07-07-2023

STUDYING MEDICINE IN THE UK AS AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT

In this article, we will walk you through all the things one should consider when it comes to moving to the United Kingdom to study medicine. By the time you finish reading this article, you will know all about the universities in the UK, including entrance exams, entry requirements, fees, deadlines and more.

Medical degrees obtained in the UK are highly valued and respected worldwide. The United Kingdom provides the recipients of such degrees with a plethora of opportunities provided in classrooms and in professional settings. It takes about 6 years to complete an undergraduate course in the UK, with studies as well as professional work experience. In this article, we will provide you with information regarding the overall requirements, deadlines, application procedures and more when it comes to preparing for and applying to medical school in the United Kingdom.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • Entry requirements can differ depending on what university you are applying for. In general, the more prestigious the university the higher grades they require you to have to be accepted.
  • Overall, the standard requirements to get into medical school in the UK include having achieved high grades in your GCSEs and A-Levels.
  • When it comes to your GCSEs, you should have at least an A or A* in Maths and English, plus an A or A* in three other subjects. Plus, you are also expected to get at least a B in GCSE Science.
  • For A-Levels, you need to have at least 3. Two of these are often required to be science-related, most often including Chemistry and Biology. Physics and/or Mathematics are also highly valued. Other usually accepted subjects for your third A-Level, include subjects in Arts, like History, Economics, Geography etc.
  • Keep in mind that there is a chance that a 3rd A-Level in a critical thinking subject like Ethics, Philosophy, Sociology, Literature or Political Science might not be accepted.
  • If you didn’t gain your earlier qualifications in the United Kingdom, the International Baccalaureate score of 30 out of 45 is considered a good score and should be enough to help you get into good UK universities. This needs to include chemistry and another science subject.
  • For the University of Cambridge, you will need at least between 40 to 42 IB points. And for the University of Oxford, you’ll need at least 39.
  • When it comes to your English skills you will need to get an overall score of 7.5 in the IELTS, and you cannot score less than 7.0 in any of the components.
  • Depending on what university you are applying for you will also be required to take either UCAT, BMAT or GAMSAT.
  • If you are taking the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), you should achieve 650 or above.
  • For universities that require you to take the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT), you will be expected to score at least 6.0 or more.
  • Lastly, if you are taking the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT), you will need to score at least 59.
  • Furthermore, you will need to write a personal statement. This is a piece of writing which should generally be about 550–1000 words long. In this, you should write about yourself and explain to the reader why you are the right choice for this degree. You should write about your past experience, your present self, as well as your future goals and how this degree fits into those things.
  • It is incredibly important to provide the university with a very good, high-quality personal statement. This will be their first impression of who you are. You are given a chance to advocate for yourself and persuade whoever is reading that you are the right choice for this course.
  • At some point, you should also gain some form of work experience. You could look into volunteering in the medical field, or maybe doing an apprenticeship. Having such experience makes universities way more likely to consider you as a potential candidate.

UCAT

  • After you have applied to medical school, you will need to register for a UCAT test. This can be done between May and late September.
  • The results of this test will be sent directly to the medical schools that you have applied for.
  • You can take this test at a Pearson VUE centre.
  • Sitting this test in the UK costs about £75, testing outside of the United Kingdom costs £120.
  • UCAT is a 2-hour long test that is broken down into 5 timed sections.
  • It is suggested to spend at least 40 to 70 hours preparing for this test.
  • You should spend at least 10 hours learning about test strategies, which you can learn with the UCAS course.
  • Spend at least 25 to 50 hours practising and focusing on your weaknesses.
  • Then spend at least 10 hours doing timed mock exams.
  • As mentioned earlier, to get accepted for a medical degree you will need to score at least 650.

BMAT

  • This is to test your Mathematic and Scientific knowledge and your communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • If you want to take this test at the start of September, you will need to apply around the beginning of August. The second date to take this test is late October/Early November. For this, you will need to register by the end of September. Fortunately, late applications are allowed until the date of the UCAS deadline (mid-October).
  • Just like with UCAT, the results are sent directly to the universities that you have applied for.
  • As of 2021, this test is computer-based in all countries except for Singapore and Thailand.
  • It costs about £75 for EU and UK citizens, and about £100 for applicants from outside the EU.
  • This test consists of 3 sections.
  • The first section has 17 questions on critical thinking and 16 questions on problem-solving.
  • Section two consists of seven questions on Chemistry, seven questions on Biology, seven questions on Physics and six on Mathematics.
  • The last section is a writing task, you will have to choose one of three questions that you will answer.
  • You should be aiming for at least a score of 6.0.

GAMSAT

  • This test is to make sure you have the mental capacity to pursue education in the field of medical and health professionals.
  • You can either take this test in March or in September.
  • You will have to take the test before you start working on your UCAS application.
  • You can find a free trial of this test on gradready.com to help you prepare for the real thing.
  • You will need to take it at one of the GAMSAT test centres.
  • As of 2022, you can sit this test in Cardiff, London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Derry.
  • If you are taking this test in the UK, it will cost you about £268. You can also take this test in Australia, where it would cost around $515, and in Ireland, for about €341.
  • To be accepted for a medical course in the UK you will need to score at least 59.

MMI

  • Once your application is processed, and you get shortlisted, the university will invite you in for an MMI.
  • MMI stands for ‘Multi Mini Interviews’.
  • On average this might take about 2 hours, each section/mini-interview will take no more than 10 minutes.
  • In most cases, there will be about 10 ‘stations’. This could either involve you being directly interviewed by an interviewer, or you having to roleplay with an actor while the interviewer watches.
  • These scenarios are designed to evaluate your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
  • You can use the internet to look up examples of scenarios that are used in these interviews, to help you practice.
  • You will be required to undergo this assessment when applying to study medicine at most UK universities.
  • If you have already chosen a specific university that you are interested in, you can look up the specific MMI procedure for said university.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

  • International students need to use UCAS to submit their applications.
  • Once the application goes through you will be invited for an interview.
  • In this interview, the interviewer will want to get to know who you are, they already know about your academic achievements, so the focus might also be on the non-educational aspect of who you are.
  • You can prepare by practising interviews and answering questions with your friends.
  • Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, you will most likely, also be invited for an MMI.
  • Afterwards, if all goes well, you are most likely to receive a conditional offer, which will depend on what

APPLICATION DEADLINE

  • The common deadline for applying through UCAS is late January. However, when applying for a degree in medicine the application deadline is usually middle October.

APPLICATION TIMELINE

  • The registration through UCAS usually becomes available in May.
  • After this, you have until late September to complete your UCAT test.
  • You will have until October of the same year to complete your UCAS application, as the deadline for medical school is earlier than most other subjects.
  • You have until early November to take your BMAT test.
  • Usually, between November and April, you will be invited in for interviews, by the universities you have applied for.
  • The International Baccalaureate and A-Level results come out around July/August time. Once you get these results you will either have secured your place, or you’ll have to look into going through clearing.

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