Many dream of becoming a Doctor from a young age and some may only have decided recently but that is only the beginning. For those wanting to pursue a career in Medicine, this is a decision not to be taken lightly. The application process in itself is tough let alone the journey to become a Doctor itself, so we want to make sure you are prepared. We’ve listed some key things to consider:
Know your reason
Medicine is a very challenging and long degree, which does not stop being so challenging after you graduate. You will continuously be stretched intellectually, physically and mentally therefore your reason for entering this profession should be enough to motivate you (the more personal the better).
Know the pathways
It is very important to be aware of what the journey pertains and the know the full Medical Training Pathway. There are various routes to medicine (Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Foundation Year and studying Abroad), knowing what is required for each can help you to formulate a back up plan in case things go as unexpected. We recommend you write do the full Medical Training Pathway and stick it where you can see it to motivate you. For those applying in the next round of applications 2018/2019, write down a timeline of the key dates for your application including A-Level results day, UKCAT dates, BMAT dates, application deadline dates etc. Although it will be up to you to develop this plan, your mentor can review it and help fill in any missing pieces.
Have a taste of the profession
Another idea is to volunteer in a medical setting where you can meet someone who will be helpful and also have the benefit of learning even more about medicine first hand. It is necessary to expose yourself to the healthcare profession before you apply so you can see the role of a doctor in action and what it entails and whether the role is suited to you. That’s why we recommend you get some work experience as soon as possible, so that you can gain a realistic perspective of Medicine in practise and determine whether the negatives outweigh the positives for you.
Get some guidance
There are many aspects to Medicine, some doctors decide to delve into research, medical education or practise as a physician. If you know a doctor or medical student contact him or her to learn more about a career in medicine. Maybe a doctor who has treated you or someone in your family would be willing to spend some time talking with you about a career in medicine. Even if you don’t know a doctor directly, there are many you can reach out to who are willing to help. There is a lot of help available to support prospective Medicine applicants with their application and provide students with mentorship e.g. Black Medical Society & African Caribbean Medical Mentors. We as Melanin Medics are always here to answer any questions or queries you may have or read over your Personal Statement for you, FREE of charge.
Check your credentials
A solid academic record is required to study Medicine. You can do this by taking advanced classes/ courses, getting good grades and involving yourself in extracurricular activities. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned about your progress. It is very important to take the right subjects required to study Medicine at GCSE, A-Levels or Degree. Many UK Medical Schools require Chemistry and Biology at A-Levels, however so Foundation Medicine degrees allow students who have taken the wrong subjects, so make sure you do your research. Again, the majority of Medical Schools do not accept A-Level resits not completed within the 2 years of study so don’t forget to check their entry requirements and before choosing to apply a particular medical school make sure predicted grades meet their requirements.
Make sure you thoroughly research what is required to study Medicine. Research is a key aspect of Medicine and the sooner you become accustomed to it the better. Here is a list of key things to research/ consider:
- Open Days/ Workshops/ Day Conferences
- Admissions Test: UKCAT, BMAT, GAMSAT
- Choosing a Medical School
- Personal Statement
- Learning Methods
We hoped this helped to put things into perspective. If you need any help at all, or have any questions feel free to comment below or send us a message.