For aspiring doctors, nurses and healthcare practitioners, applying to a medical school is a pivotal moment in their lives. With rigorous application procedures in place, securing a position at any well-respected university can be difficult. When it comes to medical degrees, however, the competition is particularly intense.
While it’s important to recognise the challenges you’ll face when applying to medical schools, you needn’t let this discourage you from pursuing your dream of studying medicine. Although the process will undoubtedly be difficult, these top tips can help you to navigate your way through the application protocols and obtain a place at your chosen university:
1. Enhance your academic qualifications
If you’re applying to medical schools, you’re going to be competing against the cream of the crop, so you’ll need to have stellar academic results to back up your application. While many applications rely on provisional results, your prior educational success will be indicative of your future performance.
Bear this in mind when you’re studying. While your Year 10 results may not seem like the be all and end all, your early academic career will have a significant impact on your subsequent examination results. When teachers and professors are assessing your suitability to study medicine, these factors will be taken into account. By nurturing top grades now, you can be sure that your academic qualifications will meet the relevant criteria when it comes to making your applications.
2. Get some experience
Securing experience within the medical sector can be difficult, particularly before you’re a fully recognised med student. However, gaining practical experience will help you to get a glimpse of what life is really like as a healthcare practitioner. This gives you the unique opportunity to determine whether or not studying medicine really is the right choice for you. What’s more – it shows application assessors that you’ve actively sought out work experience opportunities and cemented your desire to enter the profession.
3. Prepare for the UCAT
The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is used to rank potential applicants and is one of the factors that will determine whether or not you’re offered an interview at your preferred universities. Replacing the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT), the test works in a similar way and focuses on assessing your aptitude and attitude, rather than your qualifications.
The UCAT will evaluate a range of skills, including critical reasoning, decision making, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and abstract reasoning. Remember – your academic prowess won’t have any impact on how well you perform on an aptitude test, so it’s vital to prepare in advance.
Students must score highly on both the UCAT and GAMSAT if they’re to be awarded a place on a medical degree, so it’s worth dedicating a significant portion of your time to familiarising yourself with these styles of assessment. GradReady offer preparation courses for both the UCAT and GAMSAT, so you can increase your chances of success by studying bespoke course material and taking mock papers.
Taking the UCAT or GAMSAT can be extremely nerve-wracking for students, particularly because so much rests on your results. However, proper preparation will help you to get to grips with what is assessed via these methodologies and give you the confidence you need to shine when it comes time to sit your exams.
4. Enhance your people skills
If you plan to be a healthcare worker, you’re going to need to develop great interpersonal skills. Whether you’re an aspiring dentist, doctor, nurse or surgeon, how you interact with patients will be a major part of your professional success. However, your interpersonal skills aren’t just critical to your success in the profession. Before you are admitted to medical school, you’ll need to undergo at least one interview, so working on your social skills is always worthwhile.
Universities take a different approach to admission interviews but taking part in mock interviews can be a great way to build you confidence. With plenty of information available regarding the types of questions you may face, it’s easier than you think to set the groundwork for a positive interaction.
Securing Your Place at Med School
It may seem like future medical students are required to jump through a lot of hoops to secure a place at university and that’s because they are. As one of the most prestigious degrees and important professions out there, strict admissions criteria is imposed. Fortunately, these tips will help you to begin preparing for the admissions process and give you the grounding you need to secure your place at the med school of your choice.
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