Update – Medicine, 2015

UK Medical Schools and the Medicine Selection Process – Simon Fitch, St Georg’es, University of London. Kim Piper, Head of Admisssions, Queen Mary.

  • 36 med schools. Buckingham has opened med school. Higher than it has been.

  • Grad entry also.

  • 15Th Oct deadline not applicable to Buckingham.

  • A100 not the only Medical code.

  • 7.5% international student cap. (Non-EU). Being reviewed. Buckingham doesn’t have that cap. 5 or 6 years long. Programmes differ. 1St couple of years – classroom-based. Also some clinical experience. 3Rd year at St George’s – 50% clinical experience. Plus inter-collated year – Bsc available. 2 qualifications obtained, thus allowing recognition in countries which demand a degree. Last 2 years largely clinical – prep for UK foundation year (F1 & F2) – can go out of the UK for that period. C240 places available at say Queen Mary or St George’s – Home-EU. Total apps 2.6-7k, rejected prior to interview 1.65k, interviewed 900 to 1k.

Differences – GCSE scoring. St George’s won’t demand IGCSEs – look at overall profile. Queen Mary will take the same approach. Medical schools vary in their view of non-academic record (24 out of 36). UKCAT 25 schools, BMAT 17. St Georg’es – strong grades in Bio, Chem, Maths and English (2nde), UKCAT min 500 in each section plus overall cut off. IB 666 at HL, 666 at SL. Bio and Chem – at least one to HL. At Queen Mary – Chem and Bio top grades in 1ère. Moving to Chem OR Bio. 38 points overall. IB have an advantage because score more tariff points (will come down 2017). Question if you think mistakes have been made.

Profile – bright, mature, organised, empathic. Good communicators. PS – team work!! Extra-curricular should show the necessary medical schools.

Work experience doesn’t have to be weeks and weeks in a hospital. Just to test out if you are truly cut out for this – no work-life balance, so has to be something you want. Volunteering, shadowing. Why medicine not science, for example? Some kids get to clinical and think it’s not for them.

Key dates for UKCAT – sit in summer of 1ère. Online practice. No evidence that prep works. Register by 22nd September. Testing begins October. You get the score on the day. If you get the score and it isn’t enough, don’t apply to a UKCAT school!

BMAT gives online practice. BUT you sit it in November, AFTER 15th October so if you have a disaster, you’re finished! Can’t change application. Maybe do a mix of BMAT and UKCAT. 26 unis, Pearson, computer-based. Plan where and when you’ll take it.

UKCAT – various types of reasoning. Each element scored 300-900. BMAT pen and paper. Scoring 1-9 for the sections.

UCL use BMAT more “empathically”.Photocopy BMAT answers.

Interview approaches – semi-structured, multi mini interview and another…

Same questions to all candidates, blind scored. Scoring criteria, trained interviewers.

Prio to interview, they get a scenario – discussion topic in interview.

Multi mini interview – “speed dating” as candidates move around a number of stations completing different activities. Same experience for every candidate. Each activity scored independently by different assessor. International experience seems to help quality of performance here.

Academic ability, empathy, initiative and resilience, communication skills, organisation, team work, insight and integrity.

MMI sample questions.

Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Taste of Medicine – www.tasteofmedicine.com.


French Bac Bio and Chemistry? Level not high enough for St George’s or Queen Mary. (Answer to my question).

St George’s International Foundation Year – not IB re-takers. Brighton and Sussex, Kings e.g. will take their foundation students (but no guarantee).

See –


Other links on the presentation, final slide.

Options if you fail UK –

  • Slovenia

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Ireland (v expensive – College of Surgeons, Trinity and University, Dublin)

A colleague’s notes –

  • UK Medical Schools and the Medicine Selection Process get PPT from Simon!
  • 36 medical schools in the UK awarding Primary Medical Qualifications – rich history but limited seats for intl students (obvi)
  • Number of uni’s with med prgms is growing, including Buckingham recently
  • Diversity of curricula/options: traditional vs problem-solving, undergraduate vs graduate, 4/5/6 year options, and different degrees (MBBS, MBCHB, etc)
  • Oct. 15th deadline is flexible at some places check!
  • 7.5% quota is being reviewed uni’s get govt. money from govt according to enrolment
  • Medical programmes generally look like this:
    • Year 1 & 2: classroom based + limited clinical practice & community visits, case-based learning
    • Year 3: Clinical Transition Year (problem-based learning & clinical rotations)
    • Year 4: advanced biomedical study & independent research
    • Year 5 & 6: largely clinically-oriented, revision, exams, teaching session
    • Results in foundation/residency
  • Most uni’s have about 25 places for 1st year students…
  • Most Russell Group uni’s don’t accept EU applicants without IB (though they can’t say that!)
  • Academic selection process (things to consider):
    • Chem & bio not always required
    • (I)GCSE scoring – best of 6/8/9?
    • IB – check the minimum vs. tariff
    • Tariff points could be increased with Extended Paper Qualification (EPQ) – non-IB
  • Other admission criteria:
    • PS is “scored” by 70% of institutions
    • Tests: UKCAT (25) or BMAT (7)
      • Each uni uses the tests differently: some for an initial sifting, some for a cutoff, etc
      • Some uni’s that hadn’t used them WILL be doing so in the future, e.g. Birmingham
      • 1 uni has their own selection test (Buckingham)
      • Only 1 sitting of each test per application year
    • UKCAT testing: July 1 – Oct 6; release results: day of testing
    • BMAT testing: Nov. 4; release results: Nov. 24
    • Interview (all)
  • UKCAT tests…
    • verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, decision analysis, situational judgment
    • Each section worth 900 points
    • All online in test-centers
  • BMAT is pen & paper test, each section worth 9 points
  • Interviews are typically done in 1 of 2 ways,
    • Semi-structured process, students sent info/article beforehand, student must research it and consider ethics
    • Multi-mini interviews are increasingly-common; basically “speed-dating” as candidates move around stations, same for every candidate
    • Trained interviewers
  • Personality criteria: bright, good communicators, empathetic, honest
  • PS criteria:
    • Explain any contradictions (if applicable)
    • Emphasize work experience!
    • Focus in on teamwork & communication
    • Used for interview content
    • DON’T start your PS with a family story/inspiration!
  • Situated Judgment Test (SJT) may be used more/again in the future (currently being re-piloted)
  • Work experience:
    • Not looking for a set number of hours or a set experience
    • Consider hospices in addition to clinics, job shadows, etc
    • Experience in varied countries/cultures are encouraged/welcome to improve candidates’ range in interview
  • Additional Resources:

Oxford and the IB

  • Mike Nicholls – Director of Admissions, Oxford Uni
  • Until recently, little logic in IB offers – inconsistency, ignoring of key elements of IB etc
  • 18k applicants – 23% international 8 years ago, now 34%
  • Decline in A-level pool – under 70% applicants with A-levels
  • More international academics – more understanding
  • IB – over 1k now of the 18k applicants.
  • No offers over 40 points now. (38-40)
  • Students who have over 40 points consistently outperform A-level students at Oxford – this should lead to flexibility in the view of their specific
  • Kids with less than 37 points did badly and rarely completed their degrees.
  • Level of Maths – doing Physics and Maths HL more than compensates for not doing Further Maths
  • Humanities and Social Sciences have moved to 6-6-6 HL. Engineers need 7-7-6. UNLIKELY TO ACHIEVE THIS.
  • Average actual standard is 41-42 even though the offer is 38-40. (A-levels – 2.3 x A*)
  • Emphasis on final exams suits IB students
  • IB expects students to read full texts – play to this strength.  A-levels don’t expect this as much.
  • IB is integrated subject – Oxford has joint degrees
  • Extended Essay on top of a heavy schedule is liked.  As are time-management skills.
  • Predictions – often wildly inaccurate!  4-5% of A-level predictions inaccurate – 25% in IB cohort. (Partly because it’s harder to predict in so many subjects).
  • They will wait until A-level results are out to decide
  • School has to opt in to giving results – unis can be left in limbo not knowing what kids’ results are.
  • Teacher workshops – June, July.  3 day residential stay in Oxford – observe a tutorial – eye-opening.
  • Q & A – any benefit taking 4 x HL?  Not really – unnecessary pressure.  Preference for humanities for Law?  Requirements are made clear – Law has no specified subjects.  However, some subjects will give an advantage with the admission test.
  • Can the aptitude tests be prepared for?  TSA – 3-4 hours of prep is suitable.  Not much time available – need to move quickly.  Essay is not regurgitation – a much more focussed response is needed.  Maths paper – get more marks for working-out than the final answer
  • For Medicine – think hard bio-chemical degree.
  • Tutors are responsible for development of the students they admit.

Brighton and Sussex Medical School

French Bac requirements –


Pass French Baccalaureate (including OIB) with at least 14 overall including 14 in Chemistry and Biology subjects. Pass the French Baccalaureate with 14 overall including 14 in Chemistry and Biology subjects.

English language requirement: Grade 12 in English language component if taking French Baccalaureate (OIB) otherwise or please view our other English language requirements.

Medicine – UK – Foundation Years for Bac Students – Check What Your Medical School Thinks of Bac or Matu!

More information about Medicine –

According to the parent of our Medical applicant this year, the level of Chemistry even in an Bac Scientifique is not considered high enough for entry to UK universities to study Medicine.  In this case, a foundation year is offered by some UK medical school.  Here is the latest information I have about this –

A number of U.K. medical schools have started to offer this Medicine Foundation Year (6 Years in Total) for the following groups of students:-

1) – Excellent students who took the ‘wrong’ subjects to be eligible for regular medicine.  For I.B. students this means, no more than one science subject at Higher Level.

2) – Students from backgrounds that traditionally don’t apply for medicine (low income, certain ethnic groups perhaps).  This forms part of their widening participation initiatives that they are under pressure to offer from the U.K. government.

Cardiff, Manchester and Bristol offer foundation years for students in Group 1.  Kings and East Anglia have foundation programmes for those in Group 2.

There is no information on the UCAS site about the French Bac or the Swiss Maturité.  Probably,  U.K. Medical Schools will deal with students on a case by case basis.  It’s possible that some students taking the Bac S, for example, would be deemed to have too much science for a Foundation year in one university but not enough by another  Each Uni/Medical School will have it’s own position on this.