Medical School Application Guide

 

Cardiff University

 

King’s College London

 

 

The city of Cardiff is a dynamic place for student life, with its large shopping complex, numerous bars, clubs and restaurants and convenient transport links. Cardiff University School of Medicine offers a modern approach to the study of Medicine, with a varied, integrated course including case-based learning and early clinical contact from Year 1. It is one of the largest medical schools in the UK, with approximately 300 students and is currently ranked 9th out of 32 UK medical schools according to the Guardian University Guide 2016.

 

Cardiff University is part of the Russell Group and has been renowned for its production of high quality research and education for a number of years. The Cardiff University Student’s Union supports over 260 clubs and societies and so the possibility for extracurricular activities are endless!

 

The Medical School Application Guide

At a Glance

Courses available

 

4, 5, 6-year programme

 

  Undergraduate Applicants Graduate Applicants
  5-year 6-year 4-year 5-year 6-year
No. of places 309 Approx. 16 up to 40 Approx. 300 (undergraduate course) Approx. 16
Degree N/A N/A 2:1 or above in selected 3-year feeder courses 2:1 2:1
GCSEs Sciences AAB or AA (Double Award), English B, Maths B, total 9 subjects (min grade B) Sciences AAB or AA (Double Award), English B, Maths B, total 9 subjects (min grade B) Sciences AAB or AA (Double Award), English B, Maths B, total 9 subjects (min grade B) Sciences AAB or AA (Double Award), English B, Maths B, total 9 subjects (min grade B) Sciences AAB or AA(Double Award),English B, Maths B,total 9 subjects (min grade B)
A levels AAA AAA BBB BBB BBB
Exam UKCAT UKCAT GAMSAT GAMSAT UKCAT
Interview MMI MMI MMI MMI MMI
Work experience Not essential* Not essential* Not essential* Not essential* Not essential*
*Cardiff University recognises that the availability of work experience depends on individual circumstances. Although work experience is not essential, it is advisable to have experiences/activities that demonstrate the academic attributes they require (see ‘Selection Process’ below)

 

 

PROGRAMMES

 

5 year MBBCh A100 (5-year programme)

 

Cardiff offers a modern, varied curriculum with early clinical contact and learning based around clinical scenarios which can in later years be applied to real-life scenarios.

 

  • Year 1: Introduction to Science and Health for 12 weeks, remainder based on clinical scenarios; one day a week seeing patients in GP practices/hospital
  • Year 2: Clinical scenarios - cases progress from focusing on normal structure and function to complex diseases and their presentations
  • Year 3: Mostly spent on clinical placement – three 8-10 week placements
  • Year 4: Three 8-10 week placements, concentrated on different medical specialties e.g. the needs of women and children; psychological medicine
  • Year 5: Blending together all aspects of course. Two 8 week placements, one hospital-based and one community-based, followed by an 8-10 week elective programme which can be carried out anywhere in the world

 

Medicine with a preliminary year A104 (6-year programme)

 

  • Designed for students who have demonstrated high academic potential but have been unable to meet the subject specific requirements for entry on to the 5-year programme.
  • Preliminary year: depending on previous experience, up to twelve modules, usually including Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics as well as a range of optional modules in other subjects. Students will progress to the first year of medicine providing they complete the preliminary year with adequate grades.

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS AND ELIGIBILITY

 

A level

 

The typical offer will be AAA grades at A level.

 

For the 5-year programme, students must offer three subjects at A level, which should normally include Chemistry and Biology. General Studies not accepted. Critical Thinking and Further Maths are only accepted at AS level. Only one of Mathematics or Statistics is accepted. There is no advantage to having a fourth A level.

 

For the 6-year programme, students should offer three subjects at A level which do not contain both Chemistry and Biology. The other subject restrictions are the same.

 

A level resits are acceptable if they have taken place during the standard 2 year study period. Any resits taken outside of this period will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Note that the medical school does not accept post-A level qualifications such as the IB or Welsh Baccalaureate in lieu of the appropriate A level grades obtained at the first sitting, unless there are exceptional circumstances, which should be explained on the applicant’s UCAS form (these additional qualifications should have been taken within a 2 year timeframe).

 

GCSEs

 

All applicants should have Mathematics at grade B, English Language at grade B and the sciences at grades AAB or AA (Double Award Science/Core and Additional Science). 9 GCSEs in total are expected with no less than grade B in any subject.

 

Please note the following are not accepted at GCSE Level: short courses, Level 2 BTEC awards, Additional and Further Mathematics, NVQ's, or the Welsh Baccalaureate.

 

IB

 

Applicants for the 5-year programme require an overall total of 36 points (excluding the Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay) for entry. A minimum of 19 points must be achieved in the Higher Level subjects. Two sciences (from Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and either Mathematics or Statistics but not Mathematical Studies) must be offered at Higher Level, with a score of 7, 6, 6 points in each, one of which must be Chemistry or Biology. Chemistry or Biology must be offered at Standard Level with a score of 7, if not at a higher level. Physics must be offered at GCSE level if not at Higher or Standard Level.

 

For the 6-year programme the applicant must have a total of 36 points (excluding Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay). A minimum of 18 points must be achieved in the Higher Level subjects made up of a score of 6, 6, 6. Applicants for this programme should not have the same science subjects to Higher Level, as those applying for the 5-year programme.

 

Welsh Baccalaureate

 

For the 5-year programme, grade A is required in the Core of the Advanced Diploma, plus Grades AA in Chemistry and Biology A-levels.

 

For the 6-year programme, grade A is required in the Core plus grade A in two A-level subjects (if candidates have Biology and Chemistry to A level, they should apply to the 5-year programme).

 

Admissions Exam

 

All UK applicants must take the UKCAT exam in July – October of the year of application. There is not a cut-off threshold; applications will be considered as a whole.

 

Access to Medicine courses

 

Preference is given to mature students applying to the 6-year programme with an Access course, if they have been out of full-time education for at least 4 years before starting their course. Only Access Diploma Programmes that are recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education are accepted and the scientific content of the programme must be appropriate in providing a suitable foundation for the medical course. Note that an Access course is not intended as a substitute for candidates who have sat A levels, degrees et cetera, but failed to meet the entry requirement grades for these.

 

As the medical school recognises it is difficult for tutors to provide academic references at the time of the UCAS application, as they will only recently have commenced their course, those who have been ranked highly on non-academic attributes (see below), will be offered the chance to provide updated references in the January after their application has been received. A CV may also be requested at this stage. Offers made to those applying with Access courses, is conditional on achieving grades at distinction level.

 

Other Diplomas

 

For those applying with the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma, the full diploma is required with three D3 grades in the three Principal Subjects, which must include Chemistry and Biology.

 

The BTEC Higher National Diploma at Distinction level may meet entry requirements for the 5-year programme.

 

The BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science at DDD level is an acceptable qualification for entry to the 6-year programme. Applicants undertaking the new (2016) curricular must also achieve Distinctions in all externally assessed units.

 

Widening Participation

 

The medical school welcomes applications from all backgrounds. The admissions team will take contextual data (information about a candidate’s performance relative to their educational and socioeconomic background) from UCAS into account when offering interviews, but will not adjust their minimum grade requirements needed for an offer. Applicants who have taken part in the Step Up to University Scheme will have a guaranteed interview, provided that they meet the minimum academic entry requirements.

 

International Students

 

Applications through UCAS from international students are also welcome. In common with all UK medical schools, the number of places available for international (non-EU) students is limited (in 2015 there were 25 places for international students who wished to study Medicine at Cardiff). Applicants should have an awareness of the healthcare system in the UK and the nature of the medical training.

 

International applicants are required to offer a recognised English Language qualification from the list below, which must include reading, writing, speaking and listening skills:

 

  • IELTS with an overall score of 7.0 or above (with a minimum of 7.0 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, 6.5 in reading and 6.5 in writing)
  • GCSE English Language grade B
  • IB English to grade 5 at Higher or Standard Level (from the A1 or A2 syllabus), or grade 6 at Higher Level in syllabus B
  • Certificate of Proficiency in English (AEB; Cambridge) grade B (please check this link for further acceptable qualifications in English Language: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/applying/admissions-criteria/medicine)

 

All applicants being considered for the MBBCh degree will be required to attend an interview, therefore international applicants should be prepared to travel to the UK for an interview.

 

If you are applying as an overseas student and taken qualifications other than those listed above, please contact us by email (enquiries@themsag.com) if you would like more information on the minimum grades needed to be considered for a place in Medicine at the University of Cardiff.

 

Policy on Deferrals

 

Cardiff University School of Medicine will consider applicants seeking deferred entry to 2018. Applications are made through UCAS in the usual way. The UCAS form should be amended clearly to show the intention to defer at the point of application. The individual’s personal statement should include an indication of the reasons for wanting to defer entry. Deferment of entry for a period longer than 12 months is not permitted.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

 

Application Deadlines

 

UCAS application deadline for 2017/2018 entry is 15th October 2016

 

Application Documents

 

  • Completed UCAS application
  • Access course applicants may be given the opportunity to submit updated references and a CV in January 2017

 

SELECTION PROCESS AND INTERVIEW

 

Selection Process

 

Firstly, candidates are screened on their academic abilities, to ensure that they meet the minimum entry requirements, and they are then scored on their overall academic grades e.g. GCSEs, A levels, the IB et cetera. Note that AS level grades and predicted grades are not scored. A cut-off academic score will be decided once all the applicants that year have been ranked. If candidates are above the cut-off point will then be assessed on their non-academic criteria, including their personal statement and referee’s report. The following criteria will be assessed:

 

  • Motivation and interest in studying Medicine
  • Understanding the demands of Medical training
  • A caring ethos and sense of social awareness
  • A sense of responsibility
  • Evidence of a balanced approach to life
  • Evidence of self-directed learning and extracurricular activities
  • Interpersonal and communication skills.

 

Note that there is no UKCAT cut-off score for applicants to Cardiff Medical School. It is only used in borderline cases. Applicants who have successfully met the non-academic criteria and have ranked highly in the academic assessment will then be invited to interview.

 

Interview

 

For 2017 entry, Cardiff are introducing multiple mini interviews (MMI) in which candidates must attend 10 different mini stations, at 6 minutes each. The non-academic criteria will continue to be assessed during interview:

 

  • Motivation and interest in studying Medicine
  • Understanding the demands of Medical training
  • A caring ethos and sense of social awareness
  • A sense of responsibility
  • Evidence of a balanced approach to life
  • Evidence of self-directed learning and extracurricular activities
  • Interpersonal and communication skills.

 

COMPETITION RATIOS

 

In 2015/2016 there were 3500 applications for approximately 309 places on the 5-year programme. 1500 interviews were held.

 

 

For 2015 entry to the 6-year programme, there were approximately 150-200 applicants for the 16 places available.

 

RANKINGS

 

Medicine at Cardiff is ranked 9th in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2016.

 

It is ranked 3rd in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2016.

 

It is among the top 150 medical schools in the QS World University Rankings.

 

PROGRAMMES

 

Graduates can apply to the 5-year programme or the 6-year programme with a foundation year if they do not have the appropriate science background required.

 

5 year MBBCh A100 (5-year programme)

 

Cardiff offers a modern, varied curriculum with early clinical contact and learning based around clinical scenarios which can in later years be applied to real-life scenarios.

 

  • Year 1: Introduction to Science and Health for 12 weeks, remainder based on clinical scenarios; one day a week seeing patients in GP practices/hospital
  • Year 2: Clinical scenarios - cases progress from focusing on normal structure and function to complex diseases and their presentations
  • Year 3: Mostly spent on clinical placement – three 8-10 week placements
  • Year 4: Three 8-10 week placements, concentrated on different medical specialties e.g. the needs of women and children; psychological medicine
  • Year 5: Blending together all aspects of course. Two 8 week placements, one hospital-based and one community-based, followed by an 8-10 week elective programme which can be carried out anywhere in the world

 

Medicine with a preliminary year A104 (6-year programme)

 

  • Designed for students who have demonstrated high academic potential but have been unable to meet the subject specific requirements for entry on to the 5-year programme.
  • Preliminary year: depending on previous experience, up to twelve modules, usually including Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics as well as a range of optional modules in other subjects. Students will progress to the first year of medicine providing they complete the preliminary year with adequate grades.

 

There is also a specific 4-year programme for applicants who are currently enrolled on to an official Feeder Stream accelerated entry program within one of the following programmes:

 

  • BMed Sci Degree from the University of Bangor (B100)
  • BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences Degree, from the University of South Wales (B901)
  • BSc (Hons) Medical Pharmacology degree, School of Medicine, Cardiff University (B210)
  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences degree, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University (BC97)

 

Years 1 and 2: Introduction to Science and Health; learning is based around clinical scenarios linking the scientific understanding of the body to common clinical conditions

 

Years 3 and 4: Mostly on clinical placement – three 8-10 week placements

 

Up to 10 students from each Feeder Stream will be considered for this 4-year graduate entry scheme. Note that there is no provision for intercalated degrees on the 4-year programme.

 

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS AND ELIGIBILITY

 

Degree

 

Graduate applicants will be expected to have achieved at least an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) in the first degree they have undertaken (this degree can be in any discipline). Applicants must have completed their degree or be in their final year of their current degree to be considered. Note that graduates with science degrees, who do not have Chemistry and Biology at A level, may still be eligible for the 5-year programme and should contact the medical school directly for further information.

 

A-level

 

Minimum grades of BBB are required at A level. Graduates should have Chemistry and Biology at A level (unless applying for the 6-year programme).

 

GCSEs

 

All applicants should have Mathematics at grade B, English Language at grade B and the sciences at grades AAB or AA (Double Award Science). 9 GCSEs in total are expected with no less than grade B in any subject.

 

Please note the following are not accepted at GCSE Level: short courses, Level 2 BTEC awards, Additional and Further Mathematics, NVQ's, or the Welsh Baccalaureate.

 

Access to Medicine courses

 

Preference is given to mature students applying to the 6-year programme with an Access course, if they have been out of full-time education for at least 4 years before starting their course. Only Access Diploma Programmes that are recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education are accepted and the scientific content of the programme must be appropriate in providing a suitable foundation for the medical course. Note that an Access course is not intended as a substitute for candidates who have sat A levels, degrees et cetera, but failed to meet the entry requirement grades for these.

 

As the medical school recognises it is difficult for tutors to provide academic references at the time of the UCAS application, as they will only recently have commenced their course, those who have been ranked highly on non-academic attributes (see below), will be offered the chance to provide updated references in the January after their application has been received. A CV may also be requested at this stage. Offers made to those applying with Access courses, is conditional on achieving grades at distinction level.

 

Admissions Exam

 

All graduate applicants for the 5-year programme and the 4-year programme (Feeder Stream) must sit the GAMSAT before applying for their applications to be taken into consideration. There is not a minimum threshold for GAMSAT, but their score may be used as part of the assessment process.

 

Graduates applying for the 6-year programme should sit the UKCAT.

 

Access to Medicine courses

 

Access courses do not contribute to the selection for interview, but if you are considering doing one of these courses to help to prepare for medical school, it is a good idea to contact the admissions department for their recommendations.

 

International Students

 

Applications through UCAS from international students are also welcome. In common with all UK medical schools, the number of places available for international (non-EU) students is limited (in 2015 there were 25 places for international students who wished to study Medicine at Cardiff). Applicants should have an awareness of the healthcare system in the UK and the nature of the medical training.

 

International applicants are required to offer a recognised English Language qualification from the list below, which must include reading, writing, speaking and listening skills:

 

  • IELTS with an overall score of 7.0 or above (with a minimum of 7.0 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, 6.5 in reading and 6.5 in writing)
  • GCSE English Language grade B
  • IB English to grade 5 at Higher or Standard Level (from the A1 or A2 syllabus), or grade 6 at Higher Level in syllabus B
  • Certificate of Proficiency in English (AEB; Cambridge) grade B (please check this link for further acceptable qualifications in English Language: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/applying/admissions-criteria/medicine)

 

All applicants being considered for the MBBCh degree will be required to attend an interview, therefore international applicants should be prepared to travel to the UK for an interview.

 

If you are applying as an overseas student and taken qualifications other than those listed above, please contact us by email (enquiries@themsag.com) if you would like more information on the minimum grades needed to be considered for a place in Medicine at the University of Cardiff.

 

Policy on Deferrals

 

Cardiff University School of Medicine will consider applicants seeking deferred entry to 2018. Applications are made through UCAS in the usual way. The UCAS form should be amended clearly to show the intention to defer at the point of application. The individual’s personal statement should include an indication of the reasons for wanting to defer entry. Deferment of entry for a period longer than 12 months is not permitted.

 

SELECTION PROCESS AND INTERVIEW

 

Selection Process

 

Firstly, candidates are screened on their academic abilities, to ensure that they meet the minimum entry requirements, and they are then scored on their overall academic grades e.g. degree classification, GCSEs, A levels, the IB, et cetera. A cut-off academic score will be decided once all the applicants that year have been ranked. If candidates are above the cut-off point will then be assessed on their non-academic criteria, including their personal statement and referee’s report. The following criteria will be assessed:

 

  • Motivation and interest in studying Medicine
  • Understanding the demands of Medical training
  • A caring ethos and sense of social awareness
  • A sense of responsibility
  • Evidence of a balanced approach to life
  • Evidence of self-directed learning and extracurricular activities
  • Interpersonal and communication skills.

 

Note that there is no GAMSAT or UKCAT cut-off score for graduate applicants to Cardiff Medical School. These exams may be considered as part of the selection process for interview, particularly if a decision to invite an applicant for interview is borderline. Applicants who have successfully met the non-academic criteria and have ranked highly in the academic assessment will then be invited to interview.

 

Interview

 

For 2017 entry, Cardiff are introducing multiple mini interviews (MMI) in which candidates must attend 10 different mini stations, at 6 minutes each. The non-academic criteria will continue to be assessed during interview:

 

  • Motivation and interest in studying Medicine
  • Understanding the demands of Medical training
  • A caring ethos and sense of social awareness
  • A sense of responsibility
  • Evidence of a balanced approach to life
  • Evidence of self-directed learning and extracurricular activities
  • Interpersonal and communication skills.

 

There are not a set number of places for graduates, but they do tend to be limited.

 

COMPETITION RATIOS

 

EIn 2015/2016 there were 3500 applications for approximately 300 places on the 5-year programme. 1500 interviews were held.

 

For 2015 entry to the 6-year programme, there were approximately 150-200 applicants for the 16 places available.

 

RANKINGS

 

Medicine at Cardiff is ranked 9th in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2016.

 

It is ranked 3rd in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2016.

 

It is among the top 150 medical schools in the QS World University Rankings.

 

Anonymous student - 2016

 

1. What are the good things about studying Medicine at this university?

 

"We had the opportunity to work at hospitals all around Wales, from the fourth year (although it now starts in the third year I think. Meant that we got to see different areas, have placement with different people and see different medical conditions depending on the area in wale. They have now opened a really good education centre with new facilities for simulation training."

 

2. What is not so good about studying Medicine there?

 

"As with any medical school can be disorganised at times, however it has got a lot better recently. By the third year a car is needed really, as a lot of the hospitals are a 30-40 minute drive away, and the university doesn’t provide transport after 3rd year. Also you can be placed in GP practices all over wales, and although you can usually catch a lift, most of the time in 4th and 5th year you can have your own timetable."

 

3. What advice do you have for someone thinking of studying Medicine there?

 

"Good place to spend 5 years. Lots of very good hospitals, particularly in Cardiff. Very good facilities, all brand new as of 2012."

 

4. Do you have any tips on how to get in?

 

"Be able to talk about everything you write in your statement- it is used to guide questions in the interview. Be able to talk about what you do outside of school/work and how the skills are transferred to being a doctor. The interview was one of the nicer ones I went to. It is usually made up of someone clinical, one of the professors and a fourth year medical student."

 

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