24th February 2022
The journey towards getting into Med School is a long one, and you’ll need to jump through lots of hoops to complete the application process and secure your place. To help you out, here are five things that Lun Zhu, a Med student at Cambridge University, wishes she had known when she started applying for Medicine.

Organisation is vital

Applying for Med School is tough and can feel very demanding. If you’re just starting the process now, there’s a lot coming your way: sitting the UCAT and/or BMAT admissions tests, choosing a Med School, applying via UCAS, doing interviews… and on top of all this, you should be planning/doing some relevant work experience or volunteering, and you’ll also need to be on track for strong A-Level grades.

My top tip is organisation! Before you embark on the application process, take some time to sit down, familiarise yourself with everything that needs to be done, and make a plan of how you’re going to approach it all. Having a plan from this early stage will ensure that you know what to expect at different points of the process, so you can get prepared and avoid feeling confused later on. Making a note of key dates and deadlines will give you a good understanding of what’s coming up.

Crucially, you need to pace yourself as well! You’re starting a long journey, and it’s important that you don’t lose hope or burn out along the way. Organisation will help you to keep your end goal in sight.


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Interviews are key!

Once you’ve chosen your Med Schools and applied to them via UCAS, you will hopefully get invited to some interviews. This is a particularly crucial stage in the application process, so you need to make sure you’re prepared. Many candidates for Medicine look amazing on paper, but fall short at the interview because they’re unprepared and unsure how to express themselves.

At your interview, the Med School will be considering whether you have the qualities needed to become a Med student and ultimately a Doctor. It’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate your suitability and enthusiasm for Medicine, and discuss any experiences you’ve had (work experience, volunteering, extracurricular activities, etc) which make you an excellent candidate. You can prepare for interviews by getting to grips with practice questions.

Remember that what’s written about you on paper will get you to the door, but it’s the interview itself that will get you through it.

There’s a lot of waiting

How many nights did I spend refreshing my email inbox? Too many to remember, and I would show up to class the next day tired and bleary-eyed, still wanting to check my phone every few minutes.

The application process for Medicine involves a significant amount of waiting, so try to avoid doing what I did! It’s important to stay calm, distract yourself with other things, and not spend your time constantly worrying.

Universities receive a huge amount of applications every year, so it takes a long time to sift through them all. While you’re waiting for an update on one stage of your application, simply channel your time into preparing for the next stage. This way, you’ll stay focused and be much more prepared for whatever comes next.

Don’t expect everything to be perfect

This is extremely important, and I was guilty of worrying over the tiniest details of my application. Try to remember that once something is done, it’s done – so if you dwell on it, you’re just wasting time and your mental health will suffer as a result.

If one aspect of your application didn’t go as well as you’d hoped (which happened many times to me), it’s vital that you pick yourself up and carry on. After all, Med students and Doctors need to be resilient, so you can’t be afraid of imperfection.

Take care of yourself

The journey towards getting into Med School is a marathon and not a sprint, so remember to take care of yourself along the way. You might feel like you need to study all the time because there’s so much to do – but if you plan early and stay organised, you can make sure that you also have plenty of time for fun and relaxation. This is also good prep for starting Med School, as you’ll need to find a balance that keeps you feeling happy and healthy. 

A small tip: checking online forums (such as The Student Room) can be useful at times, but don’t believe everything that people say, and don’t fall into the trap of constantly comparing yourself to other candidates.


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