A short introduction

Hello readers,

I am a new Valuemed blogger hoping to contribute to this site as ‘mLukon’.

An aspiring doctor wanting to read medicine at university, I am going to apply for medical school this October. I am currently undertaking my A-Levels at Sixth Form, all of which are thoroughly engaging.

I became interested in writing medical-related posts for ‘Valuemed’ after an intriguing summer neurosurgery placement sparked an interest in the brain and degenerative neurological disorders. Through the placement, I became familiar with research papers and so, I would now like to take to ‘Valuemed’ to write a few of my own articles which concern areas of medicine and healthcare that I am fascinated by.

I hope to write interesting and thought-provoking articles soon and would appreciate any feedback and discussion on my blogs.

Hi everyone !

As a prospective medical student looking at 2014 entry, I recently decided to write for the Valuemed blog to widen my medical knowledge (to help me earn a place at medical school) and this will be my first ever post!

I’m currently studying for my AS levels (Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Maths and Geography) at sixth form and have wanted to study medicine for as long as I can remember – I’m often asked why I want to, and the truth is that there is no easy answer… Of course, the structure of the medical course includes a lot of science (which I enjoy) and you will probably spend the rest of your working life learning about new treatments and technologies – I love the idea of having so much variety in a job! It’s a challenging career and I have never been one to turn away from a difficult or stressful situation. I like meeting new people and last but not least, being able to make an active difference in someone’s life appeals to me. Chances are that I won’t discover a new miracle drug or create a life saving vaccination for HIV, but being able to make a positive difference in someone’s life on a daily basis is really what draws me to the career. People often ask me if I want to go into medicine for the money, and honestly, no – I don’t. Without a doubt, it’s a difficult career option – it’s a competitve degree to get into, I’ll be in full-time education for at least 5 years after school – not to mention having debt up to my eyeballs!, the stress, the emotional strain and the frustration when you are unable to help someone… And so, to cut a long story short, if I were in it for the money, I would find something else. But for me, the pros of studying medicine cannot be compared to anything else!

I’ve been involved with St John Ambulance for over 5 years now, and am currently a volunteer at a hospital. Following some work experience, I’ve become quite interested in radiology and ophthalmology as well as surgery (although I have no experience of this yet…). Over the next two years (which will probably fly by!), I hope to expand my knowledge as well as hopefully blog about what I do know.

Goodbye for now,


idoctor says hello!

Well where do I begin…. this is my first post on the blog so I just want to say a little hello an introduce myself to those who read this blog and other writers. A lot like many of you I am an aspiring medic. I applied last year with one interview which was unsuccessful so without a doubt will be trying again for 2013. Received my a level grades 2 weeks ago, big smilees ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā which also showed me how much I want to study medicine. Being quite an academic person I have always been told that I can do whatever i want and that ‘the world is my oyster’. easier said than done ūüėČ well ill keep it short and simple… hoping to try new things during my gap year, and blogging being one of them, i thought this would be a great way to write about things that interest me whilst trying something new. I’ll try to post every week and talk about different topics in the medicine world that I find most interesting and most important and i’ll also keep you upto date on my application to medicine ..take two ūüėČ


I sat the UKCAT last year and received a score of 680. (Average being 600). So it wasn’t a bad score but I’m now faced with sitting it again. Advice for the UKCAT:
Verbal Reasoning РSome say you should read the passage first and get an idea of it and where different parts are within the text. Others say to read the question first then skim read through the text. Personally, I read the question first because the texts sometimes are very long. I think the point of this section is to see your ability to cut out the unnecessary and get to the point.

Quantitative – Personally my worst section. Many say the actual test is easier than the practice questions. Personally, last year I found that the difficulty level was the same in the practices and the actual test. Therefore, my advice would be to make sure you can do all the practice questions and know the basics which will definitely come up. Such as % changes. And practice on your computer calculator only.

Abstract¬†– I think the more you practice the section the easier it becomes. Many times the same patterns come up again and again. Last year I had questions which were the same as the ones in the practice book. And don’t forget the simple patterns like counting the number of sides! This actually comes up more than you think.

Decision Analysis – Personally, I think this is quite fun. One thing I’ve learnt is that every single word from the coded line will be in the answer. EVERY SINGLE WORD. They may have extra words in the answer, but the correct answer will contain all the words in the coded line. Watch out for hints like ‘personal’ meaning ‘I’ or ‘Me’ will be in the answer.

Most of all, it is true, practice makes perfect. Keep¬†practising. You’ll find you reach a stage when you can’t practice any more. You’ve done all the questions you possibly can. That’s when you know you’re ready. And, every time you practice. Try and stick to the time limit. It’s a good idea to get used to the timing.

Wishing you all the best.

– Rabia

Getting into Med School

So, I’m a bit confused about the system and its effectiveness. I know many people who received amazing A-Level results, you may be one, but have not got a place at Med School. We have experience, grades, volunteering all under our belt yet every year it seems average student nick the exceptional students places.
This was recently in the news as well, how this system is not effective. Other countries operate in that students apply after receiving their grades, as university begins later. Surely this is a better system.
But none the less, every opportunity should be seized. If like me you’ve found yourself on a gap year, lets make the most of it and gain as much as we can from it.
– Rabia

Medicad’s first post

Hi everyone,

This is my first post as a contributor to the Valuemed blog. I am a mature student about to embark on a pre-medical course, hoping for entry to medical school in 2013. I have always been in awe of the ability doctors have to diagnose and treat patients. Being brought up in a family with a history of depression and autistic spectrum disorders was challenging, but it made me appreciate how illnesses can affect patients in different ways. I’ve always made it my aim to try and change the lives of people suffering, because I can understand how difficult it is for themselves and their loved ones.

I have experience of working with a wide range of people in different settings – I am a keen volunteer. I’ve previously been a trustee for a youth organisation, and I’ve more recently become involved with St John Ambulance and King’s College Hospital. In addition, I have undertaken clinical placements at the National Society for Epilepsy and at the Ophthalmology department of Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The branches of medicine that interest me and will feature in my future posts, alongside current medical news and my experiences as an applicant, include neurology, psychiatry, infectious diseases, preventative medicine and medical genetics. I am hoping that my posts will inform, engage and perhaps inspire, as I set out to expand my knowledge of such a dynamic field.

Until next time,


Hello Everyone

My name is Rabia and this is my first post. I hope to build a relationship with all of you so here’s some information about me. I am 18 years old and have just left school after completing my A-Levels and attaining A*A*A (Biology, Chemistry and Geography.) Like many others on here, I too am a prospective Medical student. After failing to gain a place in the 2012 cycle I am about to embark on a gap year and then re-apply. Why do I want to study Medicine? Is the trickiest question for me. It’s something I can’t put into words. Maybe its the rush and excitement I’ll get every single working day. Or maybe the fact that I am¬†genuinely¬†helping and saving people. Or maybe its the fact that I’ll be applying my favourite subject, Biology, every day.

Joining this blog is my way not only to share what I feel but to indulge in research, in the latest medical topics or areas of interest to me to hopefully put across my excitement and enthusiasm to the readers. What better way to learn than to teach others?

I have followed Doctors in a Hospital where I observed the workings of a ward round, basic examinations conducted and of course key skills and qualities such as teamwork with other doctors and nurses, politeness towards patients and the ability to always have a smile on your face. I was lucky enough to be involved in a private consultation informing a family member of a patients severely¬†deteriorating¬†health and almost confirmed death, which I will always remember. Similarly I have had experience in clinics, pharmacies and a dental practice. (The dental placement however, I can say was my least favourite…)

So what about my gap year? I’m going to continue with my voluntary work which I’ve been doing for 2 years now at a local Hospital which goes to patients in wards to sell newspapers and items. I’m also beginning another volunteering opportunity with disabled people. More work experience is to come but first and foremost I need to re-take the dreaded UKCAT and find a job!

– Rabia

A new guest blogger saying hello

Hey there! ūüôā

I am a 17 year-old A-Level student, currently studying biology, chemistry, mathematics and religious studies. My A-Level choices strongly reflect my desire to study medicine at university, as I have always had a curiosity about what makes the human body work in the way which it does.

I have opted to write for this blog so that I am able to talk about such things which attract and excite me in the medical world and to also use as an aid for me to further understand what I learn within my A-Level studies.

In medicine, the field which interests me the most is cardiology; the study of the disorders and abnormalities of the heart, as well as cardiac surgery. The overall physiology of the heart is very interesting and I crave to learn much more about it! The heart is essentially what keeps the human body alive, beating at approximately 100, 000 times in a day. Despite the strenuous effort it is put under, this impeccable organ being approximately the size of a human fist, it does not tire and continues to pump hundreds of gallons of blood throughout the body per day.

Rather than adult cardiology, I am more appealed by paediatric cardiology. Most children who suffer from cardiac problems, are usually treated incredibly well by paediatricians and nurses and go onto lead perfectly normal lives. However, those who are too ill and too weak to battle on their own, it is their bravery and courage that I admire. When I did my work experience placement at the local hospital in the paediatrics department, there were a handful of patients suffering from both minor and major cardiac problems. Despite the challenges faced by both the staff and the patients, neither of them gave up. I witnessed the physical and psychological stresses faced by the doctors and children on a daily basis, and also the reward and satisfaction felt by both parties when the result was a success. During my time at the hospital, I learned the importance of a caring bedside manner, the ability to console the weak with kindness whilst remaining professional at all times, as well as the crucial role of empathy.

I have also done some other work experience in various care settings and hope to embark upon many more!

Applying to Medical School -CRB checks, entrance exams, work experience & A level grades

Applying to medical school these days is so much more complicated than it was in my day and more costly.

I have just been chatting to an A level student who is hoping to go to medical school this autumn and is currently sitting his A levels. He was tellling me he has two offers from UK medical schools that he has accepted and that both have asked for a CRB check to be performed (this is routine for all medical schools in UK now I think) and that he has already had one done for his first choice medical school at a cost of £44, and that he has asked the second medical school if they will accept the first CRB check performed about a month ago, but they have advised him that it must be done again as they like to have their own CRB done. So he has to stump up another £44. Last year he also had a CRB check done for his voluntary work-so in last 12 months he will have had three CRB checks.

Prior to applying to medical school he also sat several medical school entrance exams all iniated & funded by himself, attended multiple open days under his own steam & funding, attended for interviews and bought books to help him prepare for these exams. I heard recently on the news that the government was trying to make medical school more accessible to students from comprehensive schools. The costs to him of all this has run into several hundreds of pounds. If he was not incredibly determined and supported by his family I think he may well have given up. The state school he attends does not take students to open days nor help them prepare for entrance exams.

In my day it was so much simpler for students from state schools. I attended our local comprehensive school.Then you simply got reasonable O levels, studied science A levels& decided to apply for medical school. If you were really keen you did a bit of voluntary work or work experience ,but this was not obligatory as it seems to be now. I attended no open days nor sat any entrance exams. You were called for interview and if successful you got an offer & as long as you got reasonable A levels you got in. My offer from medical school was an A and 2 Bs , my husband also coming from a comprehensive school got an offer from same medical school¬†of ¬†3C’s. Medical schools seemed to have far more discretion in our day on what they offered students. They must have been realy impressed by my husband at interview as 3C’s was a very good offer although not uncommon-a friend of mine who applied from the same comprehensive school as me got a 3C’s offer from a London medical school). These sort of offers from medical schools in UK are unheard of now and the 3 As seems to be the lowest offer you are likely to get with many now asking for at least one¬†A* this year.

Now you have to get outstanding¬†GCSE’s (ideally all A’s and A*)¬†and be predicted to get all A’s and even some A* at A level. You also¬†have to attend open days, do voluntary work, gain work experience in medicine,¬† sit entrance exams for many , write an amazing personal statement, attend for interviews, all the while making sure you get outstanding AS levels and work for your A levels. Talk about pressure ! How many students in the state sector are actually going to be able to achieve all this under their own steam and with no help or funding from their schools. How will students from low income families afford to do it ?

Medical Interests

Hi guys, Akshay here. I have not posted in a while as I was caught up with my university admissions paperwork but am more free nowadays and hope to actively contribute to this blog. Personally, I have developed a keen interest in Cancer and endocrinology and my posts would predominantly be focused on the issues surrounding these branches of medicine. My interest stems from my A-level Biology days when I found the topics of cancer and specifically the pancreas particularly interesting. I expanded on my interest by reading books such as ‘The Emperor of All Maladies’ which I found to be intellectually stimulating. I would be posting articles on the scientific basis of cancer and endocrinology as I really like the pathology and biochemistry behind these. However, I do acknowledge that I may not be aware of all the scientific minutiae involved and your comments will be greatly appreciated in refining my knowledge.

An introduction

Hi I am a new blogger to this site and will be known as medschool2013.

¬†I am currently studying for my A-Levels and a prospective medical student applying in October 2012. I have a huge passion for medicine with particular interests currently being in the branch of cardiology. This interest was ignited during my work experience placement shadowing doctors in a cardiology department. Since then i have pursued my interest by undertaking an Open University module ¬ĎUnderstanding Cardiovascular Diseases¬í. As well as this I try to play an active role in my local hospital as I am a member of the NHS youth council.

I hope my blogs will be interesting, engaging and intriguing to everyone and I will appreciate any feedback/suggestions.

An Introduction

Hi everyone it’s Futuremedic1 here!

I am a new guest blogger on this site and I thought I’d tell you all a little about myself. I’m a prospective medical student who is hoping to go to medical school next year (2013). My current interests in medicine lie in the fields of oncology and cardiology, although of course that is liable to change as I explore other branches of medicine. As for work experience, I have undertaken a couple of weeks in my local hospital and have also spent time at a scientific research lab. I hope that you will read and enjoy my posts, and please feel free to ask me any questions.