Getting started on UCAS

A guide to some common courses

Writing a personal statement

  • The personal statement is an important part of the application and it is here that the applicants must really sell themselves. It should focus on why the applicant wants to study that particular course and what they have done to prove that they are suitable. The statement should be written in formal language (we do not mean convoluted) and should be roughly 75% academic in focus with 25% addressing outside interest. Oxbridge personal statements are likely to be heavily academic and talk about additional reading. Applications for medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine are likely to focus more heavily on work experience. Further advice can be found here:
  • Writing a UCAS Personal Statement
  • UCAS week personal statements for parents.pptx
  • Personal Statements for University
  • What uni; Subject specific personal statement tips

Applying to Oxford or Cambridge

  • We encourage students with the right academic profile (GCSE grades / predicted A level grades) to apply for Oxbridge or other highly competitive universities. Support will be given throughout Y12 and Y13 and students will be encouraged to explore the super curricular areas of their chosen subject. Students aspiring to study at highly competitive universities would be expected to have undertaken significant additional reading beyond the limits of their A level programmes of study; this might include for example exploring a period of history not covered in their school curriculum or reading works by other eminent scientists in an area that interests them. Further ideas can be found by following the super curricular tab.
  • Entrance examinations: for many subjects applicants to Oxford or Cambridge will have to sit tests as part of their application. Some tests can be taken in school, once a student is registered; others are taken at regional examination centres or on the day of interview. It is the responsibility of the applicant to know which tests are required and to get themselves registered. Further information can be found here:
  • The University of Cambridge Subject Masterclasses
  • Oxford Pathways
  • University of Oxford UNIQ Summer School Programme

Applying for Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Medicine

We encourage students with the right academic profile (GCSE grades / predicted A level grades) to apply for these highly competitive courses. For each of these degree programmes, students will be expected to have undertaken relevant work experience, and have worked in a voluntary capacity in a healthcare environment. We encourage all prospective applicants to register with the Lister Hospital 15-week programme, where they will work on wards supporting the housekeeping teams. Often, at the end of the programme students will be given the opportunity to shadow a doctor. Further information can be found here: East and North Herts NHS Trust; student volunteer programme. Students will have to seek their own work experience placements at vets, dentists or GP surgeries.

Medicine

  • Medicine is a highly competitive course and places are limited. Prospective applicants will need to be predicted A*A*A – to AAA at A level to be considered, although there are a few courses offering Foundation year programmes for those with lower grades , who meet widening participation criteria.
  • Note Chemistry A level is compulsory for all medicine degrees and most will also require biology or human biology. Please check carefully.
  • There are 31 medical schools in the UK offering standard entry degrees (post A level). All applicants will need to sit either the BMAT or the UKCAT in the application cycle year.
  • Entry requirements for UK medical schools
  • The complete University Guide: getting into medicine
  • The Medic Portal

BMAT examination: this test is required by 8 UK medicine schools, including both Oxford and Cambridge. The test can be taken at a regional test centre in August/September or in school in November. Note applicants to the University of Oxford MUST sit the test in November. All other courses accept either result. Early entry test does mean you will know your results before applying but it must be your decision. .

UKCAT examination; this test is required by many of the UK medical schools. It must be taken before early October in the year of application and we advise our students to prepare (preparation should take 6-8 weeks) and sit the test in the summer holidays between years 12 & 13.

Dentistry

Veterinary Medicine; Veterinary Science

  • Veterinary Medicine is a highly competitive course and places are limited. Prospective applicants will need to be predicted A*A*A – to AAA at A level to be considered, although there are a few courses offering Foundation / Gateway year programmes for those with lower grades, who meet widening participation criteria.
  • Note, 2 sciences are required by all of the vet school, preferably chemistry & biology – please check carefully.
  • There are only 8* vet schools (Surrey awaiting accreditation) in the UK offering standard entry degrees (post A level).
  • Admissions Process and Entry Requirements for UK vet schools
  • The Complete University Guide; studying veterinary medicine
  • British Veterinary Association; becoming a vet
  • Getting into Vet school
  • Work experience: a broad range of WEX is a pre-requisite for becoming a vet and each school will have their own requirements. Please check each website or see WEX requirements in the guide above. It is advisable to have a range of experience, including but not exclusively vets, stables, farms, kennels or catteries, zoos.

Applying for Law

Law can be a very competitive course and some universities will expect applicants to sit admissions tests. The most common of these in the LNAT and applicants must check if their chosen universities require them to sit this exam. Further information can be found here: Do I need to sit the LNAT?

Russel Group Universities

Supercurricular reading for university applications

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