How to help your students get into medical school.
It can be difficult to find the best information to help your students get into medical school. Here are resources to help you guide your students on their path.
A skills-based test that is used by the majority of medical and dental schools in the UK. It takes place in July-September each year. Try our free sample test so you can see what your students are facing.
A knowledge- and skills-based test that is used by some medical and dental schools in the UK, including Oxford and Cambridge medical schools. Sat in September of November each year. Note: Due to COVID-19, the BMAT – September test session will not go ahead in 2021.
Traditional interview with panels, or multiple mini interviews that consist of shorter interviews (~8 minutes) at 6-8 stations.
In a service or caring role in healthcare or related field - paid or voluntary.
GCSEs (English, maths and sciences at 6 or higher) and A-levels (typically AAA including chemistry/biology).
Need to demonstrate experiences and skills that make a student well-suited for medicine. A maximum of 47 lines of text or 4,000 characters.
Information about student’s educational or social disadvantages, academic potential, and motivation, commitment and suitability for medicine. A maximum of 47 lines of text or 4,000 characters.
You can also find out about Alternative Entry Routes and Plan B in this article.
Throughout the admissions process, teachers should also advise students to find out more about different medical schools through reading and attending open days.
The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is a test that assesses students on skills relevant to medicine/dentistry, and is taken by students when they are about to start their final year A-levels (July to September).
It is a computer-based exam consisting entirely of multiple-choice questions that test a range of aptitudes:
For more information about this test, including how your students can prepare, read our article on the UCAT.
The UCAT is used by the majority of medical schools in the UK but each medical school is different in the way they use the UCAT scores.
The list of UCAT requirements will give you the ability to advise students on their best chances of acceptance.
If the student has a stellar academic record but didn’t do so well in the UCAT, you might advise them to apply for medical schools that have a more generous UCAT score threshold.
Here are top five ways to get your class ready for the UCAT:
We have created an admissions guide, which is designed to walk students through the admissions process, including free UCAT tips and tricks.
In addition to the Online UCAT Course and Live Classes, we also offer free resources on the UCAT, including revision tips, exam information and section-specific advice.
The official UCAT website features free practice tests, tips and candidate advice and is a great place to start
The BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) is another admissions test that is used by a smaller number of medical schools in the UK. It is different from the UCAT in that it assesses knowledge, as well as aptitude. Usually, it can be taken in September or November, but Oxford Medical School only accepts BMAT’s November sitting. Note: Due to COVID-19, the BMAT – September test session will not go ahead in 2021.
The BMAT is a 2-hour test consisting of three sections:
For more information about this test, including how your students can prepare, read our articles on the BMAT.
Despite only seven medical schools using the BMAT, it is used by a number of prestigious universities, including: Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial College London.
Furthermore, preparing for both the UCAT and BMAT maximises a student’s chance of securing a place at medical school. In 2021, the UCAT can be sat between 26th July and 22nd September, whereas the BMAT will be sat on 3rd November.
You can advise your students to sit the UCAT at the end of July and to sit the BMAT in November. This allows them to space out the exam revision as much as possible.
Note that the BMAT Section 1 (Thinking Skills) assesses similar cognitive skills as the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the UCAT. Therefore, preparing for the UCAT will be useful for improving the BMAT scores.
BMAT scores are used alongside academic grades for interview invitation.
Here are top five ways to help your students with their BMAT:
Medify offers free resources for the BMAT. We also offer an Online BMAT Course that features an automatic past paper grader, 2,000+ original practice questions, 15 unique mock exams, section tutorials and essay plans to help students ‘beat the BMAT’.
Medical school interviews usually take place between November to April and generally take the form of a traditional panel interview or multiple mini interviews (MMIs).
Find out more about what qualities medical schools are looking for in your students.
Here are top four ways to help your students prepare for their medical school interview:
1. Medical knowledge. Students should have a basic understanding of the common diseases and conditions, as well as the Good Medical Practice.
2. Stay updated. Encourage students to stay updated with newsworthy items in the fields of medicine, biomedical science and healthcare.
3. Presentation matters. Advise on students’ presentation, including the dress code, eye contact, body language and tone of voice.
4. Mock interviews. Simulate mock interviews with your students. This helps them calm their nerves, get used to the interview style/format, find out their weaknesses and refine their interview techniques.
Medify has helpful tips on preparing for medical school interviews. We also have an Online Interview Course that provides everything a student needs to know for their medical interviews for only £20. This includes example questions that can be used in mock interviews.
Many medical schools require or strongly encourage applicants to have work experience in a healthcare or related field. This is to:
Even when work experience is not a compulsory requirement, students may be asked to draw upon their work experience during a medical school interview.
Therefore, it is important to encourage your students to reflect on the work experience especially with relevance to medicine, rather than approaching it as a box-ticking exercise.
Work experience may be paid, voluntary, or involve observation. Students can find work experience in:
Students often struggle with where to find work experience. You can refer your students to Medify’s free Work Experience App, which shows work experience placements from around the UK.
You can find useful tips for your students in our admissions guide.
Students can also gain indirect experience by reading good books written by doctors that depict their real experience.
COVID-19 has made it harder for students to obtain their usual work experience. Here are extra tips to help your students:
For GCSE, medical schools typically require English, maths and sciences with a grade of 6 or higher. However, the exact GCSE varies significantly between the medical schools so it is advisable to refer to the full entry requirements.
At A-level, usually AAA is required including chemistry/biology.
As you'll have realised by now, there are many different elements to consider for getting into medicine.
The #1 tip is to prepare early, which helps spread out the different commitments and provides students with more time to focus on their A-level assessments.
Starting preparation early also means students won’t miss out on medical school places due to not selecting the required subjects, or not having certain GCSE grades.
Students apply for medicine through UCAS. Medicine can only be selected for four of the five choices.
Choosing a medical school depends on a range of factors, including the location, teaching style, rankings, student to staff ratio, research options and cohort size.
It is worth applying to a ‘dream medical school’ as long as your student meets the minimum requirements, but they should also apply to places that give more realistic chances of admission.
For students that did not do well in the UCAT or the BMAT, two universities (University of Buckingham* and University of Central Lancashire) do not require any admissions test.
*Buckingham Medical School is considerably more expensive compared to other medical schools.
A personal statement should demonstrate the experiences and skills that make a student well-suited for medicine.
It is used for interview selection and to provide information for interviewers to base their questions on.
Here are three top tips to help you guide your students on writing their personal statement:
Use our admissions guide to further help your students:
You can proofread your student’s personal statement, but ideally they should also have feedback from medical students or doctors who went through the same process.
The teacher’s reference includes information about your student’s educational or social disadvantages, academic potential, motivation, commitment and suitability for medicine, as well as any additional information.
Some medical schools don’t refer to this at all, but others consider them before offering an interview, and sometimes even for final selection.
It is limited to a maximum of 47 lines of text or 4,000 characters.
You also need to remember that your student has the right to request for a copy of your reference under the Data Protection Act 2018.
If your student did not receive an offer for medicine, getting a place through clearing could be an option.
The universities which offer clearing differ from year to year, so it is worth checking these universities each year, as students need to act fast to secure a place.
Studying medicine abroad is also an option, including:
We offer a free guide for students who are considering a gap year.
If a student is keen to study a healthcare-related course outside medicine, there are several options to choose from, including nursing, physiotherapy, psychology, midwifery and public health.
Medify was established in 2009 with a vision and mission to widen access to medicine by providing affordable products and services to help students. Currently, 2 in 3 medical school applicants use Medify to prepare for the UCAT.
Medify also has an excellent set of free resources designed to help students start their first year in medicine.