Medical School Application Guide

 

University of Aberdeen

 

King’s College London

 

 

Studying Medicine at the University of Aberdeen gives students the chance to engage with a dynamic and modern course, and to graduate from one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the UK. Medicine has been taught at the university since 1495, making one of the oldest medical schools in the English-speaking world. With early clinical placements in large and specialised secondary care centres, including the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, and Aberdeen Maternity Hospital; students here learn very early on how to communicate and interact with patients. Years 1, 2 and 3 give students the scientific knowledge they need to understand human disease, whilst also guiding them in clinical skills training in both simulated and real clinical environments. Anatomy is taught using prosections and different imaging modalities, such as CT and MRI. A number of students can select modules to expand their anatomical knowledge with full body dissections and dissection-based projects. The senior years feature immersive clinical attachments which provide the diagnostic and management skills required to become a safe and effective junior doctor. There is also the opportunity in the later years to take placements in very remote and rural parts of Scotland, which demonstrate the challenges facing doctors in these areas. In 2015 there were approximately 5 applicants per offer, with 16 places available for non-EU applicants.

 

The Medical School Application Guide

At a Glance

Courses available

5 year programme

 
Undergraduate Applicants
Graduate Applicants
 
5-year
5-year
No. of places
169
169
Degree
N/A
2:1
GCSEs
Min C in English and Maths
N/A
A levels
AAA
Min B in Chemistry
Exam
UKCAT
UKCAT
Interview
MMI
MMI
Work experience
Desirable
Desirable
 
 

 

 

PROGRAMMES

 

Undergraduates can apply to a 5-year programme for Medicine. The first term of first year will provide you with the basic biomedical knowledge you will need to complete the rest of the course. From here through to the end of Year 3, a systems-based approach is used to provide an in-depth knowledge of the normal anatomy and function of the body. This is accompanied at each stage with clinical cases, providing an insight into the ways these functions can be disrupted by the myriad of pathological processes that can affect the body. There are also frequent clinical placements in both primary and secondary care institutions, with excellent clinical skills and communication teaching being provided throughout. Year 4 takes the form of nine placement blocks, each lasting five weeks and providing students with the abilities to come to diagnoses and form management plans. Fifth year is the ‘icing-on-the-cake’ year where students undertake more detailed study of a medical and surgical speciality of their choice. There are also placements in General Practice here, as well as the opportunity to undertake a project-based elective, often overseas.

 

There is the option of intercalating either a BSc in Medical Humanities or Medical Sciences, which will help expand your medical training and into fields that interest you.

 

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS AND ELIGIBILITY

 

A/AS levels and GCSEs

 

At A level, a minimum of AAA is required for study at Aberdeen medical school. Chemistry must be taken, alongside either Biology, Human Biology, Mathematics or Physics. The third A level can be either science-based or non-science-based, with no advantage gained by undertaking a third science over a non-science subject. General studies is not accepted. A level grades should be obtained at the first sitting.

 

At GCSE level, a combination of As and Bs or higher is expected, though there is no minimum requirement as there is with other medical schools. A passing grade C or higher in English and Mathematics, however, is a course requirement.

 

IB

 

The International Baccalaureate is accepted as an alternative to A levels. A typical offer would be higher than 36 points; and to be considered candidates must be predicted to achieve a grade 6 or higher in the Higher Level (HL) subjects. Chemistry at HL is required, along with at least one from Mathematics, Biology or Physics. The three Standard Level subjects must average 6 points each, and one other from Mathematics, Biology and Physics must feature (if three are not undertaken at HL). Maths Studies cannot be considered as one of the two non-Chemistry sciences.

 

Mature Applicants

 

Note that mature applicants can apply with an access course (see below), or school leavers qualifications (which have the same grade requirements as undergraduate applicants, but can be taken in two sittings, rather than just one). School leavers’ qualifications must have been taken within the 6 years prior to starting the Medicine course.

 

International Students

 

There are 16 spaces for international students on this programme. If the applicant’s first language is not English, they are expected to have achieved Band 7.0 overall in the IELTS (International Language Testing System), with a minimum of 7.0 in the speaking section.

 

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 Exeter.

 

Policy on Re-applicants

 

Candidates are welcome to re-apply up to a maximum of three times. They are advised to ask for feedback on their previous applications and the Admissions Committee will also look at these previous applications when assessing subsequent ones.

 

Policy on Deferrals

 

Applicants can apply for deferred entry, so long as their current course of study is complete (this means that applicants who wish to complete their S6 year must do so first before applying). It is normally not possible to defer once an offer has been made. The university expects applicants to use their time constructively (particular value is placed on gaining experience in a caring role).

 

Widening Participation

 

The university works with several schemes to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in accessing higher education. These include:

 

  • Aim 4 Uni
  • S6 Enhancement
  • Reach
  • ASPIRE North

 

Scottish Highers

 

Typically candidates should have five Highers at a minimum of AAAAB. If these are met, typical offers are conditional upon obtaining at least BBB at S6.

 

If the S5 requirements are not met, a typical offer will be conditional upon achieving a minimum of the grades below in three appropriate subjects in S6:

 

  • National 5 qualifications:
    • English and Mathematics are required (Grade B minimum);
    • Biology and Physics are recommended but not compulsory (Grade B minimum).
    • A combination of Grade A & B passes at Standard Grade / National 5 is expected, especially in science subjects.
  • Higher qualifications:
    • Chemistry (Grade B minimum);
    • Two subjects are required from Biology/Human Biology, Mathematics, Physics.
    • Two further Highers in most other subjects – applicants should check with the Medical Admissions office if clarification required.

 

These may be taken across the Senior Phase – S4 to S6. There is no requirement, and therefore no advantage given, to obtaining the three sciences required in one sitting. Mathematics is regarded as a science.

 

If AAABB or AAAAC are achieved at first attempt in S5, further studies in S6 can be considered, providing that the applicant is estimated to achieve one of the following programmes of study:

 

  • One new Higher @ A plus two Advanced Highers @ minimum BB or
  • Two new Highers @ AA plus one new Advanced Higher @ minimum B or
  • Three Advanced Highers @ ABB (Chemistry required plus one science) or
  • Three A-Levels @ AAB (Chemistry required plus one science).

 

Note: The majority of successful applicants have achieved AAAAB or better at first sitting, normally in S5. If an applicant has extenuating circumstances (for example, was only able to sit four Highers to grades AAAA), they should contact the admissions team directly for advice on whether their application could be considered. Please visit this link http://www.abdn.ac.uk/smmsn/undergraduate/medicine/uk-academic-requirements.php for full details.

 

Admissions Exam

 

All applicants must sit the UKCAT. There is no minimum score, but students are ranked on this score prior to invitation for interview (see Selection Process and Interview).

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

 

Applications via UCAS for 2017/18 entry are open from 1st September 2016 and close on 15th October 2016. Interviews occur between November and March, with the final decisions being released around the end of March. A completed UCAS form is required, and GCSE certificates may be requested.

 

SELECTION PROCESS AND INTERVIEW

 

Selection Process

SELECTION

 

Pre-interview, the application is assessed on two factors: Academic performance (60%) and UKCAT (40%). As with all medical applications, a strong academic score is required to make it to the interview stage of the application. The combination of these two scores gives every student a rank, and the top 750 students are invited for interview. The quality of the interview will be combined with the pre-interview score, with each weighted at 50%. It is this final score that will decide which applicants will be offered a place of study.

 

Note that Aberdeen do not have a minimum UKCAT score (which some medical schools do, not looking further at applications for candidates under this score). Applicants to Aberdeen offer a broad range of UKCAT scores. For 2016 entry:

 

  • Interview: the lowest total score for an applicant invited to interview was 2180 and the highest 3350.
  • Offers made: the lowest total score for successful applicants who were made offers was 2480 and the highest 3350.

 

Interview

 

Interviews are conducted in a Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) style. Each station will last 7 minutes, and the whole process will last around 1hr. The interview process will assess the candidates’ ability to:

 

  • Discuss their preparation for entry to Medicine e.g.:
    • Research into undergraduate curricula and postgraduate training.
    • Experience of caring or other environments.
  • Demonstrate empathy
  • Solve a problem
  • Learn from previous experience
  • Reflect upon own and others’ skills and abilities
  • Consider their contribution to the care of others.

 

Example stations, as well as videos featuring examples of good and poor performances, can be found on the university website, which applicants may find useful: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/smmsn/undergraduate/medicine/interview.php

 

COMPETITION RATIOS

 

In 2015, there were 2436 applicants. Of these, 749 (30%) were invited for interview and 416 (17%) were provided offers. This means the success rate of applicants who reach the interview stage is over 50%.

 

59% of offers holders were Scottish applicants, with 19% coming from the rest of the UK, 13% from the rest of the EU and 9% from overseas. 57% of entrants were female. A more thorough breakdown of admissions data can be found on the university website.

 

RANKINGS

 

University of Aberdeen Medical School is ranked 7th in the UK by the Guardian 2016 and 8th by the Complete University Guide 2016. According to the QS World Rankings, it is in the top 200 medical schools in the world.

 

PROGRAMMES

 

Graduates may only apply to the same course as undergraduates (5-year programme), and are not permitted to miss any section of the five-year course. The first term of first year will provide you with the basic biomedical knowledge you will need to complete the rest of the course. From here through to the end of Year 3, a systems-based approach is used to provide an in-depth knowledge of the normal anatomy and function of the body. This is accompanied at each stage with clinical cases, providing an insight into the ways these functions can be disrupted by the myriad of pathological processes that can affect the body. There are also frequent clinical placements in both primary and secondary care institutions, with excellent clinical skills and communication teaching being provided throughout. Year 4 takes the form of nine placement blocks, each lasting five weeks and providing students with the abilities to come to diagnoses and form management plans. Fifth year is the ‘icing-on-the-cake’ year where students undertake more detailed study of a medical and surgical speciality of their choice. There are also placements in General Practice here, as well as the opportunity to undertake a project-based elective, often overseas.

 

There is the option of intercalating either a BSc in Medical Humanities or Medical Sciences, which will help expand your medical training and into fields that interest you.

 

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS AND ELIGIBILITY

 

Degree and A levelss

 

A minimum of 2:1 is required in any honours degree for an application to be considered. As well as this, Chemistry must have been studied at A-level to at least grade B, or in Scottish Highers at grade B. However, these requirements could be met my appropriate courses of study undertaken during the degree, so applicants should contact the admissions office for further details if they are unsure. If a degree has been undertaken abroad, applicants should contact the admissions office prior to application.

 

Note that candidates with a non-honours/ordinary degree can meet the academic requirements by one of the following routes:

 

  • Extending their degree to Honours 2:1 level through the Open University or another university, or by obtaining an MSc.
  • Undertaking our requirements for Scottish Highers or A-Levels, which could be taken in two sittings.
  • Undertaking a recognised Access to Medicine course (see below).

 

Note that mature applicants can apply with an access course (see below), or school leavers qualifications (which have the same grade requirements as undergraduate applicants, but can be taken in two sittings, rather than just one – please see our undergraduate section for these details). School leavers’ qualifications must have been taken within the 6 years prior to starting the Medicine course.

 

Admissions Exam

 

As with undergraduate applicants, all graduate applicants will have to sit the UKCAT. This, alongside academic performance, is ranked to select applicants to invite for interview. See Selection Process and Interview for more information.

 

Access to Medicine courses

 

Not suitable for candidates who hold an honours degree, but can help to meet the academic requirements of mature applicants, or those who hold a non-honours/ordinary degree. Mature applicants should have completed this course within the 2 years prior to starting their Medicine degree. Access courses are accepted by the university on a case-by-case basis and applicants should contact the admissions department to see whether their course is accepted.

 

International Students

 

There are 16 spaces for international students on this programme. If the applicant’s first language is not English, they are expected to have achieved Band 7.0 overall in the IELTS (International Language Testing System), with a minimum of 7.0 in the speaking section.

 

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

 

There are 10 spaces for international students on this programme. If English is not your first language, the following qualifications may be offered as proof of proficiency:

 

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 Aberdeen Medicine.

 

Policy on Re-applicants

 

Candidates are welcome to re-apply up to a maximum of three times. They are advised to ask for feedback on their previous applications and the Admissions Committee will also look at these previous applications when assessing subsequent ones.

 

Policy on Deferrals

 

Applicants can apply for deferred entry, so long as their current course of study is complete (this means that graduate applicants must have completed their initial degree(s) prior to starting their Medicine degree). It is normally not possible to defer once an offer has been made. The university expects applicants to use their time constructively (particular value is placed on gaining experience in a caring role).

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

 

As with undergraduate applicants, applications via UCAS for 2017/18 entry are open from 1st September 2016 and close on 15th October 2016. Interviews occur between November and March, with the final decisions being released around the end of March. A completed UCAS form is required, and your degree certificate may be requested.

 

SELECTION PROCESS AND INTERVIEW

 

Selection Process

SELECTION

 

As with undergraduate applicants, those selected for interview must have evidence of a strong academic performance and a good UKCAT score. These two parts of the application make up 50% of the decision to offer an applicant a place on the course, with the rest coming from the interview for those ranked highly enough (approximately 25% of graduate applicants are invited for interview). Note that Aberdeen do not have a minimum UKCAT score (which some medical schools do, not looking further at applications for candidates under this score). Applicants to Aberdeen offer a broad range of UKCAT scores. For 2016 entry:

 

  • Interview: the lowest total score for an applicant invited to interview was 2180 and the highest 3350.
  • Offers made: the lowest total score for successful applicants who were made offers was 2480 and the highest 3350.

 

 

The personal statement will be screened, to ensure that each applicant demonstrates the necessary attributes for studying medicine. Applicants must ensure that the personal statement demonstrates a commitment to medicine, a knowledge of the core qualities required of a doctor, and good teamwork skills.

 

Interview

 

The interview is exactly the same for graduate and undergraduate applicants. Interviews are conducted in a Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) style. Each station will last 7 minutes, and the whole process will last around 1hr. The interview process will assess the candidates’ ability to:

 

  • Discuss their preparation for entry to Medicine e.g.:
    • Research into undergraduate curricula and postgraduate training
    • Research and understanding of the implications of a medical career
    • xperience of caring or other environments
  • Demonstrate empathy
  • Solve a problem
  • Learn from previous experience
  • Reflect upon own and others’ skills and abilities
  • Consider their contribution to the care of others.

 

Example stations, as well as videos featuring examples of good and poor performances, can be found on the university website, which applicants may find useful: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/smmsn/undergraduate/medicine/interview.php

 

COMPETITION RATIOS

 

In 2015, there were 2436 applicants. Of these, 749 (30%) were invited for interview and 416 (17%) were provided offers. This means the success rate of applicants who reach the interview stage is over 50%.

 

Of the 2436 applicants, 650 (27%) were graduates or mature students. Of these, 91 (14%) were offered a place, making it slightly more competitive than for school leavers (18% offered a place)

 

RANKINGS

 

University of Aberdeen Medical School is ranked 7th in the UK by the Guardian 2016 and 8th by the Complete University Guide 2016. According to the QS World Rankings, it is in the top 200 medical schools in the world.

 

Anonymous student - 2016

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

 

"Lecture based teaching. Good availability of handouts, powerpoints. Early exposure to patients and good teaching in communication skills. Less focus on non-clinical basic sciences than other universities? Smaller intake than most, male to female 1:1 (or close), everyone knows each other by year 5. Other universities steal Aberdeen students’ lectures as they get less teaching (more group based rubbish). Also Aberdeen has a beach! And car insurance is in group 1!"

 

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

 

"Minimal dissection in anatomy. High fail rate in 1st year exams. Some historic buildings have now been sold off! Study union has also been downgraded now. Halls are old and are in need of renovation (think they were condemned a few years ago). Its cold mostly. "

 

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

 

"Live in halls in first year. Get to know your peers. Join some student clubs. Go to student nights at local clubs."

 

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

 

"Sleep with…No. Admissions Grades are usually lower than others as people don’t want to go that far north I suspect."

 

Ask Dr Jiva a question

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