4. Well-Written Personal Statement
All the above should feed into a well-written Personal Statement that illustrates academic strengths, personal attributes and an approach that will enable a successful transition to university study in the context of the country or system being applied to.
5. Clinical Aptitude Tests
There are additional aspects to a successful Medicine (and Dentistry and Physiotherapy) application that are vital and must be given attention. The first of these is a good score on one of the standard clinical aptitude tests required by medical schools: the UCAT and the BMAT. Different universities accept one of the tests and it is important that students research this carefully and have a strategic approach in terms of selecting the test that is the best option for them.
6. Multiple Mini Interview
If the above aspects of the application are sufficiently strong, students are normally then invited for interview so that they can assess the candidate’s interpersonal skills and other key attributes. These interviews can be a traditional face to face conversation with a panel, but in recent years the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format has been adopted. The MMI puts students in a series of scenarios or situations - often role plays with actors - to see how they deal with pressurised situations and difficult patients.
Communication skills, calmness and resilience are all tested and the performance in the MMI is often a deciding factor in offers being made. Medical Schools need to know that the applicant has the right mind-set, approach and personal attributes to adapt to working in a healthcare setting with actual patients. Students need to demonstrate an understanding of the context and culture of the country’s healthcare system and show they have the abilities to adapt to it, especially important for international students.
Support for students who want to go to medical school
The Careers and University Guidance Team at BIS HCMC provides a range of content and resources to support students who apply to study Medicine or related disciplines. Feedback on personal statements, assistance with identifying the right fit of Medical School and holding mock MMIs with the BIS Biology department are some of the ways in which we provide support.
BIS also runs a CCA - Medicine Club - which is led by Dr. Suzanne Mincher of the Biology department. This expertise and discipline-specific support enhances student knowledge of, and engagement with, healthcare roles and professional pathways. Students in Years 12 and 13 who may be interested in pursuing study in the field are encouraged to participate in the Medicine Society CCA in order to gain knowledge and skills that will prove to be useful when pursuing the pathway. Dr. Mincher explains further: “At the start of YR 12, in a supportive environment, potential medics are brought together to identify the university pathway which is most suitable for their application. This collaborative approach enables them to share ideas about not only the different courses available but also current medical issues and challenging topics. Instrumental in this approach are the talks held by visiting medical/dental student alumni and successful Year 13 applicants. The medical society also supports students in sourcing valuable work experience and provides structured preparation for clinical aptitude tests.”
In the last 5 application cycles alone, graduates from the British International School HCMC have made successful applications to undergraduate Medicine programmes in the UK, Ireland, Korea, Australia and Hong Kong. Sanny Wu, a current Year 13 student who received offers for Medicine at 3 leading UK universities, explained the value of the input she received from all areas of the school: “Staff at BIS have supported us in this process right from the initial stages of research through to the final stages of interview preparation. The Medicine Society run by Dr. Mincher brought together medical applicants and helped us stay on track with UCAT practice and early university research. Dr. Finnigan gave feedback on my personal statement, discussed university options in detail, and supported our interview preparation. The CUG team also ran mock interviews to help us become familiar with the format of MMIs, which definitely boosted my performance in the real interviews.”