March 11, 2021, by School of Medicine

MPT and applying to GEM

I’m Jonny, a third-year MPT student and more importantly for the purpose of this blog, someone trying to get onto a graduate entry medicine (GEM) scheme. I’ll run you through my decision to study medicine, what I’ve done to prove to medical schools that I want to be a doctor and what stage my application is currently at; as to give you an insight into the process.

I won’t bore you with my answer to the classic ‘why do you want to study medicine’ question, but suffice to say my response is somewhere between “I’ve always wanted to” and “I was inspired to because of…” levels of cliché. Bottom line is, I’m on MPT trying to get into medicine and my journey really starts with second year. This is when everyone is thinking about their work experience; I had set myself up with the uni’s first aid society and thought that the accumulated hours from the odd duty and volunteering with the Alzheimer’s society would give my application to GEM that special something or at least give me enough hours so I could try to meet the high standards of work experience required. Alas, COVID struck, plans were off, and I had to rejig my plans for the now increasingly rare opportunities for work experience.

I spent months in lockdown revising for the GAMSAT, an exam beloved by graduate medical schools the world over and loathed by the students who apply to them. My revision involved reading chemistry and physics textbooks – contrary to all the exam advice I had been given, and a strategy I would ultimately regret. In that time, I started to work as a healthcare assistant at a local elderly home. It’s a form of work experience I definitely recommend; long working hours, including my first exposure to working nights; experiencing some of the roles of medical professionals, particularly nurses; and you get paid – a definitive benefit over voluntary work. It gives you the preliminary perspective to allow you to consider whether you could work as a doctor who will have to work longer hours compounded by additional stress.

As I moved on to third-year, I wrote my personal statement – I have to recommend going to student services for help with this, they were brilliantly critical – filled out the UCAS form and after a few months of waiting, was invited to interview for GEM – woo! Practicing interviews with friends and reading books gives you invaluable insight into how to improve both the technique and content of your answers. However of course, when the interview comes you’re forced to think on your feet, all those neat answers you’ve rehearsed are inconveniently forgotten and you have to make it up as you go using instinct. So, setting out in stone those core examples of when you demonstrated personal skills and qualities befitting a doctor is so important as they’re all you’ll be able to remember in the interview. Learning to think on your feet so you don’t freeze when given an unexpected question is vital, all the questions will feel unpredictable, so learning to stay calm and collected in those moments is a great skill to learn.

We’re now caught up to the present day, where I’m currently waiting for the dreaded email saying whether I got in or not which will retroactively decide if this blog post is hubristic and arrogant or amazingly insight and helpful. I’ll keep you posted

Tune in for the MPT Society’s blog! We’ll be covering a range of topics so watch this space for more entries and let us know if there is anything you’d like covered!

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