Applying for Medicine: The Good, the Bad, and the UCAT

If you’re considering Medicine, I’m sure you’ve heard about the UCAT; an admissions test required by most medical schools, including Edge Hill University. The UCAT functions similarly to an IQ test, being logic based (besides the Situational Judgement Test). I struggled, so here I’ll share what I wish I knew!

Note: information on how COVID-19 is affecting the UCAT found here.

The Format

The UCAT is two hours long and split into five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, and Situational Judgement. For more information, click here!

Check Your Eligibility

I didn’t know I was eligible for 25% extra time in the UCAT when I applied, so I sat the standard test. However I knew I was eligible for the UCAT bursary, meaning I didn’t pay for the test.

Booking

Although applications aren’t open, I’d familiarise yourself with the procedure here. It’ll outline things you’ll need. I would book as soon as possible, to get the day that’s best for you.

Preparation

There’s a free official UCAT app. Even though there’s plenty of free resources online, I bought a guide because it was comprehensive and recommended by other students.

I bought this guide in 2018 when the UCAT was called the UKCAT. The article I linked above (and myself) recommends this guide, which is £15! With that said, the free resources are more than enough to score high.

I recommend the UCAT website itself. You should mainly prepare on a computer, because the UCAT is done on a computer. Also, you’re only allowed the online UCAT calculator in questions, so familiarise yourself with that.

On the day, you’ll be given a marker pen and boards to do work on. This isn’t marked, but it helps to get your thoughts down!

Scoring

There is no negative marking for wrong answers, so if you’re low on time for one section, guess! You may get some right, rather than none at all.

You’ll score between 300-900 in four sections, except Situational Judgement (which is banded), getting the score immediately after your test. This means you’ll have your UCAT results when applying to University, so apply strategically, as some Universities prefer higher UCAT scores!

Closing Words

When preparing, a lot of us struggled with Quantitative Reasoning, but it ended up being our best sections. I wish I applied for extra time and that I didn’t skip questions.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment!

-Tony

Five Top Tips for Completing Your Student Finance Application

Hi everyone, since Student Finance has opened, I thought I would use this blog to provide five top tips for completing your application!

 1. You don’t need an offer to apply

If you are still waiting for offers, no problem, you can still apply! Complete your application using your first preferred university and course, and if this changes you can update your application later on.


2. Make sure your application details are correct

Have your UCAS course code to hand and choose the correct academic year and mode of study i.e. full-time – this is very important if you don’t want your loan delayed.


3. Provide any supporting documentation quickly

You might be asked to send original documents with your application, if you are, send any documents requested from Student Finance by recorded delivery and track the delivery as you definitely won’t want them to get lost in the post.


4. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions

Lots of support and guidance is offered by Student Finance themselves in the Student Finance Zone – scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to your correct student finance as they are different depending on where you live in the UK. Just make sure you apply before the deadline to get your money on time.  In my case I applied through Student Finance NI. Additionally, if you still have any questions you can email think@edgehill.ac.uk


5. Enrol promptly to release your funding in September

Your first payment is usually made around 3-5 working days after you are registered on course and the Uni has confirmed your attendance with Student Finance so it is important you complete your enrolment. Details are sent out to firm choice students over the summer so look out for that.

Thanks for reading and good luck 🙂

 

 

 


Open Days and UCAS Decisions

If you’re thinking about going to an open day at Edge Hill but aren’t sure, I’d really suggest going! It might be a bit of a long way for some (as it was for me), but I can’t recommend the experience enough. Going to an open day was what made me decide to choose Edge Hill as my firm choice.

Before I went to the EHU open day, I already knew the course was a good option for me – it was definitely going to be one of my top five. Having looked at the undergraduate courses available on the Edge Hill website, I knew the modules in the biological sciences degrees were practically catered to my interests. Another factor of the biosciences courses that I found particularly useful was that of the common first year – all the biosciences degrees have the same modules in first year, meaning all first year students in the department get to know each other and share classes. More importantly, I could change my degree within the department at the end of first year, which I did… Twice!

Realising at the end of first year that I wanted to specialise rather than continue with straight biology (I’m not a fan of the human body stuff), I switched to the BSc Ecology and Conservation course. Then, after further consideration, I switched to BSc Genetics before my second year began. It was lucky that I managed to fit into the modules I wanted after switching course again so late, but the fact that I was allowed at all was extremely helpful for me.

However, what really sold Edge Hill to me, was coming here in person. Seeing the campus, meeting the students, listening to the lecturers. Experiencing Edge Hill (and Ormskirk) in person gave me all the insight I needed to rank it higher than the other universities I visited. The campus felt safe, looked beautiful, and was situated close to town, which in turn was close enough via train to the city. For me, that was perfect. Students I met were friendly and spoke highly of the university. Finally, the talks given by the department showed me just how much the lecturers cared for their discipline and wanted to share that knowledge, whilst making sure the students would prosper.

If you haven’t booked an open day place yet, find information on the available dates coming up in November and December here!

Making my final UCAS choices

Anyone applying for university this year has some quick thinking to do! I can’t tell you what is best for you individually, but I can tell you about my experiences and what was best for me, and my thoughts looking back two years later…

One thing that helped me massively when making my decision was attending different university open days. Luckily, my dad was able to either drive or accompany me on the train for a number of them. Being able to physically experience the university and the surrounding area was a huge aid in my decision making process. I visited both campus and city universities, and honestly most of the city uni’s weren’t for me. Living just outside of London for most of my life, and taking frequent excursions into the capital, had got me used to the bustle of the city. But as a place for me to study in a university setting, the cities I visited weren’t for me, and I would never have known that if I didn’t visit them personally.

Then again, some of the campus uni’s felt too secluded. Edge Hill felt like great middle ground. Despite being a campus university, it is only around 10 minutes from Ormskirk town centre (and although Ormskirk is small, it has good character) and only 30 minutes on the train from Liverpool – a city I’ve also come to love. As soon as my open day at Edge Hill was over, it already felt a tiny bit like home – I knew it had earned a place as either my firm or insurance choice.

In the end, I chose Edge Hill University as my firm, and a uni with much lower entry criteria as my insurance. Now, I don’t regret my firm choice for a second, as Edge Hill is a fantastic uni and I know I’ve already grown as a person just from my year and a half studying here. However, I do regret my insurance choice. I should’ve aimed a little higher and been more confident in myself to achieve the grades I had set out to acquire. After all, if I did end up falling below my expectations, I could’ve always looked at Clearing.
Like I said earlier, I can’t know which decision is right for you. Ultimately all I can do is wish you luck, and hope that you found some of my experiences helpful and worth reading. So with that in mind… Good luck!

January calls… And so does the UCAS deadline!

Hello all!

I hope you’re all enjoying festivities this season and being with your family and friends.

I know that at this point last year, I was eager to forget completely about UCAS just for Christmas, however, it’s important you keep the UCAS deadline in mind so you don’t get caught out! The deadline is Sunday 15th January at 6pm- which seems far away, I mean it’s a month away right? But it will sneak up on you over the holidays!

So, I thought I’d compile a bit of list of things you need to ensure you’ve done and tips that you can check off and breeze your way through the New Year instead of overly stressing;

  • Choices, choices, choices- The most important thing about applying through UCAS is the choices of Universities you make! You get up to five choices, so make them count! Just bare in mind that these choices will effect your education for the next few years, and even though there are things such as UCAS Clearing to fall back on after results day, it’s a lot more stress to rely on that, so make your choices wisely! I couldn’t be happier with my choices, and I couldn’t be much happier with where I’ve ended up!
  • References- make sure you have some references! I used my form tutor as a reference, just make sure to ask whoever you want as a reference if they’re happy to do it first and get the details they’re happy to share with UCAS.
  • The dreaded personal statement; it’s like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. I’ve known people who had their first draft written before you could even apply, then I’ve known people (for example, me…) who did hundreds of drafts and didn’t get the finished product until close to the deadline. So if you haven’t quite cracked it yet, don’t worry! Lots of students are usually in the same place as you. One thing I did to make sure that I was writing in the right way about myself so that the Universities I applied to would be interested in me was to show my form tutor some of the drafts and ask her opinion. If you are able to do that, I’d definitely recommend it. If your form tutor is unable to do this, another person you could ask for opinions from would be friends or family that are at or have been at University and have experienced it first hand. It’s important that the University gets a sense of who you are from this, so include lots of things such as your hobbies and pastimes, work experience, qualities as a student and why you think you’d be a good <enter course title here> student!
  • If you’re wanting to study a course and you have extra qualifications outside of your schools, include them on your application! As a Performing Arts student I included my Trinity Guildhall Drama exam grades, my guitar and dance examinations. Universities are looking for what would make you a good student, so these usually help! Don’t worry if you don’t have these though- you still have your GCSEs and A Levels!
  • Ensure that you’ve completed each section of your application- there’s a lot of stuff you have to fill out so go back over it when you’re done to make sure you haven’t missed anything or said you’d come back to it when you had the information and forgot!

I hope that list has helped ease the weight off your shoulders in some way, I remember the huge stress UCAS put on me! Once you’ve made your application, as long as you keep up with interviews and auditions and applying for things such as Student Finance, it gets less stressful, trust me 🙂

Now keep UCAS in mind, but go enjoy Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful time and enjoy your holidays.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Rhiannon 🙂

How to decide on what university to go to.

By now you should have a good idea about what university you want to go to in September, i.e. you have decided upon your firm choice  and insurance choice (plan b) universities. Incase you haven’t, this blog post will outline some things you should consider when making that decisions

What is your course department like?

One of the most important things to take into account is what is the department your course belongs is like. The big difference between Edge Hill’s psychology department and Bradford’s is that Edge Hill Psychology department is actually in it’s own building (the social and psychological sciences building) whereas Bradford’s was down a corridor in one of the big buildings on campus. I also liked how the staff at Edge Hill were easy to talk to and welcoming to applicants.

What is the accommodation like?

More likely than not when you’re in your first year at university you’ll be living in halls of residence. One of the things I liked about Edge Hill is the accommodation and whilst I didn’t get my first choice of halls I did get a really good bargain with main halls (I got my food included in the price of my rent) Also in some instances the halls of residence for a university might be a bus ride away. Both Edge Hill and Bradford’s purpose built halls were on campus.

What are the local amenities like?

As well as any services your university has (Edge Hill has an on site laundrette and two shops that students regularly use) it’s worth thinking about what services there are in the near by town (or within the city if it’s a city based university) such as supermarkets, restaurants, post office, banks etc.

Do you feel at home there? 

By far the biggest thing to consider is would you be comfortable spending three (or more) years of your life there? Edge Hill won me over because it felt so homely. I felt like I’d be safe studying and living at Edge Hill and since starting my degree I now consider Edge Hill a second home (even though I live off campus). I’m really going to miss Edge Hill after graduation for this reason.

Anyway I hope you have found this post helpful and I wish you luck in your continuing studies and what remains of your university application process.