Medical school interviews start

At my medical school they have started interviewing for 2015 and there are lots of anxious looking sixth formers all waiting for their turn to go in. It is really weird to think that this time last year it was me nervously waiting for my interview and now I am almost at the end of my first term. I can remember feeling really scared as it was my first interview and it was an MMI which is really hard to prepare for. I thought it went really badly as I messed up a couple of the stations, but I still managed to get an offer so I can’t have done too badly.

If you’ve got an MMI coming up then read this article in The Guardian which has some tips from admissions tutors to help prepare for this type of interview and you can also find lots of advice for the day itself in this book. Just click on the orange words to go to the links. Good luck!

UKCAT memories at my driving theory test

At last all my exams are over and I just have my driving test in a few weeks. Yesterday I went back to the Pearson Vue test centre where I’d taken my UKCAT last summer, for my driving theory test. The driving theory test was easy in comparison, and I quite enjoyed it, but it was weird going back, as I could remember how nervous I was before my UKCAT. Luckily I got into it and it was a great feeling coming out afterwards with my test score, which was better than I’d thought I’d do. I hope everyone that is doing their UKCAT this summer gets the results they want too, and if anyone wants some advice about taking the UKCAT or writing their personal statement, take a look at this book available on Amazon kindle by clicking on the title in bold below.

Get Into UK Medical School 2015

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Open Day Invitation

The other day I firmed my first choice university and this Saturday I’ve been invited to attend an Open Day there to look round accommodation and the medical school. I’m really excited as I will be meeting other people who are likely to be studying there with me soon (if I get the grades!)

 

Booking Open Days

This is the time of year to start thinking about university Open Days which usually start in June and go on until September or October. Most universities have already started to take bookings for Open days in June, so it is worth going to their websites and registering now for particular sessions, so you don’t miss out. You not only get to look round the university, accommodation and campus, but you can go to talks about the admissions process which are really useful and give you the facts about which GCSEs and A levels are required, and cut-off points for the UKCAT and BMAT tests.

I found it really useful last year and looked around 5 or 6 universities, so it was easier to narrow down my choice to my top 4 when I filled in my application in September.   image from http://www.southampton.ac.uk/studentadmin/appeals/images_appeals/DSCF1453-0.jpg Below are links to some of the Open Days. If you want to find out more, click on the name of the university to link to their Open Day page.

Sheffield

Birmingham

Manchester

Liverpool

UCL

Nottingham

Southampton

Cardiff

Bristol

Newcastle

If you want to find out more tips about Open Days and the application process, then click on the orange words to have a look at this new book available to buy on Amazon Kindle now.

image from http://www.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/cornwall/homepagesplashimages/cornwall3students.jpg

New Book – Get Into UK Medical School 2015

Get Into UK Medical School 2015: The comprehensive, step-by-step guide for success in applying to UK medical school [Kindle Edition]

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This is a really helpful book if you are thinking of applying to medical school next year. It has lots of helpful hints for finding work experience, writing your personal statement, preparing for the UKCAT and interviews.

It’s available to download from Amazon kindle books, so if you’re interested just click here. Good luck with your application!

Funny video about multiple mini interviews (MMIs) for medical school!

When I was looking up MMIs on the internet, I found this video on youtube, which is a spoof about the medical admissions process, made for the McGill Med/Dent Talent Show in 2011. I thought it was really funny, and it helped me to put the interview in perspective and not to worry too much about it…..

Another Invitation for Interview!

I’m really happy because I just heard today that I’ve been invited for an interview at one of my other medical school choices. It’s at the end of this month, so not too far away. This one is more of a traditional interview with a panel of 2 interviewers and will last about 20 minutes, while the first one is MMI (multiple mini interviews) with 6 stations each lasting 6 minutes. I hope I hear from my other choices soon too.

Yesterday I had a mock interview at school, with three of my teachers. It was really good practice and I got some good feedback. They gave me some role play questions, some ethical dilemmas and some traditional questions. I was quite nervous and my mouth went dry really quickly, so I’ll make sure that I take a bottle of water with me for the real thing! I didn’t realise how long 6 minutes is until I had to pretend I’d hit the interviewer’s car and had to role play what I’d do. Some of the answers I gave were too long though, so I’ll have to try to time them better.

image from http://img.allvoices.com/thumbs/image/609/609/93594083-medical-ethics.jpg

The Student room have posted information about what to expect at interviews at all the different medical schools. You can see what to expect here.

Here are some good interview questions that I found on the web. They have all been asked at medical school interviews recently.

Success in Medicine Interview Course

In about 3 weeks time I have an interview for medical school, which I’m really excited about (and a little bit nervous).

To help me prepare I’m going on the Success in Medicine Interview Coursewhich you can read about here. 

It is a one day intensive course, including mock interview questions, interview techniques and current medical issues. The course looks really interesting and helpful, especially because you are given individual feedback to improve your performance.

I’m looking forward to going, and I’ll let you know what it’s like.  

The General Medical Council and Tomorrow’s Doctors

The General Medical Council have recently published a news article about the failure to prosecute 4 doctors who held management positions at Stafford Hospital, because of a lack of evidence against them.

They are currently working with the Department of Health: ‘…to see what more can be done to increase appropriate accountability when things go wrong. In particular we have been exploring a number of changes to our powers to make our fitness to practise procedures more effective. We want to be able to hold doctors to account where they have harmed patients or put them at risk, even if they have subsequently shown insight and can claim they are no longer a risk to patients. We also want to have a right of appeal against panel decisions by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service – this would allow us to act when we believe the panel has been too lenient. We hope these changes will form part of the Law Commission’s current wide ranging review of the law governing the regulation of health care professionals.

You can read the article here.

The GMC also sets standards for teaching, learning and assessment and they have issued a document called Tomorrow’s Doctors for medical students which sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that medical students must learn at UK medical schools and be able to demonstrate.  

image from http://www.gmc-uk.org/Tomorrow_s_Doctors_1011.jpg_49300474.jpg

Personal Statement Helper

I found a really good site to help you work out how much to write for your personal statement here. Just paste in your draft personal statement and it will work out the number of characters you’ve used, lines used etc. in the same way that the UCAS form does.

This is what it says:

‘This tool allows you to see how your personal statement will appear to UCAS. It allows you to see changes in real time. It uses UCAS’s method of counting lines (94 characters max per line), and tells you when you’ve gone either the character or line count. It also tells you how frequently you’ve used words.

What’s the point?
– No need to login to UCAS
– Get statistics about your statement
– Instantly see abbreviated forms of words
– Highlight repeated words
– See how small changes affect your line and character count in real time, unlike on UCAS’s online form.
– Generate a word cloud and share with friends!’

RSC Young Analyst Competition

chemical analyst competition

Today I went to Keele University, as I had been chosen to represent the school in the RSC’s Young Analyst Competition. When we arrived at Keele, it was quite daunting because the competition took place in one of the largest teaching laboratories in the country. There were lots of machines and apparatus around us which all looked very complex. They gave us a task, with 3 experiments to identify a pollutant in a sample of river water. We worked as a team of 3, splitting the experiments between us. I had to do a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), to determine whether there was any naphthalene in the sample of river water, and the concentration, to see if it was the pollutant which had killed the fish in the river. 

I first had to clean the syringe with acetonitrile, before injecting the river water sample into the HPLC instrument. The run took about 6 minutes to determine the retention time of the river water sample, which showed up on the computer as a peak on a graph. I also had to record the area under the peak. I then cleaned the syringe and injected the naphthalene standard. The naphthalene standard showed a peak with a very similar retention time to the peak of the river water sample, which meant that it did contain naphthalene. I calculated the area under the peak, and used a calibration graph to calculate the concentration of naphthalene in the river water.  

The other experiments we had to do were a complex-formation titration, and a UV-VIS spectroscopy which I helped with, to find out whether the concentrations of phosphate and aluminium in the river water had changed. I really enjoyed trying out new experiments and learning how to use new equipment like the spectrometer and the HPLC instrument. 

We also had a talk about forensic science and chemistry courses at Keele which both sounded very interesting. It was nice to gain more experience of what it’s like to be in a university and learn more about some of the experiments you would do during a chemistry course. 

meg keele

Talk by a 4th year medical student

Yesterday at school, a 4th year medical student from Birmingham University gave a talk to the sixth form. The talk was useful and it was interesting to get an insight into what life as a medical student is like. He gave us advice about getting into medical school; by getting varied relevant work experience, following medical news, and preparing for the admissions tests. He also told us some of the questions which come up at interviews, and about what the courses are like, e.g. integrated, PBL, or traditional. Then he explained the difference between prosections and dissections, and he also told us about doing an intercalated degree which sounds like an amazing experience, as you have the opportunity to travel anywhere.