How to Choose a Medical School UK?
Applying to Medical School · June 04, 2018 Dr Dibah Jiva
Dr Dibah Jiva is the Founder & CEO of the Medical School Application Guide (theMSAG). She attended the University of Nottingham Medical School. She has personally helped >500 families get students into medical school.
In choosing which 4 medical schools to apply to on the UCAS application, many students factor in location, curriculum, reputation and medical school culture. For most students, however, the main factor will be where they have the greatest chance of being accepted. According to the medical schools council, there are 42 medical schools covering the UK for applicants to choose from so it is important to take many factors into consideration to narrow it down. Applying to medicine can be a stressful experience so have a read of this advice from our admissions tutors to guide you as to which med school might be right for you!
Sample application to UK Medical School
Applicant Y has an upper second-class honours degree, strong work experience and a score of 2020 on the UCAT exam (formerly known as the UKCAT exam). If applicant Y applies for graduate entry medicine at the University of St. Andrews, his UCAT score would likely be lower than the minimum cut-off score set each year. The average UCAT/UKCAT score in 2016 at the University of St Andrews was 2750, thus this applicant would almost certainly not get an interview invitation.
However, if applicant Y applies to Keele University, for example, the UCAT would only be used as a tiebreaker, after the interview. This example illustrates how a good strategy in choosing where to apply dependent on the application process significantly increases your chances of admission to a medical school in the UK.
Do not follow your intuition
My experience with prospective applicants has taught me that, medical students and their families often have their own ideas as to where they have the best chances of getting in but this is rarely based on evidence.
Step 1: Minimum entry requirements
Bearing in mind your GCSE results, A-level results, degree results, go through each medical school's minimum requirements. At the end of this, you need to eliminate ALL the medical schools for which you do not meet minimum entry criteria. If you are a re-applicant, make sure to look at the school's re-applicant policies as well at this stage.
Step 2: Admissions tests: GAMSAT, UCAT/UKCAT and BMAT
Buy the official GAMSAT (Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test) booklets, do some UCAT practice (University Clinical Aptitude Test) and do some practice BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) questions (if you have not ruled out the medical schools using the BMAT in step 1).
Step 3: Explore the detailed selection formula of each school and match it to the strengths and weaknesses in your application
Step 4: Consider your preferences – location, course structure, intercalated degree, etc.
You should now have a very short list left of medical schools that you are considering. A few more things to consider now may be the competition ratio and the style of the medical school interviews. If you are left with many options, then you are lucky and this is the time to look at the course structure. There may be certain things that you find more appealing, such as a focus on medical ethics, opportunities to intercalate, the style of anatomy teaching and the style of the teaching. Visiting open days can also help you determine if it will be the right place for you to obtain your medical degree as well, so be sure to look into these.
Step 5: Double check entry requirements on their website
Once you have narrowed it down to 4 medical schools, go back to their website to double check all the requirements. Requirements may change over time. Thus, it is imperative you double-check the information yourself. You can now prepare your personal statement targeting those 4 medical schools.
Following these guidelines can help you determine which medical school you should apply to. All of the medical schools offer a different learning experience so it is important to choose what will be best for you.
We hope that these tips were helpful and you have a bit more insight into the choosing a medical school UK. If you have any questions or would like more information, email us at hello@theMSAG.com.