Studying medicine in the UK
Students come from all over the world to study medicine in the UK and there are over 30 medical schools to choose from. The number of Swedish students applying is increasing every year, partly due to the fact that securing a place at a Swedish medical school is so difficult.
So, am I saying that it’s easy to get into medicine in the UK? No! Far from it, but the application system is much fairer than the Swedish one. It’s also very different and there are things you need to know early on in your decision making process. Let me explain:
1) Yes, you need good grades but you don’t need absolutely top grades.
2) Your personal statement explaining your enthusiasm for the subject and why you want to be a doctor is of utmost importance.
3) The teacher’s reference explaining your academic merits and your personal attributes also weighs heavily.
4) You need practical experience of a caring profession. This doesn’t necessarily mean in a hospital. You need to prove your willingness to work with people in a caring capacity. You could volunteer for an hour a week at an old people’s home, a dagis or a school for handicapped children. Paid work of this kind is equally valid.
If you have not fulfilled this criterion you will not even be considered!
5) You will have to sit the UKCAT or the BMAT. These are tests used for students applying to medicine, dentistry and veterinary studies.
The BMAT is very science based while the UKCAT is a more general aptitude test. Download past papers and start practising in good time!
6) Unless you have done the IB you will also have to prove your proficiency in English. Often you will be asked to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS.
If you fulfil all of the above you will probably be invited for interview. This might sound daunting but students always come back saying how much they enjoyed it.
So, as you can see it is not just your intellectual abilities that count. UK medical schools are looking for people who care about people – and who are interested in the world of medicine. Quality newspapers have articles on medicine and health every day. Start reading now!
Pre Med courses - If you want to read medicine, but have not studied to the required level in science, you may apply for a one year Pre Med course. But competition is high and you will need good grades in the subjects you have studied.
htp://www.chms.ac.uk/schools.htm - The homepage of The Medical Schools Council provides you with info on studying medicine in the UK. All medical schools are listed and you can enter their homepages through this site.
There are dozens of books to help you prepare for medical school. You don’t need to read them all but here are a few suggestions:
- Getting into Medicine
- The insiders guide to UK medical schools
- Preparing for the BMAT
- Preparing for the BMAT and the UKCAT
The deadline for applications to medicine is Oct 15 the year before you start your course. So, to start studying in Oct 2009 you will have to apply before Oct 15 2008.
The UKCAT can be taken between June and early October.
The BMAT takes place on a fixed date at the end of October.
You need to register for these in good time so as to avoid paying an extra fee for late registration.