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How to choose a medical school

Choosing a medical school is a really important decision. It is where you will study for the next 4, 5 or 6 years, and may also influence where you practice medicine in future. The decision on where to study will eventually come down to where you are offered a place and then your personal preferences. Deciding on where you wish to study is a very personal decision. However, deciding on the four schools to put down on your UCAS form can be a very difficult decision, especially when there are over 35 UK medical schools, and even more outside of the...
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Applying to Medical School Strategically: Part 1 - Using Your UCAT Score

With the UCAS October 15th deadline soon approaching, narrowing down the 33 medical schools into 4 is a difficult decision. To improve your chances of securing a place in medical school, it is important to use your UCAT scores and GCSEs strategically. Depending on how you have performed, you should apply medical schools where you are most likely to be offered a medical interview. In this blog series we will be focussing on how your UCAT score, achieved before the September 29th UCAT deadline, should help you decide which medical schools to apply to. Using your UCAT score strategically will give you the...
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Applying to Medical School Strategically: Part 2 - Where to Apply with an Excellent UCAT Score

In this blog series we are exploring how you should use your UCAT scores when applying for medical school, in order to maximise your chances of securing a place. In this blog we will be focusing on which universities to consider applying to with an excellent UCAT score (705+). What does my UCAT score mean? First of all, congratulations on achieving such a fantastic UCAT score! Only 10% of UCAT candidates obtain a score of over 705. It is important to note that a UCAT score of 705 will not necessarily guarantee you an interview at every medical school. However, applying...
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Applying to Medical School Strategically: Part 3 – Where to Apply with a Good UCAT Score

In this blog series we are exploring how you should use your UCAT scores strategically when applying to UCAS for medical school, in order to maximise your chances of securing a place. In this blog we will be focusing on which universities you should consider applying to with a good UCAT score (a UCAT score in the range of 655-705). What does my UCAT score mean? A UCAT score of 655-705 is considered a good score. Combined with sufficient academic grades, a UCAT score in this range would be sufficient to obtain an interview at almost all UCAT requiring universities, apart...
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Work Experience During COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Part 2: Making the most of work experience

COVID-19 has resulted in several changes to the medical schools admissions process. Work experience is an important part of entry into medicine, however, medical schools have generally removed mandatory work experience from their application process. Obtaining work experience is still important for interviews, and to gain a good understanding of a career in medicine. Our previous blog discussed work experience substitutes. In this blog, we will discuss in person work experience and volunteering, which you may be able to undertake if safe to do so. We will also discuss how to make the most of your experiences. In person work experience The...
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Work Experience During COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Part 1: Work experience substitutes

Clinical work experience is an essential part of the medical school application process. Obtaining work experience has become significantly more difficult with the recent COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions. In response, medical schools, for the most part, have removed the need for work experience from their application process. In this blog, we will discuss why work experience is important, and some work experience substitutes during COVID-19. Our next blog will discuss in person work experience, volunteering, and making the most of your experiences. Why is work experience important? The purpose of work experience is not simply a tick box exercise, but...
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GAMSAT will be run online in 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT) will be run online at the end of May for the first time ever. GAMSAT is used to select students for entry into graduate medical programs. GAMSAT is usually run in person across multiple venues. However, due to COVID-19, the GAMSAT exam scheduled for Saturday 21 March 2020 was cancelled. This applies to all candidates, in all locations globally. ACER, which runs GAMSAT, has said that candidates will sit GAMSAT at home or at a private location of their choosing. Candidates will need to have a stable internet...
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What is the UCAT test?

UCAT stands for University Clinical Aptitude Test. UCAT is an important criterion for entry into medicine and some dental courses at most Universities across the United Kingdom in 2021. UCAT includes constructs which are considered important and desirable for future healthcare professionals. It comprises five sections: verbal reasoning, decision making, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning and situational judgement.  UCAT is a computer based test that takes approximately 2 hours, and will be administered by Pearson VUE. Candidates will receive their score immediately after the test. There will be various sittings of the test offered in July - October 2020, across the United Kingdom. You can find...
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UCAT UK 2019 Test Statistics Released

UCAT UK 2019 test statistics have been released, which will help students to interpret their UCAT scores. The UCAT data is available at: https://www.ucat.ac.uk/media/1329/2019-test-statistics-oct-2019.pdf   This blog discusses the statistics. UCAT UK 2019 Mean Scaled Scores Mean scaled scores shows the average scores achieved for each of the five subtests. The total average cognitive scaled score was 2483. The mean scaled scores of the cognitive subtests are below:  2019    Number of candidates    29,375    Verbal Reasoning565    Decision Making 618    Quantitative Reasoning 662    Abstract Reasoning638    Total Cognitive Mean Scaled Score    2483   UCAT UK 2019 Decile Rank The decile rank converts overall scaled cognitive scores into percentile...
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I want to start my Medical degree in 2020: When do I need to sit the UCAT (UKCAT)?

If you wish to study medicine in the UK, most universities will require you to sit and succeed in UCAT (previously known as UKCAT). You must sit the UCAT between July and October of the year BEFORE you intend to enter medicine. For example, if you want to begin your medical degree in 2020 you must sit the UCAT between 1 July 2019 and 2 October 2019. You are permitted to sit the test only ONCE in any UCAT test cycle. However, there may be mitigating circumstances where you are unable to sit the test on the day you booked your...
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Which UK Universities will use the UCAT in 2019?

This blog outlines the UK Universities that will use the UCAT in 2019 to select students into medicine and dentistry programmes for 2019 entry.  For more comprehensive information regarding entry requirements, please contact the admissions officer of the course you are interested in, or visit the relevant university website. Notes: The Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery are the professionaldegrees in medicine and surgery awarded upon graduation from medical school by UK universities. These two degrees can be abbreviated in many ways, including:MBBSMBChB BMBSMB BCh BAO Different universities choose different abbreviations, but all result in a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery. An applicant...
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Why study Medicine?

There are only two things people seem ask you about in your final year of schooling: those big exams at the end of the year and what you want to do when they’re over. It’s a stressful and busy year with plenty of studying to be done. The constant questioning can be annoying, but it’s really important that you take the time to really look at what it is you are going to do next year. For anyone considering applying to sit the UCAT and putting medicine down on your university preferences, here are just a few of the reasons why...
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One on one with a medical school interviewer

I was fortunate enough to have jumped through the hurdles that lie on the way to medical school, and there are quite a few benefits on the other side. One of these is being able to talk to doctors, health professionals or community members that have had previous experience as interviewers. The following is an excerpt from a conversation I had with a past interviewer to understand what they are looking for in medical interviews.    1. As a community member are you concerned about the medical/dental focus of some of the scenarios? “The scenarios in the MMI (multiple mini interview)...
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