I'm Dr Hinnah Rafique, the Director of Medicine and Surgery at Help Me I'm A Medic.
My top tip - it is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do and where you want to go in life!
The first question many students ask when we begin working with them is: "How can we become a doctor?"
As a group of medics, our team regularly reflects on the difficulties we each faced when navigating the medical application process. In fact, it's one of the reasons we founded Help Me I'm a Medic - to help ALL students from EVERY background to get the advice and guidance they need to be successful when applying to Medical School.
Below are 5 basics of applying to Medical School in the UK.
"Fail to prepare, prepare to fail" this old adage rings true for lots of things in life from revision to securing your place at medical school.
You will need to understand how long it will take to qualify as a doctor, the eligibility criteria, the types of courses offered by universities as well as how and when to apply. Don't worry if you don't know where to start - we can help! Just access the free resources section on our website.
2) Work experience
Start building a portfolio of activities that you have done which demonstrate your ability to make a great doctor. Also, try to get any experience within the healthcare or science environment, this can be as simple as volunteering at a residential home for the elderly.
3) Entrance exams
Some universities require you to sit an aptitude test (either the UKCAT or BMAT) to help them distinguish between candidates when short-listing for interview. You will need to find out whether the university you want to apply to expects both, one or neither of these exams.
You have to book the exams independently of making an application through UCAS and go to a test centre to sit them. Be sure to book early so you can choose a test venue and date that suits you (the UKCAT is commonly sat in the summer between Year 12 and 13; BMAT in Nov of Year 13).
4) UCAS application
This will involve writing a personal statement showcasing how enthusiastic, motivated and realistic you are about a career as a doctor and obtaining an academic reference from your form tutor or head teacher. You may only choose up to 4 medical universities to apply to and must submit the application by mid-October in Year 13.
5) The medical interview
Although each medical school develops their own procedure for interviewing future doctors, they can broadly be categorised into the following types: traditional, multiple mini interviews (MMI) and Oxbridge. We recommend that you begin researching each interview style before you apply to university so that you have plenty of time to practice and decide which you will do best at.
So there we have it - if you successfully navigate your way through these obstacles there's nothing to stop you from being the next leading UK doctor!
Help Me I'm a Medic are an online community of medics who break down barriers for all. Our ultimate aim as an organisation is to facilitate fair access to Medical School so that the healthcare workforce to be more reflective of the society it serves. We know every student faces their own barriers to medicine and we work with each of you to overcome them. From school to graduation, we're here for you. For more articles like this, free resources and to be part of our community head to our website - www.helpmeimamedic.co.uk and search for us on social media - @helpmeimamedic