Thinking of applying for Medicine?

Here at King’s we look to support and guide our medics. Medicine is a perfect fit for anyone who endeavors to understand and apply research findings to aid the lives of their patients. It offers a range of experiences and challenges that many individuals seek and provides a career that is extremely rewarding. The study of medicine is vast and demanding, and subsequently only the best make it onto a medical programme.

How will King's support you?

Throughout both years at King’s much support and guidance will be provided to ensure that Medicine is the right course for you and that you feel as prepared as possible for an application to a Medical school.  By joining King’s medical society and attending talks, lectures and workshops you will have the chance to share your interest in Medicine and explore both the academic pursuit of Medicine and the subsequent career path.

In Year 12 our focus will be on ensuring Medicine is the right path for you. Talks from guest speakers, both current doctors and surgeons, will give you an insight into life as a doctor as well as that as an undergraduate studying medicine. Sessions within our MedSoc will look to develop your interest in the academic side of Medicine as well as aid you in the search of work experience. Further to this MedSoc in year 12 will also look to develop the skills required to maximise your success in the UKCAT and BMAT examinations.

In Year 13 our focus will be on aiding your application to study Medicine at university. Much support and guidance will be given to ensure your personal statement is as strong as possible and sessions developing your interview skills will prepare you for the multiple mini interviews undertaken by many medical schools.

How should I prepare myself?

As well as leading to a meaningful career, Medicine is an academic pursuit and life as a doctor can be stressful and tiring.

  • Take time to research what being a doctor entails and ensure that you achieve the highest grades possible at GCSE. You’ll probably need predicted grades of at least ABB in order to apply for medicine, however many medical schools require 360-400 UCAS points (That’s AAA – AA*A* at A-Level
  • A-Level subject choices are very important if you want to apply to medicine. Chemistryand biology are essential choices. Mathematics and/or physics are also required by some universities, and it’s a good idea to take them even if the universities you are applying to do not list them as mandatory. Check university prospectuses for their individual subject requirements
  • Applicants to medicine may need to sit an admissions test. The UCAS website will inform you of any tests you may need to take, but as a general guide:
    • Undergraduate applicants to medicine at Cambridge, Imperial, Oxford and UCL will need to sit the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). The BMAT is a 2-hour test. It is designed to test skills and knowledge that you ought to possess already and therefore shouldn’t require much preparation.  The general deadline for registration and applications for the BMAT are usulally made in early October and testing begins in early November. Specimen papers are available on the website at: http://www.admissionstestingservice.org/help-me-find/resources/specimen-papers/
    • 26 UK universities require applicants to medicine to sit the UK Clinical Admissions Test (UKCAT). The Registration for the UKCAT closes in September, and the last testing date is usually early October. The UKCAT is an aptitude test, but it’s still really useful to do some practice. Practice tests can be found on the website: http://www.ukcat.ac.uk/preparation/practice-test/
    • It’s also possible to get into medicine through a foundation course. Each foundation course is different, so check the individual university websites. A full list of medical foundation courses can be found here: http://www.medschools.ac.uk/Students/Courses/Pages/FoundationPre-clinicalyear.aspx

It’s important to remember that the UCAS closing date for applications to medicine and related courses is earlier than the general deadline.

Enhancing your application to study medicine

Finally organise work experience as early as possible and read up on medicine in the news and any literature that interests around the subject.

  • Work experience is key. Apply to your local NHS Trust to get experience at a local hospital, clinic or a GP’s practice. Keep a portfolio of all your experiences and follow up on all you see by researching the various conditions you come across and learn more about them. If you are unable to do this, then try and get some work experience in another caring role, such as a volunteeringin a hospice or a job looking after children with disabilities. Universities are looking for people who have a caring nature, are good communicators, and work well as part of a team. Work experience is a great way of developing and demonstrating these skills.
  • Join the Junior British Medical Association
  • Read the BMJ (British Medical Journal)

Recommended Reading

As with any other highly competitive subject, reading around the subject is essential. Universities want to see a passion for your subject, and evidence of independent research. The following list is a (non-exhaustive) list of suggested reading:
o Hippocratic Oaths – Tallis
o A very short introduction to Medical Ethics
o The Rise & Fall of Modern Medicine – Le Fanu
o NHS Plc – the privatisation of health care – Pollock
o Betraying the NHS – Mandelstram
o The Political Economy of Health Care – Tudor Hart
o Complications: A surgeon’s notes on an imperfect science  – Gawande
o Causing Death & Saving Lives – Glover
o How doctors think – Groopman
o Diagnosis; Dispatches from the Frontlines of Medical Mysteries – Sanders

Getting into Medical School2006 edition Burnett and Ruston

Interviews for Medicine

  • Applicants for medicine and related courses will almost always have to attend an interview as part of the assessment process. The interview aims to assess competencies and skills such as:
    o Motivation
    o Communication skills
    o Professionalism
    o Personality
  • Interviewers may also question your choice of course and institution. There will also be some competency questions, based around key skills such as team work and empathy. Successful candidates will need to demonstrate a broad awareness of healthcare and related issues
Want to find out more?
  • Compliment your reading with some TED talks: http://www.ted.com/topics/medicine
  • For work experience in the NHS, try: http://www.stepintothenhs.nhs.uk/work-experience.aspx
  • The Do-It website may be useful in finding a volunteer placement: http://www.do-it.org.uk/
  • The NHS careers website has valuable information on all aspects of applying to medicine, including work experience and information on interviews: http://www.medicalcareers.nhs.uk