The penultimate summer as a student at school can be a busy one for those applying to medicine. Considering you have to have your application sorted by mid-October, medical applicants have less time than the majority of other university applicants. To save yourself from rushing once September comes round, we have devised five recommendations of how you can best utilise your summer before Year 13 to make your life easier and application stronger.
 Organise some volunteering and work experience
Your summer before Year 13 is the perfect opportunity to go out and get some work experience in preparation for your application. Sometimes this will take some earlier preparation, depending on the experience you are after, but any medical-related work experience will give you insight into the world of healthcare. This experience you have can teach you a lot and can form a large part of your personal statement. Admittedly, work experience can be difficult to organise, so consider volunteering at a youth club, nursing home or in a hospital clinic if you find it hard to get a place.
 Write the first draft of your personal statement
Do not underestimate how long it will take you to write your personal statement. If you have an estimate in your mind about how long it will take you, consider doubling it, as this is certainly a document you do not want to rush.
Think about the experiences you’ve had and, importantly, what you’ve gained from them. They don’t all necessarily need to be medically related and mentioning transferable skills such as time management and communication skills can be demonstrated from a variety of experiences. Demonstrating your ability to reflect on your experiences is important for your personal statement and for your future career in medicine!
Spend plenty of time on your opening paragraph and closing statement. This are the sections which will stand out to the reader and you should try and make them as memorable as possible.
 Shortlist your medical schools (and visit them if you can)
Once you have organised/completed your work experience and drafted your personal statement, it’s now over to choosing your medical schools. Think about the medical schools which you would like to attend and the different things which each university offers. Specific things to think about include:
- Do you like the course structure?
- When do you want clinical exposure?
- Where will your placements be?
- Do you suit their teaching style?
Choose the universities with entry requirements which you can attain. Look at each one individually to see which of your application they will assess. If you have the chance over the summer, attend an open day. If they do not have an open day scheduled, you can sometimes request a tour of the department or campus.
 Revise your personal statement
Now that you have shortlisted your universities and have an idea in your mind about where you want to be, go back to your personal statement to start a second draft. Structure your personal statement towards your chosen universities to give yourself the best chance of acceptance.
 Entrance examination preparation
Finalising your university choices is not only helpful for guiding your second draft of your personal statement but it also informs you of whether you need to do the UCAT, BMAT or both. Spend some time practicing for these examinations to give you the best chance at doing well when the time comes to take them. Check out the UCAT and BMAT pages on 6med for more information for preparing for these assessments!