You’ll likely have been spending the last few months stressing about your UCAS application, double-checking every last detail on your form and making constant tweaks to your personal statement. It’s a massive part of the application process and one error could end your chances of getting into your dream university. So when it’s been sent through, it’s a good time to take a step back and congratulate yourself for all the work you’ve put in so far…
However, it’s also a time to ask yourself: What’s Next?
Unfortunately, there’s still a lot more that needs to be done before you’re on you way to uni! So we’re going to rundown every major step left of the process once you’ve submitted your application to UCAS. Be sure to note down all the key dates and keep in mind any tips that could help you ease the burden of the next few months. Let’s get started!
This is a good place to start, as missing this deadline is going to spell disaster for your application, or would it?
When is the UCAS Application Deadline?
As you should hopefully know already, the 2022 UCAS Deadline for Medical Schools is October 15th (which is the same date every year). Any applications submitted after this date will not be considered for standard applications.
What is Clearing?
For people who have missed this date, one option to potentially still get a place at uni is through clearing. Clearing is essentially an opportunity for late or unsuccessful applicants to fill in the spaces of any offer holders who do not accept their place on a course.
The problem you will find currently is that fewer and fewer slots are appearing for medicine in clearing due to the high demand that these courses have (there were over 29,000 applicants for medicine in the UK for the 2022 admissions cycle)! Even more niche courses like Biomedical Science and Biochemistry are getting harder to get into through clearing, so it would be wise to get your application in on time!
This will also be important information to know if you are unsuccessful with your offers. You can learn more in our Guide to Applying for Medicine Through Clearing.
This is the next major stepping stone in your university journey, except some of you may have already done it! The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is sat from July 11th 2022 to September 19th 2022, just under a month before the UCAS deadline. So students that aren’t applying for a BMAT university (which is fairly uncommon) will be done with their admissions tests before the UCAS Deadline.
This also holds true for the International Medical Admissions Test (IMAT), which is sat on September 13th 2022. So that just leaves us with one…
This is the big one, the medical admissions test required by some of the most competitive medical schools in the country, including Oxford, Cambridge and UCL. Some international universities actually require the BMAT to be sat in February, but for the UK, the BMAT testing date for 2022 is November 2nd.
Your BMAT preparation should be well underway by the time you submit your UCAS application, so the best advice we can give is to keep on doing what you’re doing! However, there are a few pieces of last-minute advice that can help your through the late stages of your revision:
The same goes for Section 2 of the BMAT too, except you’ll also be able to use textbooks and other resources to revise your knowledge as well as your exam techniques. Getting both of these things down will be essential for success!
Then, of course, there’s the Section 3 BMAT Writing Task. Make sure you’re familiar with the different types of questions that could be asked in the BMAT and practice writing answers for each. If you want to go outside of the scope of official BMAT past papers and practise questions, you could try asking someone to make questions for you based on things they have read (or just make up your own)!
Scheduling is still super important during the endgame. While it’s vital that you stick to the revision sessions you’ve set yourself, you should also be generous with your breaks. The pressure of everything gets higher the closer to the testing day you get, so give yourself time to cool down and avoid burnout!
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Work experience provides two main benefits to you and your application.
Firstly, it provides you with great writing material for your personal statement. Work experience is actually required by medical schools, but admissions teams like to see genuine passion and interest in what you do. For example, taking part in regular voluntary work or having a part-time job somewhere relevant to the profession.
Secondly, it lets you gain practical experience and education that will be useful throughout your time at university. Getting that first-hand experience in medicine so early on will help prepare you for later on down the road.
That first point is something to consider: it’s great for your personal statement. But at this point, your personal statement is finished and has been sent off. So is there still a point to doing work experience?
In all honesty, it shouldn’t be a priority at this point. You may be able to speak about it in your interview, but overall it’s not going to have much effect on your application if you choose to continue working after the UCAS Deadline.
However, you will still be gaining that valuable experience, so it’s not necessarily a waste of time. It’s just not going to contribute too much to your application. You need to ensure you’re prioritising other aspects of the application (which will discuss further down), but continuing a little bit of work experience on the side isn’t going to harm your application and will help you become a more experienced student further down the line.
Learn how to demonstrate your reflections to Admissions Tutors effectively in our One-Day Personal Statement Crash Course.
Your interviews are the final step to receiving your initial offers, and they’re a tough process to get through! Depending on the universities you’ve received invitations to, you could be taking on two different interview formats:
The MMI is the more common of the two interview methods for medicine in the UK. For those of you that don’t know, an MMI is essentially a collection of 8 or so different interview stations that feature different small tasks, questions or role-playing scenarios. The idea is for the university to see your abilities and attitude in a wide range of areas to get a better sense of your strength as an applicant.
Before going to an MMI, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare:
When you think of ‘Interviews’, this is probably what first comes to mind. The panel interview is a simple ‘question and answer’ discussion between yourself and one or more interviewers.
Much of what we’ve said about MMI preparation can also be used for panel interview prep, but there are a few other things to consider:
One thing that you absolutely need to do before preparing for interviews is to double-check which format each university uses. Thankfully, we’ve gathered all of this information together in our Medical School Formats Guide.
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Receiving your Offer
This is, of course, an essential step towards beginning your university journey. Unfortunately, there’s not too much you can do here except wait.
When do you get your Medical School Offers?
Medical schools will all release their offers independently of one another. Some may make their decisions as soona as interviews have finished, while some will make their decisions in a set month. The general time frame you can expect to receive an offer is between December and April. However, if you want to know when each uni releases its offers, you can check out our Guide to University Offers and Interviews.
What do you do if you Receive Multiple Offers?
If you’ve received multiple offers, you will need to pick your ‘firm offer’, which is the university you intend on going to, provided you meet the grade requirements. You also have the option to pick out an insurance offer, which will be your selected university if you do not meet the grade requirements for your firm offer. This offer should ideally have lower grade requirements in order to provide you with a safety net if you do not score as well as you were hoping. All of this is done via UCAS.
Once you’ve got your offer, this is the true final step to getting your place on that dream course! Due to the nature of medicine as a subject, unconditional offers are almost non-existent outside of exceptional cases.
So that means you’re going to have to achieve your target grades to get your spot on the course. Preparation for these exams is ongoing throughout your entire time at school but you still need to make sure you’re making the most of the time you have to study outside of school:
Remember your revision techniques for the BMAT and put those in place for your exams.
If you’re stuck on something important for the exam, never be afraid to ask someone, be it a teacher, mentor, family member or friend.
All of your classmates are preparing for the same thing, so why not try group study? Some people get massive benefits from this!
Throughout the exam period, keep a healthy routine. Get plenty of sleep and try to stay active, you’ll find yourself with much more energy when you’re in the exam hall!
When do Final Exams Start?
Final exams will typically start from the second week of May in the UK and run all the way through to late June. That gives you a couple of months to get yourself ready between receiving your offer and starting exams. Use this time wisely to ensure the greatest chances of meeting the grades you need.
Your results are the last thing keeping you from your medical school journey, and results will usually be released in the middle of August. This will be the day that you learn which universities if any you have been accepted to. It’s a nerve-wracking wait but it will all be worth it when you see it confirmed in writing that you’re going the med school!
Once you’ve got your results, there are a few things that may need to be done depending on how you did:
If one or more of your applications have been successful, then you’re officially on your way to university! After you’ve taken your victory lap, there are a few things that you can expect to happen:
If you’ve met the grades for your firm offer university, they will be in contact with you to begin your preparation for attending. The same will be true for your insurance offer if you didn’t get your firm offer.
You will need to begin looking into student financing. You can begin the process on the .Gov Website.
Your university will provide you with information about campus accommodation for your first year at university. Most students will go for campus accommodation, but other options will also be available to you.
If your grades have not met the requirements for any of your offers, or if you did not receive any offers at all, then your next option, if you wish to continue your application, is through clearing. We spoke more about this earlier on, so re-read that section if you need more information about it.
Some students will have the option to resit their exams in August, but medicine does not facilitate this option as much. If you don’t wish to go through clear but still want to apply for the university, the best option would be to reapply in the next exam cycle and resit your A-level the following year.
For some, this may be a time of self-reflection. You may have pushed yourself to near breaking point to get this application right and still not succeeded. Perhaps it’s not the right field for you, or perhaps you’ve ended up deciding it’s not an area you wish to go into. There’s no shame in changing your mind, even if you’re application is successful. You don’t have to go if you really believe that it’s not right for you. If you are thinking of re-applying, our Complete Bundle guarantees you a Medicine offer or you get your money back.
Now we could go on and on about what else you need to do; how to decide on accommodation, what to do during freshers week, how to ensure you’ve packed the right amount of shirts! But we’ll leave you here, acceptance letter in hand and ready to go off to into the world of medical school! This whole process is extremely stress-inducing, but it will all be worth it when you find yourself getting ready to go! All we can say now is good luck!
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