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i know there's probably a lot of these threads but need some advice please.

Discussion in 'Mature Students' started by elmasry1990, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. elmasry1990

    elmasry1990 New Member

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    right this is going to be a long one, im currently a 2nd year Biomedical Science Student at uni, i have A-Levels in Biology chemistry and English Li&lang. I originally applied to study Pharmacy for two reasons, i didnt think i could get the grades for medicine and secondly i didnt quite have the passion for medicine as i do now. Well in year 13, unfortunately my mum got diagnosed with breast cancer and my last year of alevels was generally quite hard as especially on my holidays, id be with my mum 3/4 days a week in the hospital while she undergoes chemo, many times it would be from 9am-7pm in the evening. Anyway my alevel grades suffered greatly as a result and i got BCD, but with my unis knowing of my situation i still got a place on pharmacy. However, due to a change in mind and me realising that me going into pharmacy almost ended any hope for me to do medicine as i wasnt sure id go into GEP after pharmacy (and even so, isnt it then a waste of an extra year) so i rung around unis on clearing and got a place on Biomedical Science.

    So brings us to now, im in my second year, all my grades are good im currently set on a 2:1. I can honestly say i am a different person than what i was back in alevels, the amount of work i am putting in now is so rewarding and i honestly believe my a levels should not hinder me for the rest of my life.

    Hobbies/Work experience/volunteering? Well i currently volunteer at a cancer hospice locally, i do about 2-3 hours a week helping the nurses lay out the beds, provide drinks etc. I have also applied to do volunteer work at my local hospital and awaiting criminal bearau check before i start, likewise with work experience just waiting to hear back from the hospital. I have also worked in a hospital in Egypt for 3 weeks previously, shadowing various doctors from pediatrics, nephrology and obs and gyne. I also have 2 part time jobs that i work for extra money during the weekend which i believe could help me with my personal statement? Finally with my hobbies, i take a huge interest in nutrition and fitness, i regularly go to the gym and am always researching new products brought out in the bodybuilding society as well as writing small articles on websites with regards to training, diets etc. I also play rugby for the university and have played rugby for the past 6 years since starting GCSEs.

    I regularly read up on BMJ at my local library and have even started taking interest in the British Journal of Obs and Gyne. I have taken a considerable interest in the oncology side of obs and gyne due to my grandmother passing away with uterine cancer earlier this year.

    basically what you've read is a sort of draft to a potential personal statement, obviously i would tidy it up and write it properly and all this work experience stuff will be written in the past as opposed to me still applying lol.

    So my questions are, what else could i add?

    and secondly; im hoping to apply to Manchester, Nottingham (4years), keele (unsure 4/5years), Liverpool (4 years) and Newcastle (4 years)...hoping to pick 4 out of them...any advice?

    i know i ranted on a bit but im new to the forum and just hoping everyone gets to know exactly where im at etc.

    thanks again guys :)
     
  2. Bad'un Raddon

    Bad'un Raddon New Member

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    Awesome, mate :) Looks like you're on track for a pretty strong medschool application.

    Main thing I would advise would be working your arse off in your final year for that 2.1- makes things a LOT easier, believe me, and the final year is always tougher than people expect. Plenty of people I know who were on for a 2.1 dropped to a 2.2 cos they didn't take the final year seriously enough.

    Your W.E. seems good- persistence over time is the key rather than amount per se, so doing just a few hours a week but for months or years is what counts, but truth be told you can never do too much W.E. for medicine. You could be competing in interview against a quallified nursing Sister.

    Your stuff in Egypt is cool as well, basically cos its a little different from the norm- always good to stand out!

    Only other point is that if you're serious about the 4-year Notts option, that'll require the GAMSAT, which there's loads to look at for on here. Maybe think though, if you do it, about adding another GAMSAT-medschool, as a) its a big exam for just one of your four options, and b) because if you ace it, it automatically gets you 2 interviews instead of 1, and still leaves 2 choices if it doesn't go well.

    Best of luck, pal!
     
    #2 Bad'un Raddon, Mar 23, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  3. rjm26

    rjm26 New Member

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    Best advice when choosing the ones you apply for it to have a look at the individual universities course websites...

    You seem to have done the right subjects, but some of them want you to have got specific grades at A level, even though you are a applying for graduate... Others, (Notts) wont even look at your A level grades, all they want to know about it GAMSAT, degree and work exp.

    Alsoooo... I think a couple of them require you to have already got your degree before applying, not "predicted classification". I know from your list Liverpool does, maybe some others. So that would mean you couldn't apply to those ones this Sept for 2012 entry if you are still in your 2nd year? Always worth looking at.

    This is a pretty good website for a general overview (although some of it is sliiiiightly out of date). I would have a scan and then look at the universities' own websites for further detailed info, especially specific to your degree/a levels etc.
    Medschoolsonline - Medical Course Guide for Graduates - Graduate Entry 4-Year Courses

    Your application sounds pretty strong though, so best of luck :)
     
  4. mungo bungo

    mungo bungo New Member

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    Your application does look strong. Have you considered a 5 year programme as 'insurance'?
     
  5. elmasry1990

    elmasry1990 New Member

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    thanks a lot for the support guys! yeh i am applying to manchester 5 years, keele probably 5 years and unsure whether to apply to newcastle 4/5 years...i think my decision to apply to which 4/5 year courses will probably be finalised by september as im looking to do the GAMSAT in july as i know it takes a couple of months to get my results?

    if i do well in the GAMSAT, im hoping to apply to Nottingham/Newcastle (4years) and Manchester/Keele (5 years)

    and rjm, you say about liverpool asking for your degree to be grades in hand, is this also the case for 5 year program?

    Warwick and Swansea are 2 grad only med schools that id love to go to but really worried about applying to them as ive been told they are extremely difficult unis to get into? (not that any of the others are easier) but im told that especially warwick has some mental places to applicants ratio of sometihng like 1:40...anyone had any experience applying to these two unis?

    thanks again for the contribution
     
  6. AMA Nation

    AMA Nation New Member

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    Okay, You're HIRED!
     
  7. auden

    auden New Member

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    you can't sit GAMSAT in July - it's only held in the UK in September, so you don't apply with your results. You're thinking of UKCAT which you can do any time over the summer and you apply with results, but that's not used by Notts or Keele GEM (they do indeed use GAMSAT). Newcastle I think does use UKCAT.
     
  8. elmasry1990

    elmasry1990 New Member

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    ah i thought you could still sit the gamsat any time during the year...my bad guess it shows my lack of knowledge on the GEP, ive been so focused on the undergrad courses that thinking of applying to the 4 year medicine is quite different lol...

    some unis, for example keele and nottingham, ask for GAMSAT in the 4 year course, if i was to apply to the 5 year course, despite being a graduate, would i still need to do the gamsat or will the UKCAT suffice?
     
  9. Bad'un Raddon

    Bad'un Raddon New Member

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    No 5-year courses use the GAMSAT, except Peninsula for graduate-entry to their 5-year course.
    If you apply to the 5-year course at a uni that also has a 4-year version, its a totally separate admissions procedure, and will just require the UKCAT.
     
  10. elmasry1990

    elmasry1990 New Member

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    ah ok i understand now! Right on a general note, as a graduate do i stand a better chance of getting into the 5 year course as opposed to the 4 year one?
     
  11. rjm26

    rjm26 New Member

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    Yeah but you wouldn't be eligible to apply to some of the 5 year courses. At St Georges, as a grad you cant apply to the undergrad course.
    At Nottingham (and loads of other places) it doesn't matter if you have a degree, to get on the undergrad you need to have the same top A level grades as everyone else.
    Some of the undergrad courses will allow you to have lower A level grades because you now have a degree, but again, some of the still require you to have got BBB and even stipulate a grade in a forth AS subject too!
    Some of the grad courses also require you to have specific A level grades!

    With regards to whether you have more chance of getting on a 4 or 5 year course: In theory, if you chose a 5 year that you were eligible for (didnt need the A level grades etc) then you would be a better candidate than an undergrad because you have done a degree to show you can do self-directed learning, you are more mature/have more life experience etc... And undergrads have less applicants per place........ BUT, (and this is important) you are not always put up against the undergrads in the admissions process!! Some universties have a set quota of how many mature/grad students they will admit. Take Leeds for example... They will give 10% of their places to grads/mature students, sooooo this is basically a set number from the start 28 places for grads, so you are only competing against other grads, so don't have that "advantage over undergrads" anyway. So if you are choosing 5 year courses to try and increase your odds, then you need to look into it properly. You also need to look into the massive lack of funding for 5 year courses...

    Also with the odds, you've got to remember that they look awful before gamsat and ukcat cut offs, but after that its normally about 1 in 3! Don't get me wrong, the gamsat isn't easy, but its really not impossible either if you prepare for it and understand what its all about... Don't let everything you read on forums scare you, it can be done first time!!

    Your best bet is to get a list of all the 4 and 5 year courses, go on each of their individual websites and look at their requirements. Cross off the ones you wouldn't be eligible for and it will give you more of a starting point.
     
  12. MEDEVAC

    MEDEVAC New Member

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    Look at www.medschoolsonline.com to work out what options you have and where you can go.

    I don't understand the idea that a 5 year is insurance for people. You're not guaranteed to get in which is what insurance means. The 5 years are almost more competitive due to the numbers. At least with GEPs you're limited to people with degrees.

    4 years is WAAAAAAY cheaper and faster so unless you have a specific reason to go to a school that only does 5 year or you don't qualify for the 4 year, I say apply to GEPs all the way.

    You can take GAMSAT in Ireland in March but in the UK it isn't until September. Perhaps take it in March and see if you can improve then retake in Sep or just accept what you have.

    When are you applying? You're in second year so 3rd year you'll start in Sep so you'll be applying for 2012 entry. Hmm....

    You might be to late for GAMSAt in Ireland this time round.

    So... take UKCAT after getting the 600qs book and doing some prep and base your decisions off your score. You want 675 or above.

    Choose if you then want to try for GAMSAT and go from there.

    Good luck.
     
  13. Martigan

    Martigan Super Moderator

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    *wrong* - the application ratios is far worse for the 4 year courses than the 5 years, plus you are competing against a much higher calibre of candidate for the 4-year courses. 5 year courses are easier to get into, but there are financial and time implications.
     
  14. MEDEVAC

    MEDEVAC New Member

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    Fair enough - I know what you mean but why beat around the bush?

    A 2012 applicant will probably struggle to self fund the 5 year degrees though from 2012. I don't know many people that can afford 45k in fees.

    Regardless, I still see a lot of 5 year grad applicants on here that are unsuccessful. I understand the principle of going with the lower offer but I would personally go for all 4 years.

    To each their own.
     
  15. rjm26

    rjm26 New Member

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    you are both wrong! read my post above.....

    medevac is right about it being a common misconception because its not an insurance because its not guaranteed... and also, in a lot of cases your odds are no better whatsoever!!

    martigan is right in the sense that *IF* the course you are applying to compares you against the undergrads, you should be a bit better than them, more life experience etc... BUT, a lot of them have set number of places for grads and so you are only being compared to other grads, so that makes no difference! and there are still the same number of grad people applying to every place available to grads, because on most courses, not every undergrad place is available to grads (and thats what people assume) !!

    you only have better chances if you are being compared against the undergrads....

    this link demonstrates what im saying... it is for grads applying to 5 year courses. the odds are similar to grads applying to 5 year courses...

    Medschoolsonline - Medical Course Guide for Graduates - Standard Medicine Courses



    also, for either course the 'odds' are silly, because like i said, they are MASSIVELY cut post- entrance exam (ukcat/gamsat)
     
  16. klg

    klg New Member

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    I can't comment on which are easier to get into, but I've had two 4 yr interviews and two 5 yr interviews, and personally I found the 5 yr interviews much easier than the 4 yr ones, and less rigorous. I'm not saying any of them were easy - I hate interviews and am not very good at them, but I just found them more relaxed and straight forward.
     
  17. Profanius

    Profanius New Member

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    erm... sorry rjm, but you couldn't be more wrong, even by your own stats.

    Medschoolsonline is a good reference site, but it's stats are often incomplete and woefully out of date.

    While it's true that the application to offers ratio changes after the GAMSAT results are released, this doesn't apply to UKCAT as the results are available long before UCAS application. Very few students tend to apply to Unis when they knowingly don't meet the entry criteria.

    While it is true that 5-year degree courses reserve a certain number of places for graduates, and graduates do not compete directly with non-grads, the proportion of applicants to these places compared with the 4-year courses is far less competitive. This ratio will also shift massively this year when one considers the extra cost in tuition fees associated with the 5 year courses... £45k vs £9k.

    Soton 4 year GEP, approx 40 applicants per place.
    Soton 5 year GEP, approx 18 applicants per place.
    ...and next year will be very different.

    You will also find the calibre of applicants for the 5 year grad courses is lower, due to higher calibre candidates (medical professionals, PhD students) will be attracted more to the 4 year courses. 5 year courses are offered by more universities, meaning more choice and more chance of finding a Uni which matches your skills and criteria.

    5 year courses are a very safe back-up option, especially with funding the way it is - they just cost a lot more.
     
  18. rjm26

    rjm26 New Member

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    nope. for leeds 5 year my odds were the same as the 4 year courses... something i only found out after.

    my point is that every uni is different, and for some your odds are better, but

    a) its not guaranteed, so by no means an insurance
    b) the number of applicants can and does change each year
    c) for some your odds are no different at all

    what im trying to get across is that the applicant im trying to help should look up the numbers for all the courses they want to apply to individually, because i don't think you can make a general overall comment about 4 or 5 years being easier or harder, because it doesn't apply to all unis and courses....

    but you are right, with the fees going up it is likely far less people will apply to 5 year as a graduate, so if you can afford it then you might want to think about it
     
  19. elmasry1990

    elmasry1990 New Member

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    thanks a lot for the help everyone really appreciate it!!

    well having researched it a bit more and been on this forum reading non stop i think i have a general idea of where i'l apply; (based on me doing well on my UKCAT hopefully)

    1. Manchester 5 years (i hear they are a grad friendly med school)
    2. Newcastle/ Durham 4 years (since they don't look at A-Levels, and i have pretty bad ones)
    3. Warwick 4 years
    4. Nottingham or Keele 4 years...still not made my mind up as to whether keele is worth applying to with such little places available for graduates, but its my local uni and ideally would probably prefer to stay at home while studying medicine.

    any further opinions/criticisms are welcome
     
  20. kiaravin1

    kiaravin1 New Member

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    My thoughts on Keele vs Nottingham (bear in mind I am on the Notts GEM course so am probs biased):

    For the keele course you simply join the normal 5 year course in year 2, and it is very hard to get into. From their admission stats, they don't actually recruit the full number of people they can each year; they have 10 places but might only fill 2 or 3 of them. They are looking for applicants that can cope with the fact they have effectivly missed out a year of the course and so will only recruit those people, just just get the 10 best applicants. Also, you'll be joining a cohort that has already established friendships which could be a challenge, and you'll have to work out what has already been taught to them in the first year.

    For nottingham, it is a purpose built graduate entry course where you do your first 18 months as graduates using PBL. Then you join the undergrads for your clinical years. PBL wise, I've found it an excellent way to learn as you are presented with a 'real' patient each week, and work through the processes of diagnosis, treatment and management which really helps when you get to clinical. You do still get lectures and anatomy (prosection) so you're not just left to your own divises. If you know your going to hate PBL then Notts probably isn't for you.

    Hope this helps
     

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