For obvious reasons, medicine is an extremely popular career choice and consequently the competition for places is fierce.

The work of a doctor is extremely physically and mentally demanding and therefore only the strongest students will succeed.

Medicine is a demanding and intensive degree course and students will be expected to commit a considerable amount of time and effort to their studies.

Medical students are expected to attend lectures on a daily basis as well as attending laboratory-based practical sessions and actively participating in their placement schemes.

Medicine is a long-term commitment and is not like many other courses at university, which offer students a great deal of free time.

Academic requirements

Due to the difficulty of the work involved in medicine, students are expected to have extremely good grades if they wish to consider applying for a University place.

Usually universities stipulate a certain range of subjects which normally consists of Biology and Chemistry and another related subject such as Physics or Mathematics; because competition is so tough universities generally make offers of 3 A’s or 2 A’s and a B at A-level; there may also be minimum requirements for GCSE subjects such as Mathematics and English.

Additional skills and interests

Universities often look for potential students who have additional skills, responsibilities or achievements; those who excel in music, drama, sport and those who have made the effort to do relevant work experience will often be more attractive to admissions tutors than those who rely solely on academic grades.

Remember that admissions staff get hundreds of applications each year; try to stand out and be different and remember to sell yourself.

Unless you have an interview, the only information that person has about you is what is written on your application form so make your personality and your strengths come across in your personal statement.

Work experience

Work experience is increasingly valuable as the competition for places increases. Having relevant work experience will show that you have a real interest in the subject and a desire to learn more.

Many doctors will be happy to let you shadow them over a period of time if their patients are happy to allow it; don’t be afraid to ask around and keep trying if you get turned down.

The GP is often an integral part of the community and will know many of the local people, consequently you will probably know somebody who may be able to put you in touch with them, regarding the possibility if doing some work experience; often friends or contacts can be helpful when trying to organise work experience so try them as a first port of call.

Volunteer work

Volunteer work can also be extremely beneficial to your application especially if you have undertaken work in a healthcare setting such as an old person’s home or hospice for example; this kind of experience shows that you have compassion for others and an unselfish nature, which are important qualities for a GP to have.

Most charitable and volunteer organisations are short of help and will be more than happy to offer you some work experience; this kind of work will also help to hone your social and communication skills.