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The Dogmother

Med school, UKCAT/BMAT exams - any advice?

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Rosie, who is in her first year of A-Levels, has been exploring the various options with a medical career, and has decided on cardiac surgery (quite convenient really, as we don't have one of those in the family yet :lol: ) King's College, London is her uni of choice.

 

She has to sit her UKCAT and BMED exams this year - does anyone here have any experience of the process and any advice to offer?

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Gosh that sounds very difficult.

I don't have any advice but just wanted to wish her the best of luck when she does those exams.

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We have been through both tests. You can get practice books online and also papers. They will give you an idea of what to expect to a degree but you cannot really revise for them. Some unis require them and others don't. Some very much take note of the marks and others less so. I would advise choosing one uni at least that doesn't require them. If she is thinking of medicine, work experience is something that is important and can be hard to find so make sure you have that covered. Do your homework re entry requirements too. Some had a minimum A* GCSE requirement when ES applied. (7-8 for some). Each one of your applications is precious so it is important to have what they want otherwise it is a wasted choice. To be honest, medicine is so competitive that it is often as case of whether you can get a place at all rather than whether you get your top choice :? ES was unusually fortunate to have the luxury of choice ( with an average BMAT I hasten to add). PM me if I can be of any help :)

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Thank you both... I am passing this on, and will revert if she has any more questions.

 

I am also arranging for her to chat to a friend's son, who is in his 3rd year of a med degree, and also to another friend, who lectures in chemistry at UCL. Kings isn't the be-al-and-end-all, but she would prefer it.... we'll see how she goes.

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Can recommend Liverpool Medical School! Was very high tech years ago, so must be wow now. Good place to study & great place for Student life! The canteen was good & The Everyman Theatre served good food affordable to students.

Good luck to Rosie!

Emma.x

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My ES had to do both the UKCAT and BMAT last year when applying for medicine - agree that there's very little revision that can be done for them, but there are books and online past papers that your daughter can look at and practice. The general vibe is that the more you practice the papers, the better you'll do as you'll get the hang of how the tests work. Remind your daughter too that you don't have to do brilliantly in all parts of the tests - my ES did dreadfully in one part of the BMAT (the writing part!) but still got the offers he wanted.

 

As far as the numbers of A*s needed at GCSE is concerned, it's very easy to get scared off by percentages - my ES nearly didn't apply to his first choice uni (where he got in) because their average number of A*s at GCSE was something like 75%, and he only got 51% A*s, but we said that it was only an average, and if he didn't apply he'd definitely not get in, so he applied and all was well.

 

Agree with previous poster also that work experience is essential - the more shadowing you can do in a variety of places the better. My ES shadowed an anaesthetist for a week, a gastroenterologist for a few days, and a neurologist for a few days, and also did work experience in 3 different research labs - I think that these experiences held him in really good stead during the interview process as he could refer to real life experiences, as well as showing that he was keen!

 

Interviews are obviously important too - they need to have a good background knowledge of current affairs and a good working knowledge of biology (even though not all unis need you to take biology for medicine). Also there are a number of books that are well worth reading before the interviews, like The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and various others. My ES found he was asked about the what he'd read around the subject in 2 of his 3 interviews.

 

My ES also decided when making his UCAS choices to apply for a variety of places depending on what their entry requirements were, hoping that he'd get a couple of offers of different grades so that if he didn't quite make his first choice, he'd still get in somewhere! Ended up getting an A*A*A offer, and an AAA offer - in fact made the grades and went to his first choice uni.

 

Any further info you want, just ask... And good luck!

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