10/12/2014

Want to study medicine? Here's how to get a place

Studying medicine can lead to a sought-after career in healthcare – but first sixth-form students have to get accepted onto what can be a competitive and demanding course.

"Medicine is unique in that you get to study a variety of subjects, which are all geared towards one overarching aim – to understand health and to be able to help people," says Allon Gould, a postgraduate medical student at University College London (UCL).

"Studying medicine opens so many doors for you. I've just got back from a month long research trip studying tropical infections in Malawi, which I was only able to do as a medical student."

So how can would-be medical students prepare a successful application and shine in interviews?

The most important date for sixth-form students applying for the subject is the application deadline of 15th October, as applications will not be considered if they are submitted after that. Most medical schools will invite applicants for interview between December and February and make offers after all their interview days are completed.

Interviews to select medical students can either be a panel interview, or a multiple mini interview, where applicants have to walk around a circuit with different scoring stations. Whatever the interview format, admissions tutors are looking for the signs students could make a good healthcare professional.

"We're selecting tomorrow's doctors so we're not just looking at academic potential, but at non-academic attributes like social awareness and responsibility," says Dr Gail Nicholls, director of admissions at the school of medicine at Leeds University.

"Students can prepare by finding out about the process, reading recent media articles about health and knowing their Ucas form inside out. They should avoid over-rehearsing and shouldn't believe every rumour they read online."

Sixth-form students should also get interview practice before the big day, says Dr Karen Grant, director of admissions at Lancaster University. "Get some experience in answering questions under pressure and ask for feedback on both your responses and the way you communicated your answers."

"Be prepared to think on your feet and, on the day, take time to think about your answers before responding. Also make sure you are informed about the current issues in health and medicine and think about what your opinion is about these topics."

It's important that students think about why they want to study the subject and have a good answer to explain why. "Make sure you know why you want to study medicine, and if you don't know, think about it," says Gould.

And if students get on to the course, what should they expect?

"There's a lot of work, but you are supported because they want to make sure you can do everything properly," says Gould. "Once you have the degree, there's still so much work ahead of you, but the options available are endless."

Tips for succeeding in an interview to study medicine

• "Be yourself in the interview," says Laura Horseman, a second year medical student at Sheffield University. "Present a balanced view when asked ethical questions, try and avoid clich├ęs and keep it concise. Ensure you're up to date with the school's teaching style and current research to prove you've done your homework."

• "It's important to get relevant work experience, to ensure that medicine is the right career for you," says Grant. "This doesn't have to be shadowing a doctor – volunteering in a healthcare environment can teach applicants a lot about the realities of working in the NHS."

• "Don't prepare a rehearsed answer – they may not ask the question in quite the way you anticipated and rehearsed answers sound stilted and unnatural," says Grant. "At interview, try to relax, make eye contact with the interviewers, be enthusiastic and be yourself."

• "Pay attention to the interviewer's body language," says Grant. "This may provide some clues, if your answer is not what they were looking for or if they want to move on to the next question."

• "There are stock questions they often ask," says Gould. "You can find these on the internet or in books. For example they might ask 'why do you want to study medicine?' Make sure you practice these and that you have a framework for an answer which makes it clear you've thought about it, rather than a scripted answer. Also, get up to date advice from medical students who recently took the interviews - there are blogs available for this."

• "Dress smartly – you don't want to stand out for your dress sense," says Gould. "Be there on time. Be friendly and be attentive to everyone you meet the whole day."

How I found it: David Barry, 21, is going into the fourth year of his medicine degree at Leicester University.

"I was asked to interview at Leicester and Sheffield. In the interviews a panel asked questions like 'why do you want to study medicine'. They also asked some unexpected questions about my likes, interests and hobbies.

"Admissions tutors want an all-round person, they don't just want someone who's good at science. They want you to demonstrate that you can work as a team and be a leader. To prepare, I read a lot of online forums, prepared answers and researched the subject. I also kept up with relevant healthcare news.

"My course is really good fun. We've just started to do clinical placements, so it's starting to feel more real. The first half of the course is lectures and the second half is more practical.

"My advice to other students would be not to get bogged down by what you read on the internet. I read other people's entries and saw their experience and thought I didn't have a chance. But I still got in, so don't compare yourself to other people and just be confident."

(Source: TheGuardian)

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!