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  • Writer's picturePipes

Productive Things I'm doing In Lockdown: Dental/Medical School Applications

Updated: May 23, 2021

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures- being productive.

With A levels and university applications looming and the whole lockdown situation, it is a great opportunity to get ahead on these things.

My Dental School Application

1. Work experience is overrated 2. Books are good 3. UCAT is hard

1.Work Experience is Overrated

Most medical and and dental school applicants' attitude to work experience is to do as much as possible; this was certainly my attitude, despite it being the biggest waste of time. I mean what will I learn by sitting there, watching middle aged human beings look at teeth. (Yes, I actually have done some work experience and so have an idea of what dentistry is actually like and also there's nothing wrong with looking at teeth.)

Here is something 'useful' for both medics and dentists on gaining 'relevant' experience in the current situation though I must admit I have not implemented any of what it tells you to do.

Key ideas include volunteering within the community (delivering groceries, online volunteering etc), reading the news and around medical ethics topics (I will write about this in more detail in another post), and talking to medical students and doctors.

Similarly, Brighton and Sussex Medical School have developed virtual work experience resource that can be found here. This is pretty useful; it outlines aspects of the NHS and different specialities within medicine- surgery, general practice, palliative etc.

I think it's important to remember that work experience is an important aspect of uni applications, but this has never been compulsory for the majority of universities (it is instead 'preferred'). An now,very little, if not any students will be able to have work experience and according to the medic portal it is perfectly reasonable to point out you had work experience 'planned' for the summer.

2. Books are good

Generation Z: 'the generation reaching adulthood in the second decade of the 21st century, perceived as being familiar with the Internet from a very young age' . i.e we don't read books.

For me, I wouldn't say reading is a habit. I read when extremely bored and before bed. The genre I have always enjoyed is self-help and crime, but recently I have started reading the 'doctor' books- those books you're meant to read to put on your personal statement. Well, considering there's not much else to do, I have resorted to reading with somewhat frequency. If you have never read those 'doctor' books I highly recommend that you do so- many can be ordered from Amazon second hand for £1-2, so there's really no excuse. In fact, recently I acquired a kindle, one of the best purchases I've made and would highly recommend one to someone who also reads with somewhat frequency.

Here's a list of the generic 'doctor books' (I've read the ones in bold and would very highly recommend them):

  • This is Going to Hurt

  • Bad Science

  • Being Mortal

  • When Breath Becomes Air

  • Do No Harm

  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat

  • Fragile Lives

  • Trust Me I'm a Junior Doctor

Here are some less generic ones that I've read (and highly recommend):

  • War Doctor

  • Everything that makes us human

  • Dear Life

  • Face-to-Face (this one's about facial surgery; the closest book to dentistry)

Everyone should read Dear Life. It's quite a recent book written by a palliative doctor- in short, the it's about death. Stay tuned for a proper review.

Make sure to take notes on key ideas.

3. UCAT is hard

Initially, my attitude to UCAT was should be fine right? How wrong I was it turns out. My advice to all who are going to take the UCAT: start practice asap, it's a lot harder than you'd think. If you haven't tried it yet- try it and you'll see what I mean unless you can read at a million miles and hour.

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