February 1, 2023, by Leah Sharpe
Top Tips for Applying to Graduate Entry to Medicine
Earlier this year a panel of current GEM (Graduate Entry to Medicine) students shared their insights and experiences with students who are thinking about applying to a GEM course. This blog covers their top tips from the session.
Gaining work experience
1. Get a diary – make notes of your experiences, whatever they are.
2. Even one day of experience can be valuable.
3. Think laterally when trying to find experience opportunities. Volunteering in a soup kitchen gives you experience of working with people.
4. Work experience in a hospital allows you to know it’s the right environment for you. No patient wants to be in the hospital. Volunteering as a mealtime assistant in the QMC can give you this hospital environment experience.
5. Healthcare assistant roles in nursing homes are a valuable insight into the sharp end of patient care.
6. Build contacts – great for shadowing opportunities and advice on applications.
7. Look at the list of skills needed to apply and work out where your own skills gaps are, then find experience to fill those gaps.
8. To gain more hands-on patient care experience think about charities such as Hft who work with people with learning disabilities, or charities that take disabled children on holiday for a week.
9. Whatever your experience, it’s the quality, not quantity, that counts. Whatever you do, reflect on it, what you’ve learnt, skills used, what you would do differently next time.
Preparing for admissions tests
1. Consider the admissions test requirements of the university you want to apply to. Thinking strategically about your applications can mean that if your first choice university requires the GAMSAT, perhaps you could look at applying to other universities that require the same test, rather than studying for, and sitting, two different tests.
2. Plan your preparation. Consider your degree workload and schedule in time to prepare for your test. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
3. Do practice papers – this will give you an idea of the types of questions you might be asked and show you areas you find more challenging.
4. Don’t get too caught up on learning the knowledge, it’s about how you can apply that knowledge. Doing practice papers will help you to understand what they look for.
Preparing for UCAT
1. Medify – please note, this is a paid resource.
2. Use your A Level science text books if you have them.
3. Olivier Picard’s book 1300 UCAT Practice Questions (he also does an interview book).
4. Make sure your basic maths skills are up to date.
Preparing for GAMSAT
1. Try not to get too daunted by GAMSAT, break it down into three separate sections and spend time preparing for each section.
2. “Get good before you get fast”: work out how to plan, structure and write a good essay first, then work on writing one within the time frame.
3. These are handwritten essays, practice handwriting your essays for an hour – we’re so used to typing now.
4. Get friends and family to read your essays and give you feedback.
5. For inspiration on topics that might come up, read books like “Meaning of Things” or “50 big ideas you really need to know”.
6. To help those applying with a non-science background, Khan Academy Youtube videos are useful.
Preparing for interviews
1. Go through your work experience diary and personal statement to remind you of relevant examples.
2. Structure your answers using the STAR technique.
3. Ollie Burton, talks through ethical questions on his YouTube channel.
4. Medical Interviews book by Olivier Picard.
5. Get friends and family to practice interviewing you – but don’t practice so much that you are reciting your answers.
6. Listen to the question carefully – really understand what they want. Thinking about why they’re asking something can help you in knowing how to answer.
7. Build rapport with the interviewer, so they can see that you’re friendly and personable.
8. Show enthusiasm for the course and your future role as a doctor.
Find out more about Graduate Entry to Medicine. You can also book appointments for support with writing personal statements or preparing for interviews via MyCareer.
To practice verbal and numerical reasoning tests you can log in to Graduates First.
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