Medicine @ QUB | Q&A

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These questions have been answered by Rebecca, a 4th year medical student at Queen’s Belfast University.

Is 2610 with band 1 good enough to get an interview?

UCAT score plus GCSE grades are assigned points to get your interview (if your undergrad/school leaver) your UCAT score is worth 4 of a possible 6 points for UCAT the rest of the points will be made up with hour GCSE grades (or equivalent). In previous years the points required to get an interview are between 30-34. Therefore you need about 30 more points from your best 9 GCSEs. I have included the points to grade allocation below:

All these figures can be found in the document ‘how we chose our students’ on the medicine page.

Do you jump straight into content on day one?

Medicine welcome week overlaps with freshers week and it’s a great introduction to medicine and your new course mates! This week is non academic but covers a range of topics from professionalism and what to expect in the coming years. There are Q+A sessions with older students plus an afternoon focused on the medical societies and even a full day of first aid training. This week has team building sessions and just a great opportunity to get to know one another. The next week however is the first proper week of term and that’s straight into lectures and teaching. 

How much free time would you have in a day after self-study?

The pace in first year isn’t too bad and you should have plenty of free time. Make the most of first year – join societies, go out with your friends and just enjoy uni life. Keep on top of our work and don’t fall behind but you shouldn’t be spending 5hours a night in the library in first year outside of exam season. Pay attention during lectuers, jot down notes and then recap what you need in the evening or research what you don’t understand to ensure your following the subject but don’t spend your life studying – life is about balance especially in medicine!

Would it be possible to balance medicine with parenting?

I don’t feel qualified to answer this as I don’t have kids, I am married and have a puppy which is a different kind of responsibility. The key is planning and having a good support network who can help you and allow you all the time and focus you need to put into medicine. Many have done it before and I admire people who balance it all. Check out youtube for videos of medics who are parents, I think @ollieburtonmed has an interview on his channel with a mum who studies medicine. 

How are you assessed on your knowledge and how often?

Its been a few years from I started so the assessment process may have changed since. My experience  was Christmas class tests in some modules (worth maybe 20%). There are also anatomy spot tests at the end of each subject block. Occasionally there will also be an essay or group presentation. Then of course end of year exams in each module and an OSCE. 

Are there many English students?

Yes! There is a large mainland UK cohort both graduates and school leavers. We also have a large international group of students and from my experience everyone mixes really well. 

What’s something that makes QUB stand out as an institution?

There are a range of brilliant things about QUB from the top class dissection facilities to the early clinical contact across a wide range of hospitals. Plus NI is a unique and wonderful country which you will love once you come to live here!

Do Queen’s have a strong research strand to their curriculum?

There are a range of research opportunities within the curriculum from student selected components to summer student ships in the world class cancer research centre. A lot of the lecturers are clinicians or researchers and they always have research opportunities for keen students. Additionally, when it comes to considering intercalation there are a range of research based opportunities. 

What made you choose QUB?

There were a range of reasons for choosing QUB from its reputation for producing great clinically competent doctors to its early clinical contact including full time placement from 3rd year onwards. I am originally from northern Ireland so having been living in England it was great to return to my home country and take advantage of the cheaper fees for home students. 

What are your top tips for interviews?

QUB is MMI style and so I would say its key to get comfortable with that set up. Get used to role playing scenarios and getting in character so to speak. Look into ethical scenarios and think through what you would do in the situation. My main tip is to see beyond the situation you are presented with – what is the station testing? Is it about breaking bad news or about confidentiality or prioritising situations. Always think what the underlying theme is and then ensure you get in the key terms and it will help you process your way through the situation. Overall keep calm and try to take each station afresh. 


Thank you Rebecca for answering these questions! You can find out more about her on Instagram!


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Posted by:Life of a Medic

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