Cambridge program allowed me to listen to the guest speakers who tell students about the best way to apply to a medical school and the processes, addressing all the confusion. It also cleared my concerns as to why I should study and make a career in this field, how medical schools and their application procedures differ from each other, etc. The design of course content was such that it covered almost all the areas to make sure students and their aspirations don’t mismatch.
I came to learn how every medical stream is different from the other and where they overlap. Teaching methods, structure, and training – I got an overall view of this. Also, teachers would share useful tips on customising the application according to the choice of a school and its admission standards. It was something that you cannot ignore if you are serious about your educational goals.
During this period, another part that came to my notice was the importance of writing a convincing personal statement. Thousands of students compete for medicine; to stand out from the rest, you have to ensure that your statement is powerful. The drafts and practices empowered my skills.
I had not known that opting for a medical summer course crafted for 16 to 18 years old can be so beneficial for me until I did one. It made my entire experience so smooth, which otherwise could have been nerve-wracking. It still feels like a dream. Or, say, I am living a dream right now because of that. It prepared me in those two weeks for multiple things and helped me improvise on them after going back home and to my school. These included:
- Diverse medicine topics
- BMAT & UKCAT exam
- Medicine Interviews
- Medical student life
- Personal statement
Foundation in medicine topics
There is a considerable gap between what schools and undergraduate medical degrees teach us. Hence, a student who doesn't have any prior knowledge of the topics outside chemistry and biology can quickly feel threatened. But the summer school removed that part of the stress from my life by exposing me to several common medical topics so that I can proceed with confidence. I came across a variety of subject matters during this course, which included:
- Clinical Interpretation
- Functional Genomics
- Clinical Interpretation
- Emergency Medicine
Passing BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) or The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is necessary for admission to medical school. If you don't know about these tests beforehand, it can turn out to be a mind-boggling experience for you as the questions can seem confusing. Since you wouldn't want your dreams of medical career to peter out at this stage, preparing hard can be your only saviour. The summer medicine program acquainted us with the format of the exam and enabled us to practice our skills. We got nearly real-time experience, due to which our confidence soared up. Hence, when I sat for the entrance exam, I found myself unusually calm and composed.
Experience of medicine interviews
For an entry into any competitive field, you also need to cross the hurdle of interviews. The grilling interview round can leave any student shattered and nervous easily, especially if he or she is not familiar with the environment. But summer school in Cambridge helped me in this area also. The mock interviews gave me an insight into some brilliant interview techniques and the question styles. In the process, I learned where I needed to improve and how persistent practice could sort this out for me before I faced the real thing.
A peep into the life of a medical student
Another area which I must admit made entire experience more exciting and worthy of pursuing was the practical classes. What you learned in the course, you get an opportunity to be hands-on and try them. The practical mostly show you the types of tasks you will have to deal with as a medical student. These also give you a taste of what you would have to do when you become a full-time doctor. Additionally, an opportunity to debate with your peers, handling differences in opinions, and other such aspects make things more relevant for you. When the summer classes got over, I would often reminisce whatever we did there and knew where I am heading.
Well-written personal statement
It is undeniable that most students don’t know about the approach of personal statement, and I was also one of them until the summer course happened. Not knowing something as critical as this can easily ruin all your wishes. But with expert guidance and practice, I could figure out what makes your statement impressive to the authorities. My teachers helped me with the drafts so that when the classes got over, I could refine my skills back home. I followed their advice, and yes, it made a difference.
Getting into a field of medicine is not easy. You need lots of hard work, smartness, knowledge, skills, and determination to cut here. I knew I wanted to be a doctor but didn't have clarity about how I would go about it. But after I attended the summer program, I became sure about my passion and learned about everything that helped me strengthen my grades, my application.