There are many resources out there for medical school applicants and in this blog, I’ve put together some resources that may be helpful with each stage of the application process, whether that’s choosing a medical school, tackling the UCAT / BMAT and med school interviews.
All online resources recommended are free, and the 3 books we have recommended are not essential for success. Do not feel like you need to purchase anything to support your medical application. The author of this blog found these books helpful, however in almost all cases the same information is available online for free.
General application essentials:
Entry requirements for UK medical schools 2020 entry by the Medical Schools Council - this is a list of all the medical schools in the UK, their entry requirements and summary of their shortlisting procedures and their type of interview. I would recommend using this for making a list of medical schools you want to apply to based on your strengths (i.e – if you have a high UCAT score or strong GCSEs, you may want to pick medical schools that give a high weighting to these when selecting applicants for interview)
Individual Medical School Websites - each medical school will have an admissions page which provides further details about their shortlisting, interviews and admissions criteria as well as information about their courses. It’s super important that you read these, before applying and before the interview (they may ask what you know about the course / why you chose that particular medical school).
Birmingham Medical School admissions page is available here
We Are Medics Instagram page – we provide lots of free medical school application resources and guidance over on our Insta!
Virtual work experience
Work experience in the NHS isn't always possible to secure, especially during COVID-19. However, there are some fantastic virtual alternatives which are free + medical school approved! Brighton and Sussex Medical School Virtual Work Experience
Brighton and Sussex Medical School have developed a free virtual work experience platform, designed to promote reflection and give you something to talk about in your interviews! Sign up here
Royal Colleges of GPs Virtual Work Experience
Aspiring medics aged 16+ are required to develop an understanding of medicine when applying to medical school. Work experience is one way to gain insights into medicine, the RCGP have created another. Observe GP provides is a free, online interactive video platform providing insights into general practice. Available here
You can get a range of online resources and books for this. I would definitely recommend using online resources as these are most like the format of the UCAT.
The official UCAT website – These are the official mock exams and give you an idea of what to expect on test day. I would recommend doing one initially to get a feel for what the exam is like and the others nearer to the test date.
Pass medicine Question Bank – Question bank with over 3000 free UCAT questions Available here
1000 UKCAT practice questions book – ISC medical – There is a large range of questions in this book with worked solutions. Some of the questions, especially the quantitative reasoning ones are harder than in the real exam . This book isn’t absolutely essential as the question banks are more reflective of the actual exam . This book is great if you want to practice sections individually or just want some extra questions to practice with. Buying it new can be expensive but, there are many cheaper versions available on Amazon and Ebay. If you do use this book, I would recommend using this to familiarise yourself with the question types and then moving onto online question banks and practicing your timing.
There are years and years worth of past papers available for BMAT, these are by far the best resource to familiarise yourself with the style of the exam.
BMAT general information – information on timings for each section and about what to expect on test day: here
BMAT past papers - all the past papers are available on the BMAT website . They come with answers and a few come with worked solutions.
BMAT section 1 guide – provides information and worked examples of section 1. Available here
BMAT section 2 revision guide – is a free CGP revision guide that goes over all the content from KS4 Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics that you have to go over the BMAT. This is accessible once you have registered for the exam; you can login and access it via this link by clicking ‘access the guide’.
Medical School interviews - ISC medical – This is a very useful book with plenty of interview questions and explains the styles of interviews quite well.
GMC guide for medical students, 'Achieving Good Medical Practice' – This is just a guide which the general medical council outlines expectations for medical students. You don’t have to read all of it or memorise it, it’s just useful to get an understanding of what the GMC expects from medical students. It would be impressive if you could refer back to it in an interview. Read it here
Free List of potential interview questions – some common interview questions that you can practice answering. These were written by the Royal College of Surgeons and are available here
Medscape – A website with lots of medical information and news – it’s useful for staying up to date with medical news stories
BBC Health News - A comprehensive news website covering the latest healthcare news in the UK and abroad. Topics are explained in an easy to understand way, and regular reading will keep you up to date with NHS 'hot topics'. Read it here.
Medical Ethics by Tony Hope- this book is a short read and is really useful for understanding the basic principles of medical ethics and goes through common ethical dilemmas such as euthanasia and abortions, which may come up in interviews.
Articles on NHS core principles and values - These articles cover the key ideas and core principles . I was asked about these in one of my interviews and it’s worth reading.
INTERVIEW TIP: I would recommend practising for interviews with friends/ family: get them to ask you questions, practice answering and get feedback. This is the best way to develop your confidence. DO NOT rehearse answers because it will be obvious to the interviewers. It’s best to have a few points that you may want to talk about for common questions.
Words by Anjitha Anilkumar and Kirsty Morrison