So apparently,

My blog posts are scripted. According to my sister, they are boring and lack that ‘Je ne se qua’ one needs in their writing. She’s probably got a point there but I’m not sure if that’s really my aim – I guess what she’s trying to say is I need to make them more personalised and less monotonous to say the least.

I’ve been feeling lethargic lately – until recently, a week ago to be precise, that I’ve settled things. Just last night I went for an evening jog and I’ve been to the gym twice this week. It’s a start. I think my issue is I set myself too many things at once and then I’m not satisfied with anything I’ve done, making me feel 10x worse. It’s weird because when I want to be productive, I can be but that’s only when it comes down to the last minute. Procrastination seems to be the icing on the cake. It’s something, not only I, have to deal with and as a student it’s a continuous struggle. Say for instance, with this blog I ought to be consistent with my posts- to be more disciplined but instead I’ll write a paragraph and tend to something that’s irrelevant or can be completed at a later time. Despite this, I think becoming more disciplined as a student is something that can be developed. Right now I’m sitting at this desk and making sure I finish this post before anything else. It’s a desirable trait that needs to be implemented in our lives once in a while if not always and that’s why I’ve taken on a new challenge – Mandarin Chinese.

Now that I’m  home and have all the time I need, why not learn a new language? Mandarin, I find is daunting. The pronunciation, the thousands of characters , let alone being a self-learner would put any sane person in doubt. Nevertheless, It’s a beautiful language and I love the culture. So why not? I just hope I stick to it, I have a tendency to be heavily interested in something and minutes later drop it by the wayside – I’ve got to break the pattern. It’s not what a Doctor is expected to be. Hopefully starting this refining process, I guess, will help me in the long run. Fingers crossed.

IMG_2640

Malta was amazing. One week simply wasn’t enough hence why we’ll be returning there soon, if not Portugal. Obviously this image doesn’t do it justice; It’s the entrance to the hotel. It was great fun and a much needed break from doing nothing. Well I wouldn’t say I was completely unproductive.

Totally forgot, my finalised marks for first year are in. I got an overall mark of 76% (A) and I’m so grateful. To be honest, I believe how my exams went were completely down to the grace of God. I was definitely praying and hoping for an A this year, and when my Dad opened my results – he couldn’t find the pdf to open so I had to and saw my results. Evidently I was in shock, as I kept checking If  my name was on the attachment given alongside the academic results. I am so happy with my results and I’m still in awe, because It really wasn’t by my might nor strength but by the grace of God. I’m looking forward to second year – I know it’s a totally different ball game with lectures and the workload but you’ve always got to be optimistic about the future. First year of university wasn’t so bad after all!

-D x

Joshua 1:9 ” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

GAMSAT

Wow it’s already the 28th and I’m yet to inform you about the glorious details of the beautiful aptitude test they call the – GAMSAT ( Graduate Medical School Admissions Test). I apologise for the delay, I’ve actually just been away on a holiday, in Malta. Hopefully I can give you a brief description about the test, but all the information given here can be accessed from the GAMSAT website itself. I’ll try to condense as much of the information as possible.

Okay, so the GAMSAT, as you know is an aptitude test required by a set number of medical schools in the UK. This test is required solely for graduate-entry programmes and can be taken for medical schools in Ireland and Australia. The essence of this test is to test your basic science knowledge, problem solving skills, critical thinking and writing. Those without a scientific first degree are still able to take the test. However, I believe having a first degree in the humanities and social sciences is encouraged.

There are 3 sections of the GAMSAT;

  • Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Written Communication
  • Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences

Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences

In this section there are 75 questions posed, you are given 10 minutes reading time and 100 minutes for writing. Of the questions given, the text presented is either a written passage or a tabular/ visual format. The context of passages relate to social and cultural backgrounds as well as other sectors that must be interpreted once understood. The questions are asked in a multiple choice format with 4 variants associated with each question.

Written Communication

There are 2 questions in this section with 5 minutes reading time and 60 minutes writing. The two tasks given are related to a common theme despite setting different issues, with the first task directed to socio-cultural issues and the second with personal and social issues. There are two criteria assessed; thought and content – so the quality of your response, how you came about it etc and organisation and expression – quality of the structure and language used.

Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences

110 questions. 10 minutes reading time and 170 minutes writing. The questions are based on 3 areas; Biology (40%), Chemistry (40%), and Physics (20%). The format of this section is multiple choice like the first, with 4 variants associated with each question. The question may be presented as a passage, graphs, tables, mathematical format and so forth. The level of knowledge needed for this section includes first year university studies in Biology and Chemistry and A-level physics.

The test is offered in March and September. There is no limit to the number of times an applicant can sit the test, however I’m not sure if the test can be taken twice in the same year. I think this test is quite vigorous as I’ve heard from some applicants and requires  dedicated preparation. Maybe taking the test in September is a better option because you’ve got approximately 3-4 months for prep once exams are finished, which are usually done by mid-May or June.

Recap; BMAT is offered in September, UKCAT in October, and GAMSAT in March and September. There’s so much more to each section above that I’ve had to disregard. So please check out the GAMSAT Information Book to have a clearer perspective on the whole thing. There are also books out there that should be more concise and informative. Personally, I’m not too sure about taking the GAMSAT – I like the other two, plus I can’t really sit all three? Actually I don’t know if people have actually sat all three. Anyhow, here are the universities that require the GAMSAT;

  • The University of Nottingham
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Liverpool
  • St George’s, University of London
  • Swansea University

Prep – Long term preparation is needed for the GAMSAT, probably longer than the BMAT and UKCAT. I am only aware of the Gold Standard GAMSAT a company that provides free resources, study materials, and courses. There is also a brief revision plan provided by the ACER – Australian Council of Education Research.keep-calm-and-pass-gamsat

Hopefully that was short,

-D x

 

Acts 17:27 ‘so that they should see the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;’

UKCAT & GAMSAT

UKCAT – UK Clinical Aptitude Test is a 2 hour computerised test. It consists of five sections;

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Decision Making
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Situational Judgement

Unlike the BMAT, the UKCAT does not test you on any science curricular but focuses on cognitive competence required in the medical profession. UKCAT in my opinion should be easier than the BMAT, however having done the BMAT previously and revised for the UKCAT, I much prefer the BMAT because one of it’s section questions you on your knowledge whilst UKCAT questions for the most part test you on how you think and make judgements. Although both forms of tests assess your critical thinking. There are more undergraduate universities that require the UKCAT for medicine than there are graduate.

Verbal Reasoning

The core objective of this subtest is to examine your ability to  gather information from the passage presented and draw out specific conclusions from the text. From this section, there are 11 passages presented. For each passage there are 4 questions asked. This can be in the forms; True/False/Can’t Tell or Free text. The time allowed for this section is 22 minutes. According to the UKCAT website, the reason for this section is that doctors and dentists must acquire verbal reasoning skills that can be used to understand complex concepts which can then be relayed to patients in a straightforward and clear manner. They should also be able to apply new medical findings to their practice as well as review it’s validity. Fair enough. Here’s an example;

..............2

Decision Making

Decision making is a new subtest as of 2016. It has replaced ‘Decision Analysis’. The main difference between them is the format of the question asked. In decision analysis a code is given, you are then asked a number of questions using the code, using logic and decision analysis the code can be translated into a sentence but you have to select the best translated sentence out of a number of competent answers. On the other hand, for the decision making subtest you are given text/charts/tables/graphs/diagrams accompanied with information. You are required to asses how valid the suggested answers are and hence select the most valid answer or place ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses to each of the 5 statements given. There are 29 items given and 32 minutes allowed. Performance in this section is not counted into your overall UKCAT score neither is it sent to your medical school of choice. However, you are encouraged to take the subtest seriously as it contributes to evaluation of the subtest and selection process for future medical and dental students. There are 4 components to this section; deductive reasoning – where you deduce which of the conclusive statements is reflective of the opening statement, evaluating arguments – a text or question is provided and the best argument is chosen, statistical reasoning – conclusions are made based on data provided, and lastly figural reasoning – conclusions made are based on sequences presented.

Quantitative Reasoning

GCSE maths knowledge and problem solving skills are needed for this section. There are 9 scenarios each with 4 questions hence the total number of questions asked is 36. The time allowed for this section is 25 minutes. In relation to clinical practice, this subtest is required as a doctor is constantly presented with data such as  patients’ charts or drug calculations that have to be made in accordance to the patients weight, height, age etc. An online-screen calculator is provided however it is advised to carry out simple arithmetic calculations in your head to save time.

 

nnn

On-Screen Calculator

Abstract Reasoning

Absolutely hate this section – I see no point in this one. In this section you are required to determine the correct set of shapes amongst incorrect sets posed to be distracting. There are 55 items/questions with each question associated with sets of shapes. You are given a total time of 14 minutes. Out of the 55 questions asked, there are 4 core types that can be identified. For the first type you are given two sets – Set A and Set B within each set there are 5 boxes each with a number of shapes that may differ in terms of colour, pattern, and shape. You would then have to choose if the test shape asked in the question belonged to Set A, Set B, or neither. The second type you are presented with a series of boxes each with a number of shape that may follow a particular pattern. You are then required to choose the next box consisting of shapes that follows next in the sequence. For the third, you are given a statement that relates to two sets of shapes – where are change in one set causes a change in the next set, thus using the same principle, a set is given and you must apply the same change in order to determine what the new set would look like. The new set is then chosen from 4 options given. The last type requires you to identify which set of the 4 options given belongs to Set A or Set B. Here are the examples given for each type from the UKCAT website;

Situational Judgement

This section is used to test your perception on issues you may come across in everyday life or in a medical setting and how you would approach it. There are two forms of questions asked. First being able to determine how appreciate a response is relating to the scenario given. This could be; ‘very appropriate, appropriate but not ideal, inappropriate but not awful, and very inappropriate’. The second format questions you on how important an action is in relation to the scenario given. So you’ve got a scenario, a statement is made – which states response to the scenario. You will have to judge how important that response is to the scenario, is it ‘very important, important, of minor importance, or not at all important’ and so forth. This sections asses your judgement solely and hence does not require prior medical knowledge. There are 20 scenarios given and for each scenario 2-5 questions. Thus you have a total of 69 questions in this section and a total time of 27 minutes. Sweet.

In terms of scoring, raw scores are converted to scale scores that range from 300-900 for each subtest. The total scale score is then calculated by adding the scale scores for all subtests which can now range from 900-2700 opposed to 1200-3600 as there are now 4 subtest that contribute to the total instead of 5 as of 2016. Details are given on the UKCAT website on how to compare scores obtained to those used by the University. The situational judgment section is scored differently, where full marks are awarded when the correct response is chosen and partial marks are given when the response chosen is close to the correct response. The scores given are expressed in bands. From band 1 to band 4 with band 1 being the highest and 4 being the lowest. Here’s an explanation of the bands again from UKCAT;

oooooooooooooooooooooo

I think that’s about it. I know a lot you would know the UKCAT format but I just wanted to give a quick outline of the test as I have plenty of spare time. I got all this information from the UKCAT website as well as the Medic Portal – which is an extremely useful site where you can find all you need to know about the UKCAT,BMAT, and GAMSAT. They also have questions banks and courses as well as personal statement advice, reading list etc. I’m finding it really useful so check it out. Other sites that I’ve used for revision in the past is Medify – more question banks and Ace Medicine .Kaplan looks good too.

If I come across anymore useful websites I’ll make sure to list them here.

GAMSAT next.

-D x

James 2:26 ‘For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’

 

Graduate Medicine

This time next year I should be thinking about applications for graduate entry, I have vague idea of where I would like to be but I haven’t really started researching my choices. Far-fetched right? It’s the summer hols and I don’t think I would appreciate the added stress, plus It’s a year away . Although, I seem to have all this time on my hands and I’ve done nothing remotely productive, it’s a pity. So here I go, exploring my options with you.

Right, so there are 5 choices I could possibly make; 4 being for medicine and the 5th being a back-up choice, a subject other than medicine. I’m not really sure If this applies – the 5th choice as I am a graduate applicant and would already have a first degree. Next are the possible entry exams I could sit; the BMAT, UKCAT, and/or GAMSAT. I must highlight that there are medical schools in the UK that do not require an aptitude test. That reminds me, I could also apply to a US medical school but I would have to take the MCAT and that’s a 7 hour and 30 minutes exam plus the tuition fees are quite unreasonable.

The BMAT – Biomedical Admissions Test asses aptitude and skills, scientific knowledge and applications, and consists of a writing task. The aptitude and skills sections is on the tougher side hence requires more time. Scientific knowledge and applications tests the application of core scientific and mathematical knowledge which should be fine once you’ve familiarised yourself with GCSE biology, chemistry, physics, and maths. For the writing task you are given a set of questions (4 to be precise) from which you only choose one and respond with a short essay displaying your ability to develop ideas and ability to communicate your opinions effectively in the essay. Section 1 and 2 are scored according to the BMAT scale from 1 to 9, 1 being the lowest and 9 highest. According to the ‘Preparing for the BMAT – guide’ the average score is about 5 with the best applicants scoring 6+ and exceptional applications achieving a score higher than 7. Section 3 is scored differently. The quality of the essay from 0 to 5 and quality of written English from A-E.

Postgraduate Medicine at University of Oxford and Imperial College London require the BMAT, King’s College London, Newcastle, Queen Mary University of London, Southampton, and Warwick require the UKCAT. GAMSAT; Liverpool, Nottingham,St George’s LondonSwansea, and Cardiff. Lastly the universities that do not require an aptitude test includes; Cambridge, Birmingham, and Bristol. I’m yet to decided what aptitude tests I’ll be taking or what medical schools I’ll put down on my UCAS application. I am however considering taking the UKCAT and sticking it out with QMUL once again.

P.S I will go over the application process and outline the other aptitude tests; UKCAT and GAMSAT. Oh and … weekly posts aren’t really working out at the moment so please bare with me.

-D x

John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out”.