February 13, 2010

decisions decisions. For the past two years now decisions to do with higher education have ruled my life ruthlessly. First it was what to do about my crappy AS grades. I coasted through gcse and managed to still get A*AAAAAAA BB C, which i was fairly pleased with.

Then I made an idiotic mistake (as I do only too often) and assumed I’d be able to coast through my A levels and still get the grades for medicine.

So summer 2008 found me feeling rather miserable. I’d achieved AABCD – not bad, except the C was in chemistry, a subject essential to almost all med schools, and the D in physics really wounded my pride. The two A’s and the B were in biology, which had alwyas been by far my strongest subject, critical thinking – a subject not accepted, in my opinion unfairly, by most medical schools – andΒ  english language. I decided to apply anyway, but being predicted ABB i made preperations for my gap year, put my head down and focused solely on exams whilst everyone elses UCAS application drove their blood pressure sky high. Things would change in my A2 year, i vowed…

They didn’t. Well, they didn’t mostly. I did pull my finger out of my ass with chemistry and retook all my as exams much more succesfully. But I carried on coasting with english and biology, and managed to come out with AAB in bio, chem and english langage respectively. And here’s the kicker – my chemistry came to exactly 480 – one mark less and it would have been a B!

It was a huge relief getting the grades in the end, especially since I’d just returned from volunteering in ghana, which I’d managed to convince Mum and Dad to pay for on the basis that it would help my application; they would’ve killed me if i hadn’t got the grades after they forked out for the plane tickets!

The next major decision – which universities to apply to this time around. It was a pretty simple process for me; I looked at the ones that accept AAB along with my mediocre GCSE grades and it really narrowed the lsit right down, and then I just picked according to which courses I liked the sound of.

Second time around I managed to get my personal statement right, and that along with my a UKCAT average of 725 (better than first time around, 580-ish) really served to strengthen my application. So I sent it off and waited. Not really much more to it.

To be honest I still can’t believe that I got two offers. TWO offers. I mean first time around I got none. Except biomedicine, but let’s face it, no one really wants to do that. So yeah. Sorry for the uber long post, think of it as payback for all those of you who’ve repeatedly pm’d me on tsr about my application. A hint; whilst it’s gratifying to be congratulated and asked for advice at first, it get’s pretty dull/boring/annoying/ohmygodgoaway after the first few times. Oh and if you’re going to plagiarise a personal statement, make it one of the better ones on studential and not mine, there’s no point taking a risk over something like that.

Might have to write an article on interviews next, although ima need some help for that one, the only interview I’ve had was manchester and from what i can tell their interview process is pretty unique. Hope this blog helps/ is helping some of you guys. Will be linking this article to the Who Am I page when i can be bothered. For now though it’s back to whiling the time away playing tetris on my gameboy original. Oh yes, I really am that cool…


12 Responses to “Decisions…”

  1. J.A said

    Thaaaaanks so much! Very helpfull:D

    Keep us updated!

  2. Cravez said

    cool! I would be amazingly overjoyed if i got TWO offers!
    and im kinda also sucking at AS chemistry at the moment, had my unit one exam and i really dont think i did that well, as for the chemistry ISA, i got a D (70%), do they look at the actual grades or the marks when they give you an overall grade for AS??
    anyways,looking forward to your blog about interveiws coz im also appying to manchester!!

  3. IHaveAQuestion? said

    SouthHampton Man! πŸ˜€

  4. laibah said

    Firstly, just wanted to give you congrats on your offers and i appreciate your blogs – keep it up! i am currently an A2 student applying to university first year round. So far, ive had bad news with four rejections, my only remaining choice – southampton. (which was my first choice ultimately) my parents and friends have been encouraging me to stay positive, and hope for the best: which is extremely difficult and depressing. but i understand im going to have to think of a gap year, and like you’ve done spent more time improving your grades, ukcat, work experience it shows you can still make it and achieve your dream. and its even better that i can relate to your story so much. so well done, and thankyou for inspiration and motivation. πŸ™‚

  5. laibah said

    a question…
    so did you retake modules while doing your A2 year, or did you do them in the gap year? what else did you do in your gap year except ghana trip?

    thanks πŸ™‚

    • Hey, sorry it’s taken so long to reply. I retook all of my chemistry modules and one of my English modules in my A2 year. As far as I’m aware, the majority of medical schools won’t accept a levels which have been done over more than 2 years, so that was my only option really. The pressure was crazy though! Hope that helps πŸ™‚

  6. M said

    I’m glad you have two offers πŸ˜€
    My experience is very similar to yours; similar GCSEs, my parents paid my trip to another country, so that it can improve my PS… but in the end, my chemistry was 475, 5 marks off A.

    Meh, life goes on, I will get to medical school one day πŸ˜€

    • That’s exactly how you’ve got to think. Put it this way – what better way to show perseverance and dedication is there then to reapply after an unsuccessful application?

      • laibah said

        It’s just the thought of not getting into medical school the second time round scares the hell out of me. I’ve got all four rejections so looking forward to a year of improving my application but like I said quite nervous if I don’t make it.
        You see I got AAAAABBBB for my GCSE grades which wasn’t mentioned in any of my feedback from the medical schools which makes me wonder as they’re quite poor. Two of the medical schools mentioned non-academics being my weak point.. just don’t understand.

      • I know EXACTLY how you feel, i was sooo nervous about taking a gap year and getting rejected again. If the medical schools gave feedback and didn’t mention your GCSE’s then most probably they’re fine. What you need to do for now is forget about uni and just focus purely on getting the best a level results possible. Once you get your straight A’s you need to really research and find out which medical schools will accept your GCSE grades, there should actually be quite a few assuming you got A’s in english and Maths.

        And remember, 60% or applicants apparently get rejected first time around from medical school

  7. Baccilus said

    Ha ha ha. I was so tempted to pm you on TSR just to get on your nerves πŸ˜›

    Oh well – Ill just say well done anyway – certainly makes me calm down a bit about my application.

    Best wishes

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