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 Post subject: A'Levels for Medicine
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:42 pm 
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DS is really struggling with the 4th A'Level choice. He is completely committed to Biology and Chemistry as essential for an application for Medicine. He also wants to do Maths. However, he is torn between Physics, English Lit and possibly, but less so, Geography. He is predicted 8s for all of these topics. I would add, aswell, that taking 4 isn't a 'look at me' choice but a genuine love of all of these subjects.

I worry that Physics makes him too narrow (his Physics teacher tells him that students with Physics A'Level score most highly on the MedCats (is that a thing or have I made it up?)). His English teachers believe he is Oxbridge material for English (not that that is be all and end all but just an indication of how highly he is regarded) and I think he has a real gift for writing and textual analysis. However, he has been committed to studying medicine and becoming a doctor since early teens and I don't want him to do anything that might compromise his chances of getting onto a Med degree.

Could anyone with any knowledge of Med school applications give me any advice? It would be much appreciated.

Stokers


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:29 pm 
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I think these days the med schools quite like an arts / humanities subject at A level. It is not all a scientific subject.

If he applies to UCL / oxbridge he will have to do BMAT and that involves essay writing, A levels other than science can come in handy. (the one you may be referring to is the UKCAT which is done by some of the other Unis)

On a more eeyore note, there is significant junior doctor drop out and senior doctor burnout - great if you have something else you are interested in to turn to at that stage


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:51 pm 
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Thanks, hermanmunster. Yes, I hope he stays broad, if only to allow him another horizon should med school or the subsequent toil of being a doctor wear him out. I worry that I'm just projecting my own beliefs however - no idea where the love of Science comes from. Both DH and myself have humanities backgrounds!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:02 pm 
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hermanmunster wrote:
On a more eeyore note, there is significant junior doctor drop out and senior doctor burnout - great if you have something else you are interested in to turn to at that stage

The consultant I was with today told me he and his son who is also a Doctor had thought they needed alternatives in case medicine didn't work out for them.Each have City and Guilds qualifications he as a electrician his son in plumbing.That really surprised me. I hope he never changes careers.He is one of the best Drs I have ever met.I have never met his son.He was drained today treating patients suffering from jet lag arriving back yesterday from the conference of the American Heart Association.

_________________
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:31 pm 
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This section on TSR is the best for information on medicine:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/medicine


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:03 am 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
If he’s settled on Chemistry, Biology and Maths, he should do the subject he enjoys as well as to keep his career options open. Initially, ds1 took history along with maths, chemistry and biology. He actually didn’t enjoy the way history was taught so later switched to physics (handy should he wish to pursue engineering).

Read the advice given by the med schools your ds intends to apply to. My ds only sat the BMAT exam for his application to ICL. But if your ds is applying to oxbridge/ucl, for a strong application, they do prefer 3 sciences as a minimum. At application stage, he would also need to score very well in the essay section of the BMAT to be invited for interview but do bear in mind that there are applicants who will achieve band 1 on the strength of their language skills at gcse level alone.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:29 am 
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Also be aware that 4 A levels is NOT essential - most medical schools are happy to consider a wide range of alternative stuff to an additional A level. Many schools are now not recommending taking 4. There are so many other things he could investigate like EPQ, broad work experience, voluntary work etc etc

My son is committed to Medicine and has opted to take 3 A levels +++ all the extra stuff. The conversations he has had with the Medical Schools has been quite happy with this. If he wants to take a 4th go with the one that he loves the most - English is a big time investment but can be a real passion so might be different enough. If he has a real gift for writing and textual analysis then really he should be predicted a 9, so maybe they are being cautious.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:03 am 
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Thank you, KCG and DIY Mum.
KCG - His teachers have said they predict a 9 but they are not giving anyone formal 9 predictions because it is all so fluid still. DS genuinely loves both Eng Lit and Physics and manages to fit in all sorts of extra-curric activities so we're happy for the moment at least for him to take 4. This may change once he's done the hard slog of full on GCSE revision. Has your DC chosen Bio, Chem, Maths, then? Obviously, please don't say if you'd rather not.

DIY MUm - I didn't understand your last sentence about Band 1 but I shall do some more research into BMATs and UKCATs - could I pm you if I still don't understand, please?

G55 - thanks for the student room link. I had a brief look this morning and it looks very helpful.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:18 am 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
Stokers wrote:

DIY MUm - I didn't understand your last sentence about Band 1 but I shall do some more research into BMATs and UKCATs - could I pm you if I still don't understand, please?


Sorry- does sound confusing! :oops:
I meant obtaining good scores to be invited for the first batch of interviews.
Scores vary each year depending upon cohort.
An explanation of bmat is here
Ukcat is very different from the BMAT. Nearer the time, schools will advise you more on the two aptitude tests.
Agree with KCG, not necessary to do 4 - although when ds1 applied (he’s second year in medicine), it was recommended. Extensive work experience and extra curricular very useful for dc’s own development and interests. At that time, ds1 had a rare opportunity to be involved in medical research and spent six months reviewing med papers, writing as part of the project which he found very exciting alongside his Alevels.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:57 am 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
And if you're not lucky enough to have the right connections for such fascinating extra-curricular - DS could try working as a part-time care / feeding assistant in an old people's home at weekends maybe, or a volunteer at a hospice - he will get a good experience of contact with "real patients" . DD of close friend did this through her 6th form years, certainly helped get her medical school offers despite less than AAA grades, she is now an F2 (I think! )


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