GCSE's: 1.5A* 7A's 3B's
A-Levels: AAAa (Chemistry, Biology, Maths and RS)
I did do a lot of work experience but in order to illustrate that it is quality not quantity I will only point out the things that I wrote about in my personal statement
- 1 week volunteering at vitalise hospice
- 1 week cardiovascular surgery
- 1 day A&E
- Working as a HCA for several months
I was one of those rebellious losers who was "too cool for school," and didn't believe in going to any sort of club or school EC's and then when I was applying I realised how vital it was. To all future applicants I would say take up every opportunity you can during main school.
From the age old phrase of "you'll regret what you don't do more than you'll regret what you do do," and you can take any one of those experiences and make it sound like it changed your life. So I quickly had to scramble together some EC's so blagged something about being a team leader for Model United Nations as part of debating society, and completed an OU Module in genetics. Fake it till you make it people.
Universities applied to and decisions:
University of Leeds - Rejected
University of East Anglia - Rejected
University of Sheffield - Rejected
University of Manchester - Interview - Offer
Advice for Gap Year Applicants:
- There are no guarantees: I thought having achieved my grades, improving my UKCAT and working as a HCA it was basically guaranteed that I would get an offer. The fact that I only got 1 interview and subsequently 1 offer should show you that nothing is guaranteed. Your choice's are half chance. So are every body else's.
- Make the best application yet: Try and get over the bitter phase as quick as you can. Turn the attitude around from "Urgh, I have to take a gap year while all my friends go to uni..." to - "This is an opportunity to make the best application I will ever make to medicine," and work hard to improve your UKCAT and get more experience for your personal statement to stand out. Also use all the extra time you have to get that personal statement first drafted early and re-draft it tonnes.
- Work. Apply for jobs early. I started in July. Ideally as a HCA in a hospital even if it's just for a little while to slap onto your personal statement. It's great experience, great pay and can be a whole lot of fun. Even better if you get to know the doctors on your ward and they can really inspire you and keep you motivated in knowing that you have picked the right course.
- 5th Choice: Make sure you put down a 5th choice that you really want to do. It will mean that no matter what happens or how badly your medicine application goes, you're going to a university you love and doing a course you'll be chuffed to do. Really, really think about whether Biomed is the way you want to go. For me - it wasn't. I wasn't convinced it would satisfy me and that if I was to try and get a job as a graduate, it still wouldn't be something I liked.
- Go and see your friends at university: for some people this is the worst idea ever, it's like rubbing it in your face. For me, it made time pass by quicker and meant that I always had something to look forward to. It also means that we didn't casually "drift" as long as I was making the effort not to. You never know when you may need each other.
- Know that as a gap year applicant you have learnt so much about the whole applying situation and with achieved grades you have done the hardest bit. Have faith in your application and believe you will succeed - you have an advantage from the school leavers and exploit that as much as you can.
- Work, earn money, and blow it all - this is the only time you will have no responsibilities and no bills. This will be the only time you can be as reckless as you like with your money and you should absolutely run with it. This is a year where you don't have to plan around anyone but yourself, you can do whatever you like whenever you like and not have to worry. Know that you'll be 18 and made the most of your "just legal" age where all of your poor uni friends are still throwing up in the gutter form a month old bottle of Tesco vodka.
- You only need 1 offer to become a doctor. I was gutted that overall I got 7 rejections but I've got an offer. I've got the grades. I will be going to medical school in september and that is the most important thing.
- Enjoy yourself.