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.