Where should I apply to medical school?

You might (or might not) be surprised to hear that applying to medical school is a very tactical game. I didn't play it very well the first time round, and received four rejections without interview. Second time around, I had four interviews within two weeks and an offer on the first day that offers were given out at Sheffield, which I accepted immediately. I played the game, and by heck I played it well (if I do say so myself)

So there are a few main elements to your medical school application, and its important to consider which ones you've got sussed and which ones not so much.

     1. Entrance tests - have you done well? Not so well? 

     2. Grades - GCSE's mostly, as lots of applicants won't have anything else confirmed. A levels, oddly, are far less important as almost everyone applying will have at least the entry requirements of 3A's/A*'s predicted grades.

     3. Personal statement - the quality of the writing is far more important than the content. You need to display your passion, your drive, the things you've learnt from the experiences you've had rather than listing all the things you've done. However, some medical schools place higher value on volunteering than work experience, some like lots of hospital placements, others like academic achievements and conferences etc. Thats down to your research.

     4. Interview - how well do you think you can do at interview? Be honest with yourself. Would you prefer a formal interview, which is scripted? Would you do better in a more informal setting, where you can let your personality through a little better?

This all leads to the final, most important part of your application. Your research. You've considered your own strengths and weaknesses (arguably one of the most important skills a doctor can possess) and now you need to find where your strengths will be most valued. Find the medical schools which will love that you are obscenely clever and have 23 GCSE A*'s and love going to a conference every weekend. Find the medical schools which will appreciate that work experience is hard to come by, but you've got amazing life experience with your job as a carer and all your volunteering.

Admissions policies and procedures for every university are available either online or by request, so find them. Scour them and make a shortlist of places which you are likely to be accepted to. Then decide which ones you like the best.

Rebecca D. A Level Biology tutor, GCSE Biology tutor, A Level Chemist...

11 months ago

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Degree: Medicine (Bachelors) - Sheffield University

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“Hi! My name is Sho and I'm a first year medical student at Sheffield university. Getting into Medicine was tough and I really worked hard at school to make sure I understood the core principles of what was taught. I offer A-level Bio...”

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Degree: Medicine (MBChB) (Other) - Sheffield University

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“As a fourth year medical student at the University of Sheffield, I have a thorough grounding in basic sciences and I consider myself alogical and thorough learner (and teacher!). It also took me two UCAS application cycles to get into...”

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