Video: 10 Tips for future doctors
Dr Laura Bowater is a Senior Lecturer at Norwich Medical School who has produced an informative video providing 10 essential tips for students applying to medicine; invaluable advice for those wanting to become a doctor:
Dr Bowater’s 10 tips for Medical applicants, in a nutshell:
- You need good grades – A minimum of 3 As at A level. If you fall short of that, there will be someone else who will take your place. You must remain focused on your studies. Good AS and GCSE grades may help, too.
- Research your medical schools – Be sure to know what subjects you need to study at A level. Most institutions want Chemistry and one other science, but you need to check this before you choose your A level subjects.
- Your A level results are important – But for medical courses, (including veterinary medicine) the school will often also base their admissions on the results of an aptitude test – either the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) or the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT). Find out whether the school will need you to sit an aptitude test, which one, where to go for it and how much it costs. Although, in theory, no revision is needed for these, it is helpful to practise them beforehand.
- Evidence your interest in medicine – Consider how can you show in your UCAS Personal Statement that you have developed your interest in a career in medicine, have an understanding of the NHS and what life will really be like as a doctor, etc? Ensure you read the news and keep up to date with developments in the profession.
- Develop key skills – Always be on the lookout for ways to practise and grow the key skills you will need as a doctor: communication and listening, team-work, thriving under pressure and performing to tight schedules. This doesn’t have to be in a healthcare environment.
- Get work experience – Be persistent through the knock-backs until you get experience in a clinical or care setting. You don’t have to get time in a hospital or doctor’s surgery – you might volunteer to work with children or in a care home.
- Evidence your personal learning journey – Best place to do this is in your Personal Statement. Don’t just list your activities: describe how the things you have learned have changed your opinions and practices and helped you grow as a person. A good doctor is a reflective doctor.
- Be realistic – Realistic about what being a medical student and a doctor is like. Being a medical student is intense, with a lot less holiday time than other students and the pressure of assessments along the way. That intensity will only continue as a doctor. Talk to doctors and med students to get an honest picture – and read around the subject.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again – Are you really committed to being a doctor? If you don’t get an offer the first time, you can take a year out to get more experience or improve your grades before re-applying. You might consider medical schools abroad, or apply to med school as a graduate.
- Keep an open mind – Know that there are many hugely rewarding roles in medicine that might offer what you’re looking for, rather than aiming to become a doctor.
UniBox Resources also offers recommended reading for Medicine applicants.
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