How to Choose your Medical or Dental School?

This can be particularly difficult for some students. Our guest contributor, also known as The Melanisitic Initiative, explains her top 6 considerations when it comes to choosing your university.

1. Minimum Entry Requirements

  • The first thing I looked at was the minimum requirements like the GCSE grades and A-Level requirements. So I made sure my profile matched up to the minimum requirements at least e.g having at least 5 A/A* grades at GCSE.

2. UCAT/BMAT Weighting

  • Last year I only sat the UKCAT as I didn’t want to do the BMAT. I got 2600 so I avoided UKCAT heavy universities like Newcastle and shortlisted universities like HYMS and Liverpool who placed equal emphasis on other aspects like UKCAT and GCSEs.

  • Similarly, I got Band 2 in SJT so it made sense to apply to HYMS who use SJT as an interview station. For those wanting to apply to BMAT unis like Oxbridge it’s still important to consider the weighting of the BMAT score against other components.

3. Course Structure: PBL, Integrated or Traditional

  • This depends on whether you’re a person who prefers to learn by tutorials and lectures, you might like working within groups and by peer-to-peer teaching or you might like a mix of both.

4. Option for Intercalation

  • The main reason why I selected the medical school I have as my firm is because they have the option to intercalate in any subject of interest in a different university. This helps when applying for foundation posts as well as giving you an opportunity to focus on an area you may wish to specialise in in the future.

  • Some medical schools have compulsory intercalation like Oxbridge, Imperial and UCL whilst my current firm choice gives you the option to do so and this is a factor you may want to consider when applying.

5. Location

  • Personally I didn’t want to go too far from home so I ensured my choices were fairly local but this is quite a personal factor and depends on you as an individual.

6. Open Day Impression

  • This is probably one of the most important things to consider. I visited everywhere I applied to and was able to get a feel for the university and the cities.

  • It’s also important to speak to department staff and any current medical students for greater insight into what it’s like at the uni. You’ll be spending at least 5/6 years of your life at this medical school so it’s sensible to go visit at least once before you think about applying.

  • Read one of our previous blogs on open day where you can download our free Open Day guide to take with you.

This piece has been written by the The Melanistic Initiative. You can find her on Instagram @TheMelanisticInitiative.

This piece was reviewed by Dr Pooja Devani, @step2med.

As always, please do not hesitate to email us for advice on hello@step2med.co.uk

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