#UniShorts: Applying for Medicine in the UK?

When it comes to the university application process, and no matter what subject you’re applying for, you’ll face a degree of difficulty creating a strong UCAS profile and personal statement. 

However, to paraphrase an iconic quote from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “all applications are competitive, but some applications are more competitive than others.”

If you’re applying for medicine in the UK, you’ll find that building an impactful case for admission is particularly challenging. There are several reasons for this: medicine is a highly respected vocation, and you’ll spend your days helping people to live happier and healthier lives.

These facts mean that medicine is likely one of the most over-subscribed degrees at whichever university you want to attend. 

Think of it this way: while you’re trying to impress various university admissions teams with your qualifications and achievements, there are many tens of thousands of people around the world who are trying to do the exact same thing. 

Here are two actionable and simple steps you can take to improve your application and increase your chances of getting into the medicine degree of your choice. 

  • Applying for Medicine? Understand the Requirements

Many medical schools up and down the country will set out a number of formal requirements as part of their admissions process: these prerequisites are designed to filter down the large initial pool of applicants. 

The General Medical Council (GMC) actually insists that all eligible medical school applicants gain some form of work experience before applying to university, whether that’s in a voluntary or paid role. 

At A&J Education, our years of experience working with clients means that we’ve uncovered a few unwritten rules when it comes to applying for medicine in the UK. While the GMC gives all kinds of far-fetched examples of relevant work experience, including working in a corner shop, you should aim to find a job or opportunity that provides valuable insight into the life of a medic. 

Put simply, you shouldn’t expect to be called for an interview at your medical school of choice if you have no previous experience of working in a care environment or as a junior welfare provider of some kind. 

It’s most likely that you’ll also have to take the BioMedical Aptitude Test (BMAT) of the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) as part of the admissions process for medical school in Britain.

Make sure to check out the specific prerequisites for each course and university: many medical schools are now publishing the minimum scores required for admissions consideration on their websites.

  • Applying for Medicine? Write an Exceptional Personal Statement 

When you’re applying for a degree that’s as competitive as medicine, you’ll need to write a personal statement that helps you to stand out as an exceptional candidate. Forget using those abstract, generic, and tired phrases like “I’ve always wanted to do medicine” or “I’m passionate about this subject.” Everyone will try to write something along those lines. 

Instead, emphasise your originality and show your passion for medicine by denoting your actions and initiative. For example, rather than simply saying “I would love to study medicine,” focus on talking about your work experience and your efforts to improve those skills that will make you a better future practitioner. This demonstrates that you’re serious about being the best medical student that you can be. 

You should also work to develop a personal narrative that is both authentic and believable. Talk about your extracurriculars, but only if they portray something really telling and positive about your personality.

It’s a great idea to show a bit of your personality in your statement: admissions teams read hundreds of these applications, so they’ll welcome profiles that demonstrate zeal, originality, and willingness to learn and improve. Head over to the Acing the UK Admissions Process section of our site to find out more about writing a successful personal statement. 

The Final Thoughts 

Applying for medicine in the UK is challenging, but you’ll find that the process is extremely fulfilling if you follow several simple steps: 

  1. Plan well, and start building your profile several years in advance by gaining valuable work experience.
  2. Check out the specific prerequisites of your university of choice when it comes to standardised testing. 
  3. Spend time creating a personal statement that’s authentic, original, and well-written. 
  4. Work on showing admissions tutors why you deserve a place on their degree, rather than simply stating that you do.

If you want more in-depth advice on how to build a successful application for medicine in the UK, get in touch with our team of experts by booking a free consultation at A&J Education.

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