study medicine in the uk
United Kingdom

Study Medicine in the UK

Study medicine in the UK: which is the process?

Medicine is one of the few subjects which combines academic qualifications with a career path. To study medicine in the UK, you will need preparation and excellent secondary school grades, since competition is extremely fierce.

You will also be expected to sit either the UCAT or the BMAT entrance examinations – depending on which university you have decided to apply to – and to produce an IELTS certificate.

Medicine is a five to six year course, and you will then be required to do a two-year Foundation Programme as a “doctor in training”, provisionally  registered with the UK governing body, the General Medical Council . If you wish to specialise , your studies will be longer.

How do I apply to study medicine in the UK?

Applications to study medicine are treated  like every other course, and processed through UCAS, the UK central admissions system. You are permitted to apply for medicine to four different universities and, because UCAS can process five choices per applicant, you might want to use up your last choice to apply for something medically-related, like biomedical science, so that you can eventually  get onto the Graduate Entry Programme (GEP). The GEP is designed for graduates who already have a science-related degree and wish to do a four-year accelerated course in medicine.

Where can I study medicine in the UK?

You have a choice of 37 universities. For the most part, these universities expect you to pass the UCAT entrance exam, but the BMAT is favoured by:

It is, of course, possible to sit both and widen your choices, but that would demand serious work! Remember, you can only sit it once in a year, so if you pass the exam in 2021, it can’t be counted in 2022, and you would have to sit it again.

If you have any questions about the entrance exams and how they compare, call us here at Elab and we will talk you through the differences and give you information on registration deadlines and the dates  when you can sit the papers.

What is the GAMSAT?

The GAMSAT is the entrance examination for applicants to the Graduate Entry Programme in medicine.

What are the academic requirements for studying medicine in the UK?

Unsurprisingly, you need to have strong scores in chemistry, biology and one other science subject BUT if you have brilliant scores and lack the science subject, you can apply for a six-year course, which includes what is known as the preliminary year. During this year, you will upgrade your science knowledge, before starting your medicine degree.

To give you an idea of the average scores of candidates  who go on to study medicine is not easy, because whether or not you get a place is dependent on many factors, among  the most important of which is the interview. As a rule of thumb, however,  you should  aim for an IB score of 37 upwards.

In addition to passing your UCAT or BMAT exams, doing well in your final exams at school, having a high IELTS  score and  having written a brilliant Personal Statement – and Elab can help you with that – there are two other factors to consider:

  • Work Experience
  • The interview
study medicine in uk woman doctor

Study medicine in UK!

University in UK can be the best choice for your education!

Work Experience

It is impossible to overemphasise the importance of getting practical experience, whether in a hospital, a clinic, a vet’s, a care home, a mental hospital, a children’s ward  or shadowing your local doctor.

You can build your entire Personal Statement around your work experience, use it to justify your views, as a source of reference when answering interview questions, and take examples from what you have seen, watched or done.

In addition, this will help you decide if you really do want to study medicine…

You can shadow healthcare workers, or take a more hands-on approach. Certain universities specify that you need to have had experience in two different environments.

Others go into greater detail and require a certain number of hours and at least two settings; still other universities want to know that you have had contact with patients.

Get in touch with us at Elab once you have decided where you would like to apply and we will tell you exactly what you need to do.

Remember, it is not easy to get  work experience in hospitals, and  this is because doctors  are obliged to guarantee patient confidentiality – and your presence could make this impossible. In addition, hospitals are not insured for work experience volunteers and if you were to have an accident, this would create a major issue. You are far more likely to get a voluntary job in a hospice, nursery or care home.

This will help you to understand precisely what you intend to study and do, and check whether this particular career path suits your skills, your personality and your sensibilities.

The interview

Most universities in the UK have moved away from traditional interview formats for medicine. Instead of sitting in front of one or more interviewers and answering questions, you will find yourself doing  an MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) circuit. What this means is that you will spend two hours or so, moving between stations and tackling a range of tasks. 

For example, you may be faced with an actor, and obliged to tell him or her that you have just run over their only friend, their  beloved cat. You will be assessed on how empathetic you are in giving the bad news, your communication skills, posture, hand and body language and tone of voice. At the next station, you might have to show your precision and attention to detail, and explain how to do up a tie without actually touching it. 

Or you could find yourself being asked to interpret a sheet of data, to decide who to save out of five people  if your city is being threatened with a nuclear attack, or invited to discuss whether euthanasia and abortion are appropriate in specific circumstances. You may then be asked about current healthcare issues , or what you would do if you saw a surgeon drinking, just before he or she was about to start operating on a patient. 

Essentially, the MMI assesses your soft skills, your compassion, judgment, your priorities and decision making skills.  It is an important part of the application process.

What are my career prospects once I have qualified?

You could become:

  • Anaesthetist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Cardiologist
  • General Practitioner
  • Hospital Doctor
  • Neurologist
  • Surgeon

The possibilities are endless and, somewhere along the line, while you are studying medicine you will have a Eureka moment, and KNOW the field  in which you want to practise. Many a student who initially felt drawn to gynaecology ended up becoming a dermatologist; or changed their minds about becoming a cosmetic surgeon once they immersed themselves in ear, nose and throat issues. 

Be flexible. Work hard and, in five or six years’ time, you will have finished studying medicine in the UK and stand on the threshold of a brilliant medical career.

Good luck.

And finally :

As you can see, applying to study medicine is a  complex process. Here at Elab, we run a GetinMed workshop which will help you to prepare your application and get ready for the entrance exam and interview.

Drop us an email or call us, here at Elab, to talk through your options. Let us work  together to maximise your chances of being accepted to study medicine in the UK.

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