Good preparation

COMPETITION for places to study at UK medical schools is already incredibly intense. As an international student, there are a number of factors you need to consider when choosing where to study to give yourself the best chance of success.

Choose your course carefully

If you want to study medicine in the UK, then studying here for a period before you apply can maximise your chances of success. Firstly you’ll be studying the courses and subjects that admissions tutors understand best. Schools and colleges here also have a proven track record of sending students to study medicine, and often have existing relationships with medical schools themselves.

By studying in the UK you’ll also be learning on a daily basis, the key language and interpersonal skills that you will need to study and work as a doctor in the UK (remember that many medical schools require a minimum IELTS level of 7.5 to study).

Most applicants to UK medical schools will have studied A Levels, usually achieving A* and A grades in four or more subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Psychology. Some schools will have established relationships with medical schools and be able to offer guaranteed interviews based on achievement of an agreed qualifying score on their Foundation Programmes, although A–levels remain the best route into medicine.

A good way to find out the courses you need to study and the grades you need is by researching the entry requirements for the medical schools you are interested in and working backwards. It is worth noting that the prerequisites vary from medical school to medical school.

Find the right location

This goes without saying, but you need to feel happy, safe and secure in your studies to perform your best, and you’ll certainly need exceptional results in your studies to achieve a place at medical school.

Make sure you do your homework before choosing which school or college you want to study at. Either visit in person, or try to meet a representative locally or online to get a feel for the place and whether you would be comfortable studying there.

Show passion for your subject

To really stand out from other applicants you’ll need to be able to demonstrate your passion not only for medicine, but also for helping and caring for people.

Most UK colleges offer an extensive extra-curricular programme, and make sure you ask which activities and clubs you can take part in to add depth to your personal statement.

Look out for anything science related, where you get to help others (like volunteering and charity work) or where you can demonstrate personal achievement and teamwork skills.

Another great way to demonstrate your commitment is by taking a voluntary internship working in a local hospital, and this is also a great way of finding out about the different medical specifications and which one might suit you best.

Medical preparation at Abbey College Cambridge

Founded in 1994, Abbey College Cambridge has established itself as Cambridge’s outstanding international college and one of the best independent sixth form colleges in the United Kingdom. Students have a track record of outstanding academic and personal achievement, and many move on to join the UK’s best universities every year.

With over 61% of A Level grades achieved at A* or A, the college has helped more than 60 students progress on to study at medical schools in recent years. A unique Pre-Degree Diploma Programme is offered as part of the studies. It is designed to maximise the chance of gaining a place at medical school with a tailored programme of career and application guidance, deeper subject knowledge and development of transferable skills.

“At Abbey Cambridge, classes are small with a low student to tutor ratio. The teachers make sure that we understand the topics and we are not just memorising facts. In science classes we approach learning in an experimental way,” says Manjula Vijayasekaran of Malaysia.

After studying her A levels at Abbey College Cambridge, Manjula is now studying medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.