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COVID-19 Updates From The Medic Portal

Understandably, some of you may be worried about how COVID-19 will impact your examinations and medical school applications. The Medic Portal has created this page to be a resource hub for any queries you may have.*

*The COVID-19 situation is changing quickly. Often from hour to hour! We’ll do our best to keep this page as up-to-date as we can. But it’s always worth double-checking the latest updates from governmental and institutional sources.

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Related Blog Posts:

COVID-19 Application Webinar:

Check out our COVID-19 Application Webinar from the 5th of May 2020 to hear updates from The Medic Portal’s Head of Academia.

Latest COVID-19 Updates:

The government has announced school closure and cancellation of exams/assessments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We’ve also summarised  COVID-19 latest news.

Medical Schools Council:

This update was given by UCAS the week commencing 5 May  2020. 

The Medical Schools Council reassures applicants that “medical schools will treat the grades awarded to you this year in the same way as qualifications awarded in any other year.”

The MSC state that all schools will adhere to UCAS rules concerning applications. That is, “if you meet the conditions of your offer you will have a place at medical school.”

The education sector is still resolving how appeals against calculated grades will work in the UK. Furthermore, when sitting the examinations will happen if students are unhappy with their calculate grades.

MSC goes on to state the “impact of these issues on medical admissions is unclear but medical schools are actively engaging in these discussions and are working hard to develop solutions that are fair to applicants.” For now, students are advised to check the websites of the medical schools that they hold an offer with.

Graduate entry schools are also “monitoring the situation in relation to the cancellation of final examinations associated with undergraduate degrees.”

UCAS:

This update was given by UCAS the week commencing 30 March 2020. 

UCAS has stated that currently, “the higher education admissions process are working flat out to find a solution that’s efficient, fair and in your best interests.”

UCAS has also said that it will “ensure that your hard work to date will not go to waste and that no-one is unfairly impacted in this process by the COVID-19 virus.”

To enable students to have enough time to consider their options UCAS extended their May offer deadlines for UCAS Undergraduate applicants. UCAS will email those affected about this new decision deadline.

International Students:

UCAS have appealed to international students stating that “despite the current uncertainty, we would like to encourage you to continue with your application to come and study in the UK.”

Furthermore, UCAS has assured students by mentioning they have added “more flexibility to the application cycle as the situation develops, and have delayed May deadlines to give students more time to make decisions about their future. Universities and colleges will also have additional time to assess applications and adjust their processes.”

UCAT:

This update was given by UCAT the week commencing 22nd June 2020.

UCAT Consortium “aims to open” UCAT registration and booking on the 1st of July 2020.

Testing will take place between the 3rd of August and the 1st of October, prior to the UCAT application deadline on the 15th of October 2020.

Please note that these dates are subject to change.

UCAT candidates will be given the opportunity to sit the test either at home utilising Pearson VUE’s online proctoring service (OnVUE) or at a Pearson VUE Test Centre.

Based on this UCAT has developed separate candidate guidelines reflecting some of the different processes you will have to follow.

Candidates that sit the UCAT Online will need:

Candidates that test at home will be allowed to utilise an erasable whiteboard during testing. In the test centres, you will have access to notepads and pens.

All candidates will also have use of an on-screen scratchpad. This feature will be built into the preparation materials for candidates to practice with.

UCAT ANZ:

This update was given by UCAT ANZ Consortium the week commencing 18 May 2020. 

UCAT sittings will be “going ahead as planned in July 2020.”

Candidates who have booked the test will be contacted of changes due to COVID-19.

If any candidates missed the late booking deadline, they should refer to this page.

For the safety of both staff and candidates, Pearson VUE will need to make adjustments to how test centres are set up in order to allow social distance seat spacing.

This will mean allowing extra space between workstations – in effect, some workstations candidates are currently booked at will be closed. These are the workstations that are closed:

In most cases, new appointments will be made at the same test centre. For some others, additional test centres have been set up to enable enough capacity for all candidates to safely take the UCAT.

Candidates will receive a reschedule notice from Pearson VUE within the next few days. If you do not receive this notice, login to your Pearson VUE account and reschedule your appointment.

Candidates will be able to reschedule online between the 22nd of May and 1st of June at 11:59pm AEST.

If no action is taken by the deadline, candidates will need to contact Pearson VUE Customer Services and have them carry out the reschedule for you.

Please note that not every candidate will be affected.

If your sitting is at a workstation that is not closed, you will not need to do anything. Candidates can confirm their appointment has not changed by checking their Pearson VUE account and checking the booking details match the original booking.

If there are any discrepancies, it is advised to contact Pearson VUE Customer Services.

BMAT:

This update was given the week commencing 1st June 2020. 

Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing has stated the BMAT September sitting will NOT go ahead.

Candidates are advised to check with their chosen institutions which alternative BMAT session will be accepted.

For those opting to sit the alternative BMAT testing, please note that changes have been made to BMAT Section 1.

GCSE/A-Level:

This update was given by the Government the week commencing 16 March 2020:

Boris Johnson has confirmed that GCSE and A-Level examinations that were due to take place in May/June period have now been cancelled.

A-Level

The UK government has requested Ofqual (exam regulator) to create a process that will provide students with a calculated grade for A-Levels. To ensure fairness of your academic performance, your grade will be based on your teacher’s honest judgement. This will include looking at:

The government intends to give these calculated grades to students by the end of July. If you do not feel the grade reflects your performance, you will be given the opportunity to sit the exam later in the year. There is no confirmed time frame of when this may occur, but the government has stated it will happen at the earliest reasonable chance.

2020/2021 Entry:

Work experience:

Many clinics, GPs, and hospitals are cancelling placements due to the pandemic. We will be updating this section with safe alternatives in due course.

Offers:

Some universities are still in the process of releasing offers for 2020 entry.

This update was given by the Government the week commencing 23 March 2020:

The University Minister has asked universities to stop making unconditional offers or amen existing offers made to undergraduate students for the next two weeks. This includes converting conditional offers to unconditional offers or changing entry requirements.

This is to ensure that students do not feel pressured into accepting offers over other offers you might feel later on you wished you’d considered further.

Please note that universities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Island are still permitted to continue making offers.

Interviews:

Some medical schools are postponing 2020 entry interviews until later in the year – please contact the admissions team for better clarity on this matter.

Open Days:

It is very likely that many open days that were due to happen in April will be postponed for the foreseeable future. Updates will be given here as and when we receive them.

Update for the week commencing 30 March 2020:

Many universities are offering virtual open day tours – please check their websites for more details.

GAMSAT

This update was given by GAMSAT on the week commencing 30 March 2020:

Online registration is now open for new GAMSAT  May 2020 online sittings. Through remote proctoring, the test will be delivered from the 28th May 2020 – 1st June 2020.

For more information on remote proctoring, check out this video.

Candidates will be able to sit the test at home or in a private location – candidates should’ve been emailed on the 30/03/2020 with instructions on updating their current registration through their GAMSAT account.

Eligible candidates (after the 6th of March 2020) will have 3 options to pick from:

Deferred candidates (processed after 6th of March 2020) will have two options:

If there are deferred candidates who wish to remain deferred, they do not have to update their registration.

Refunded candidates (processed after 6th of March 2020) will have one option:

If there are refunded candidates who wish to remains refunded, they will not have to update their registration.

The deadline for selecting an option and applying for refunds/deferrals is 7pm (AEST) on the 9th of April 2020 and 10am (BST) on the 9th of April 2020. 

Any candidates who do not update their account by this deadline will automatically be deferred to the GAMSAT September 2020 sitting.

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