Medicine and Dentistry are popular career choices for a variety of reasons. Many are attracted by the opportunity to be directly involved in patient care, as well as making visible differences to patient wellbeing. It is important, however, to consider your motivation for applying to Medicine or Dentistry. Admissions interviewers for both subjects at University often quote the following as the most used and least effective reasons for applying to them:
'I want to help people’
‘I am good at science and want a scientific career’
‘I am academically bright, and the subject was suggested to me’
When choosing either of these careers, you need to consider what you mean by ‘helping people’ and ‘science.’ Effective career choices are based on a realistic appraisal of your skills, experience and interest as well as knowledge of the job itself. You may wish to try some of the exercises on choosing careers. Try and spend some time shadowing a dentist, GP, hospital consultant or indeed a medical/dental student to find out what it is like. This will ensure that you are choosing for the right reason and will give much more impact to your personal statement.
Applying to Medicine
All applications to Universities are made through Universities and Colleges Admissions (UCAS) and should be submitted before the 15 October closing date. The UCAS application includes a personal statement.
Medical schools may ask you to complete an entrance assessment. Many use the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT). You normally need to do this before the end of September in the year you are applying i.e. before you submit your application. Other entrance exams include the GAMSAT and BMAT. GAMSAT is generally used only on graduate entry programmes. You need to check with the Medical schools you are considering about the entrance test they use. A comprehensive list is available on the Medical School Council website, although it is important to check with individual universities for any updated information.
Most dental schools require that applicants take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test(UCAT) by the end of September in the year of application, although you must register in advance. Depending on the dental school you are applying to, you may need to sit additional entrance exams, so it is important to check the entry requirements prior to making an application.
If you are an international student considering Medicine or Dentistry in the UK, you will need to contact Medical and Dental schools directly for further details.