Alumni Advice from Anum and Isha
Category: A-Level, Careers, GCSE 7 Oct 2020
Here are the sage words of wisdom from two Altygirls who are now studying medicine (Anum Chaudhry and Isha Agarwal) decided to help us out by giving us insightful advice!
Advice about BMAT
- Practise a little every day and divide it up into learning the theory (as in just reading through) and practise questions.
- For questions, BMAT ninja and also the Kaplan course are helpful as well as the ‘Get into Medical School’ BMAT book.
- For BMAT essay prep, you can use the BMAT book to look at example essays and some websites also have some written essays for you to have a look at.
- Unlike UCAT, there are BMAT past papers available. It may be a good idea to start doing one past paper a week, and then do them more often closer to the exam. These are great as they give you a more accurate representation of how you are doing compared to just answering questions in a book or online so do make sure you use these!
- For the essays don’t write out every single one as there just isn’t enough time, make more essay plans and definitely learn from the best essays on the website and see what they do well and try and incorporate it in yours.
- When coming onto writing your essay, make sure to give both sides of the argument and end with a conclusion. Make each point you make count and avoid waffling.
- You will be sitting the BMAT whilst you have other work from A Level subjects so make sure to plan your day and your frees effectively so you revise well for BMAT without falling behind in your school work.
Advice about Interviews
- Research the medical school the interview is at, find out if it will be MMI or panel and look at any information the university has released about medical schools. Often, they release what some stations may involve or the topic the question will be based on so you can prepare for these beforehand.
- When preparing for your interviews, you can have a think about different topics that may come up in your interview and think about some points you would mention in response. Get friends and family to ask you some questions so you can say your answers out loud to get some feedback on your responses and areas you need to improve on.
- There is a book by ISC Medical about Medical School Interviews which goes through a series of topics and questions that could come up in your interview.
- Make sure to read about the NHS, current health stories and it wouldn’t be a surprise if COVID-19 comes up!
- For sections about your skills and qualities, make sure to back up your points with evidence to show how you have displayed these characteristics.
- If you mention any work experience, make your answers reflective – don’t just describe what you did/saw. Try not to memorise any answers beforehand as there is a risk of sounding too rehearsed and interviewers can pick up on this easily, especially if you don’t amend your answer to the specific question they have asked.
- On the day, make sure arrive in good time and try to calm your nerves as much as possible – you will feel better and it will help to just be yourself once you go into the interview room.
Advice about A-Levels
- DON’T CRAM! It just doesn’t work for A-Levels – try to revise little but often over the course of the year. Make sure to clear up anything you don’t understand whilst you are learning the topic to avoid having to catch up when it comes to revising for the exams!
- With medicine, there is a lot of other things we have to do in Year 13 including entrance exams and interviews and it can be very easy to fall behind with A-Level work. Plan your time effectively and use your frees well so you don’t neglect your subjects.
- The subjects I did were Biology, Chemistry and Maths so I will try to give some subject specific advice. I apologise if a subject you do is not covered but some of this advice will be applicable to most A-levels.
- Know what is on your syllabus. I recommend print off the specification so you can tick off what you know, what you need to spend more time on. This can then help with revision as you can tick off topics as you revise to ensure you cover everything.
- Be organised, have good study habits and remember to take breaks from your work as well.
- For science, don’t forget required practicals so ensure you go through these and practice some questions related to them before the exams.
- Use past papers and practice questions! I found this most helpful for revision to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. After you have revised the content, use these to test your knowledge and these will be the closest thing to what you will be faced with in the exam.
- For maths, you have to just practise, practise, practise! Over the course of the year, you will learn different methods and in the exam, you will have to apply these to different problems so doing questions is the best way to practise this.
- If you are struggling with a topic, make sure you get help – ask a teacher, watch a YouTube video or use a resource online to sort out any misunderstanding or difficulties.
GOOD LUCK, the hard work will pay off! Look after yourself and if we managed to do, you will to!