Thread: A late achiever's blog
11-05-2012, 12:26 AM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
A late achiever's blog
Perhaps I should start with why I want to write a blog given that I'm not even a medical student (yet!). I'm hoping that my experiences in the build up to my application will be helpful to others in the same position, and I also hope it might be somewhat amusing to those who are already medics or medical students and who wish to laugh at my potential failure.
I'll start off with this post with the most basic of blog posts: who the hell am I, and why should you read the potentially long and drawn out posts I'm going to make?
My name is Matt, I'm originally from Nottingham but I currently reside in Manchester as I'm studying Biomedical Science at the University of Salford (supposedly it's now the University of Salford, Manchester -- but I think that's just trying to boost their reputation with the Manchester name!). My background is far from ideal for a medical application, and this may resonate with a few of you. I had average GCSE results (1A, 4Bs, 4Cs, 1D, 1E) in a mixture of subjects but my main focus was science, and it still is! Further on, at college, I took the awful, awful decision to study the three sciences and no maths. I also did English Language AS but hated it, and took it no further. The result of these two years? 2Ds (biology & chemistry), 1E (physics). It was at this point I decided to forget medicine, and one wonders why!
What do I attribute that failure to? Although I was always intelligent and seemingly one of the top of the class in lessons, I failed to achieve at exam time. My revision scheduling and tactics were abysmal, with no real structure and when it came to the exams I flunked. Thankfully, the University of Salford decided to take me on with my terrible A-levels through the clearing process, and I went to study Biomedical Science with a placement year (which I'm currently doing -- more on that later).
Though a lot of hard work, and restructuring my revision with timetables and a new work process, I achieved a 2:1 average in my first and second years, only 2% away from a 1:1. My placement year adds up to an extra 8% on my second year grade (worth 25% of the total grade) and thus pushes me up to, hopefully, a first as I'm confident of getting a good mark on my placement. Next year the hard work really begins, pushing my laboratory project and module revision to limits I'm yet to experience. I'm confident, though, by pushing the methods I currently utilise that I can at the very least obtain a 2:1, and hopefully a 1:1!
Okay, enough dull academic background, what's my work experience? Even before university I gained shadowing work following a respiratory consultant and the larger team of medics, nurses and other healthcare professionals. I'm also undertaking my placement year at the Mycology Reference Centre, Manchester -- an NHS reference laboratory for fungi and yeasts (we even had an algae once!). Here I've had a lot of contact with consultant microbiologists and consultants in infectious diseases, and also had the opportunity to shadow them in clinic. It's also done wonders for my understanding of the NHS -- especially it's flaws -- but also plenty about the excellent patient care most medics give.
I'm working towards gaining caring work experience, but it's not easy. The hospital I work in has a massive waiting list for volunteering, as does the nearest Nottingham hospital (the QMC). Hospital care experience is therefore unlikely and my focus is on nursing homes, hospices and other such places. I'll keep you updated on all this as I can!
In addition to all this I'm also revising hard for the GAMSAT which I, hopefully, won't have to sit but it's a contingency plan. I still need to be prepared. My UKCAT studies are going well, and if I get a good score, I'll apply to Warwick, Imperial, Kings & Barts (I do like London!). If it doesn't, GAMSAT preparations increase and I'll apply for Nottingham, St Georges, Swansea and somewhere I'm yet to decide upon!
I'll try and keep this thread updated when I have big updates on my progress, the next most likely being July 3rd-ish when I sit the UKCAT.
See you all soon!
UKCAT: 5th July 2013
- VR: 640
- QR: 680
- AR: 800
- DA: 840
- STJ: Band 1
- Overall: 740
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