COVID-19: FAQs About its Impact on Medical School Admissions Part 1

Admissions

2020-04-30

With the current COVID-19 situation, many uncertainties loom ahead for the rest of 2020, including timelines and processes related to medical school admissions. Here, we answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

We’ve had so many questions that we didn’t want to overwhelm you by putting them into one post- it would be far too long. So as the title of this post suggests, these FAQs will be in two parts, this is because like with any problem it is best to break it up into more manageable pieces and methodically work through them at a comfortable speed. 

Let’s get started:

Will 2020 medical school applications be delayed? Will UCAS delay their deadline too?

These are possibilities. UCAS deadline could be changed from October to later on. At the moment, there is no immediate reason to action these changes. If aptitude tests do go ahead in one way or another and teacher-assessments happen, there are no reasons for delays. 

What other manual dexterity skills will universities be looking for during the lockdown? 

Manual dexterity is looked at for dentistry rather than medicine. It is generally not seen as useful for medical school applications. If applying for dentistry, simple jigsaw puzzles blindfolded and other manual dexterity testing activities and/or a portfolio of artwork/woodwork, etc and taking photos of your portfolio might help.

What will happen if I don’t get the grades I need for A-Level? Can I retake the exam?

Yes. Traditionally many universities allow resits. In this case, it could possibly be that if you dispute your grade, it won’t be classed as a resit. But you might have to defer for one year to give yourself the opportunity to ‘retake’ the exam. Obviously, these are details that still need to be confirmed, but this would be a fairer way to do it. Note that many universities do accept resits.

Will medical clearing still take place?

Medicine does not normally appear in a clearing choice. But, St George’s University does offer it, as they interview their prospective candidates with a set threshold in place and don’t deviate from it. Not sure if this will be the case for this year. The number of places will be low and the number of applicants a lot higher than in previous years, so this may reduce any places in clearing. 

When applying for medicine, can you use clinical work experience from over a year ago?

Yes. Recent clinical work experience isn’t possible at the moment due to the COVID-19 lockdown. For graduates, some universities require a certain amount of work experience but under the current circumstances, these should be relaxed but won’t be eliminated completely.

What about 2021 graduates applying with a degree finishing this summer?

Most graduate-entry courses require you to have a 2:1, so as long as you meet this criterion then it should be fine. If you need to appeal, it might cause some issues. Some universities have said they will give the grade based on your track record achieved so far. So as long as you were tracking at a 2:1 or better, you may just be in luck.

How will universities receive predicted grades for Year 12?

There is no national set guideline, each school has its own way to issue the predicted grades. 50% of predicted grades are wrong each year, so they are not the best form of marking final grades. Teachers will be using what is available such as participation in class, homework, tests, mocks, assessments completed to date, etc. For more on this, check out COVID-19: How Will GCSEs and A-Levels Be Awarded?

Do you think there will be more emphasis on GAMSAT results for graduate entry?

Yes, it's a difficult topic. With the GAMSAT, you are testing physics, biology, maths to a much higher standard than the BMAT exam. So it could be for the next cycle, it could be so. But remember that if you already received an offer, it won’t change. But potentially for 2021 entry, yes. 

What COVID-19 related interview questions might universities ask?

How and when do you decide between the duty of your profession and self-care? When should you self isolate if you hold a key role? What did the government do well and not so well? Compare and contrast the UK results with other countries. Germany is most similar to us demographically but had dramatically different results. 

Use data interpretation with graphs showing the impact of different treatment (lockdown vs no lockdown, etc). How should doctors decide who gets a ventilator? Is it ethical to bring back retired NHS workers considering they are at higher risk? Is it ethical to treat patients with a lack of PPE?

Will 2021 medicine be more competitive? 

Yes. Medicine is in the media every day with great support for NHS workers, which may encourage more people to enter into a career of medicine. As a result, more people will apply and so making it more competitive than usual.

We hope that’s answered some of your frequently asked questions, if not, remember this is just part one of two parts and your question may be answered in part two coming soon. 

To keep up-to-date with the COVID-19 and medical school admissions situation bookmark our Live update page Live Updates: COVID-19 and Medical School Admissions.

If you’re still to start your UCAT revision and fancy improving your chances of gaining a great score check out our UCAT 2020 Online Course.

We have a bank of over 10,000 questions, a decision-making section, and 8 full mock exams and 18 mini-mock exams; we even give you performance feedback too.

We’ve been lending a successful helping hand since 2009. Medify’s here to support you, just reach out to us.

Note: In response to COVID-19, Medify has rolled out a COVID-19 guarantee scheme for those purchasing a UCAT season pass. This means that even if the UCAT exam is delayed, we will guarantee access to the Medify platform until your exam date.

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