Updated: Jul 11, 2020
Want to know the difference between the applications of those who receive 4 offers for medical school and those who don't receive any? Tactical applying is the answer.
Tactical applying is applying where you think you are most likely to get in. In this blog post, we will talk you through how to assess your strengths and weaknesses and apply to medical schools accordingly
Step By Step
There are a number of steps to your medical school applications. Other blog posts cover work experience and volunteering, as well as personal statements. The act of preparing for your application is different.
Assess the strength of different parts of your application: Your personal statement, your work experience, your skills at interview and your UCAT score and/or BMAT score
1. Assessing your personal statement
This is best done by someone else. Ask teachers and friends if you can. The best way to make sure your personal statement is stronger than the rest is to use Master Medicine's personal statement checking service (https://www.mastermedicine.co.uk). This service will edit your personal statement and provide you with a personalised report on how to improve. Some (most) universities will have information of what they are looking for on their medical school website. Use this to your advantage and make sure you mention what they are looking for in your personal statement. If you have proof of what they are looking for in your personal statement - apply to those universities.
2. Assess how good you are at interview
The best way to do this is to practise. Master medicine has free mock interview stations and questions for you to try out with your friends and family. The best way to master your interview is to come along to a master medicine interview workshop which is complete with a free mock interview at the end. Check you are ready to handle all types of scenarios: ethics, medical news (keep up to date with our blog for this!), questions about your work experience, personal statement and skills. If, when practising, you seem to stumble on certain questions, research universities which might not put as much weight on communication skills
3. Work experience
How much value did you get out of your work experience? What skills did you learn. The key thing to note here is that MEDICAL SCHOOLS DON'T CARE IF YOU WENT ABROAD! They don't care if you spent a lot of money on expensive work experience. They just care about what you learned and how it will make you a better doctor. If you have a lot of types of work experience in different healthcare settings, this looks better than 2 weeks in the same clinic in Thailand. If you have strong work experience, apply to universities that put weight on this.
This is where research comes in. There are currently 33 medical schools in the country, two of which are very new indeed (Sunderland and Lincoln). Factors that may influence your decision apart from where you are most likely to get in are covered in this blog post.
Every single medical school has a website. Most of these websites tell you exactly what they are looking for! Communications skills? A good UCAT/BMAT?
The other thing to do is to call the medical schools. You can call their admissions tutors and ask for specific information: what was their UCAT cut off score last year? For the last 3 years? Get a feel for what their standards are and if you can meet them. What do they value most? Teamworking skills or leadership? An ability to juggle multiple endeavours at once or dedicate yourself and focus on one particular task?
Work out which medical schools are looking for the things you already have. We are currently working on an encyclopaedia of every medical school in the country and their competition ratios, grade requirements and what kind of personality traits they are looking for.
Does the medical school you want to apply to value the UCAT the most? Click here to take a look at our UCAT courses, developed and run by qualified doctors who are expert tutors in the UCAT