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Choosing a Medical School: Start Early (Part One)

Choosing a medical school can seem like a daunting task. In the UK alone, there are over 30 institutions offering medical courses recognised by the Medical Schools Council – how can you possibly expect to choose just four?! In this blog, I hope to shed some light on the steps you might want to take in making this decision, and to show you that choosing a medical school can actually be (relatively!) stress-free.

This is the first of a three-part series on how to get ahead with choosing a medical school by looking at your options in Year 12.

1. Start early

The UCAS deadline for medical applications is earlier than for most other courses (it’s 15th October, whereas others are 15th January!), so you’ll need to start thinking about university choices much sooner than many of your friends. Many universities hold open days in June/July for early applicants, so it’s definitely worth giving your choices some thought before then.

2. Make a list of all medical schools

I’m going to assume for this blog series that you’ll be choosing a medical school in the UK (if you’re considering studying abroad there will be other things that you’ll need to consider which won’t be covered here – but you can visit TMP’s Studying Medicine Abroad pages).

It’s fairly easy to find a complete list of UK medical schools online – you could visit TMP’s School By School pages or Medical School Comparison Tool.

3. Look at the entry requirements

Some universities have very stringent entry requirements which you’ll need to seriously consider before you apply. Certain universities don’t even consider applicants who haven’t attained a given number of A/A* grades at GCSE, or who didn’t reach a certain UKCAT score threshold, so it’s important to do lots of research early on to avoid wasting any of your UCAS choices.

You won’t have sat the BMAT before applying to medical school, so you may want to consider limiting the number of BMAT universities you apply to, just in case it doesn’t go to plan. Interview styles may also differ between universities, but with enough preparation, this should not put you off applying to any medical school.

Stay tuned for Part Two next week!

Words: Freya Smith

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