Medicine is a vocational course, one in which the student is trained to become a medical professional. The range of specialty options after qualification is very wide, but nevertheless, making such a career choice, particularly at a young age is a daunting task for many applicants.

Training to be a doctor involves extensive and dedicated study, both as an undergraduate and life-long, after qualification. To avoid the disappointment of non-completion of a degree, or indeed complete disillusionment with a subsequent career in medicine, we need to ensure that applicants enter this profession with their eyes open and understand the implications and commitments of such a career.

It important to understand that there are Academic Requirements (ie. the minimum achievements required in examinations) as well as Non-Academic Requirements for medicine. In addition, all applicants must take the Universities Aptitude Test (UCAT).

We therefore expect candidates to have attempted to find out what a career in medicine entails. It is important for candidates to inform us of what they have learned from this research, rather than just list their experiences.

Medicine is a career in which time-management, team working and decision-making are very important. We look for candidates who lead full and busy lives, as well as achieving academic success as this tends to reflects the lives they will lead after qualification.

The Medical Schools Council has produced a set of resources for applicants to medicine which are available at the Medical Schools Council website

Entry Requirements

Academic

Interested in medicine but don't yet meet our entry requirements?
The one-year Undergraduate Foundation Programme – Pathway to Medicine will help you prepare an application to our Sri Lanka Medical Pathway. Visit www.abdn.ac.uk/isc for more information


GCE A-Levels

Achieve or be predicted to achieve: 3 A-Levels at AAA. Chemistry is required plus at least one from Biology, Mathematics or Physics, plus at least one other subject.

Students who wish to work in Sri Lanka:

Prospective medical students must possess the mandatory educational entry qualifications stipulated by the Sri Lanka Medical Council and obtain an Eligibility Certificate. The SLMC have the following subject requirements (in one sitting):

  • Three A-Levels in Chemistry, Biology and Physics

For more information, please visit the SLMC website


Sri Lanka A-Levels

Achieve or be predicted to achieve: 3 A-Levels at AAB. Chemistry is required plus at least one from Biology, Mathematics or Physics, plus at least one other subject.

Students who wish to work in Sri Lanka:

Prospective medical students must possess the mandatory educational entry qualifications stipulated by the Sri Lanka Medical Council and obtain an Eligibility Certificate. The SLMC have the following subject requirements (in one sitting):

  • Three A-Levels in Chemistry, Biology and Physics

For more information, please visit the SLMC website


India Higher Secondary Certificate (CBSE/Standard 12)

Achieve or be predicted to achieve:

Minimum of 85% or above at first sitting and 85% or above in a minimum of 3 subjects (including Chemistry and at least one of Maths, Biology or Physics)


International Baccalaureate

Achieve or be predicted to achieve:

3 subjects at Higher Level Grade 6 or above:

  • Chemistry is required
  • One of maths/biology/physics
  • One further subject

plus 3 other subjects at Standard Level at an average of 6. (including one further science if not offered at HL).

  • IB must offer Chemistry plus on further science at HL and one further science at SL.
  • Maths Studies cannot be considererd as a science.
  • At least 36 points to be acheived overall (not including core).

Other

Interested in medicine but don't yet meet our entry requirements?
The one-year Undergraduate Foundation Programme – Pathway to Medicine will help you prepare an application to our Sri Lanka Medical Pathway. Visit www.abdn.ac.uk/isc for more information

For all other qualifications, please contact the admissions office for advice on eligibility - medadm@abdn.ac.uk

Non-Academic

Gaining in a place in medical school requires more than strong academic ability. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate that they possess a range of skills and attributes that are required to study medicine. For more information on these skills and attributes, the Medical Schools Council's Selecting for Excellence report has produced a Statement on the core values and attributes need to study medicine.

In order for you to demonstrate this to us and set yourself apart from all other applicants, you need to submit an excellent personal statement. All personal statements will be reviewed prior to interview invites being sent out. If you are invited to interview, your personal statement will be assessed during the interview.

Prepare a draft of your Personal Statement before completing the UCAS form:

  • Tell us all about yourself, why you want to study medicine; your hopes for your career.
  • Rather than just list all the work experience that has been undertaken, it is more revealing if you can tell us what you have learned about a medical career and its implications.
  • If you have had difficulty in undertaking research, eg there are no medical placements available for you locally, then you should inform us of these difficulties and concentrate on researching your career in other ways.
  • Applicants should be aware when writing their personal statement that UCAS uses software to detect any evidence of plagiarism. Should plagiarism be detected, the application will be withdrawn from the selection process.

The following are suggestions on how you might address the non-academic requirements for medicine.

Commitment to Medicine

When considering a career in medicine, you should:

  • Research to confirm your ideas
  • Discuss your options with career advisors
  • Get a feel for life as a doctor

A good personal statement will demonstrate:

  • Attempts to experience the work of a doctor (the day to day involvement)
  • Attempts to research the training involved for a career in medicine (both at university and after qualifying)
  • Understanding of the level of commitment required (the 'highs' and 'lows' of being a doctor)

This can be achieved by:

  • Job shadowing (observing GPs and/or hospital doctors at work)
  • Talking with doctors (and medical students) about their lives, careers, future plans etc.
  • Reading literature regarding recent medical breakthroughs, newspaper articles etc.
  • Choose your schools for positive reasons, having found out as much about different schools' curricula, facilities, clinical attachments, location etc. as possible. You may be asked to justify your choice at interview. Your research should include use of university websites, prospectuses and leaflets; discussions with medical students and doctors
  • Contact medical admissions departments, as criteria for admission may vary between schools, as might individual admissions processes
  • Visit the medical school to ensure you are making a suitable choice. The appeal of chosen institutions may well be confirmed or dismissed by the student who has spent some time exploring the medical school site and facilities, and questioning staff and undergraduate students
  • Attend medical school open days, which may tell you a lot about the ethos of that particular school

Core Qualities of Doctors

Some examples of core qualities that a good doctor might have include:

  • Good communication skills
  • Evidence of concern for the welfare of others
  • Demonstration of being trustworthy and honest

A good personal statement will demonstrate:

  • What you think a doctors 'core qualities' are and how you display these

This can be achieved by:

  • Gain an appreciation of the concerns of patients for example the disabled and the elderly.
  • Undertaking (paid/unpaid) work of a caring nature
  • Undertaking work which benefits school colleagues
  • Be involved in caring/charity groups at school
  • Personal experience of using "people skills" in social/work situations
  • Develop your sense of social awareness and demonstrate you can shoulder responsibilities:
    • Continue to be involved with school life: clubs, mentoring, buddy and anti-bullying campaigns etc.
    • Undertake paid part-time work with the public
  • Recommended Reading - For further information regarding core qualities of doctors, you might find it useful to read the GMC's Good Medical Practice (2013)

Teamwork

Show you are an all-rounder: doctors' lives are busy and challenging and time management is very important:

  • Work hard at school
  • Enjoy your free time to the full

Demonstrate you are able to work in teams, and are able to assume different roles within the team:

  • Undertake leisure, sporting, creative activities
  • Activities at school
  • Activities outside school
  • Attitude to colleagues
  • Ability to participate fully in school life and help others to do so
  • School honours and prizes.
UCAT

What is the UCAT?

The UCAT test helps universities to make more informed choices from amongst the many highly-qualified applicants to medical and dental programmes. It helps to ensure that candidates selected have the most appropriate mental abilities, attitudes and professional behaviour required for new doctors and dentists to be successful in their clinical careers.

The UCAT does not contain any curriculum or science content. It focuses on exploring the cognitive powers of candidates and other attributes considered to be valuable for health care professionals. Each subtest is in a multiple-choice format and is separately timed.

The UCAT will consist of:

  • Verbal reasoning- assesses ability to critically evaluate information that is presented in a written form.
  • Quantitative reasoning- assesses ability to critically evaluate information presented in a numerical form.
  • Abstract reasoning- assesses the use of convergent and divergent thinking to infer relationships from information.
  • Decision making- assesses the ability to make sound decisions and judgements using complex information.
  • Situational judgement test - measures capacity to understand real world situations and to identify critical factors and appropriate behaviour in dealing with them.

How we use your UCAT score

Candidates' UCAT scores are considered in our selection for interview but are not the sole indicator for selection. They are considered alongside actual and predicted academic achievement in deciding who will be selected for interview. A minimum UCAT cut-off score is NOT used. A score (between 1200 - 3600) is allocated based on the applicant's overall performance in UCAT compared with all other applicants to Aberdeen.

In Aberdeen we will allocate a score based on the total numerical score from the four subtests: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning and decision making. The SJT will not be scored, but it may be used in offer making when there are candidates with similar scores.

Test Preparation

We do not endorse any commercially available preparatory course or material for the UCAT. The test is designed to be a test of aptitude rather than academic achievement and does not draw on any particular body of knowledge or curriculum that you can learn in advance.

We would however encourage candidates to practise answering the types of questions that will be presented in the UCAT and to familiarise themselves with the test format so that they know how to navigate through the test. In taking this approach candidates will become familiar with the different types of questions and in particular understand the time restrictions imposed within the test.

On the UCAT website, you can access practice tests, download the UCAT Official Guide and find out more information about the new UCAT Practice App.

Admissions Requirements

  • As the UCAT is an entry requirement for medicine at Aberdeen, all applicants to Aberdeen must complete the UCAT by the appropriate closing date for that year's entry.
  • Applicants for deferred entry must complete UCAT in the summer of the year of application.
  • Candidates who reapply must undertake the UCAT in the summer of each individual year of application.
  • Applicants should ensure that they register early for a test as being unable to gain a test sitting will not be accepted as an extenuating circumstance for non-completion of the test.
  • Information about the key dates for taking the test can be seen online.

Where can I sit the test?

The Test can be taken in many countries across the world.

Candidates should use the Test Centre Locator to find their nearest centre.

Mitigating Circumstances

By presenting yourself at the UCAT test centre, you are declaring yourself fit to take the test.

If you are not fit to take the test due to illness or other personal circumstances, you must reschedule your test to a later date, even if this means losing the test fee. Candidates who plan to take the test in the final weeks of testing but fall ill may not be able to reschedule within the test window. This is why UCAT recommend that candidates take the test early in the cycle. It is probable that Universities will not consider such issues as mitigating circumstances.

If you are unable to sit the UCAT throughout the test cycle because of a significant or unforeseen medical or personal issue you must contact us to see whether they we are able consider your application without a UCAT result. We will require recent supporting medical evidence as part of that process.

Each university that you apply for will make its own decision consistent with its admission policy. If you are applying to several universities, you need to contact each separately.

UCATSEN

Applicants applying to Aberdeen who have sat the UCATSEN will need to supply evidence of the need for extra time in the form of a medical diagnosis or report from an appropriately qualified teacher or specialist. The evidence should include a statement on how much extra time the candidate has been allowed in examinations. The School of Medicine will consider whether to accept the evidence put forward as to why the candidate sat the UCATSEN. If you need further advice, please email medadm@abdn.ac.uk

Candidates who have been allowed more than 25% extra time in examinations should be aware that they should discuss their support needs with the Disability team at the University of Aberdeen before application to ascertain what support arrangements the University could put in place for them, should they enter as a student.

More information and details of who to contact for advice can be found on the disabilities service website.