This Q&A is brought to you by Hattan, a second-year medical student from Kuwait who went through the Medicine Foundation Year at Manchester. Manchester is one of the few medical schools that accept international students on their Foundation Medicine course, for the full list in 2021 entry click here to see our Instagram post on this!
About the Course:
The Manchester pre-medical/pre-dentistry Foundation course included classes at both Xaverian College and the University. A-Level Biology and Chemistry classes took place at the College. We also had PBL, weekly lab sessions, and lectures in the Stopford Building.
Applying to Foundation:
Why did you choose to apply to the Foundation for Medicine course?
I had to apply for Foundation instead of the standard entry to Medicine because as a Kuwaiti student, it is one of the requirements from the Ministry of Higher Education in Kuwait.
What were the entry requirements that you had to fulfil?
The entry requirements included:
English language test: IELTS with minimum average score of 6.5 and no less than 6.5 in any one component
A-levels or an equivalent qualification
The Medicine Foundation course at Manchester is for students who take subjects that are not accepted for the 5 year Medicine course. Grade requirements of AAA must still be met. The UCAT requirements are to be in the top third nationally and SJT Band 1 or 2, if these requirements are not met you will be considered as part of the holistic assessment.
How did the application process for Manchester’s Foundation course differ to Foundation courses at other medical schools?
I only applied to the University of Manchester so I’m not really sure about the foundation programs at other universities.
For the personal statement, did you write it as if you’re writing it for Standard Entry Medicine? Were there things that you included about the foundation course and why you want to go into it?
I wrote my personal statement as if I’m writing it for Standard Entry Medicine. You also have to complete a Non-Academic Information form sent to applicants after the UCAS deadline (15th of October). I just had to play around with my personal statement to fit the 4 sections on the form, as it was my starting point to completing the form. The sections included: experience in a caring role, motivation for Medicine, hobbies and interests and team working. I simply had to split up my personal statement and remove anything irrelevant from it.
Were you expected to have done some work experience?
Having come from Kuwait, unfortunately I was unable to carry out any medically-related work experience but I did have to do some hands-on caring experience as they do ask for it.
Did you have to do an interview? What was it like?
Before my interview I was very nervous. I tried to practice as many questions as possible by reading interview books and watching videos on YouTube on how the multiple mini interview (MMI) format would be.
When I did it, however, I realised I was way too worried. The interviewers were looking for spontaneous answers rather than rehearsed ones and they helped make the conversation flow as smoothly as possible. Most of the interviewers were very friendly unless they were playing a specific role.
My interview took place in a room partitioned off and there were three other cycles taking place at the same time. 7 minutes for each station may seem like a long time but time really does fly throughout the process. I wanted to say more in some stations but ran out of time.
One really helpful piece of advice given to me, was to forget all about the station I was in when moving to the next one and not to be discouraged for any reason. With the MMI format you get a new chance each time you move to the next station because the person in there does not know what you did in the previous one. Give every station your all and enjoy the process.
In short, the application for Standard Entry Medicine and Medicine with a Foundation year at Manchester is the same aside from specific subject requirements at A-Level/equivalent. For more info on the application process, why not check out the guide we made summarising all UK medical school requirements?
During the Foundation Year:
A typical week as a Foundation year student involved having classes in both Xaverian College and the main University campus. Every week we had:
An open and a close PBL session (8 cases in semester 1 and 8 in semester 2)
Biology and Chemistry classes
Lab sessions(10 during the first semester and 6 during the second semester)
Lectures (just to give us a taste of how lectures are going to be like)
Some group sessions.
We had a couple of communication skills sessions throughout the course.
Weekly lab reports had to be written and were submitted at the end of each semester.
Were you able to get research experience?
We got research experience throughout the course as we, in small groups, had to choose and research a topic to create a poster and present it. We also had to write a literature review based on a topic of your choice from a list provided to you. The university did guide us throughout the semester to complete them. This definitely helped me during Year 1 to produce a poster and individual written report for the year 1 Personal Excellence Pathway.
What societies did you join?
As a Kuwaiti student, I joined the Kuwaiti society to connect to home far away from it, which can be really helpful for international students to beat homesickness.
Going into Year 1 of Medicine:
How did doing a Foundation year help prepare you for Year 1?
Doing the foundation course definitely prepared me for Year 1 Medicine as I had no idea how Problem-Based Learning really worked before then. It gave me a taste of what studying Medicine was going to be like. It made the transition from school to University smooth.
I was able to get settled in Manchester and adapt to living here without having to stress about falling behind with my studies as the workload wasn’t as heavy as it is in first year. I had time to make friends, explore the city and country, as well as staying on top of my studies.
What tips/advice do you have for prospective Foundation students and those currently doing their Foundation year?
My only advice is not to leave anything to the last minute in order to fully enjoy the year. You’ll be done with the year before you know it.
And that’s the end of the Manchester Foundation Q&A! We hoped this shed some light on what the 6-year course is like since there’s generally not much information available on it. Make sure to follow our Instagram page and let us know what you’d like to see from us next!