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30th July 2021
The summer before your A-Levels is a critical time for your application to Medical School. Get advice on how to juggle everything from current Med Student Natalia Kyrtata.

I’m not going to trivialise this by making it sound like your summer will be a breeze.

Applying for Medicine is pretty stressful, and you will need to put a lot of hard work in and have infinite amounts of patience. But always think of the road to Medical School as a marathon, not a sprint. It’s all about pacing yourself, planning ahead and doing a little every day to minimise stress as much as possible.

Here’s how to make the most of the summer before Year 13:

1. Build Up Your Volunteering Experience

If you haven’t already, make sure you arrange some work experience. This is probably the most important step since it will help you build your Personal Statement, give you material to talk about during your interview and give you a better understanding of how people work in a healthcare setting.

Your options for in-person experience may still be limited, but there are some decent remote volunteering schemes that you should consider.

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2. Prepare for the UCAT

You have until the end of September to sit the UCAT, so you need to have already started your UCAT preparation by now. If you haven’t, make sure you understand how to prepare for UCAT and use all available resources to you.

You can get started with our free UCAT tools, which include:

3. Start Thinking About BMAT

If you’re planning to sit the BMAT, it’s a good idea to start your prep in the summer if you can. With both admissions test, the earlier you start your prep, the better your chances of scoring higher.

For 2021 there’s only one sitting in November, which gives you a few months to make sure you’re ready!

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4. Preparing Your Personal Statement

The summer is an ideal time to make a start on your Personal Statement for Medicine – but make sure you know how each Medical School will use this, because it might prove to be less important for you, depending on where you’re applying.

The most important tip I can give for starting is to just get it all down on paper. The number of hours I spent trying to find a punchy line to start my Personal Statement is embarrassing. Your first and last sentences are indeed very important for attracting your reader and giving them a good final impression, but the rest of the content is what will get you an interview.

Start brainstorming, jotting down ideas, sentences, things you will definitely be including like impressions from your work experience or what made you choose medicine. Only after this should you start shaping it and creating your story. Trust me, you will waste so much precious time otherwise.

Once you’re in a position to write it, take a look at how to structure your Personal Statement and get tips on how to write it.

5. Get A Head Start On Interview Prep

Interviews may seem a long way off, but if you can start to get your head around some hot topics or typical interview questions early, the time investment will pay dividends come winter.

I can’t stress how important it is to prepare with someone else. Even if the other person isn’t in a position to give you much feedback, simply being able to answer a question on the spot, practising your structure, being mindful of your body language is the best practice you can get. You can then analyse in your own time how you could have improved your answer and build it up from there.

Other Summer Tips:

  • Don’t let your parents stress you out. Often our parents stress more than us because they feel helpless and very much out of control. Make sure you communicate to them how important it is to give you some space to study and let them know how best they can help you.
  • Try not to compare yourself to others. You will inevitably doubt yourself when you hear someone else’s medical school choices, or when you compare your friend’s grades to yours. If you find someone with whom you work really well with and you are both able to help each other, then make the most of them! Otherwise, focus on your own objectives and progress.
  • Finally, make sure you take a break. Don’t burn out before you’ve even started! Take a few days off where you do zero work and recharge your batteries to tackle the next year successfully!
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