As we kick off the last week of July, most students are just settling into their new routine. No alarm clock, eating breakfast at lunchtime and watching TV until your eyes are sore. Productivity is difficult and motivation is not something you remember. The silver lining is that a lot of people are in the same boat so if you can achieve even just 5 small things in a week you are ahead of the game. And being ahead of the game is an Applican motto.
If you're ahead of the game, you know what's coming next. You are in control and your confidence is high. When you're ahead of the game in an interview, you have prepared well and you demonstrate your potential. Exactly what Applican aims to do.
So our team at Applican HQ have put together 5 things you can NOW if you want to get into medicine. These are easy tasks that won't take more than 1 hour each. You will thank us later.
1. Make a pretty plan
Personal statements can feel scary -we get that. But they don't have to be. Lists are boring. Diagram plans are fun. Get 4 coloured pens - I would go for blue, pink, green and yellow but feel free to pick whichever you would prefer. Now draw three circles and one long rectangle. See below if you are a visual follower. (I felt a square and two circles worked better - work it as you please...)
Then over the next few days, jot stuff down as it comes into your head? Anything, everything you have done.. in school, outside school, medicine related, fun related. We will help make sense of it with you later. The important thing is that every time you think of an activity how can you relate it to skills and qualities you have. Even better, how can you link it to skills and qualities you saw in doctors when on work experience! The more linking the better. The Applican model for personal statements comes down to three key words: ZIG-ZAG, FLOW and THEME. More to be revealed but this simple exercise will help you on your way.
2. Buy yourself a snazzy notebook
Go treat yourself. The snazzier the better. I am a Moleskine fan because nothing beats a soft, quality page but the more personal the better. You even have our permission to decorate it on the outside. This is because this book is going to be special. It is going to hoard all your notes, preparation and ideas. This is what at Applican we call your 'FOAK Book' a.k.a. your fountain of all knowledge book. And then the important bit....page 1: IMPORTANT DATES.
Whilst you are chillin' like a villain and we all know that is good for the soul. It will not be good for the soul if you miss any of the important dates to come. So fill them in.
- Have you booked your UKCAT? Then put the date in. If you haven't, then BOOK IT NOW. The popular dates book up quickly and you don't want to miss getting a slot at your local test centre and have to travel for ages to do this already super annoying test. Book it now. We advice sooner rather than later but leave yourself about 3-4 weeks for preparation.
- BMAT date? And sign up date. When you get back to school you will need to ask your teacher/administration assistant in charge of examinations to book you in for this. There is a closing date and if you miss it (be it your fault or your school's) then any university who requires this test will reject you. In other words, DON'T MISS IT.
- Applican couse dates: is there a course near you? Then book it. We cover everything - from personal statement to interview skills and we are the cheapest and, in our opinion, by far the best on the market. Our team of 20 Oxbridge medics have worked to get our courses together and over 90% of our surveyed students that applied last year got an offer. So come! Plus, we have a 100% money back guarantee. You don't think it was worth it, then you can get your money back. That's how much we back ourselves.
- School internal personal statement deadline, UCAS deadline - know when these are. It's good to keep your teachers on your side and be ahead of the game.
3. Take note of what's going down
Remember the days when Pritt Stick was your best friend? Cutting and sticking can come into play once again. Even every couple of days ask someone at home to buy a newspaper or if that isn't possible just get it online. The Guardian section theirs to make it especially easy and you can begin to keep up to date with what's going down in the world around you! Each day you just need one article or even one thing on the TV or radio that comes under the term 'healthcare news'. We like to split them into 5 categories (as usual - you will start to realise that Applican love to group things in 5). Which of the following does your article come under?
- Drug availability
- New discoveries
Most things you see in the news regarding healthcare or global health can be grouped under one of the above headings. So keep a record and where do you think we would suggest you keep a record? Your snazzy notebook. Cut and stick. Scribble down and then mull over. Check out our blog post to come on analysing newspaper articles for more guidance here.
4. Like FIVE Facebook pages now
Sometimes the best way to take in information is to find ways to incorporate it into things you do every day. By liking the following five Facebook pages interesting pieces of information will crop up on your newsfeed. The important this is what to do when this happens....JOT IT DOWN in your snazzy notebook. Honestly you will thank us later.
- The STUDENT BMJ (British Medical Journal)
- Kahn Academy
- British Medical Association: Medical Students
- The Facebook pages of the universities you are interested in applying to
5. Watch FIVE Ted talks
Sometimes reading is tiring. Watching less so. So each day this week spare less than 10 minutes to watch a Ted talk. Linked below are five videos about the future of medicine that are all less than 10 minutes long. The future of medicine is exciting, challenging and dynamic. Having an interest in it is exactly what interviewers want to see - excited for the degree, more excited about their future career. Medical students need stamina - not just for the hard work but for the long degree and many years of studying that will even follow graduation. By having a passion for the future and a sense of wanting to contribute to the field, you will be reeling in the offers following interview. Check out the videos below and keep an eye on our blog… over the next week we will be discussing aspects of each videos and discussing how it links to other aspects of medicine.
1. A bold new way to fund drug research:
Believe it or not, about 20 years' worth of potentially life-saving drugs are sitting in labs right now, untested. Why? Because they can't get the funding to go to trials; the financial risk is too high. Roger Stein is a finance guy and he thinks deeply about mitigating risk. He and some colleagues at MIT came up with a promising new financial model that could move hundreds of drugs into the testing pipeline.
2. A test for Parkinson's with a phone call
Parkinson's disease affects 6.3 million people worldwide, causing weakness and tremors, but there's no objective way to detect it early on. Yet. Applied mathematician and TED Fellow Max Little is testing a simple, cheap tool that in trials is able to detect Parkinson's with 99% accuracy - in a 30 second phone call.
3. On the virtual dissection table
Onstage at TED2012, Jack Choi demonstrates a powerful tool for training medical students: a stretcher-sized multi-touch screen of the human body that lets you explore, dissect and understand the body's parts and systems.
4. The wireless future of medicine
Eric Topol says we'll soon use our smartphones to monitor our vital signs and chronic conditions. At TEDMED, he highlights several of the most important wireless devices in medicine's future — all helping to keep more of us out of hospital beds.
5. The coming crisis in antibiotics
Antibiotic drugs save lives. But we simply use them too much - and often for non-lifesaving purposes, like treating the flu and even raising cheaper chickens. The result, says researcher Ramanan, is that the drugs will stop working for everyone, as the bacteria they target grow more and more resistant. He calls on all of us (patients and doctors alike) to think of antibiotics as a finite resource, and to think twice we tap into it. It's a sobering look at how global medical trends can strike home.
At Applican we are all about ideas and even more about spreading them!