Saturday, 30 June 2012

A little time for reflection maybe?

School is coming to an end for the summer holidays, so a lot of things need to be done before then! Still need to get some work experience. I must continue searching around! It really annoys me, I really have slacked off getting work experience and left it too late. Although I have applied to certain places just need to get a reply from them, and I worry about finding more in case any dates of work experience clashes. But what happens if I have no work experience for the summer?! This is why I am annoyed and angry at myself for delaying and slacking off my search for work experience. I have applied to UCLH through the Target Medicine Scheme I do with UCL, applied directly to the local hospital - got a reply saying they hope to get back to me within 6 weeks (Which is far to long!) and also through SMF (Social Mobility Foundation, another scheme I'm part of) who claims to be looking for internships for us! So hopefully something does come through and I manage to get work experience.

Personal statement needs to be drafted up. My tutor wants our first draft next week. 4000 characters to do before next Tuesday - Can I write that much about myself? Eeeek, hopefully it turns out alright. I need it to be perfect for when I return back to school in September. Plus I need to make sure I'm fully aware of where I will be applying to and whether I'm roughly sure I stand a good chance of getting in. So my UCAS form needs to be somewhat nearly complete by the time I get back to school in early September.

I also have to do more UKCAT preparation. I find myself becoming lazy with it. *Sighs* The UKCAT actually frustrates me, probably it may be that I have a fear of it? Can anyone actually advise me how to overcome this potential fear of the UKCAT? I just feel like every time I open the 600 UKCAT Q's, I feel like I can't be bothered and give up and end up closing the book again. I feel like it is to difficult and way above my ability. But mind you, this is not how I react to every difficult situation, I usually push through it and ignore the fact that giving up exists, but why am I doing this when it comes to the UKCAT? Things do need to change. Hopefully when school closes for the summer next week, I can dedicate at least 30 minutes each day doing some UKCAT prep.

But Good Luck to everyone else sitting their UKCAT this summer. And to results day!
Hopefully we all get what we want. I should be doing more frequent posts as school is closing for the summer next week and I need to update you guys on my UKCAT progress! Wahey! I hope I grow to love the challenge of the UKCAT, which I think I will. ;P


Thursday, 28 June 2012

Brighton and Sussex Medical School Open Day!

Wow, today was interesting!

I loved the medical school, so definitely applying!

Main Presentation

First we had a presentation from the Dean of the medical school. He mentioned that the medical school has more of an hands on clinical experience - which is perfect - and its a small, friendly and supportive atmosphere which is fantastic considering they only have a small year group meaning that everyone will get to know each other and obviously support one another so it'll be like a small medical family - d'awwww. The course is more patient focused so there is earlier clinical contact. So you get to brush up on the social side of being a doctor from early on in the course - Brilliant! There is a strong science base with research-informed teaching. The course structure is an integrated systems based approach and is modular. So for example, in the first year, you'd do foundations of health and diseases for 10 weeks, then heart lungs and blood for 10 weeks then nutrition metabolism and excretion for 10 weeks. So I really like the whole systems based thing because everything is closely linked together! A high proportion of the years 1 and 2 is taught in small groups which is good because you don't get as easily distracted as you would in a huge lecture!

Dissection room tour

We had a tour of the dissection room! This opportunity made me so excited as many medical schools don't show this during their open day. There were some cadavers there but they were wrapped up in plastic and we weren't allowed to touch them due to Human Tissue Authority regulations. So another bonus point of BSMS is that the anatomy teaching is that is it so intergrated so you'd do cadaver dissection, living anatomy (which I talk about on the BSMS roadshow in a previous post), imaging, prosection, models and so much more! So all different types of learning styles are tended to.

On the way there!

Uni of Sussex buildings

Again, Uni of Sussex buildings

Anatomy model

Sphygmomanometer - Used to check blood pressure, which my mum did on me!

Giant heart model

Uni of Brighton building

View of the Sussex campus from the Brighton Campus
There was also a clinical skills talk and Uni of Brighton tour where we got to see the Paddock Field halls of residence. Its so nice. Its really cool that the two universities are directly opposite each other.

Overall, I really liked BSMS. So I'm DEFINITELY applying here!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

BSMS open day tomorrow!

In college, wasting time before I go to my voluntary work at the hospital. The BSMS open day is tomorrow, which I'm really excited about. I'm taking my camera so hopefully I should be uploading pictures from the day and making a post about it!

Plus in college, we've started our UCAS application. Its so complex! I really don't want to make a mistake on it. Now we have to start writing our personal statements, and they want our first drafts by next Tuesday! I've started but it isn't that great! I'm worried! My personal statement just needs time and I need some stuff to fill it out. Hopefully, by September it comes out perfect!

So this was just a post updating you guys on whats been happening so far. Not much really. A2 is going great, although I don't know what I'm going to drop yet. But results day will help me clear that up. So looking forward to results day, I hope I get the grades I want! It's quite scary, I feel as if I have a lot of pressure right now because EVERYONE is expecting me to do well. So what happens if I don't? Arghhh so worried. Everyone expects me to get A's in all of my subjects. I feel people will look down on me if I don't. I really don't want to get my hopes up just in case I don't make the grades. And now because of this blog and all the hard work I've put in, people expect me to become a doctor. I'm terrified I won't make it into medical school.

What happens then?


Thursday, 14 June 2012

In other news...

I have to get a lot done by the end of term!

  • Have to start research DEEPLY in the course content and structure of each medical school I'm interested in
  • Start  drafting personal statement.
  • Still look for work experience
  • Print of some stuff regarding open days.
  • Read some books - I want to get back into reading more about stuff relating to medicine, like interesting diseases and stuff.
  • Start doing research for Realising Opportunities assignment!
Wow, this is going to be a busy next few weeks! Oh and the open days are soon, really excited!

Top Universities Conference! 14th June 2012

Wow, today has been a very long informative but tiring day. What a day to kick off with, had no sleep the previous night! Luckily I wasn't going to school!

So today, me and three other students from my college, attended a conference at a grammar school local to our college about applying to the TOP universities. I'm talking about universities like Cambridge, UCL, Oxford and Imperial College London. Bloody hell, when I got invited I was like "huh?" Why have I been invited? I'm nowhere near as good to apply to these universities especially after exams. I just simply didn't understand why I had been selected to go! But an opportunity is an opportunity so I might as well take it. It was a good day though, I enjoyed it so it was worth going because I learnt a lot! Other local grammar schools attended as well so being surrounded by more intelligent looking & sounding, articulate and well-spoken students intimidated me! From the moment I walked in, I knew they were just a small sample of the competition I was facing (and fighting) for a place in medical school.

First we had talks from people who represented the universities and they discussed what admissions tutors were looking for and how to get into the top universities. So Oxbridge have a collegiate system with colleges which I really like the sound of. I would love to aim for Oxbridge but its simply the case of the fear of my grades not being good enough and the fear of not fitting in. I mean, how could I, a state educated child from a school which is closing down fit in with students from better state schools and private schools! So Oxbridge gets a no from me, or is it the other way round? UCL you wouldn't be surprised gets an average of 10 applicants for every space. On an even competitive course it was 48 - Can you imagine 48 bloody applicants for 1 place?! As you could imagine, places for the other top universities would be the same! But, alas, UCL is my love, I'm willing to fight for a place!

In terms of what admissions tutors are looking for are:

  • Passion and talent in subject - HARD WORK
  • Likely success of the course
  • How likely you are to succeed in reaching the offer made.
  • Academic ability and deep interest of the subject
  • Motivation and enthusiasm

Handy advice was given - "Show it, don't say it" Always show how passionate you are of the subject, not just saying that you are. The proof is in the pudding, mate. Also 75% of your personal statement should be about what you want to study and why. The remaining 25% on the extra-curricular.

Then it was a question and answer session with students who had received offers from Cambridge and Oxford or were at Oxbridge. It was a very interesting session. We then split off into groups according to the career path we wanted to go into. Obviously I was in the medicine group. We then discussed how to get into medicine.

A later session was detailing on what to put into our personal statements and did little mock interview questions. I hope I was good at them! Some questions were difficult, such as "Give an example of a time you were empathetic" and "Why do you want to do medicine?" but if you are really passionate about studying what you love then the interview should be quite easy although you'll be nervous! I think with more practice, I'll get more better with my answers and stutter less and be more fluid.

A previous student who went to that grammar school who had just finished their first year at Kings, even came in and answered our questions - although this was by accident! But I really learnt a lot from today's conference. I've learnt that the hard work hasn't finished now that exams were over. There was still more to go and I'm even more determined to reach that ultimate goal of becoming a doctor. This day has just refuelled my motivation tank and I'm ready to start working hard again!


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Open days!


Right here are some open days I'll be attending soon! Quite excited actually!

  • Kings College -10th July
  • University of East Anglia - 7th July
  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School - 27th June
Its actually not that many when I think about it. But I've already been to UCL. Its ok, since we only  get 4 choices and I do have to be realistic about my choices.

2nd June 2012 - Post exam update

So today is the 2nd June (Obviously, going by the post title) and I have officially finished all my exams!!
WOOOOOOOP! Had my final exam yesterday which was a further maths module FP1 (Edexcel), it was alright. But now just looking forward to results day to see what I actually got.

Right so since it is half term next week, I have a lot of things to do. Yesterday, I printed out a list (about 4 pages) of GPs local to me. I plan to go round to them during half term so ask if there is a possibility of getting work experience during the summer. I might as well give it a try anyway, and besides I need to be a bit more pro-active when it comes to getting work experience. So hopefully I manage to tempt a doctor round to giving me work experience!

Also, need to start preparing for the UKCAT, since we're already in June and mine is in August! Not really feeling confident about to be honest. I'm honestly petrified of it! I really need to practice the quantitative reasoning and abstract reasoning! They are quite difficult sections. I think with a little more practice the other 2 sections should be fine.

Plus when we go back to school after half term on the 14th (I'll be going back on the 15th, have to go to a conference - more about that later), we have to start all our UCAS stuff, so that means opening an account and filling all the details on the form. This is quite an exciting prospect but also scary! It means that all this is real and  it is going to happen eventually. I still kind of feel like it should be pushed back, time is moving to quick for my liking! But this was inevitable - it has to happen at sometime, whether I'm ready or not. I suppose its the fear of not making it. Travelling so far but never reaching the goal. I guess I have to think positively, right?

I also have to start thinking about my personal statement! I have one drafted but its not exactly good, so the summer will be spent on drafting up a perfect medical personal statement - perfect for me, anyway.

Plus going back to school means we start the A2 syllabus which I'm really excited for! So this time I have to focus harder and right my revision notes earlier! I received my new timetable yesterday via post, I don't have to go to my RS lessons anymore, so more free periods which I'll spend preparing for the UKCAT or just doing research into some medical news/NHS/progressive medical research etc. So really looking forward to more free time!

But now, exams are over, the hard work is not exactly finished, but I'll find the strength to continue working hard. I'll relax during the summer holiday of 2013. :P I'll love to hear more from my readers so leave comments on the blog!

Good luck to any A2s with exams still to go!