Thursday, November 12, 2009

Interview Tips!

Today I feel like posting in my blog despite having a bit of work to do for tomorrow. I will make this one brief and hopefully informative.

I have noticed people are starting to get interview offers and I reckon giving out some tips should be useful.


1) Look around the city before going to the interview! A common ice breaker question would be: "Why *City*?" Make sure you find something to talk about the city/university. Nothing better than completely messing up the first question. It is a great time to help yourself calm the nerves as you SHOULD know the answer.

2) Look at the medical course that the university offers. A common question would be something like: "Why this university?" This would be the perfect to time to show off your knowledge about the university and the course. Shows that you are keen and you know where you applied.

3) Please have something to say when they give you the good ol' vague question: "Why medicine?". I personally hated this question because it is SO vague and you could basically talk for ages. A great thing to remember when answering is to try and pull in stuff that you wrote in your personal statement. For example you can talk about your work experience/volunteering helped you discover more about medicine/educated you about the career. Also draw in positives such as your skills that you have picked up helping you to succeed as a doctor. Make sure you try to keep the answer short despite it being a difficult task. Just give a summary and make sure you cover the important points and cover some of the stuff in your personal statement.

4) Read the news especially about the NHS/health. In some interviews - the like to ask you about something recent that happened in the NHS or a recent medical advancement. The day before just go on BBC or something and read up on some stuff. Don't pick the hardest thing you saw in the news...pick something that actually drew your attention and that you find interesting so you can actually talk about it in the interview.

5) Reflect on what skills a good doctor should embody. This is a pretty common question. They could ask you to name a skill or they could name a skill and ask you to talk about that skill. Remember to always try and relate the question to yourself. If they ask you about empathy - find something that you have done which helped you develop empathy/care for people. Something like working at the hospital or care home would be good things to talk about. Remember in an interview the interviewer wants to know about YOU and how capable you are to becoming a doctor. Show that you are three dimensional and do other things other than go to school.

6) Be prepared for an ethical question. There is no right or wrong answer....actually none of the questions have a right or wrong. Do not fake an answer...answer honestly because interviewers are smart. Don't think you can actually outsmart them. The best thing about ethical questions is to prepare a structure on how you will answer it. Remember to look at both sides of the argument! Don't just completely ignore the other side of the argument as it is important to acknowledge it.

7) Some interviewers like to play the "Good Cop/Back Cop" game. Ignore it and be patient! They may ask very similar questions where you will have the same answer. Don't get frustrated and just answer the question with different wording. Sometimes it'll get annoying but some could be testing how you cope in stressful/annoying situations.

Random Tips:

1) Dress professional/well.
2) Be awake! (I must admit I did fall asleep in the waiting room though) - but be awake during the interview!
3) Don't fidget during the interview - it is distracting.
4) Know your personal statement - they will draw stuff out from it and ask you about it.
5) Smile!
6) Don't ask "dumb" questions at the end. I know some will argue that you will sound keen if you ask a question but seriously most of the answers can be found on the university's website/prospectus. If you really have any questions before the interview - call up the admissions office to ask or if an upper year is taking you around for a tour - perfect time to ask questions.

To be honest I didn't find interviews that hard as they are asking questions about YOU and only you know yourself the best. If you do your research and know the course and genuinely want to go the university you'll cover the factual questions. Just relax. The minute you tense up you get what I call "brain farts". Avoid it because you'll find yourself saying "um" and "uh" for the next what feels like hour. Plus it gets awkward too when the interviewers just stare at you waiting for an answer. Oh and don't rush your answers...make your answers concise and to the point, but at the same time show that you have reflected about it and try and draw positives to yourself.

Anyways I should get back to working. Hope this post helps. I know it is brief but I really don't know what else is there to cover about interviews. When you get an interview it is technically like you got your foot in the door, you just need to get the rest of your body through. They won't ask for an interview if they aren't interested in taking you. Quite simple.

Good luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Summary of my 5 weeks at Medical School

Sorry for the long wait!

First I want to say good luck to all the 2010 medical applicants! Hopefully you'll be hearing from your universities soon!

So far medical school has been A LOT better than I thought it would be. I always hear that medical school is EXTREMELY busy and tough. I cannot confirm the tough bit...yet, but so far the work load has been pretty moderate. I have seem to already enjoy Surface Anatomy lectures and practical activities in the dissection room. I always get excited when I see either of these on my timetable. At the moment I have seem to found a new enemy: Biochemistry and Histology. Biochemistry because I felt like we went through it way too fast but I think we are going back to it later in the year to study it in more detail. I was told that the first eight weeks are still like module introduction, where we cover almost everything that we will be doing this year. Not too fond of histology, not because it is hard or anything, but this is where we have to do online practicals at home. I have been finding them quite annoying as it is quite a challenge to find the answers to the questions. Plus it takes a really long time to complete like what...ten questions? We are allotted two hours to do the histology practical so that kind of gives you an idea why I find histology slightly annoying.

Social wise I am loving it! I am glad I have made lots of friends who are very nice. We hang pretty often and we usually go have lunch in the union or something after our morning lectures. So far I have went to all the medic socials:

Freshers Foam Party
Medics Fancy Dress Pub Crawl

Yes there has only been two events for us medics BUT the two events were AMAZING. The MedSoc really put a lot of effort into these events to make sure we all have loads of fun. Plus who does not like a nice discount at the bars during these events. From time to time I do go out with some of my friends at night to go sit at a bar and play some games. Pretty fun. Great bonding time too.

So far I have learned to keep up with your lecture notes and do your recommended reading (especially before practicals such as dissection)!!! Every week I would type up all my handwritten notes and merge them with the lecture powerpoint that is always posted up on our med school website. I guess I just want to do these notes for the future as when it comes exam time I don't want to be trying to remember stuff I did in September. But yes do your recommended reading so you don't get lost! Feel really dumb at dissection when you don't even know what topic you're learning about for the avoid it by reading!

I shall end this post as it is getting long...and boring...but I will try to update more often. Maybe sneak in a interview tips post...which I should have done quite awhile ago.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Overall it was quite a hectic week. Also it was a time for me to adjust to university life. The transition wasn't too bad as I was able to meet loads of people who are all very nice. The activities fair, the lectures, and parties were awesome. I still don't get why it is so heavily hyped but I guess it is really up to the person. I bet if you go out every single day and party yeah you'll have loads of fun. But for me it was okay really not like mind-blowing amazing.

If I could re-do freshers week again I think I would make more of an effort to join more activities as right now I feel that I am not involving enough with the university and try new things. My friends took up many new hobbies/sports/activities and I haven't really done that yet. So far university is going well and really there is not a thing to worry about. Yeah you might get homesick/miss your friends but you just have to open up. Remember everyone is in the same boat and everyone is looking for a friend. It is a waste of time to worry but I know it's hard not to worry. Just have fun, enjoy your last weeks of summer and be ready to start a new chapter!

So I guess the most important tip I can give you is to try new things, don't be scared to open up, and have FUN!

Look out for a post later one (when I have time) of a summary of the first month of uni has been like.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Well today was also the first day of training for the medics field hockey team! I met at the hockey pitch at 5:00pm which my massive goalkeeping bag. It was quite the hike up to the pitch as it was on the top of a hill and there were several flights of stairs I had to carry my bag up. There was lots of people at the practice, but sadly I only met a few freshers there. I have already met the club captain a month before I started uni to discuss about playing 1stXI team. Met a few people who are on the team when I got to practice so that was really cool. So all the people on the team are medics and most of em are upper years so I asked em a few questions about their thoughts on med school.

The general response that I got from them is that they thoroughly enjoy medical school and that I should try and have as much fun as I can in first year. All of them really loved first year of medical school as it wasn't too hard. The medical school tries really hard to make transition from school to university as easy as possible so a lot of the students really liked the transition and thought it was at a good pace.

Practice was a lot of fun...I haven't really trained with men as well so it was definitely a new experience. I was definitely expecting really hard shots...but wow can men shoot the ball! I thought I was going to get killed tonight. My goalkeeping shorts are not up to standard to start off as they are only suitable for low grade hockey...what a great confidence booster. I didn't really get hit anywhere with little protection which was good. Personally thought I played OKAY...but I was pretty tired.

After practice we went for a big team dinner at the local pub. Had great pub food and played some games such as "Boat Race". It was a lot of fun. We also went around the circle and introduced ourselves to each other. Can't even remember 1/8 of the names (terrible with names). Once dinner was finished I had a good chat with the older medics and asked them about intercalated degrees and what they thought about it. They actually thought that taking an extra degree will help you final application for foundation year placements and it shows interest in whatever specialty you are looking at. However, they did tell me that it is a bit too early to start thinking about it as usually people take an intercalated year. I am keeping the intercalated degree idea at the back of my head for now as I am considering it.

Hockey was really fun tonight and I managed to meet lots of people. Yay!

Tip: Don't be afraid to talk to upper years in your course. They may come in handy when you need help with course work or just have a question about the course. Don't worry they don't bite...although some of them may do look like they bite. :P


Luckily our first lecture of the day was at 1pm so most of us could get over/recover slightly from any hangovers. When I got to the lecture theater, half the class was holding a water bottle which I found pretty hilarious. Schedule for the day was just:

1:00pm - 2:00pm : Summing Up Introductory Activity

Pretty easy day to be honest. Anyways by 1:15pm our lecturer still hasn't showed up and people started to get bored. People started throwing paper planes and paper balls around the room. It was quite the scene. Things flying from side to side, from back to front. By 1:40pm a MedSoc rep. noticed that our lecturer was still not here and contacted the med school that there are 250 students are impatiently waiting for their lecture. So at around 1:50pm our lecturer shows up and everyone was really bummed out for obvious reasons. The lecturer was pretty considerate and just rushed through the conclusion of our task and went over the answer. The diagnosis for our case study ended up being H1N1/Swine flu and the differential diagnosis was just the common flu. Lecture ended at like 2:10pm which was REALLY fast. We all ran off pretty fast back to our flats.

After the lecture I quickly went over the student union to check our the Sports Activity Fair. There was SO MANY PEOPLE! By the time I finished my late lunch (after lecture) and got INTO the sports fair, the stands were starting to pack up. I didn't get to see much and was interested in signing up for some stuff but sadly they were all done for the day and took away their sign-up sheets.

Oh forgot to mention: I could hear the beginning of freshers flu flying around the class (oh no!). Nice short post as I didn't do anything interesting and just went home and took a nap.

Tip of the day: Load up on vitamin C during freshers week if you want to avoid freshers flu. No guarantees though. Oh and party really hard during freshers week because you won't be able to party as hard during actual uni time...too much work. Oh and if you really want to go sign up for stuff at a fair and you know you'll be in a rush after your lecture to go to the fair...just go before. It makes life much easier.

Side note: Hopefully most of you have already submitted your UCAS application for medical school by now or putting in the final touches to your personal statement. Good luck!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


WHOA WHAT A PARTY! This party has always been hyped up as the best freshers party in the entire freshers week. Wow they actually lived up to their word! First, it was a beached themed party. Second, it was a FOAM PARTY. The party technically started at 7:30pm but people didn't start going until 8:00 pm. We were told to make sure we put out phones into plastic bags or else we won't have one by the end of the night. I met up with my friends and stuff so when we got there we went straight to the bar. They were having a special and drinks were 1 quid! After sitting around for an hour or so the party really started to get going as the doors were closed and everyone started dancing. Sometime through the middle of the party they started letting loose the foam cannon and wow the party just got 1000x more fun. Some people did drown in the foam's a good tip: KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED. Gotta admit I didn't exactly abide by that tip and did choke on the foam a couple times. The foam was pretty much all the way to your knees so it was pretty deep. Everyone was having an amazing time and it was so much fun to play with the foam. I know that some people were really shy and didn't want to dance and stuff but eventually they did join in. By the end of the party they were really partying it up and regretted that they didn't join in earlier. I can't really remember much about the exact details of the party but at around 12am we switched venues and went over to a nightclub.

All I know is that when you are wet and you have to walk 2 blocks in the middle of the will freeze into a block of ice. Other than freezing I gotta say that the after party wasn't as fun and exciting. By that time everyone was really tired and soaking wet. Majority of the people started leaving within the first hour of after party and my friends and I also decided to call it a night.

All in all it was an awesome party and probably the best one I'll have this year...but I truly hope there will be a party later on that will top Freshers Fever.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Right so today again was pretty hectic and I have been super super excited for the entire day as tonight is the medics FRESHERS FEVER FOAM PARTY!!!! Anyways I had to get through two lectures for the day which isn't too bad. Here's my schedule for today:

11:00 pm: Dissection Lecture
2:00 pm: Small Group Work

So first lecture I had was at the dissection room in another building (not med school). Today's lecture was mainly based around the dissection activities that we will have pretty frequently throughout the year. However, the dissection room is the hardest place to find. I was with a group of people and it took us 30 mins to find the room. Apparently they made the room to be super hard to find so people of the public will not accidentally walk into the room as we do full body dissections (hence many cadavers). When we got there none of us were really prepared to see anything. We thought it was going to just be a quick introduction, set some rules, and ask some questions......NOPE. When we walked in there were two gurneys in the middle of the room with a cloth covering each one. None of us really thought much about it. Let's just say when it was unveiled many people weren't exactly "ready" and didn't exactly feel too well. We'll leave it at that.

However I am very glad that I managed to get into a university which does full body dissections as the amount of things you learn from dissections are priceless. Being able to see where things are in a real human body and how things are connected just makes the learning process so much more interesting and in depth. I am truly excited for dissections and I am really looking forward to it.

After the dissection lecture we had a two hour lunch break. Had some lunch at the student union with some peeps. Lunch was okay....nothing special. Kinda disappointed because people kept hyping up the cafe. Anyways after lunch there was the official university Activities Fair. Went to go check it out and joined a few societies. It wasn't that great...again had to fight the crowd and got bounced around.

At 2pm I went over to my lecture and it was so DULL! All we did was discuss in small groups about the case study that we got on Monday....yup did that for an entire hour. The discussing itself within the group probably took 10 minutes MAX. Was so glad when the lecture was over. Made some plans with my friends to meet up before going to the party tonight. Then I went home to get ready and chill.

The medic's freshers party was SO AMAZING that I have to give it its own post. Please see the next post for details about the party. If you don't give a crap about it...don't read it. :) Again here's another tip for freshers: TRY to look ahead of time which societies you want to join at the university. It makes signing up so much easier and faster as you don't have to wander around looking for stuff to catch your less pushing around. Pretty much you go in sign up and leave. Simple.


Sweet I have been waiting for awhile for this. It was medics freshers fair - clubs/societies for medics. There are societies ranging from surgical society, to medsex (?!), to medics sports teams. The British Medical Association and the MDU were there for us to sign up and they gave freebies which was a oxford clinical medicine handbook (which i heard are really useful as they are pocket sized). Plus today we got our MedSoc membership cards which costs 50 pounds (10 pounds a year for 5 years) and our white coats, dissection kit, and the most important: Medics Freshers Fever ticket/wristband!!!

Other than fighting the crowd and almost dying from suffocation (no air conditioning in the halls - imagine 250 students crammed in a small area), I managed to join a few societies. I joined the surgical society, st.john's ambulance, BMA/MDU memberships, medics hockey, and medics basketball. Quite hefty right? I know some people who joined every single society that was there! After being pushed around I met up with friends and we decided to chill and have some food/recover from being pushed around.

Today was a pretty light lectures at all. Just another day for me to get to know the city. Speaking of getting to know the city, I got majorly lost today. I decided to take the bus and somehow took the wrong bus and ended up in this really weird place. Asked some people for directions and took another bus back towards the right direction..and walked for like ages to get back home. It was pretty ridiculous. But like I way to get to know a place is to get lost and find your way again. Not much to post today but I will leave you with another tip:

During Freshers Fair/Activities Fair, join as many societies as you want. You can always not go to them. Societies are the best way to get to know people and especially medic societies help you to get to know upper year medics so if you have any questions about the course you can always ask them.

I notice that UCAS applications are almost over so good luck to everyone who is applying! Stressful times.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Today I gotta sleep in which was nice as I didn't have anything to do until 1:00pm. The schedule was:

1:00 pm - Collect Welcome Packs
2:00-4:30pm - Welcome Talks from School of Medicine

Anyways I decided to take my sweet time to go get my welcome pack as I totally thought I was done with lining up. To my surprise when I got to the Medical School, the line up was all the way OUT of the school and along the street! I thought to myself: "You can't be serious...". I was pretty annoyed as that meant more waiting/more standing around doing NOTHING. I decided to say "Hi" to the people around me and started having a few conversations. It was nice to talk to someone as it made the time pass by faster. Finally got my welcome pack and went into the lecture theater. Had to prepare myself for a long haul as it 2.5 hours of lectures. It actually went by pretty fast as it was just a bunch of introductions. It was neat meeting the rest of the medical department. There wasn't anything special at these lecturers so I will keep you guys away from boring details. After the lectures I decided to start on the right foot and head to the library to work on my assignment (details of it below).

I forgot to mention something cool that we did yesterday. At the medical lecture we also jumped right into a case study about a woman who returned from Mexico City and was ill. We got a list of symptoms and we got to ask the patient some additional questions. We were supposed to answer a few questions by Friday which were:

1) What is your diagnosis?
2) What are your differential diagnosis?
3) What treatment will you give?
4) What other actions would you take?
5) Why do you think you are right?

So I did a bit of research today and found my answers and took down some notes. It really wasn't hard at all as it is pretty obvious. But wow what a way to start med school. Just dumping us into a case study. I can see that it will be an interesting/fun/exciting/stressful year.

Just a quick tip: Do your assignment the day or the day after it is assigned! If you let it drag you will eventually forget about it and you will be rushing last minute to finish it off. Plus if you get it down early you don't have to think about it at all and you can go off and party as much as you want! Makes sense right? Too bad it is easier to say than to do. Hmph.


So today was the very first/official day of Freshers Week at the university. I was super nervous about this day as I didn't know anyone and thought it would be super awkward just wandering around. Gotta say today was probably the most hectic day EVER. So my schedule was kinda like this:

9:30 am - Welcome to the University (Induction talk)
1:00 - 2:00 pm - University Registration (online)
1:15 - 2:15 pm - University Health Services Registration
2:00 pm - Medicine Welcome Talk

Now obviously I had a lot of time between the induction talk and registration. Well as you can see Uni registration and health are at the same time....and then there's a welcome talk from the Medical Department right after. The medical school is about 10-15 walk from the registration that means I should be done registering by 1:45ish. Well when I got to the registration place (Sports Hall) the line up was freaking MASSIVE. I knew right then and there that I was not going to make it to the welcome talk on time...or even be able to make it at all. I got to the line at 12:45pm and didn't get registered til 1:40pm. Then I had to go to health registration and their line was SUPER long as well. No joke I was stressed because I really didn't want to miss the intro talk for Med. The coordinator of health registration said that they will be open til 5pm so I literally just jetted to the med school (and got lost on the way). I was about 10 mins late for the lecture and thank god the lecturer didn't mind.

After the lecture, which was 45 mins long, I decided to go back to health registration (and got lost AGAIN). The line was much shorter now and I had to fill out some forms. Nothing too hard. After health registration I met someone who was in my course. Right after that I seemed to have found a bunch of other medics from my year which was really neat. I've met some of them on facebook already so it was neat to see them in real life. They all seemed so different from their fb pictures so I was a bit surprised. So once I met a few people we all decided to go to the library to register for our email accounts. That was really fast so we decided to take a tour of the library. Every floor pretty much looked the same - no wonder the library is known for an excellent place to play hide and seek.

Once all the registration stuff were done it was about 5pm so I decided to head back home to rest/organize my stuff. I managed to pick up loads of flyers and booklets/welcome packs and my bag weighed a ton. So far it was a pretty exciting day and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Overwhelming but fun. Finally feels like I am at university!

Gotta say I've never lined up for so long to do something...and walked so much. Got home and my legs were aching. I decided to skip out on partying today as I was wayyy too tired and I feel a bit overwhelmed by everything. So far I'm only planning to go to the Medics Fresher Fever party on Thursday.

Oh and some good tips about freshers: MAKE SURE YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT LINE! I saw a few people lining up for an hour plus and didn't realize they were in the wrong line. They were so pissed to have found out that they wasted an hour + of just waiting for nothing. Make sure you follow your schedules and bring a map along if you aren't in a campus university. Also don't be afraid to ask people where things are. People generally are pretty nice and will help you out. I think the best way to get to know a place is to get lost and figure out your way back. You learn the roads better. Also try and meet some people. Say hi to everyone and you'll surely meet someone from your course! It is a lot easier to get around when you know someone.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Well I've been settling into my place for a few days now, trying to find my barrings and getting lost frequently. First thing I realized when I got to England was that people walk EVERYWHERE. Back in Canada, we drive everywhere. My legs were killing me by today. Anyways I had a party tonight which was held by the university. It was a "Beach Party" and it was to celebrate the end of summer. Few things I've learned:

1) Don't wear flip-flops to parties
2) Don't wear flip-flops to parties

Yes - some of you may think I am retarded but I wore flip-flops to the party and got stomped on, had drinks spilled all over my feet, and lost my flip-flops several times. The ground is extremely sticky so walking is a pain. To be honest, the drinks at the union were pretty cheap. They were about 1 - 3.50 pounds. Nice thing about the party was that the DJ was pretty good and had really good songs playing. Great songs to dance to. I also met up with a high school friend who's a year older than me and she introduced me to some of her friends. They were all very nice and welcoming.

Seriously, the parties at unis are totally overhyped unless you're the type who enjoys getting hammered and waking up hungover. All you do is dance and dance...and drink more and yeah it is fun but after a few hours it gets tiring and boring. Plus half the people are heavily intoxicated and are spilling stuff all over you. Saw a poor guy who got puked all over and the guy who puked didn't even notice that he puked on someone. It was pretty gross.

Hm im actually pretty nervous about tomorrow (which is officially the first day of Fresher's Week). I'm scared it'll be a bit awkward being all on my own and not knowing anyone. Yikes. Hopefully it'll be fine tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Wow ok I am so sorry for not posting throughout freshers week as I did promise you guys. The problem was that I did not have any internet access but I have been charting my days on Word. In the next few days I will be posting a separate posts for each "freshers day" with the date next to it. I will remember to include lots of details just for you guys as I know lots of you are interested in knowing what freshers is like in uni. If i had to summarize my freshers week with one word I would say: "AMAZING". You always hear people saying that freshers is the best week of your life and you think it is totally hyped up, but it is true. Not to the point of it being the best week of your life but if you go out and socialize, put yourself out there, open up, you will have a FANTASTIC time. Don't hold back and say hi to lots of people. Everyone is in the same boat as you and everyone is looking for friends too. Look out for the upcoming posts!

Sorry again for not posting during freshers :( Please forgive me!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One more week.

Hi everyone!

Wow these last few days have been hectic. Trying to buy some final items for England, packing, looking for stuff, cleaning my room, etc. Well here's some good news: I FINALLY got the email from Ottawa that my Student Visa has been issued. I should be receiving it soon. Yay!

6 days 'til I leave.
12 days 'til Freshers.
19 days 'til start of uni.


For those of you still doing/panicking about your UCAS application. Don't worry! Just make sure you put some thought into it. Don't rush. Everything will come together in the end.

Technically its also 12 days til the official start of my Freshers Blog. So hopefully everyone will look out for it as I'll try and post every day of my freshers week to keep you all in the loop!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2 More Weeks.

Hi everyone!

Yay it is finally September. If I was still in high school I should be starting school tomorrow! Yikes! Technically I still have 3 more weeks of summer holiday which is crazy as almost all my friends have already started university. I can finally start my countdown to England. I am leaving September 15 so I am really stoked....and at the same time praying that my Visa will arrive before I leave.

14 more days 'til I leave for England.
20 more days 'til Freshers Week/Intro Week.
27 more days 'til the first day of University.

I am soo excited! Anyways I just wanted to keep this blog updated so here's another quick UCAS/admissions tip:

Don't be scared to ask questions! If you're unsure about the university's requirements or have questions about their course call and ask! But obviously first check their website and prospectus before calling but other than that go ahead and call! Most of the admissions people are very friendly and helpful.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


WOW! AM I LUCKY OR WHAT? My visa appointment was scheduled for August 26th 10:00 am. I finally got my tracking number for my Visa letter and I called up DHL to ask when will it arrive and they said: "Wednesday or Thursday depending on customs". So I was super nervous and anxious because on the website the next visa appointment is in September and that guarantees me missing my flight and most likely freshers week. ACK. So Monday night before I went to sleep I went to check the Visa Letter tracking and it said that it was in Cincinnati, Ohio and I was pretty sure it will stop over in the west coast of the US. Next morning (Tuesday) at 10:30am someone rings the doorbell and to my surprise it was DHL! I was so shocked to find out that it was my Visa Letter and it was kinda amazing that it only took one day to ship my letter from the UK to Canada. Crazy right? And a bit of luck too.

So this morning I went to my Visa appointment...the agent wasn't that helpful. She just confirmed my personal details and got my fingerprints....she didn't even ask for my Visa letter...or any of my documents. She just shoved my visa application form into an envelope with my passport and left me with an address to send my stuff to. Like I thought they would help you check through your documents and stuff....but obviously not. I really hope I did everything right because I really need the Visa to be done/processed ASAP. I hope hope hope hope the British High Commission in Ottawa will understand my situation and will process it faster. :(

Anyways I just wanted to let you guys know that my Visa is now coming along...but hopefully everything is all good with my application as I cannot risk it getting rejected. Ahhhhhh.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Interviews plus random ranting.

Hello! Well sadly I will have to start this post with a rant. I STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN MY VISA LETTER FROM MY UNI! At this pace I will not make my flight on Sept 15 and MIGHT miss freshers week. Ughhh. I've been calling up the uni every day so far rushing my visa letter and they said they'll email me today with the tracking number. Guess what? I didn't get it. Like I understand that the uni is busy and A Levels came out (congrats to those who made their offers), but the Visa letter is quite important. HOPEFULLY I'll get an email with the tracking tomorrow.

*End Rant*

So the main topic of this post will be about med school interviews. How I see with interviews is that you've got your foot in the door and all you need to do is make a final push to get through. This means that the uni is probably quite interested in you, so put your head to it and deliver a fantastic interview. For some it may be a breeze, for others, interviews may be their worst nightmare. For me I'm pretty talkative (if you haven't realized) so I found the interview pretty relaxed. Depending on the uni, the interviews will be set out differently. You could have a panel of 2 - 5(?) interviewers...the more...not the merrier. It is quite nerve-racking to be interviewed by a large amount of people as when one person asks the question you've got the others just sitting there either looking bored to death or intrigued. The uni generally will ask some ice breakers which are pretty easy/guessable questions. Obviously they will ask "Why Medicine?". Please do know how to answer is a basic question where you can answer easily with just a little bit of preparation. Before your interview there are some things that may help:

1. Re-read your personal statement - interviewers will most likely ask you about it

2. Research about the university - come up with points that you like about the uni (impress the interviewer with your knowledge)

3. Look professional!!!!!!!!!!!! - please dress properly and appropriately to the interview. don't just throw on a pair of jeans and a shirt. dress well!

4. Do a bit of prep work - research some common med questions, think about some answers. BUT I am quite against people memorizing their answers because when it comes time for them to answer, they sound like a robot rehearsing a line! just think about the question no need to start writing out answers! natural is what's best! Sometimes the interviewer may ask about medical advancements or anything medically related in the news. Be prepared for that! Don't talk about something you know nothing about.

5. BE CONFIDENT! - try not to be shy with the interviewer, they aren't there to whip you. they just want to find out more about you. answer honestly and be confident in every answer you deliver...try to avoid the annoying "ummm"s and the excessive use of "like".

6. Smile! - don't walk into the room like you've been sentenced to death. have fun (i know it's easy to say...not so easy to do but do try!)

Let me give you a helping hand on SOME possible questions:

Why Medicine?

Why this university?

Why not be a nurse?

What are some qualities of a doctor?

With all questions remember don't just answer "Why Medicine?" with "Because I like to help people." Expand on your answer reflect on it, what have you done to help you decide that Medicine is the career for you. With every question make sure you expand. If you have to answer a negative question like "What is one bad quality about you?", don't just say "I take a long time to do my work". Instead, turn your answer into a positive and say that you take a long time, BUT you take long to make sure your work is done with the best of quality and there are no errors. It isn't really that hard.

Interviews isn't rocket science. Just be yourself. Give genuine answers which are straight from your heart. Remember you only get an interview because the uni is interested in having you. Good luck!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Yes sorry for the lack of posts recently. I have been quite busy doing....erm....nothing. Actually I really wanted to think over this post before I post it so it doesn't sound like crap bunched together into a massive paragraph...but it probably will still end up sounding like crap bunched together. Hmm.

Anyways when I was applying for med I dreaded the "WAITING GAME". Here's what goes down: You check UCAS every 5-30 joke. I myself saw people always checking their UCAS before and I told myself "No way am I going to be THAT obsessed." Obviously I failed and it is just really hard to avoid not checking UCAS. What I found that has put me off from checking UCAS continuously is that I am technically stalking UCAS to see myself get rejected. Most medical universities require an interview before they offer so if you think about it you're checking ucas non stop to see that "UNSUCCESSFUL" pop up. Sad right?

I must say the waiting game is quite stressful as you are waiting for that glorious email from your uni that says "INTERVIEW". I can tell you this: the first email you get which asks for an interview is probably the best feeling on Earth. I was so esctatic when I saw the email...and unfortunately I was in a library and just jumped out from my chair. Trust me I got a bunch of deathly glares. It is a great feeling. Most applicants keep asking when will they hear from the university about interviews and usually interviews begin from November all the way to April. From experience, earlier the interview the better. The two unis that offered me an interview asked me to have an interview before Christmas holiday. When I arrived for my interview the medical admissions said that they will hand out decisions BEFORE Christmas. So technically the uni will give you an amazing Christmas present or completely kill your Christmas. One university took about one week to reply and fortunately I was offered a conditional offer. The other university took exactly two weeks to reply and it was 2 days before Christmas. This university was my first choice and I did get a conditional offer. So this kind of gives you a good time frame of how long the university will get back to you if they are going to offer you. I think it is safe to say they will take from 1-3 weeks to reply if they want to take you.

I heard from my universities pretty early (November to be precise), but I've heard from my friends that it is quite nerve-racking as the months go by. You start to doubt yourself and you start to get anxious. But do not worry. Yes it is a bit off putting to see on forums and hearing about people getting interviews, but do remember that there are THOUSANDS of applicants and it does take time for the admissions office to go through their applications. It does not mean your application is weaker; hence, the later time. Just stay confident and just RELAXXXX!!!!

If you do receive an unsucessful, do not be sad. You've still got 3 more unis and one rejection doesn't mean ALL will reject. Some unis look for certain people that will fit into their "bubble" and I'm sure if you have done your research there will be at least one uni in your choice where you feel that you fit in and feel comfortable at that uni. If you want input on why you got rejected don't hesitate to call up the uni and ask. Some admissions offices are quite friendly and will tell you what is wrong with your application and perhaps even tell you some pointers on how to improve your application! It's not all that bad!

Well I'm probably sounding like I have verbal diahrea. Plus I don't know what else to talk about. The waiting game is just the waiting game. You wait and hope that your application was good enough to get that interview. Just hope for the best and be confident. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Tips!!!

I can't really sleep. Should not have slept in 'til 2pm. Grrr. I had this sudden urge to list out some basic tips about uni applications/med applications in no specific order.

I can't emphasize it anymore as it is VERY important to research about the uni you are interested in going. Plus it'll give you bonus points in the interview when the interviewer asks you "Why do you like our course/uni?" And it really sucks when you end up at the uni that you dream of going to but end up hating the course.

2. Visit the university!
I've got friends who didn't even visit their universities before applying and they were SHOCKED to see what the uni is actually like and what the city is like. Nothing worse than travelling for hours to a foreign country/city and find out that you loathe the place and you feel out of place.

3. Go to open days!
Kinda related to point #2 but open days are really important. The head of departments will usually be speaking for the course and he/she will probably give you some juicy hints and tips for you personal statement and you can guage what type of applicant they are looking for. Also an EXCELLENT time to ask questions.

4. Reflect in you personal statement!
Just discussed it in the last post. Makes your personal statement so much more three dimensional and much more interesting to read. Imagine admissions officers reading through thousands of personal statements that sound alike. Make yours stand out and do some deep reflections about the stuff you'll be talking about.

5. Start your application AHEAD OF TIME!
Don't leave it til the last day to finish up your personal statement. To be honest, I started my personal statement in July and my application was due in October. I was glad I started early because it gave me plenty of time to read it over, change it, revise it, etc. You'll regret it if you leave it til the last minute as you'll know you can do a better job of it.

6. BE HONEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yeah it's important to do a lot of work experience and volunteer work to make your application stand out but please don't lie or exaggerrate. It may not seem obvious to you but it may seem obvious to the trained eyes of the admissions officers. Even if you get past that stage, you better be able to support what you wrote in your personal statement. Nothing more awkward than being asked about a work experience you've never done.

7. Try and do some work experience/volunteer work!
Work experience and volunteer work helps you get a better feel of your possible future career. For example for medicine, I volunteered at the old people's home and did work experience at the blood lab and the blood clinic. It is very useful and you learn a lot. Plus you can talk about it in your personal statement.

8. Read the small print!
Kind of related to point #1 but when you look at the course details make sure you read the DETAILS. Dont' just skim it. It is VERY IMPORTANT to know what your course is about so you know what to look foward to. Especially as an international student there are some universities that do NOT take international students and obviously you wouldn't want to apply to that uni if they won't take you. For med you've got only 4 choices. Make them worthwhile choices.

9. Prepare for the UKCAT!
People say you don't need to study for the UKCAT. Yeah they're right you actually CANNOT study for it. BUT you can prepare yourself. It is a very fast test and you will have to get used to the timing. Make sure you go and check out some websites that may have practice papers for you and the UKCAT site does have one full timed practice exam which I would do the day or two before the actual exam. See the end of the post for some useful links.

10. Just relax!
I totally understand that for some people uni applications can be extremely stressful. But just sit back and relax. Take your time and start early. Of course it'll be stressful it you're doing up your application like 2 days before the due date. Give yourself plenty of time so you can think over your application and make the right decisions. When you're calm you'll write a better personal statement and it'll be more genuine. I know the application process can be very stressful so seriously give yourself time and RELAX!

Something to look forward to. In the near future I will be posting up about "What happens after sending in your application/THE DREADED WAITING GAME".

As promised here are some useful links:
Tours of most of the unis in the UK/helps if you can't visit
Official UKCAT site
Brief overview of the UKCAT
Got a lot of practice questions
Common interview questions
More common interview questions
Pretty good book
Good book as well

There are a lot of links but I need some time to find them. There's a few up there and hopefully I'll post some more later on.

Hope you enjoyed this post.

Quick Tip.

Hello all!

Anyways just remembered a REALLY great tip that I heard at the open day that I attended last year. It truly did help me with my personal statement. Most people tend to just list out things that they're good at and literally hammer out a resume instead. What makes the personal statement more interesting for the admissions officers is to reflect about the skills that you've picked up in a particular hobby/interest. For example: Through team sports you pick up the skill of team work. Don't just state that you love playing hockey, but expand on it and just reflect on the numerous skills that you've gotten out of playing a team sport and how some of those skills help in other areas of your life. It just really makes your personal statement more three dimensional and obviously a lot more interesting.

In other news, I am getting a tad nervous as I still haven't received an email from my university about my Visa letter. Hopefully I'll get an email tomorrow. If I don't, I think i will call up the uni and inquire about it. Hmm.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Starting to pack.

WELL my mom has been continuously nagging me to start packing up stuff I don't need now and will need in Sheffield such as notes from school/books/binders/etc. I'm actually getting a headache going through my mess. I'm thinking about taking my Chemistry and Biology notes with me. I've decided to pack stuff into boxes instead because when I get to my place I can actually fold up the boxes and put them behind my closet or something as suitcases do take up a lot of room. I'm also really tempted to take my PS3/Xbox 360 with me but I don't know if I can find a wire with the UK plug to plug into the system. I really should get back to packing my room is no joke a complete mess. I can hardly get out without stepping on something.

Quick tip for UCAS: Especially for medicine make sure you get as much work experience done that is related to your course as it will help you get a good feel whether or not the career in the future will suit you. You will also be able to gain a lot of skills from the volunteer work which you can talk about in you personal statement.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Random thoughts.

Well I think I finally hit the "slightly stressed level" for university. I just realized that I have about one more month and I still haven't got my Visa to study in the UK yet. But thats not all MY fault. It is more because the university still hasn't sent my Visa letter to allow me to get my Visa. Argh i hope it actually won't take that long for me to get my Visa. :(

So I guess that kinda leads me to my next tip for UCAS applications: Do NOT leave your application til the last minute. You will seriously kick yourself in the butt later on. Might as well get it done NOW and enjoy the rest of the summer/first weeks of school.

Yes a nice and short post today. Too tired to think of stuff to write about plus I don't want to bore you.

EDIT: I forgot to add earlier on that also to add to my stress: I haven't even STARTED to think about what I am going to pack for university. I actually don't even want to think about it. Ugh.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rewind to last year this time.

I promised that I will be posting up about my experience with applying to UK unis for Medicine. So here we go. Last year this time I was probably sitting in my room staring at a blank word document trying to figure out what I should write for my Personal Statement. It was probably the most frustrating thing to do up because there was so much to say yet so little lines for you to write. I also think I took my UKCAT around this time too. I did a bit of studying. Bought some UKCAT books online and did some practice papers but you can't really study for this test. In the end I did pretty well so I was happy.

Hmmm I don't know what should I really talk about. I chose my 4 universities like a month prior because I flew to England to go to the open days to check out the area/the course. I probably visited about 10 universities and managed to cut it down to 4 EASILY after the trip. So I guess one tip is to visit all the universities that you are interested in applying to as it will really help with cutting out universities.

Oh I guess one tip with writing up personal statements is to write true to your heart and don't exaggerate and tell lies. The admissions people are pretty darn smart and they'll probably figure it out...if not they'll catch you during the interview as they do ask you about your personal statement.

I can't really think of what else to talk about. Maybe I should think about it some more and will post up later.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Officially to be a Med Student!

Right...I'm a total newb at this blogging thing so please bear with me. Anywhoooo, earlier today I have officially been given an unconditional offer to study Medicine in England. I was so relieved to finally see the word unconditional crammed in the decision section of my UCAS.

So I just want to give a brief introduction of what my blog will be about. For the next few weeks, before I officially start university, I will be blogging about the process of applying to medical schools in the UK and the experiences I have been through. Hopefully the tips I'll be giving out will be helpful.

Later, once uni starts, I will begin to blog about my life as a med student and the ups and downs of my uni life. As the title says: "The Crazy Life of a Med Student", I will probably be bogged down with work and essentially will be pretty crazy. Hopefully first year won't be too bad.

If you don't know me well here's a quick and brief introduction. I'm from the great land of Canada and specifically live on the beautiful West Coast. Why did I choose to study Medicine in the UK? Well I really enjoy the course that they offer and how it is so direct and pertained to medicine while in Canada you will have to do an undergraduate degree first and learn about general science/any other thing. I am pretty passionate to study medicine so I felt that studying in the UK is what suits me best.

Anyways I don't know what else to keep typing about...but I will start doing up uni tips probably tomorrow if not the day after.