Work Experience

Advice For Aspiring
Oxbridge, Medics, Vet
and Dentists
Monday January 27th 2014
This Evening
• Delivering the facts and dispelling the myths
• Explaining the admissions process
• Examining entrance requirements
Some General Information
• Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest and
most prestigious universities in Britain.
• Tuition fees at Oxford and Cambridge are
almost certain to be the same as other
good universities, at the maximum (£9,000
per annum).
• By no means all subjects are offered, e.g.
neither offers Dentistry, Politics (on its own),
or Marine Biology, to name just three.
• Many combinations of subjects are offered,
but others are not, e.g. you can study
Philosophy & Physics, but not History &
• Oxford and Cambridge are NOT the best
universities for every subject.
• The courses on offer may have particular
emphases which set them apart from other
university courses, e.g. Oxford Law
concentrates on topics of intellectual rather
than practical importance.
• There is no such thing as an Oxbridge type in
terms of personality (as a survey of teaching
staff who attended there would prove!).
The Difference Between the Two
Oxford rather than Cambridge
- Offer joint honours
- More emphasis on GCSE results
- Don’t look at module scores (Cambridge do)
- Have to sit aptitude tests
- Much more centralised: University makes the
initial decision rather than the college
- Interviews last for two days
Subject Choices at GCSE and A Level
• Currently keen to increase ‘accessibility’
from the maintained sector.
• Students will not be rejected due to their
schools not offering specific subjects.
Some examples:
Classics: neither Latin nor Greek A level an
absolute requirement.
Similarly for modern languages only ONE ML A
level is required. However, it doesn’t exactly
show much commitment and enthusiasm if you
are only doing one language.
Similarly for subjects where Further Maths is
recommended: Cambridge Engineering says:
‘Colleges are aware that not all schools offer
Further Maths A-level, and will not
discriminate against applicants who have not
had the opportunity to take it. However, if
your school or college is able to offer Further
Maths, you are strongly encouraged to study
Important to Remember that…
Entry for all subjects is extremely competitive.
If you choose NOT to take a subject which is
officially described as “Desirable” or
“Recommended” you will clearly be putting
yourself at a disadvantage compared to other
candidates who will be doing these subjects.
A Levels
The vast majority of applicants across all
subjects at Oxford and Cambridge will be
predicted (or have achieved) straight As at A
level, and/or one or more A*.
Last year Oxford and Cambridge each turned
down 5,000 applicants who went on to get 3 As
or better.
Standard Cambridge offer is A*AA (but not
counting A* in maths for candidates also doing
further maths.)
Oxford offers for most maths/science subjects
will now include an A* in a maths/science
AS Levels
Cambridge’s application form now asks for all
module results, including UMS scores to be
CU reckons that UMS scores are a very good
predictor of degree results and so take them
very seriously, and are probably looking for
averages of over 90%.
Oxford’s application form does not ask for
module results.
The norm for those gaining a place: 7 A* at
GCSE, with the rest at A grade.
Prospective medics will almost certainly need
This does not mean that there is a formula,
especially since Oxbridge admission is for a
particular subject at a particular college.
Beyond Getting the Grades
Shortage of places even for those who achieve
straight As at GCSE and/or A level.
What else you need:
Passion for your subject
An intellectual curiosity
Check you are doing the right subjects:
Not totally obvious:
e.g. Law A-level certainly not an advantage for
Law. Oxford PPE (philosophy, politics,
economics) does not require P, P or E, but does
require mathematics.
Cambridge Economics requires double maths.
What you don’t need:
The official policy : academic potential only.
Therefore extra-curricular interests or
achievements are given no official importance.
Again, however, it will vary from tutor to tutor,
and fulfilling a large range of commitments may
be taken as showing that one could cope well
with the pressures of short but busy terms.
What we have planned
Jan. 2014: Oxbridge Information evening (Y11 & 12)
Feb. 2014: Begin EPQ (Y12)
March 2014: Visit to Oxford (Yr. 11 and 12)
Admissions to Oxford conference (Y11 & 12)
April 2014: Residential taster days at Cambridge (Y12)
Visits from speakers (graduates) (Y12)
July 2014: Higher Education week (Y12) & weekly meetings
with Miss Regan
November 2014: Mock Interviews
What you can expect
• Support and guidance from current Oxbridge
tutors and admissions staff
• Strong links with many colleges
• Oxbridge interview preparation by
experienced external staff
• Subject preparation by Curriculum specialists
So you want to be a doctor?
• Why?
• Consider the advantages and
Hard work for both GCSEs and A levels
Stressful application procedure
Competitive course
Long course + life time commitment to learning
Stressful and emotional job
Constantly watched by the press
Family balance
‘Patients must be able to trust doctors with their lives & health’
Patient care/1st
Protect &
promote health
of public
Good standard
practice and care
Treat patients as
respect dignity
Work in
partnership with
Be open and
honest and act
with integrity
Helping people!
Rewarding job
Job security
Applying science in a clinical environment
Variety everyday
Opportunity to work anywhere
Constantly advancing
Where do you want to study?
• Location
-Close or far away from home?
• University itself
-Campus v city
-PBL v traditional course
-Integrated degree
-Early clinical experience
-Entrance requirements/exams/interviews
-Year abroad
No exam
-Queen’s Belfast
-St Georges
No interview
PBL courses
-Queen Mary
-Hull and York
• UK Clinical Aptitude Test
• All universities bar 4 require it
• Taken at test centres, same as driving theory, July to
• 4 sections: Verbal reasoning, Quantitative reasoning,
Abstract reasoning, Decision Analysis
• Score out of 3600
• Some universities have a cut-off but most don’t
• Oxbridge, UCL and ICL only
• All candidates take test together around beginning of
• 3 Sections: Aptitude and skills, Scientific knowledge and
Application and Writing task
• Three sections marked out of 9, 9 and 5A
“Medicine is the art of amusing the patient whilst
nature cures disease”-Voltaire.
Explain what this statement means. Argue to the
contrary, that medicine is more than just amusement.
To what extent do you agree with Voltaire?
How to get there!
Work experience
A levels
Read around
Extra curricular
UCAS p/s
SOCIAL SKILLS! Empathetic, caring, unerrstanding
Selection criteria
Academic: Check requirements for individual medical schools
-Predictors of academic ability & breadth of knowledge
-Ability to organise and be successful at many things at once
- A* and A grades
-Chemistry always a subject requirement, Biology often
-Third A level?
Selection criteria
Non-academic: personal statements and/or interview
Health care career awareness/insight & understanding
Caring contribution to the local community
Excellent communication skills (reflection)
Team work
General Interests
Knowledge of the programmes
Motivation for studies and future career
Honesty and Integrity
Work Experience
Long term
• You can only make four choices for medical courses
• The closing date for applications is 15th October for
• Procedures and Policies vary between medical schools
• Find out about your choices
Academic knowledge ( not at Liverpool )
Communication skills
Healthcare awareness/insight
Caring contributions
Ethical Issues
Team work
Important points to remember:
• Your GCSEs and A levels will be SO important-work really
hard for them but at the same time don’t give up if things
don’t go too well
• Start now! It is definitely not too early to start preparing.
Get your work experience/voluntary work now and start
looking at unis this summer, just to get an idea
Important points to remember:
• Being a doctor isn’t just about medicine-you need to be a
person. Make yourself well-rounded by getting involved in
anything and everything you can in and outside of school.
Sport and music are both great, plus unis love to see you
being a leader, so try to do some form of coaching or take a
position of responsibility of school. Becoming house
captain/prefects and running sports/drama clubs are great
fun and easy to do!
Additional Information
Good Medical Practice
Tomorrow’s Doctors
Dentistry – Typical Entry
• 6+ GCSEs at A/B grade
• 3 A2 levels: Grades AAA/AAB (must include
grade A in Biology and Chemistry)
• UKCAT (most, but not all Dental Schools)
How competitive is it?
• Nationally: < 2.5 applicants for each
place. (UCAS Website)
• Those with predicted minimum
requirements is probably less than 2
applicants per place.
• What is the problem?
At Sheffield…
• Approx 1400 applicants for 85
places (81 Home/EU; 4 International).
• Therefore the selection procedure is
tough and sometimes blunt.
• Over 1000 applicants for 75 places.
At Leeds…
• 1000+ applicants
• 300-350 interviews
• 200-220 offers
• 100-110 accepts
• 75 meeting the requirements
Facts and Figures& Figure
Selection for interview:
GCSE Results
Predicted A2 grades
Academic Reference
Personal Statement (non-academic
• Academic Potential
• UKCAT (not currently required at Leeds)
Personal Statement
• Demonstrates knowledge of profession,
work experience.
• Demonstrates leadership skills, team
• Demonstrates motivation: Sports, work,
voluntary work, dedicated to interest or
The Interview
• 15 mins; structured.
• 3 panel members.
• Predetermined list of questions (motivation,
social awareness, responsibility, interests).
• Opportunity to ask questions
• Panel scores individually and then agree an
overall subjective rating for the applicant.
Motivation to study Dentistry at a
particular School
• Understands the demands of HE
• Can demonstrate self motivation
• Explains why this School is their
preferred option.
• Is knowledgeable about the course,
school, university and city.
Communication Skills
Answers questions
Can argue when appropriate
Next Steps
• Work experience
• Paid work
• Consider a project qualification
Veterinary Medicine
Entry Requirements
GCSEs: A* and A grades, A
as well as minimum of a B grade in English
Language and Mathematics.
A–Levels: A*AA-AAA (tends to be Biology,
Chemistry & another subject)
Cambridge & RVC asks applicants to Veterinary
Medicine to sit the Biomedical Admissions Test
Two hour test (three sections)
Aptitude & Skills
Scientific Knowledge & Applications
Writing Task
Personal Statements
Show don’t tell!
80% should demonstrate commitment and dedication
• What drives applicant to follow this
career path
• Experience (What did & what learned
from it)
• Knowledge of subjects – journals, books
• Interest – Current affairs
Personal Statements
• Remaining 20% should show that you are a well
rounded individual
• Activities
• Positions of responsibility
• Volunteering
Interviews (January)
 Motivations for becoming a vet
 Work experience – in detail as will be pushed
 Knowledge of current issues
 Ethics
What we’re looking for:
 Commitment/Dedication
 Knowledge
Communication Skills
Offers: March - April
Work Experience
Amount/range variable, but all beneficial.
• Not stipulated- Cambridge, Edinburgh & Glasgow
• 2 weeks- Bristol & RVC
• 6 weeks- Nottingham
• 10 weeks- Liverpool
Aim for variety:
• Work in a veterinary practice
• Lambing, milking or helping out on a farm
• Work in stables or a livery
• Animal rescue centres
• Research work in a lab
• Abattoir
Work Experience
Expect rejection, but keep persisting
Keep a diary/Journal
Get references
 Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
 To be a Vet
 Biomedical Admissions Test
 Courses in Animal and Veterinary Education
 RVC Podcasts – Interviews
Next Steps
• Work experience
• Paid work
• Consider a project qualification
[email protected]

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