GCE A-levels - Medicourses

 These
vary considerably
 UCL as an example
Acceptable qualifications
GCE A-levels (from a UK examination board)
International Baccalaureate
European Baccalaureate
Scottish Advanced Highers
Irish Leaving Certificate
Welsh Baccalaureate
Cambridge Pre-University Diploma
Graduates: 1st or upper 2nd class degree from a recognised UK
Access to Medicine Course from the College of West Anglia
University Preparatory Certificate for Science and Engineering (UPCSE)
GCE A-levels
minimum of three A-levels and one additional fourth subject to
at least AS-level.
 All AS and A2 components for these four subjects should be
completed within two years (Years 12 and 13 at a UK school),
with the A2 examinations for the three main A-levels all being
taken in Year 13.
Chemistry and Biology must be studied at A-level. Candidates
have a free choice of other subjects, with the
 following exceptions:
General Studies A-level and Critical Thinking A-level are
acceptable only as alternatives to the additional fourth subject.
Any AS/A-level subjects taken in an unusual timeframe (e.g.
over more than two years) should be listed on the application,
and will of course be considered as part of the overall
educational background, but will not count towards the three
main A-levels that would form an AAA offer. Some candidates
may therefore need to take more than three A-levels.
Some preference will be given to applicants who offer a
contrasting subject at AS/A-level. In this context a contrasting
subject is one outside the traditional science subjects of Maths,
Chemistry, Biology and Physics. For example: English Literature,
History, Geography, Art, Music, Religious Studies, Design and
Technology, a foreign language etc.
 Our standard conditional offer for 2013 entry: grades AAA at Alevel to include Chemistry and Biology, plus a pass grade in an
additional fourth subject to at least AS-level.
 The UCAS application must list final A-level grade predictions
(from the referee) along with the actual grades achieved at ASlevel in Year 12 in order for the candidate to be considered
further. Candidates who do not supply AS grades on the UCAS
application may be requested to submit these via email. We
may also ask some candidates to supply module-level grades or
UMS marks. If candidates do not possess AS marks because they
 are taking
It assesses a range of mental abilities identified by university Medical and Dental Schools
as important.
There is no curriculum content as the test examines innate skills.
Each subtest is in a multiple-choice format and is separately timed.
For candidates sitting the examination in summer 2013, the UKCAT will consist
Verbal reasoning - assesses logical thinking and reasoning about written information.
Quantitative reasoning - assesses ability to solve numerical problems.
Abstract reasoning - assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer
relationships from information.
Decision analysis - assesses the ability, in complex, ambiguous situations, to deal with
various forms of information, infer relationships, make informed judgements, and decide
on an appropriate response.
Situational judgement test - assesses judgement regarding situations encountered in the
There are two versions of UKCAT: the standard UKCAT and the UKCATSEN (Special
Educational Needs). The UKCATSEN is a longer version of the UKCAT intended for
candidates who require additional time due to a documented medical condition or
Standard Test
Extended Test
Verbal Reasoning
44 items
22 minutes
28 minutes
36 items
23 minutes
29 minutes
65 items
16 minutes
20 minutes
26 items
32 minutes
40 minutes
60 items
27 minutes
33 minutes
The UKCAT is marked on the number of
correct responses a candidate gives.
There is no negative marking for
incorrect answers. How you perform on
one item does not influence other items
you will be presented with.
 http://www.ukcat.ac.uk
University of Aberdeen,
Brighton and Sussex Medical School,
Cardiff University
University of Dundee
University of Durham
University of East Anglia
University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter
University of Glasgow
Hull York Medical School
Imperial College London (Graduate Entry
Keele University
King's College London
University of Leeds
University of Leicester
University of Manchester
University of Newcastle
University of Nottingham
Plymouth University
Queen Mary, University of London
Queen's University Belfast
University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
St George's, University of London
Warwick University Graduate Entry
Testing begins on 1/7/2013 and registration opens 1/5/13
 ‘Coaching is not necessary, desirable or advantageous.
.... be sceptical about anyone's claims to be able to help
you do well in the test by coaching.
 ...familiarise yourself with the test. ...practice answering the
types of questions that will be presented in the UKCAT,
...familiarise yourself with the question styles, multiplechoice format and requirements of each subtest.
....understand the time limitations in each section and
develop strategies to approach each subtest with this in
mind. We provide two fully timed practice tests to assist
you in this preparation.
 ....familiarise yourselves with the onscreen test format so
that you know how to move the mouse, answer questions
and move through the test.’
The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is a subjectspecific admissions test for applicants to medicine,
veterinary medicine and similar courses
The BMAT is a 2-hour, pen-and-paper test divided into
three sections. It does not require a lot of extra study
as it is a test of skills and knowledge that learners are
expected to have already.
Test format
The BMAT is divided into three sections:
Aptitude and Skills.
Scientific Knowledge and Applications.
Writing Task.
Section 1: Aptitude and Skills
Tests generic skills in problem-solving,
understanding arguments, data analysis
and inference.
 35 questions, multiple choice or short
 60 minutes
Tests the ability to apply scientific
knowledge from school science and
maths up to and including the level of
National Curriculum Key Stage 4.
 27 questions, multiple choice or short
 30 minutes
Tests the ability to select, develop and
organise ideas, and to communicate
them in writing, concisely and
One essay question from a choice of
four questions
30 minutes
Questions in Sections 1 and 2 are worth 1 mark each. Total raw marks for each section
are converted to the BMAT scale, which runs from 1 (low) to 9 (high). Typical BMAT
learners will score around 5.0, roughly half marks. The best learners will score around 6.0,
and a few exceptional learners will score higher than 7.0.
Essays in Section 3 are marked by two examiners. Each examiner gives two scores – one
for quality of content (on a scale of 0–5), and one for quality of written English (on the
scale A, C, E).
Combining the scores for Section 3: If the two marks for content are the same or no
more than one mark apart, the candidate gets the average of the two marks. If the two
marks for written English are the same or no more than one mark apart, the scores are
combined like this: AA = A, AC = B, CC = C, CE = D and EE = E.
For example, an essay given a 4C by one examiner and 4A by the other will get a final
score of 4B. An essay given 3C by one examiner and 2C by the other will receive a mark
of 2.5C.
If there is a larger discrepancy in the marks, the essays are marked for a third time, and
the final mark is checked by the Senior Assessment Manager.
 Cambridge
 Imperial College
 University College London
 Royal Veterinary College
 October 15th 2012 was the last possible day of entry for BMAT
in 2012, dates yet to be announced this year but due in
 The BMAT does not require a lot of extra study as it is a test of
skills and knowledge that learners are expected to have
already. Section 2 will always be based around the relevant
version of the National Curriculum studied by the majority of
the test takers.
 You can get familiar with the test format by practising with
specimen test papers available for download.
Be honest but kind to yourself
 Be accurate about specifics
 Make sure what you write is clear and
grammatically correct
 Avoid redundancy
 Remember that each university will NOT
know where else you have applied
Make your reasons as specific as possible
› Anecdotes of what experiences made you decide
› Can also acknowledge ‘downside’ (hours,
› What you have done to get better informed
 Eg attended this course and learned WHAT??
 Avoid cliché's (helping people, making the world a
better place)
 Helpful to bring in science/art/humanities interface
 Common reasons include the academic stimulation,
the constant evolution of medicine and interest in
science, working with people, wide range of potential
careers in medicine
Don’t restrict this to medical placements
 Think about what might be relevant to
medicine from experiences like
› Working in a shop
› Helping out in a home for older people
› Providing learning support in a primary school
Be as specific as you can about medical
placements you have done and what you
have learned from them
Find out what a doctor actually does! Gain a realistic appreciation of what a typical day would involve for
doctors working in both primary and secondary care settings.
Develop knowledge of the different roles played by doctors working in different aspects of healthcare. For
instance how does a GP’s job differ from that of a junior hospital doctor or a consultant?
Learn what is great about being a doctor but also have a realistic idea about what is bad and difficult about
the job.
Identify the key skills needed to be a good doctor. Do you have these skills?
Develop an appreciation for the training pathways for doctors and the level of commitment needed to
succeed in a career in medicine.
Learn about how teamwork and leadership is important in medicine. If you get a chance try and sit in on
clinical meetings and ask different members of the medical team what their role is and how they interact
with each other as a team.
Equip yourself with as many clinical scenarios that demonstrate what you have learned. For instance, rather
than just saying teamwork is an important part of the job say how when you worked with a general
medical SHO you realised how important it was to work with other health professionals such as nurses,
physiotherapists, dieticians to coordinate a patients care. This shows that you have actually got
something from your work experience.
Relevant items include
› DoE awards, Young Enterprise, Award
scheme Development and Accreditation
Network (ASDAN), Music
The trap is to produce a smug list
› Emphasise
 what you have learned from the experience
 why it is relevant to medicine
Another potential ‘smug list’ trap
Need to invoke
› Achievement
› Transferable skills
› Ability to attain work/life balance
Opportunity to be genuinely self-revealing
Key areas to concentrate on are teamwork,
leadership, communication and
 If you mention a book or topic, expect to
be questioned upon it in depth!
Good reasons include
› Becoming more mature and ‘ready’ for
› Doing something medically relevant
› Learning new skills
› Doing something useful
Less good reasons include
› A year of continuous partying
› Acquiring an STD….
Start early
Make sure it is not too long:
› Cut and paste into the UCAS space to see if it fits
› Usually better to rewrite sentences rather than cut single words
Get lots of advice:
Year above
Friends: yours and your parents
Open Days
Internet: DON’T believe everything
Show it to lots people:
› Drafts
› Final version at correct length
University or medical school
 Oxbridge
 Near, far, overseas
 Large city, smaller city
 Expense
 Kudos
 Fun

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