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Degree: Graduate Entry Medicine (Bachelors) - Oxford, St Hugh's College University
|Biology||A Level||£20 /hr|
|-Personal Statements-||Mentoring||£20 /hr|
|.UKCAT.||Uni Admissions Test||£25 /hr|
|Human Sciences||Bachelors Degree||i|
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The citric acid cycle (AKA the TCA cycle, AKA the Krebs cycle) is an incredibly important set of chemical reactions which is at the centre of how all aerobic organisms function. It is also really complicated at first glance.
Essentially, the purpose of the citric acid cycle is to extract as much useful energy as possible from macronutrients in the diet: glucose from sugars, amino acids from proteins, and fatty acids from fats. All of these molecules can be turned into a molecule called acetyl-CoA, which is the raw material for the citric acid cycle. The major function of mitochondria, the organelles which have been described as the ‘power stations’ of the cell, is to use this molecule to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
Through a series of chemical reactions, the chemical bonds in acetyl-CoA are broken down and rearranged, releasing energy which is used to reduce (add hydrogen atoms to) the molecules NAD+ and FAD. This produces the energetic molecules NADH and FADH2, which are necessary for oxidative phosphorylation to occur.
In oxidative phosphorylation, the energy of these molecules is used to force hydrogen ions out through the inner membrane of the mitochondrion. When these ions are released and allowed to flow back across the membrane, they power a channel - ATP synthase, which acts like a turbine in a dam - which forms ATP from ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and a phosphate group.
All of this is important because ATP is the ‘energy currency’ of the cell. The energy made available with the splitting of phosphate groups away from ATP can now be used in a vast range of chemical reactions all across the body, from the firing of neurons in the brain to the formation of urine in the kidneys.see more
The honest answer to this question is: not very much. However, this does not mean that work experience is not important - on the contrary.
Firstly, it is necessary to stress that some medical schools place great emphasis on work experience within their admissions criteria (and some graduate entrant programmes require substantial work experience before they will consider an applicant). This is a factor when should consider as far in advance as possible in order that you can organise sufficient work experience, or avoid these medical schools.
However, most medical schools are not stringent with respect to how much work experience you have, or even exactly what you have done provided that it has a bearing on skills which are important in medicine. This is partly because universities are keenly aware of how important family connections and a supportive school are in organising work experience, and do not want to discriminate on this basis.
For this reason, the most important thing about work experience is to be sure that you reflect on what you have been involved in, what you have learnt, what you have demonstrated, how you might develop in future, and how all of this relates to medicine. Being methodically reflective in this way is not easy or automatic, so it may be useful to keep some form of diary or otherwise make notes on any work experience you do.
A common question type at medicine interviews is “can you tell me about a time when you solved a problem/worked well in a team/made a mistake” and so on. This is because the more important qualities in an applicant are thoughtfulness and engagement, rather than who they have met or what they have done. (Although 6 months working with mountain rescue medics is impressive as well!)
Aptitude tests like the UKCAT and the BMAT are ostensibly designed to reflect innate ability, rather than preparation. There is also an element of luck: how sharp you are on the day, and the questions you draw from the question pool. But in practice, the margins between meeting and missing medical school cutoffs are so fine that preparation is essential for these tests, even if it just means becoming familiar with the format and developing a sense of the pace at which you will need to work through the questions.
However, in addition to this I believe that some degree of focussed practice is also beneficial in order to develop your ability in each of the individual sections of the UKCAT:
The verbal reasoning section is perhaps the most difficult ‘core’ section to prepare for, as it depends on literacy skills developed over years. However, the speed at which you must scrutinise passages for key information is so fast that it is useful to practice exam-style questions and then examine how you came to correct and incorrect conclusions - you are likely to find that certain errors of reasoning tend to come up repeatedly and can then be corrected.
In the quantitative reasoning section, it is useful to sharpen up certain arithmetic skills which you may not have had to use for a number of years. Again, practicing doing these at speed and going over your answers is helpful, particularly given the relatively limited number of basic mathematical functions which you might need to use.
Of all of the sections, abstract reasoning is probably the most important to prepare for. Thinking about the properties of the symbols used in the test, and being confident of how to look for patterns methodically, is key to give yourself the best chance at this difficult section.
In the situational judgement test, you are asked to make nuanced decisions about situations in which there are conflicting ethical, practical, and professional priorities. Some advantage may be gained here by learning some of the principles of medical ethics and good medical practice, and by understanding the reasoning behind sample questions.see more