Friday, 29 August 2008

August update - GSS and HCA job success ^.^

I finally received some good news in the form of an offer for the HCA job, and success with my GSS application - which guarantees an interview at KCL for 2009 entry, so long as i get my ucas form sent before 15th October (now only 3 more medical schools to decide on!).

In terms of the HCA job, i won't get to find out what sort of ward i'll be working in yet until september 1st; though to be honest, i don't really mind, as im sure the experience will be invaluable regardless to the ward speciality.

- my main concern at the moment however, is how i will go about declining my MRes offer at IC. I stupidly accepted the offer back in june, thinking i wanted to do the MRes in my gap year whilst i apply for medicine again, but now i feel that my year will be better spent gaining more work experience, and getting to learn more about working for the NHS. I shall call them tomorrow and hope for the best.


UCAS 2009 cycle is just about to start, though i think i won't be sending my application form off anytime soon. I do hope to send it in slightly earlier, but im having a lot of trouble choosing between the medical schools i want to apply to, and also i'm not too keen on my personal statement.. i think i should spend a few more days/weeks fixing it up.

I will definately be applying to KCL now, and i'm pretty sure i'll be applying to BL too, so theres 2 unis left to decide on between BSMS/Leicester/Leeds/UCL/Warwick.

UCL would be a nice option, i like the location, and enjoyed their open day; BUT applying to 3 london unis could be stretching my luck, and the BMAT is also quite a hurdle! - Its a hard choice between unis i want to go to, and unis i think i will get into.

Ɓlthough i think i'll enjoy my gap year, having already done a 3 year degree, i don't really want to delay starting a medical degree any more, and just hope i'll have a bit more luck this year round.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Gap Year Plans - HCA interview

An unsuccesful round of medical school applications this year has left me no where closer to becoming a doctor (other than finishing my biochemistry degree), and in addition to that.. i now have to plan my unintentional gap year !!

I've never had the urge to take a gap year before, and admitedly i would rather be off to medical school this september; but seeing as i have no choice, i'm hoping to occupy myself with something challenging, productive, and of course fun!!

Current gap year plans include:
  • working as an HCA (possibly for 6 months)
  • teaching English abroad (Hopefully either in Asia or South America)
  • learning a foreign language
  • a spot of travelling + volunteering!

HCA interview

Since my last post, i've applied and had an interview for work as a HCA, and am now nervously waiting for a reply.

The assesment centre was pretty basic, and involved a 20 minute test on Maths and English. i finished the test in approximately 5 minutes, and spent the remaining 15 minutes observing the woman infront of me cheat. It was rather obvious, and i'm sure the recruitment lady was quite aware of this, but yet she allowed the woman to carry on copying out passages from her notebook to her test paper.

It wasn't a particularly taxing test.. in fact one of the questions simply asked "how many milimetres are there in a litre" and the rest were basic arithmetic. The english section involved writing a paragraph "in no more than 50 words" as to why i wanted to work there; so all in all the assesment centre gave no indications as to what the job involved.. but instead sort of put me off a little, as the job doesn't seem to be very stimulating.

However, as soon as i walked into the hospital for my interview, all my doubts were lifted, and i really hope i get the job now. The interview which was conducted by two nurses taking turns to ask questions, was actually really quite fun, and felt more like a friendly chat; but i couldn't help but notice that one of the nurses was wearing blue socks with coconut written across in silver, and the other nurse was wearing crocs...!!

I'm not too sure if i'll get the job, but it was a nice experience, and will prepare me for the next interview if i am unsuccesful this time.


I've decided to also work as a tutor in my spare time, and have a meeting and lesson with my first tutee in 2 weeks time. I'm quite nervous, as i'm not sure what she wants me to go over, and i'm also quite rusty with my gcse sciences... but i guess this will kick start my revision for the BMAT exam!

Monday, 4 August 2008

UKCAT 2008 -> where to apply?

Ok, so after my UKCAT test today (2nd time i've taken the damn exam!), the UKCAT still remains a horrible experience, with unpredictable outcomes!

VR - 620
QR - 740
AR - 640
DA - 650

average: 662.5

Although i've made an improvement on my score from last year, on a whole i am quite dissapointed with my 662.5 average. I was hoping i could be in the low 700's so i could have a fair shot at GEPs this year, but with my UKCAT score this year, i'm pretty lost as to where i should apply, and whether i should risk it and apply for a few GEPs - i previously had my eye on Barts, IC, KCL and Warwick GEPs, but im not sure if i should apply to any of these anymore.

I guess, the results of my GSS application would ultimately decide whether i apply for KCL 4year or not to KCL at all, but in terms of the others..well i guess i will just have to look into their selection process over the summer.

In terms of 5 year courses, i think i will definately apply to Barts (the atmosphere there is really unique - in a good way!).. but i think they must be pretty fed up with me by now. Back in 2005, i had a medicine offer from them at A-level, but missed my grades; i applied again last year during my BSc, had an interview and messed that up too....(i was really nervous that day!) all in all this will be my 3rd time applying to them !!!

i might also apply for BSMS again this year, its a silly reason, but staying in - or near London shouldn't be a big factor in deciding where i want to apply..but.. in reality.. it really is.

My friend had previously asked me what was more important to me... to study medicine or to stay in london?? - and whilst i really do want to study medicine, it did make me think. I'm sure if it came to that, i would choose medicine..but why can't i have both.. (ok i know about the competition), but it would be quite ideal if i could.... so that leads to my other question...

should i sit the gamsat for SGUL or even the BMAT for UCL - or just apply to a uni outside of London?

i know i really shouldn't be saying this, but if i had a lower score i would instantly settle for applying for 5 year courses, if i had a higher score i would apply for GEPs, but with a score thats neither really good or really bad, i don't really know what to apply for!

(note to self: i really ought to stop moaning so much!)

Anyways, if anyone does type in "UKCAT free practice questions" or something along those linews into google and get sent onto here (i noticed from my stats widget that people have been typing these into search engines and unluckily ended up here.. along with random questions in the past related to soya milk and cancer...) here are a few links i found really helpful in terms of UKCAT practice:


Sunday, 3 August 2008

Pubmed - Accidental condom inhalation

Throughout my BSc degree, when it came to writing essays, revising a certain topic, or doing research for a poster presentation; Pubmed was generally the first place to look for journals and related information! (Of course there are other sites, such as Sciencedirect, which i quite liked)

I don't usually post twice in a day, but when clicking on a link stolen from a friend, whos still completing the extramural year in industry, and was obviously rather bored.... i was rather amused and amazed as to how he managed to find this paper on Pubmed (!!)... which was published in The Indian Journal of Chest Diseases & Allied Sciences ...

Arya et al. (2004), Accidental condom inhalation, Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci, 46(1):55-8

"A 27-year-old lady presented with persistent cough, sputum and fever for the preceding six months. Inspite of trials with antibiotics and anti-tuberculosis treatment for the preceeding four months, her symptoms did not improve. A subsequent chest radiograph showed non-homogeneous collapse-consolidation of right upper lobe. Videobronchoscopy revealed an inverted bag like structure in right upper lobe bronchus and rigid bronchoscopic removal with biopsy forceps confirmed the presence of a condom. Detailed retrospective history also confirmed accidental inhalation of the condom during fellatio."

UKCAT tomorrow (T.T) + HCA interview

Its not been too long since my last post, but i have the UKCAT tomorrow, and following the trends of my blog, it ultimately means i have come here and moan!

I'm taking the exam at quite a central location in London, so a major concern would be having to fight my way through the traffic, and put my fate in the hands of the public transport..and of course worrying about the actual exam!

So hopefully, after my UKCAT, i will have some idea of where i will want to apply to this year and whether i will have to sit the bmat and/or gamsat this year too... i'll just leave the thinking for tomorrow!

Oh and of course..its already August, so hopefully i'll hear from my GSS application sometime soon.. i wouldn't recommend anyone to apply for an undergrad. at KCL just to have a shot at the internal selection screening for medicine..but for those who un/luckily ended up doing an undergrad here, it only takes 10 minutes to fill the form in for an extra chance!

Anyways, on a nicer and less exam and application orientated note, i have 2 job interviews this coming week, which is a nice change from the last post. 1 for a HCA job, and the other is rather unrelated so i won't bother mentioning it here.

I'm happy with an interview for the HCA job and am even really looking forward to the maths and english test they are making me sit, though im not sure how likely they will be offering the job; as i phoned them up previously and asked on the liklyhood of making it a weekend job, and it didn't sound too promising, though they told me to apply anyways and ask about it at the interview, so lets hope they need some extra weekend help (fingers crossed)!! If not, i guess i will have to then hope my application for working as a care assistant at the elderly care home will be succesful.

Random: Does anyone actually understand the Oasis cactus man advert?!