Following my previous post about the industry of paid medical admissions services, here I come with a list of free resources that I wish I had when I was applying to medical school!
This list has been divided into sources of overall support and support for specific aspects of the application e.g. interview, personal statement, etc. As an international student, I found that a lot of mentoring schemes and resources were not applicable to my circumstances so I have tried to find some sources that are specific to international applicants as well.
Disclaimer: Things regularly go out of date. This list is a collection of information from myself, friends, and people on social media. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list so please use this as a starting point if you are an aspiring medic.
Support for Multiple Aspects of the Application
UK Medical Schools Council (MSC): the UK Medical Schools Council covers information for all stages of the application. They also have a tool to go through entry requirements of the UK medical schools which I think is very helpful to anyone considering which medical schools to apply to.
We Are Medics: an organisation that I will not stop going on about because not only have the people behind WAM have produced amazing free resources on the personal statement, UCAT and interview, they’ve also included international applicants in their work. They also share events suitable for aspiring medics on their Instagram account.
Scrubbed Up: Scrubbed Up is an organisation that was started at Manchester Medical School who produce a range of resources for current and prospective medical students. They’re one of the few resources I know of that include international students in their work. They also have a Facebook group for Year 12-13 aspiring medics to link up with their peers and current medical students!
PreMedEazy: a branch of OSCEazy, an organisation offering teaching to medical students. They are currently doing giveaways of mock MMIs with their tutors and have more events on different aspects of the application to come.
Widening Participation Medics Network: WPMN is a Widening Participation organisation and community with a range of resources for aspiring students, including a forum for their members to ask medical students and doctors across the UK questions (membership is free!).
In2MedSchool: mainly provides 1-to-1 mentoring for students from disadvantaged backgrounds (international applicants are not eligible). In2MedSchool also organises a number of events about applying to Medicine, recordings of previous events are available here.
The Medic Collective: The Medic Collective have collated a lot of free resources for Medicine applicants. Please note that the resources may be out of date.
Cardiff Healthcare International PerspectiveS (CHIPS): CHIPS has a webinar series about the international medical student perspective coming up in October (I’ll be speaking at the England event!) and they are planning to organise events for international aspiring medics in the summer of 2022. They have successfully organised a summer conference for aspiring medics in 2021.
Voluntary organisations at universities: I have worked with two at Manchester Medical School whose support ranges from one-off events like conferences to mentoring. The best way to find them is probably by going to a university’s Student Union page and searching for Medicine-related volunteering/Widening Participation societies.
Some countries where studying abroad is quite common e.g. Malaysia and Singapore have their own associations for medical students. I know that the societies for Malaysia and Singapore do events for aspiring medics, and you could also get in touch to ask for contacts at specific medical schools.
Learning About The Course (asides from medical school websites)
What you need as an international applicant for Medicine in the UK: a blog post that a friend and I created, covering what an international applicant needs to prepare throughout the application timeline.
How to choose a medical school as an international applicant: another blog post created by my friend and I, covering what we think international students should consider when choosing medical schools to apply to.
Learning About Specific Medical Schools:
We Are Medics has a series on their Instagram account where they invite current students of various medical schools to share their experiences.
My friend and I created a series called International Insights where we invited international students from different medical schools to talk about their journey into Medicine and their experiences in Medicine so far. The series is not complete because we struggled to find contributors when it first started but I'm very proud to say that International Insights is back, hopefully bigger and better! More entries will be published here as we go along, not only focussed on getting into medical school but also on careers, life as a medical student, etc. We can also be found on Instagram and Twitter as @intl_insights.
Scrubbed Up and Life of a Medic both have a similar series where current students are invited to share their experiences of being at a specific medical school. Not all contributors are international students.
Current students on social media: a lot of current medical students on Twitter/Instagram are very happy to share their experiences
MSC work experience page: The Medical Schools Council has a page covering how aspiring medics can find work experience, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Observe GP: a virtual work experience platform produced by the Royal College of General Practitioners, only open to aspiring medics that are 16 and above, living in the UK.
Patient Journey to GP Practice: a virtual reality app produced by the General Medical Council (GMC) which is available to international aspiring medics.
BSMS virtual work experience: Brighton and Sussex Medical School has a virtual work experience course which introduces six medical specialties along with the skills required to work in those areas.
Resources that I mentioned in the first section include information on the personal statement, this section contains information about getting your personal statement checked for free.
Scrubbed Up Personal Statement Checker: Asides from all the resources Scrubbed Up already provide, they also have a free personal statement checking service!
CollegeLAH Personal Statement Review: CollegeLAH is a voluntary organisation formed by Malaysian students that I’ve worked with previously as a personal statement reviewer. Their personal statement reviews cover a range of different subject areas, and they also have resources on applying to university and scholarships.
Please note that a lot of resources may be out of date, so I recommend preparing with official resources instead. It can be very misleading if you score well on practice questions that do not reflect the true nature of the test.
Preparation resources by the UCAT Consortium
Free UCAT question bank from Passmedicine: I’m not sure how reliable this is because I only heard of it after getting into medical school but it is one that is often recommended.
Preparation resources from the official BMAT website: I am embarrassed to say that I did not actually use these when I did the BMAT, don’t be like me!
We Are Medics have created an interview simulator and ebook that you can use to prepare and practice for interviews.
How to make the most of mock interviews: I personally think that mock interviews are one of the best ways to prepare for an upcoming interview so I wrote this blog post containing my tips for a fruitful mock interview.
Example interview questions by the Royal College of Surgeons of England
BBC Health: a good way to stay up to date with current events in healthcare, I used it extensively when preparing for my interviews.
Book recommendations by Scrubbed Up
Please share if you think this can help anyone you know. If there are any other resources that you think should be included here, please get in touch!