If you weren’t successful in getting in to Medical School this year, you may have decided to take a gap year! As well taking a breather from exams, you’re going to be wanting to find ways that you can improve your application. Here are 5 ways you can do just that!
1. Get feedback from the universities you applied to
If you’re planning to take a gap year, this is definitely the first thing you should do! Contact all the places you received a rejection from and find out exactly what it was that let you down – try to get as much information as you can. You’ll then be able to focus on these specific aspects of your application over the next year to give yourself that little extra boost.
As well as asking for some objective feedback from the medical school, you may also want to take some time to do some personal reflection and consider which areas you feel were your weakest – you’ll want to spend the next year directly tackling these!
2. Continue volunteering
Medical schools love to see long-term commitment, and if you’re taking a gap year you’re in the perfect position to be able to show that. You want to be able to say that you’ve been volunteering at a certain place for a really long time, so continuing with any voluntary posts you had already taken on will fare you well!
You may also want to apply for medical work placements so you have the opportunity to see “Medicine in action” within many more different specialities and departments. The work experience diary is still really important, so make sure to keep adding to that!
3. Keep up the medical reading
Books, medical news, the whole lot! Make sure you’re up-to-date with what’s happening in the world of healthcare. Before I applied for medicine, I didn’t really have much time to read many medical books, but the few I did read were great!
I wish I did find the time to read more at the time because now I’m even more busy and simply can’t find the time. Reading these books are a great form of entertainment, but many are also very insightful, so make a reading list (here’s mine) and work your way down!
4. Consider attending some courses
There may be very specific parts of your application that let you down, such as your UCAT score or your interview performance. If you’re uncertain about how you can improve for the second time, it might be worth having a look to see if there’s a course which could benefit you. Some courses can be expensive so don’t feel compelled to go for those, there are lots of free and cheaper alternatives which are just as good out there!
That little extra help may make you realise how you can improve your preparation. If you’re confident you know how to act upon your feedback, then you can go ahead and dive right in, but if you’re a little stuck it may be worth considering this!
You can also do some free online courses on websites such a FutureLearn where you can learn about different aspects of Medicine or even learn a language!
5. Do something a bit different
You’ll have a whole year of no exams and pretty much complete freedom, so you’re bound to be asked about what exactly you spent all that free time doing at some point!
So do something interesting – go travelling, pursue a personal interest, learn something new. You could go and do some charity work, or work on a group project. It doesn’t even have to be medically related, but something to make yourself sound interesting!
And let’s be honest, it’s not all about the application – see it as doing something for yourself: this may well be the last free year you have so make sure you make the most of it!