How to study medicine in UK
Many students and potential future-doctors struggle to pursue their dream course of studying medicine in their home country due to the shortage of places in medical schools in their home country. In the UK, medical school only have 8000 seats when there are over 40,000 people applying for the same course. The competition is increasingly getting more fierce every year, as students keep applying until they gain an interview. Students who are applying for the first time are competing with students who are applying for the 5th or 6th time. Those students will usually be older, more experiences, and have a much stronger personal statement for medicine or dentistry.
The UK courses for medicine require very high grades and expect a lot from applicants. They make lots of conditions to filter out as many applicants as they can. Usually, it’s very tough for medical schools as they have around 10 applicants per place. Students must show that they are not only the best for the seat, but they must be the best applicant, of the best applicants of the best applicants. Admission teams joke that they are scraping off the cream of the cream in a pot of milk. Medical schools will reject students for any reason they can. This is to filter out students and decrease the number of competing medical students.
It is no longer enough to simply meet the grade requirements, because many people do. If students are lucky to be interview for a medicine course then they must endure an intense, long and thorough battery of “arbitrary” tests in the form of Mini Multiple Interviews (MMI).
Students are also subjected to entrance exams like the UKCAT, BMAT, GAMSAT and so on. These tests assess scientific knowledge, mathematical skills and other intelligence qualities.
Once students get past the initial academic requirements, they will start competing again. This time with the next lot of applicants with disregard of any academic advantage or work experience.
The MMIs usually test elements of decision making, quantitative analysis, manual dexterity tasks, ethical dilemmas, awareness of GMC regulations, awareness of the rules and challenges of working as a doctor or dentist in the UK, presentation skills, ability to break bad news to a patient, memory and recall skills, professionalism and probity, logic and reasoning, spatial awareness, team-working skills, scientific interpretation and understanding,
The mini interviews are intense and usually will filter out a bigger number of applicants. Each student will be scored on their performance at each of the above stations. Then they are ranked against the rest of the interviewees.
After the interviews, students will usually be asked to wait a few weeks. The admission committee decides whether to make a conditional or unconditional offer to the study medicine at university.
The sad truth is that many students’ dreams are crushed due to the intense competition and the very odd and arbitrary filtering process. However it’s not all doom and gloom, because for the past few years lots of students have decided to skip all this hassle in this complicated procedure by going abroad and pursuing medicine courses in Europe.