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!

Surge in demand for medicine degrees

I read this article in The Telegraph the other day.

According to David Willetts, the Universities’ Minister, the level of competition among sixth formers for places to study medicine was so high that he was encouraging more people, particularly girls, to apply for other courses like engineering. This is because last year around 4,800 students with straight As at A-level failed to get in to British universities and of those the largest number, around 1,800, were those applying for medicine.

It is thought that there is an increasing interest for medicine because of the high tuition fees and the increasing pressure on students to secure well-paid jobs in the future.

His comments were attacked by head teachers of private schools who warned that ‘the NHS was failing to fund enough places on medical courses despite repeated complaints over a shortage of highly-trained doctors.’

I was one of the lucky ones and am now studying medicine at university, but it was not easy and if you want advice on how to improve your chances of getting a place, click on the link below and have a look at this great new book, Get Into UK Medical School 2015, for sale on Amazon now.

 

Off to medical school!

This summer I had a great time in Italy and Portugal, I passed my driving test first time and I was so happy to get A*A*A in my A levels. Now this Saturday I’m going to start medical school! I’m so excited and can’t believe it’s happening at last.

I’ve been very busy for the last few weeks seeing friends from Malawi who are studying over here too, going out with friends from school and getting everything I need for uni. I wish everyone lots of luck with their applications to medical school and I hope that you find this blog useful.

From 2013 to 2014…

2014 is a big year for me; I have my A Levels, I’ll be turning 18, learning to drive and hopefully I’ll be off to medical school. But first I want to reflect on 2013, and some of the things I got up to on my journey to medical school…

I had great fun at Medlink in January, starting the year meeting like-minded people and experiencing university life. I came home even more motivated to study medicine and so I began to write this blog, which you can also follow here.

In February I was selected to visit Auschwitz with the Holocaust Education Trust. It was such a memorable and interesting but moving trip, which made me realise how important it is to always act with integrity.

I also travelled down to Southampton for a week to shadow a consultant Cardiologist. I really enjoyed experiencing day-to-day life in a hospital, and it was interesting to compare it to my work experience in a hospital in Malawi. I saw how much teamwork is involved and the variety medicine brings every day, but  I also saw firsthand the long hours and large workload it involves, as I was lucky enough to stay with the consultant’s family.

As you will have noticed I have a big interest in malaria, and in March after being inspired by the characters in Mary and Martha, I decided to write to my MP about increasing the Global Fund to fight malaria. I didn’t expect to get a reply, but surprisingly I received an invitation to a Parliamentary World Malaria Day meeting at Westminster. I was so excited but I had an even bigger surprise when I was asked to prepare a speech about my experience of malaria, and so nervously I agreed…

In April I travelled to Westminster for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. I had to introduce the event by talking about the importance of fighting against malaria, which was quite scary in front of so many experts. Thankfully it went down well and I could relax and enjoy the rest of the evening, which I was so honoured to be a part of. Later on in the year I heard that it had been a success as the UK pledged 1 billion pounds for the Global Fund’s fight against Malaria, HIV and TB. I wanted to do more for Malaria No More, so later that month I took part in the Live Below the Line challenge and lived on only £1 a day to raise money and awareness.

In May and June most of my time was taken up revising for my AS Levels, but I took some weekends off to look around universities on their Open Days. I also began writing my personal statement, anxious to get it out of the way before my busy summer.

July began with a week in Dartmoor on my Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition. It was exhausting but I had so much fun with our team. We overcame a lot of challenges together, and got along really well despite the difficulties we faced.
I then travelled down to London for some work experience with Alan Dangour at the London School of Tropical Medicine, which was really interesting and I enjoyed doing some research and then presenting it.
I also had a week’s work experience on the Aspiring Doctor’s programme at Stafford Hospital. It showed me the diversity medicine offers, as I shadowed different health professionals in many different specialties, but the highlight was a morning in surgery watching an open bowel operation. I really enjoyed the teamwork, practical element and communication involved. The surgeon was very good at explaining everything he was doing.
I also really enjoyed spending a lot of time volunteering at Katharine House Hospice. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know some of the patients and I’ve learnt that sometimes a smile and a chat can help people to feel so much better. Surprisingly I also learnt how to Bollywood dance, and demonstrated it to the patients with a dance teacher!

In August I travelled down to Southampton to stay with a consultant Nephrologist and shadowed her for a week at Portsmouth and Southampton hospitals. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed being able to talk to lots of patients, as well as medical students and healthcare professionals. A highlight was spending an afternoon in theatre with a Navy anaesthetist, who took time to teach me about his work.

After a welcome holiday in Portugal, I took my UKCAT test, which was quite scary as when I walked in, a girl came out crying, but thankfully it wasn’t half as bad as I had expected.

I sent off my UCAS application in September and I heard back in October with my first invitation for an interview. I was so excited and in return for blogging about it, I was offered a free place on the Success in Medicine Interview Course the day before my interview. It was a really useful course, which gave a lot of advice about the interview and put me at ease with practice scenarios, and their feedback afterwards was very helpful.

In November I was delighted to get another invitation for an interview, and I felt a lot more confident after my first interview. I’m now busy studying for my mocks and waiting to hear from universities about whether or not I’ve been successful. Hopefully this time next year I’ll be at medical school, looking back on another great year.

University Open Days

Tomorrow I’m going to a university fair at Staffordshire University, where there will be lots of talks about different courses and representatives from different universities. I’m hoping to get some useful information about the different types of medical courses on offer.

image from http://www.southampton.ac.uk/studentadmin/appeals/images_appeals/DSCF1453-0.jpg

In the summer I shall be visiting several universities on their Open Days to find out more about their medical courses and what they offer. Below are some of the days I’m looking at so far. If you want to find out more, click on the name of the university to link to their Open Day page.

Saturday 15th June: Sheffield

Thursday 20th June: Birmingham

Friday 21st June: Manchester

Saturday 22nd June: Liverpool

Thursday 27th June: UCL

Saturday 29th June: Nottingham

Saturday 6th July: Southampton

Saturday 7th September: Cardiff

Saturday 14th September: Bristol

Saturday 28th September: Newcastle

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

So you want to be a doctor?

image from http://cache0.bdcdn.net/assets/images/book/medium/9780/1995/9780199573325.jpg
Today I got the book ‘So you want to be a doctor?’ It looks like a really interesting and useful book, with lots of information about the process of getting into medical school. It talks about: how much medical school costs; what work experience is best, and how to get it; completing the UCAS form; surviving the UKCAT and BMAT admission tests and getting through the interview. It’s all laid out nicely and looks easy to read! I’ll let you know what it’s like…