WHAT IS MEDICAL SCHOOL LIKE?
Medical schools are based at universities with strong links to local hospitals and other places of care. You will study for a degree to become a doctor and will grow as a person and as a professional. It will be challenging and there will be much to learn but you will be on the journey with fellow students and supported all the way.
You will learn through lectures, small group discussions, and by studying patients and their illnesses and injuries – both hypothetical (imagined) and real-life. By getting out and about, in GP practices and on hospital wards, you will begin to develop skills vital to being a doctor, such as communicating with patients and delivering care.
There are different types of medical degrees. The standard entry medicine course is usually five years long but in some universities it is six. And all the time you’re learning, there will be plenty of opportunities at university to get involved in other things that interest you. You may want to play more sports, join social clubs or develop other interests and hobbies. It’s up to you.
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HOW TO APPLY TO MEDICAL SCHOOL
To apply to study medicine at university you need to make an application via UCAS (short for ‘Universities and Colleges Admissions Service’).
Medical schools are able to set their own entry requirements. Generally, the minimum entry requirements for standard entry medicine are three good A levels or equivalent qualifications. Each medical school is different in their request but generally they like students to have studied GCSE subjects such as English, science and maths. The UCAS website has a list of all medical degrees available in the UK, along with minimum entry requirements.
Remember that the criteria for being accepted into medical schools can change every year, so always check the websites of the medical schools you are interested in before you make your application. These websites will have the most up-to-date information and you will learn more about the medical schools themselves. A list of UK medical schools, with links to their websites, can be found on the Medical Schools Council medical schools page.
It’s always useful to visit the medical schools on open days when putting your application together. You’ll discover which medical school feels right for you, offers the options you want and in the place you most want to study.
People applying will be required to show an understanding of what a career in medicine involves. It is good to find out more about life as a doctor, perhaps by going to a medical school open day or by talking to people at careers days. Lots of medical schools like people to have had some work experience but this does not have to be in medicine.
In addition to high academic achievement, medical schools will look for certain skills and values which they believe make an ideal candidate for medicine. These should be shown in your personal statement which you submit as part of your UCAS application. Medical schools will be looking for evidence of things like problem-solving skills, good communication, empathy and teamwork.
Most medical schools use a test as part of their entry requirements. There are always a large number of applications to study medicine. There’s no reason though, that with dedication, a bit of thought, and some careful planning, that the next doctor becoming qualified in a few years’ time can’t be Doctor You.