Category Archives: applying to med school

Exams and Revision

After months of preparation, my AS exams finally finished yesterday and it’s safe to say a feel a little more free! In light of this, I thought I’d share some of the resources I made when revising, as they could be of use for others! For guidance I am studying OCR A chemistry and AQA biology, so any notes are based on the textbook and specification for these courses, though I’m sure much of it applies to others too.

Chemistry Summary sheets:

Atoms:ions PDF

Halogens and G2 Metals PDF

PHYSICAL CHEM NOTES PDF

quantitative analysis PDF

Reactions 1 PDF

Reactions 2 PDF

Biology Summary Sheets 

Cell structure summary PDF I

MMUNITY SUMMARY PDF

PLANT TRANSPORT PDF

Exam season is a long and stressful one, but I am glad that I kept up my volunteering right up until we went on study leave (3 days before my first exam) as this gave me a good break, doing something I really enjoy. I know many people are not sitting AS exams this year, so this is a tip I would take forward onto next year – having some time away from revision is (in small doses) a good idea – for me it was my volunteering, and then once on study leave going to the gym. While I didn’t feel any of my exams went overly well, I know that I worked hard for them and so the grades I get will be the best I can, and if I’m honest I’m excited to forget about them until August!

While this post didn’t have much purpose, I just wanted to keep you in the loop with what I’m doing, as throughout the year priorities definitely change. Good luck to anyone still sitting exams! You’ll do great 🙂

RSM Medical Careers Day

Last week, I alongside many other aspiring medics spent the day at Oakham School, for a ‘medicine day’ offered by the Royal Society of Medicine. It was an incredibly interesting day, and shed light on the application process and specialisms. Being a doctor is an incredibly varied role, and I love the potential that there is to choose a career which definitely suits you. However, it is easy for anyone to find out about the application process, course structures and entry grades, so I wanted to take some time to reflect on the medical professionals who gave their time to speak to us about their careers during the day. Two of which were presentations which particularly stuck with me, and another a comforting realisation.

The Trainee Years – Dr Brinda Christopher 

Dr Brinda Christopher is the president of the Sports and Exercise Medicine section of the RSM, and currently works for Tottenham football club. Admittedly, I have never particularly considered the role of doctors in this environment – thinking that the players would always turn to a physiotherapist. However, I found it explained to be an interesting field of medicine – and an uplifting one. Dr Christopher mentioned that a part of her choice of specialism was due to the unlikelihood of encountering death, as she herself finds it difficult to deal with. This has opened up my eyes to other aspects of medicine, where I have previously thought that dealing with death is something with is inevitably common as a Doctor. This shows that medicine can really be chosen to suit you, and hugely warped around your personality and what you want to do.

The road to being a doctor, is undoubtedly a long and winding long. Five or six years at med school, two foundation years, specialist training and a LOT of exams. However, I have no concern about whether or not it is worth it – it is an incredibly interesting, rewarding and important career, and the process is fitting considering as a doctor, you never stop learning. I learnt a lot from this talk about the stresses associated with being a Doctor, that many of these come from dealing with a huge system and not particularly the patients themselves. There are always quotas and deadlines to meet, making a hospital environment a fast moving one. It was emphasised during this talk, that being a doctor is not a career, but a lifestyle choice. While this is something I have witnessed first hand, it was not something which, before now, I had considered. Perhaps because I have taken it in my stride as an expected part of the job, but something I thought well worth mentioning.

Dr Christopher’s talk opened my eyes up to a field of medicine I was not previously aware of, and has encouraged me to take a look into what other specialisms which I am unaware of, are available. However, it was also an honest talk, the pros of being a doctor were equally weighted with the cons – moving around a lot, dealing with death, bullying in medicine and the stresses of the job. This appealed to be as I did not feel like I was looking onto the profession through rose-tinted glasses, and that some of the realities of being a doctor were brought to my attention.

So You Want to Be a GP – Dr Mohammed Saqib Anwar 

I had never even considered a career as a GP before this talk, I was convinced there would be little variety and an extortionate amount of time-wasting patients. However, this talk proved to me how a GP is often the first point of contact of the NHS. The first time a patient brings their potential illness to the attention of a medical professional, and that it is not only physical illnesses GP’s have to worry about it. Any doctor has a duty of care, and this extends far beyond diagnosis – it is incredibly hard for a patient to confide in you, if you are not approachable or have not build a rapport with them. Working in the medical profession is not about preventing death, it is about improving quality of life and providing standardised care to everyone. Those who repeatedly ‘waste time’ through appointments are not actually wasting time, as they are concerned about their health – the one time you turn them away, they may actually have fallen ill.

Being a General Practitioner is not a boring job, variety is encountered through clinics everyday. Although, the opportunity for other roles was highlighted to me throughout this day. Dr Saqib Anwar has a huge roles in media management, is faculty chair at the Royal College of General Practitioners and a primary care adviser for Care Quality Commission. When giving us a run through of his last two days, it included press releases, meetings and clinics – showing the life of a GP to be much more interesting than I initially thought. These two speakers were incredible, and gave a thoughtful insight into life as a doctor is two very different roles. My eyes have certainly been opened up to the prospect of different specialisms – even though it is years away.

The last speaker I would like to mention however, is a F2 student. Medicine is competitive, and not everyone gets in first time around, however this speech demonstrated to me that if it is truly what you want to do, there is more than one pathway into life as a doctor. This junior doctor was one of those people, and went on to do a biomedical sciences degree. After these three years, he gained a place on a graduates course – and from what I could see, hasn’t looked back since. So as a final message, don’t give up. Getting into med school is tough and challenging and just because you don’t achieve it first time around, doesn’t mean that you won’t make an excellent doctor.

This was only a small aspect of the day, but these talks definitely opened my eyes up to the endless possibilities within medicine. The day itself, was another affirmation that this is what I want to do, and worth the hard work. I learnt not only about the variety of life as a doctor, but left with some negatives to consider and a yearning for the next eighteen months to hurry up, so hopefully I can start med school!

Sources: RSM Medical Careers Day [23.03.17]

Making applying to Med School a little less daunting…

I thought I would do something a little different and more relaxed this week, and share with you what I’m doing towards application to medical school, and where I’m currently at with it. Suddenly, UCAS has been sprung on us at school, with lessons on how to use ‘Unifrog’ – a website which helps categorise universities and helps you see what each university can offer,  the booking of open days and study skills lessons about how to avoid plagiarism. It has taken me a while to realise how I think is best for me to progress with my application, and I thought I would share it in the hope it will at least help somebody consider their own!

Something I have been doing for a while, and would recommend to everyone, is keeping a word document with prospective ideas of what to include in my personal statement. Any interesting thoughts, articles or books I’ve read and found fascinating, alongside events I’ve attended I have kept a record of here. Just incase I forget about how interested I was, or exactly how many things I have been dong related to medicine. However most importantly, I have kept a log of my work experience, and for each day written a little on how I found it, what I thought and learnt from it, and then what I want to take away with me, and perhaps apply to future situations. For me, this has been crucial, as each time I add to this document I reread what I have previously written, and it reminds me of everything I have forgotten I’d learnt.

Similarly, it is never too early to be taking a look at University websites and league tables, and booking for open days are also now (mostly) available. I know that at the moment, I’m not entirely sure where I want to end up, and am incredibly keen to ‘feel’ a university and city as opposed to scroll through a website. I live surrounded by fields and farms, and I know that potentially moving to a city will be a big change for me, one which I’m excited for, but I definitely feel like I want to end up living and working somewhere I’m comfortable. Consequently, I think visiting universities is important, and am more than happy to miss a few days of school in June/July to ensure that I am happy with my choices! Having said that, I don’t think my Dad is too keen on all the petrol…

Another thing I think is important to mention, is that you don’t have to know. Everyone is new to this process so take your time getting to grips with new lingo, the application process and being confident in your decisions. Personally I would rather take longer over a decision and make sure I feel its the right one for me, than rush into something because all my friends are doing it. Take your time and read around – starting early means that you’re in no rush to make important decisions.

Please don’t take this blog post as gospel, and don’t suddenly panic if you haven’t started thinking about  applications. This is just what I’m doing and what I feel is working for me, and I have shared it only in the hope that it may help other people. I am not ready to apply for medical school by any means, just merely dipping my toe in the water to see what exactly the process I have to undertake in the future is. I want to wish everyone good luck with their future applications and with their journeys towards becoming a doctor. 🙂