My journey into Medicine by David Gibson

First Year Medic at the University of Glasgow

So many hurdles to jump! Would I do it again? Yes!

I'll try to cover some of the main worries faced by students applying to study Medicine.

I had always wanted to study Medicine and as such had started collecting experiences all throughout secondary school, to add to my personal statement. The best thing in my opinion is to start early - but not to worry if the decision to study Medicine is a late one. 

I went to school in Scotland so had to get those good Higher grades to apply to university. After sitting my Highers, I straight away got preparing for the horrible UKCAT. I sat the test early and got an average score of 655. Some teachers tried to tell me this was not high enough to even think of applying, but I ignored them. My advice is not to put too much weight on this aspect of your application, it is not the be all and end all. Play to your strengths and look at how each university uses the test in their scoring system.  

Getting the UKCAT "out of the way" meant I had all summer to focus on writing my personal statement and participating in some last minute activities to boost my application. 

I wrote a list of all the experiences, clubs I had been in and anything I could think of that could be of relevant to my application. Anything that is relevant if you can link the skills you gained from these to the skills required of a medical student and ultimately a doctor.

A good attention grabbing opening statement is key to a good personal statement. You should try to keep it non-cliché e.g. Avoid the phrase, I want to help people.

You do not get many words in the UCAS limit, so try to keep your statement concise, emphasising key points. This allows interviewers to ask you to go into more depth at interview. 

Make sure you relate all experiences to medicine! I cannot emphasise this enough. If you do not do this you are not letting the selectors see the skills you have gained are simply listing things. 

For your conclusion, simply link all your skills together and in a few sentences explain why they make you suitable to study Medicine. 

One you are happy with your personal statement give it to someone such as a teacher or family GP to read. They will make suggestions and will start off the process of the constant redrafting that takes place before it is ready to send off. 

Send your application well before the deadline! This is because guidance teachers read it first before sending it to UCAS. The teachers often work on a first come first served basis, so get in there early. 

It is really annoying applying to Medicine because your friends applying to other courses already have offers and you do not even have an interview. Do not panic! 

The best thing to do is not think about it (easy to say, I went home every night and refreshed UCAS every minute).

When you get an interview, although scary, practice interviews with friends, family, teachers, whoever! Practice again! This is how you become more confident. Make sure you know your personal statement inside out. And if you can get a copy of the Medical school interview book and read it, then your offer is waiting for you. 

In your interview, keep calm and speak clearly. Afterwards forget about it and focus on any other interviews. 

I got interviews for everywhere I applied. I got my first rejection in March and was devastated. No-one had got an offer for Medicine at my school for 6 years! So I lost all confidence at this point. 

Looking back I feel stupid. Keep positive! 

I ended up with 2 offers: Aberdeen and Glasgow. And made the correct choice and chose Glasgow :P

If you are unlucky an do not get in, keep positive! Ask for feedback and to be put on waiting lists. You may get a late offer. If not, look t the weaknesses in your application and improve on them in a gap year. A friend of mine done this and is glad she did. It allows you to increase in confidence and with a wealth of experience. 

What is Medicine at Glasgow like? 

Glasgow has a reputation for being purely PBL. It is not like this. 

It is now an integrated, systems based course which really is fantastic. It caters for all learning styles with PBL, lectures, labs, dissection, seminars, vocational skills. 

The mix of teaching methods is a real bonus. We are lucky to have full body dissection at Glasgow as it is far better than learning anatomy from a textbook.

The atmosphere in Glasgow is really friendly. The staff are a great laugh and have a wealth of world class specialist knowledge.  

The different groups you are allocated to for the different teaching sessions allows you to get to know different people, which I feel is what university is about.

Having been here only 2 months I feel i have already became more confident, thanks to the evaluation processes that Glasgow adopt. 

I could write pages about how good Glasgow is but to summarise the university offers a wealth of learning opportunities in a supportive environment.  The city offers a great social life and you will never be short of anything to do. 

Choose Glasgow! :)

Good luck in your applications! 


Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013 Get Into Medicine