. (I didnt have bio, my uni choices were severely restricted.)

For some, UKCAT/BMAT is damn important. Look above.

Most unis place a huge emphasis on PS/Interview.

Generally there are a few factors I considered when placing my 4 choices

1.)Location
2.)Tuition Fees
3.)Safety
4.)Subjects they require
5.)How stringent they are on UKCAT
6.)Where they interview
7.)How many international places available

for Location, I would like London!
Tuition fee wise, Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland and North England are generally cheaper. With exceptions of course.

Safety wise, I was not too convinced of Belfast (northern Ireland) safety, what with their ethnic tensions and all.

Subjects the different unis require: I wanted to study in london but unfortunately, all the colleges of the Uni of London required bio at at least AS(H1) level. Hence I couldn't apply. Please check carefully before you choose. All their websites are very informative and emailing their faculty would be a good idea too, they do reply promptly with the info you require.

How stringent they are on UKCAT: I got a good UKCAT score( 800 800 590 730- avg of 730) , and therefore I aimed for those unis with a big emphasis on it. Hence, I picked Sheffield and Manchester.

Where they interview: Probably the 2nd most impt factor behind subjects they require. I didn't want to fly to UK for an interview. Waste money and leave :P

How many intl places available: Schools like aberdeen have like 13 places available but schools like manchester had close to 40. Apply to those with more to increase your chances!

In the end, I applied to
1.)Aberdeen
2.)Sheffield
3.)Manchester
4.)Leeds
5.)Imperial college Chem Engineering

N.B. for UCAS you have 5 choices, but for medicine you can apply to medicine for 4 of those 5 choices. the 5th is entirely up to you. If you put 5 medicine choices i think UCAS will reject your application.

Interview locations:

the unis tt interview in Singapore are as follows (not 100% sure but yea) :

Aberdeen
Bart's
Cambridge
Bristol
Manchester
?QUB
?Cardiff

Malaysia:
Sheffield
Durham
Keele
Liverpool
Newcastle
Soton
Glasgow


Rest in UK: be prepared to go to UK!

Short note about UK apps:

I read thru UCAS stats and for UCAS 2009, there were approx 1000 applications(1 person is allowed 4 applications) from singapore. Only around 80 offers were given. (some ppl have more than 1 offer, so probably around 60 were offered a place?) So it's highly competitive (probably less competitive than NUS but still) and getting 1 offer is considered very good already.

For those of you that don't know: you can only apply to either oxford or cambridge. I strongly suggest you apply to Cambridge instead of Oxford. Cambridge has 20+ places for int'l med students. Oxford has 4. Moreover, cambridge interviews in singapore(but u have to send in ucas form by sept if i'm not wrong to be eligible for the interview in singapore) and oxford interviews in oxford only.

For NSFs, apply in your first yr in NS- deferred entry, and second yr-no deferred(one of the rare perks of NS- you get a second chance). Take me, I'm born in 1990, a levels in 2008. I couldn't apply in ucas 2009 cycle (Which starts in 2008) cuz they only allow 1 yr deferred entry.

Certain unis have different teaching methods. Like Imperial and oxbridge have the traditional way of teaching like NUS, lecture tutorial(which is the way we JC kids are used to). Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow etc are Problem based learning(PBL) unis (like aussie medical schools) and these require a lot of self study and motivation. The rest are probably like in the middle. With some pbl, some normal teaching. These are called integrated.

I had to fly to malaysia for interview, so for nsf's prepare to take leave to fly. Though you'll be damn shagged from flying and all. I took 1 day leave to go KL for my sheffield interview. Morning fly, return trip the same evening. Then next day start work again. Luckily i'm pes c and stay out (haha)

Be prepared to WAIT. And wait. And wait. The whole process will take 6 months, if you're lucky.

If you're rejected post interview, you can write to the unis and they can give u personalised feedback. Like for me I was rejected after interview by sheffield (airfare and taxi fare wasted zzz) and I emailed them to ask for feedback. They wrote me a personalised letter signed by the dean! It said “ I had little evidence of caring work experience” “didn't seem to understand the course at sheffield” and “struggled to explain what I learnt from work experience”. Yes, my interview went pretty badly.

You MUST have work experience. Else you will have nothing to say during interview and will very likely be rejected.

1 more thing, at current exchange rates, UK(with the exception of UOL, Imperial and Oxbridge) is way cheaper than australia. 330k compared to around 450k-550k for aus.

also, the british government has enough HO posts in the NHS to accomodate int'l students graduating from a UK institution. However, getting a training post for specialty training is another matter altogether.

Also, don't let the false notion of Australia/UK handing out free PR's to doctors fool you, nor assume that you can stay and practice. As you probably (should) already know, both countries are clamping down HARD on immigration, even future highly skilled workers like you and me. So assume that no matter where you study, that you'll be coming back to Singapore after graduation(or housemanship). Staying would be a privilege.

Good luck!

Last edited by isaac; 09-06-2010 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:48 PM   #2
pandapowerdx
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hey thanks for posting. was really useful.
i have a rather similar case as yours i only took H2 PCME, no biology.

Is it true that UK unis only look at your content subjs?
GP PW are not "recognized" ?

For NSF applying for deferred entry. I think an appropriate timeline would be Alvls in 2009 , apply UCAS 2010 for entry in 2011/deferred entry in 2012.

Lastly, what work experience do you mean?
I suppose you mean specific medical attachments not some part-time temp job right?
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandapowerdx View Post
hey thanks for posting. was really useful.
i have a rather similar case as yours i only took H2 PCME, no biology.

Is it true that UK unis only look at your content subjs?
GP PW are not "recognized" ?

For NSF applying for deferred entry. I think an appropriate timeline would be Alvls in 2009 , apply UCAS 2010 for entry in 2011/deferred entry in 2012.

Lastly, what work experience do you mean?
I suppose you mean specific medical attachments not some part-time temp job right?
Hi, i think you've mixed it up a little. the UCAS application tt is opening up sept this yr is called UCAS 2011 (the yr is the yr u matriculate in). so like i applied in oct 2009 for UCAS 2010 cycle, deferred entry. I believe you're a yr behind me, ORD in 2012 right? (btw, 10 mths more ORD LO). so you're gonna have to apply this yr lor. sept 2010 the UCAS 2011 cycle starts.

and yes, work experience is of the medical kind. also, doesn't have to be medical per se, you can volunteer in a charity for poor kids/ elderly? that would be equally great! the unis know tt medical work exp is kind of difficult to come across (i am lucky to be an saf service medic, so i kind of unwittingly gained exp in the medical field lol) , so they'll like to see you have caring work exp.

if you did CIP and all that crap during JC, you can mention it too! i did
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Old 04-12-2010, 10:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandapowerdx View Post
Is it true that UK unis only look at your content subjs?
GP PW are not "recognized" ?
Yes, UK Unis don't look at GP/PW grades. To check your English proficiency, they prefer looking at your O level English grades.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:39 PM   #5
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Hi, I'll be applying to UK medical schools too, but I'm a little lost on the application process. The closing date for UCAS applications to medicine for 2011 is 15 Oct 2010 and the schools I'm applying to require me to sit for UKCAT. Do I need my UKCAT scores before 15 Oct to apply? I'm thinking of taking it in late sept/early oct (after prelims) and I'll probably not get the scores by 15 oct...
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel View Post
Hi, I'll be applying to UK medical schools too, but I'm a little lost on the application process. The closing date for UCAS applications to medicine for 2011 is 15 Oct 2010 and the schools I'm applying to require me to sit for UKCAT. Do I need my UKCAT scores before 15 Oct to apply? I'm thinking of taking it in late sept/early oct (after prelims) and I'll probably not get the scores by 15 oct...
You need to have registered for the test by 27 September 2010. The last testing date is 8 October 2010.

After which, UKCAT would liaise with UCAS and provide your choice of universities with your UKCAT scores when it is calculated. You do not have to worry about getting the scores in time before 15 October 2010, since you would not be the one submitting your scores anyway. Just make sure you've met the 27 Sep 2010 Registration dateline and take your test before 8 Oct 2010.

Source: http://www.ukcat.ac.uk/pages/details...tesInformation
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:13 PM   #7
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Anyway, the UKCAT score is printed once u step out of the test room. And rui is right, u do not have to submit ur UKCAT score. the respective universities will get it on their own.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #8
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Hi just a question. Issac when you applied to sheffield what course code did you use. there is A100 ( 5 years ) and A104 ( 6 years ) i dont see what is the difference except there is 1 more year. For a person applying from here Singapore, what course code should i put?
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenkong View Post
Hi just a question. Issac when you applied to sheffield what course code did you use. there is A100 ( 5 years ) and A104 ( 6 years ) i dont see what is the difference except there is 1 more year. For a person applying from here Singapore, what course code should i put?
a100 is the one you're looking for.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:08 AM   #10
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Thanks a lot! that really helped me
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