COVID-19 has had a huge impact on every aspect of our lives and left us wondering what the future holds. We’ve been mapping out the possible implications COVID-19 may have on the overall medical school application process for 2020 entry and beyond. If you’re due to start medical school for September 2020 entry or were looking to apply to medical school this year for 2021 entry, this post is a must-read.
Medical school entry is highly competitive. Teachers and medical school admission tutors have put in a lot of work to ensure that the system is ready to select the right applicants. We need doctors now more than ever so please do not listen to rumors that claim medical schools will be closing their 2020 or 2021 entry doors. This is not true, they may just delay the application process if aptitude tests cannot be taken.
If you haven’t already read about how GCSEs and A-Levels are being marked this year first check out COVID-19: How Will GCSEs and A-Levels Be Awarded?, then pop back here or if you’re up-to-date with all that, carry on reading.
If you were due to sit your A-Levels this summer and have an unconditional offer from one or more medical schools in your UCAS application, the medical schools are obliged to commit and follow through with those offers as long as you meet the entry requirements.
Medical schools are obviously aware that everyone is experiencing issues and that predicted grades are not 100% reliable. therefore, we believe medical schools will put more emphasis on UCAT and BMAT scores.
For those of you who were due to sit your GCSEs this summer, you still have time to put extra effort into your future A-Level studies in the next two years which are, in normal circumstances, viewed with more importance by medical schools. However, remember for both GCSE and A-Level predicted grades you can appeal if you are unhappy with your final grades.
The UCAT Consortium and the BMAT Cambridge Assessment Admissions have published statements stating the exams will go ahead. The UCAT testing dates might be delayed in starting if the COVID-19 situation continues as it is at the moment.
Two predictions for the UCAT:
We believe medical schools will put more emphasis on your UCAT score when considering your application and whether you meet the entry requirements. For more information, check out COVID-19: UCAT More Important Now than Ever Before.
The BMAT is a pen and paper exam unlike the UCAT computerised test and cannot be made digital but it does have two set test dates- September and November. We’re hoping that social distancing has eased by September. However, if the COVID-19 lockdown is still in place we predict that candidates for the September sitting will be moved to the November sitting. The BMAT used to only take place in November so this isn’t an unusual change for them to organise.
The UCAS personal statement requires you to show your motivation for studying medicine, interest in science and medicine and of course, your suitability to a career in medicine. All of these elements would usually be written in relation to work experience, however, work experience placements are not possible at the moment and some may have even been cancelled.
Even though medical schools are aware of this issue, you will still be expected to show these qualities regardless of the current situation, so you’ll need to be creative with how you do this. Reading as much medical-related literature as possible and even volunteer to help the vulnerable in your own community during COVID-19 lockdown. For more ideas on alternative work experience check out COVID-19 and Work Experience Alternatives.
Interviews are normally held from November to March so hopefully, by then COVID-19 will be under control but if the worse happens we believe medical schools will activate an online interviewing format via Skype or Zoom.
For now, we advise that you carry on as normal in regards to your medical school entry preparations and do as much as you can to achieve the best you can in these uncertain times.
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.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious? Please don’t worry, head over to our UCAT 2020 Online Course and we’ll get you signed up to guide you through this whole process.
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.