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Question & Answers: A Career in Medicine

Question

My son is currently studying in grade 11 in Dubai following the ICSE Indian syllabus. He has chosen Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Psychology. He wishes to study Medicine in the UK. Please can you advise about the requirements to get admission for MBBS in UK medical schools?

Answer

There are currently 31 medical schools in UK and with a few exceptions most medical schools are located in big cities and London has five different medical schools. An undergraduate degree is usually 5-6 years depending on the college.

You should choose your medical school based on where you would like to live while you are studying, the type of course you would like to do and which universities accept your qualifications. Whilst names and styles may be different all degrees in medicine provide the same qualification (E.g. BM, MBBS, MBChB).

Medicine is an extremely competitive course and only 8% of the total seats are offered to international students. High grades in school and a minimum score of 6.5 in IELTS would be a good starting point. You would need two science subjects (preferably Chemistry and Biology) and another one which maybe a critical thinking subject like in your son’s choice Psychology.

Career in Medicine

In addition to school grades students are required to appear for competitive exams, UKCAT (UK clinical aptitude test) which is a requirement in most medical schools. Others like Imperial College, Cambridge, Bristol, etc require that you take the BMAT (Bio medical admissions test). A good idea would be to check the specific requirements in the university of your choice. And finally shortlisted students are called for an interview which is normally held between December and March.

To enhance your application and set it apart from others the student should participate in various extracurricular activities like shadowing a doctor, social service activity, internship in a hospital/clinic, etc. Other personal qualities required include commitment, perseverance and personal integrity, concern of others, a humanitarian streak and the ability to communicate.

Being a popular and competitive course deadlines for Medicine are usually a year prior to the commencement of the course. Care needs to be taken for various cut off dates like registration for UKCAT/ BMAT, English test, submission of UCAS application. The registration has already begun for the UKCAT from 15th May 2012 and registration for BMAT will begin on 1st September 2012 for the for the September 2013 intake.

Tuition fees for international students tend not to be cheap. The amount varies between medical schools. But you should expect to pay at least Stg. 12,000 – 15,000 per year for pre-clinical years (normally the first 2-3 years of the course) and Stg. 20,000 for each clinical year (normally the last 2-3 years of the course).

Should your son not meet the entry requirements there are one year Access to Medicine courses available in a few colleges. However not all medical schools accept this qualification and he should check the entry requirements of individual schools.

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