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Medicine

Overview

  • Have a clear idea of the positives and negatives of working in medicine
  • Look at the skills/attitudes you will need and match them to your experience
  • Try to build your experience and knowledge accordingly through volunteering, part-time work or work shadowing

Personal Statements

As part of the application process you will need to write a personal statement:

  • It must be up to 4000 characters (including spaces) maximum
  • Needs to cover your motivation and academic skills but focus on your work experience/volunteering and what you’ve learned about
    yourself, the medical profession (challenges etc) and the NHS through this

Here are some resources to help with this:

Admissions tests

Medical school admissions tests will include similar verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning tests to graduate employers. However, they may add knowledge based elements and/or judgement tests, such as the Decision Analysis Test (DAT) used in UKCAT

Interviews

Traditional Interview

Usually a panel which can be made up of a range of stake holders including admissions team member, doctor, nurse, lay person, paramedic. Can be a formal or informal set up.

Mini Multiple Interview (MMI)

Several question stations, each on a different area; eg. ethics, work experience, NHS etc. Sometimes includes a role play. Each station may be 4 –10 mins with time between each – could be as little as 1.5 mins, but usually more. BSMS has 5, 10-min stations, with 1.5 mins between each.

The stations may be staffed by a range of stake holders including doctors, nurses, lay people, paramedics, admissions etc.

Interview preparation

An ability to communicate calmly, concisely and logically will be observed throughout – there may be a MMI station specifically for this.

Key areas to research so that you are prepared for a broad range of questions:

  • Your own motivation to study medicine (rather than another healthcare profession); a realistic understanding of the challenges ahead of you; how you might deal with these (and with stress).
  • Why this particular medical school? Training type (problem-based learning, integrated learning, systems based learning, traditional), use of cadavers?, personal reasons (eg. been at Uni of Sussex and have good knowledge of the local area, campus and BSMS)
  • NHS hot topics - see medicportal website for info on a range of these including BREXIT, Charlie Gard case, mental health services etc.  Other good info on the BMA and BMJ websites.
  • Ethics – the four pillars. If you understand the four pillars you will be able to analyse and discuss a wide range of different ethical scenarios.
  • NHS constitution and core values.
  • Local NHS info – the key issues/challenges, local demographic, how that NHS trust spends its money etc.
  • Team work – example from your work experience, may involve a group activity to assess how you work in, and contribute to, a group.
  • Empathy – example from your work experience, but also be prepared to respond to a potential role play.

Some schools also assess:

  • capacity for dealing with stress
  • commitment through participation in extracurricular activities
  • evidence of working as a leader
  • maturity of character
  • anxiety level during interview
  • ability to multi-task

Medical Skills

  • Excellent people skills. You will be providing care for people of all ages and backgrounds and should have a genuine interest and concern for everyone
  • Communication skills are important. You need to be good at listening as well as talking. The ability to explain options to patients and observe changes in condition can be key
  • The ability to deal with stressful situations and handle pressure. Nurses have a key role in helping patients and their families cope. Doctors need to make quick, clear decisions in often difficult circumstances
  • Teamwork. You will be working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and need to be aware of different roles, specialisms and be able to work together
  • Hard work. Can you cope with this over sustained periods?
  • The ability to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date. There are always changes in this area, so continuing professional development is important

Latest Health News

An understanding of latest developments in health and medicine can be very helpful for applications and interviews. Keep up-to-date with NHS Choices and BMA News

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