How I Picked My Medical School: Toyin – Aberdeen
Wondering how to pick a medical school? This blog series looks at how current medical students chose their universities. In this post, Toyin discusses how she chose Aberdeen.
Here are just some of the methods I used to pick the right medical school for me.
Being a Londoner, I wanted to pick a few London universities, just so I’d be close to home. I picked St George’s and UCL. Cambridge is also not too far from home for me. I picked Aberdeen because it is close to extended family members. If you’re not used to being away from home, you might not want to go anywhere too far away.
Not only might you want to consider how far you’ll be from home, but also several other aspects: What is the student life like? Are there any demographic or cultural differences? Is it urban or rural?
The medical school I attend, at the University of Aberdeen, is close to a beach, a city, and even mountains – so there is always something to do.
Entry requirements and entrance exams
I chose universities with a range of entry requirements. Two of the universities I applied for required the BMAT, and the other two required the UKCAT.
The two universities I applied to that required the UKCAT also held MMIs, and the BMAT universities held panel interviews. However, if there is one interview style you prefer (or perhaps a style you absolutely dread!) it might benefit you to only apply to universities that interview in that way.
Of the four universities I applied to, some are more competitive or ranked higher than others. Ensure your firm choice and insurance choice are strategically chosen – always place the offer with slightly lower conditions as your insurance. If you just miss your firm offer, you might get your insurance offer.
There are different teaching styles at UK medical schools. Some medical schools teach in a traditional way (such as Cambridge); pre-clinical years are separated from clinical years. This is great if you would prefer to gain a solid scientific understanding of Medicine before entering a clinical setting.
Other medical schools have an integrated teaching style, whereby clinical and non-clinical aspects of Medicine are taught simultaneously. This holistic style of teaching ensures good clinical skills from early on, as well as an understanding of medical science. Others teach Problem-Based Learning (PBL) courses. All three teaching styles are very different, and it’s imperative to pick a style that works for you. My medical school uses an integrated, systems-based teaching style.
Not one medical school is identical. What is it about the ones you like that is unique? I was attracted to my medical school’s Remote and Rural scheme, in which students undertake clinical placements in the Scottish Highlands.
Make sure you’re tactical. You have just four choices – choose them carefully. A medical degree in the UK lasts 5-6 years so it’s important to choose a school you like. Try to attend as many open days as you can to get a real feel for the universities you’re considering. Get researching, and good luck!
Words: Toyin Jesuloba