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Medicine

HOW WE CHOOSE OUR STUDENTS

Introduction

Applications are handled by the Academic Selector for Medicine, in conjunction with the Admissions and Access Service.  In considering applications, all the information provided by you is important and you should ensure that full details are given about qualifications completed or still to be completed.

Stages in the Process

The selection process for Medicine involves two stages:

  • Stage 1: Cognitive Ability:

Consideration of previous academic performance, including school, college and university grades as appropriate.

Aptitude testing using the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)

  • Stage 2 : Non-Cognitive Ability

This will comprise multi-mini interviews carefully designed to objectively evaluate non-cognitive skills.

All applicants will be scored at Stage 1 of the selection process and ranked.  From this, candidates will be selected for interview (Stage 2) and a final decision about whether or not to make a conditional or unconditional offer will be based solely on interview performance. 

Interviews

The interviews take the form of Multi Mini Interviews which are designed to test key non-cognitive competencies for Medicine:

-          Motivation

-          Empathy

-          Problem-solving

-          Integrity

-          Ethics

-          Communication Skills

Entry to Medicine is highly competitive and the scores at interview are used to create a rank order.  Offers are made to the applicants who rank highest after interview. Should places be available in August, this rank order will also be the primary factor in considering candidates who are not holding an offer with any other Medical School through UCAS.

Clincial Aptitude Test (UKCAT)

The United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is required for admission to Medicine and must be taken during the summer prior to completion of the UCAS application.  Full details of how to apply are provided on their website:  www.ukcat.ac.uk.  The website includes information on arrangements for those with disabilities or medical conditions and guidance for applicants on what to do if they are ill on the day of their scheduled test. For all candidates UKCAT will be scored  using the overall results from four of the papers. Candidates can obtain up to a maximum of 6 additional points. 

Points Awarded

Banding of UKCAT Scores

0

1200 –   1899

1

1900 –   2099

2

2100 –   2299

3

2300 –   2499

4

2500 -   2699

5

2700 -   2899

6

2900 -   3600

For all candidates UKCAT is therefore taken into account at stage 1 of the selection process.

UKCAT has introduced a fifth paper called a Situational Judgement Test, but it has been agreed that the results of this will not be used for 2014 entry except, if necessary, to inform decisions on borderline applicants who have achieved a similar score at interview. 

The current scoring system for UKCAT will be reviewed for 2015 entry. 

Personal Statement and References:

Your personal statement should indicate explicitly that Medicine is your career choice and. there should be evidence of commitment and motivation.  This should include evidence of what you have done to find out about Medicine as a career. This can be demonstrated in a number of ways including: opportunities for observational experience in a clinical setting,  attending medical careers conferences, or undertaking voluntary work in a care setting. Participation in activities within or outside School demonstrating transferable skills such as leadership, empathy, teamwork and communication skills is also considered.

It is anticipated that you will have strong support from your academic referee, particularly relating to your character, suitability for the course, communication skills and initiative.

Please note that an applicant cannot normally be considered for both Medicine and Dentistry at Queen’s.

Subject Requirements

  • A-levels and AS-level Subject Requirements

Three A-levels are required to include GCE Chemistry + at least one from Biology, Physics and Maths.  A maximum of one VCE/Applied subject at either A-level or AS-level (not both) will be counted. If Biology is not offered at GCE A-level, it is required at GCE AS-level grade B or better. Mathematics and Further Mathematics cannot be counted together at A-level but one may be counted at A-level and the other at AS-level.

  • GCSE Subject Requirements

Mathematics, English and Physics (or Double Award Science) are required if not offered at AS or A-level.

Alternative qualifications, deemed equivalent by the Medical School, will be acceptable in fulfillment of the subject requirements.

School leavers Completing A-Levels for the First Time in 2014.

  • When decisions are being made both GCSE and UKCAT performance will be taken into account. GCSEs will be scored using a points system with 4 points for an A* and 3 for an A grade. The total points score will be based on the best 9 subjects.

GCSE Short Courses attract 2 points for an A* and 1.5 for an A grade.  Two Short Courses will count as one GCSE in calculation of the best nine subjects.  Care is taken to ensure that applicants are awarded the maximum points possible.

BTEC/OCR Level 2 qualifications, considered equivalent to GCSE, are taken into account and a decision as to how many points to award will be dependent on performance in individual units, as well as the overall result(s).

The UKCAT score will then be added to this total.

Candidates will be ranked on the the GCSE and UKCAT combined scores and the threshold required to qualify for an interview varies from year to year depending on competition for places and cannot be predicted in advance.  For 2013 entry, the threshold to be shortlisted for interview was 37 points.  

Additional grade As at GCSE and Year 13 AS performance (Year 12 in England and Wales) may also be used to distinguish between applicants on the same points score. Therefore where candidates have not cashed in AS-levels, it is helpful if equivalent grades are stated either in the school report or the personal statement on the UCAS form.

Offers will be made on the basis of 3 A -levels and 1 AS-level. For September 2014 the entry grades required will be AAA at A-level plus A in a fourth different AS -level. Module repeats within the normal two year period between GCSE and A-level do not place applicants at any disadvantage.  An A-level taken a year early would also be counted.

  • Widening Participation Initiative (Pilot Scheme for 2014 Entry)

It is recognised that the Stage 1 shortlisting process for Medicine, based on GCSE profile and UKCAT, disadvantages applicants from Secondary Schools in Northern Ireland who may not perform as well at GCSE, or have not had the opportunity to take nine subjects.  In the past, a number of these pupils have demonstrated that they have the potential to perform extremely well at A-level.

For 2014 entry, a Pilot Scheme has been approved, which will be reviewed at the end of the cycle.  Applicants who have been educated at a Secondary School in Northern Ireland to at least Year 12 will be shortlisted on the basis of AS-level grades (rather than GCSE performance) plus UKCAT results and predicted A-level performance.  It is hoped that this will mean more students from this academic background will progress through to the interview stage.

Repeat Candidates

Due to the competition for places the number of offers made to students resitting A-levels has to be restricted. Normally only those who had applied to study Medicine at Queen’s at the first attempt and held an offer (if made) as their conditional firm (CF) choice are considered.  In addition they must have achieved AAB+a at first attempt . The offer for repeat candidates is currently AAA at A-level plus A at AS-level.  Candidates repeating are expected to retake all examination components of AS and A2 modules associated with the subject being repeated.  Only two attempts at A-levels are allowed. 

For repeat candidates at Stage One, 36 points will be allocated for meeting the A/AS-level grades required to qualify for consideration and points then awarded according to performance in UKCAT (as indicated above) to give an overall score for short listing purposes.  UKCAT must be retaken as it is only valid for one application cycle.

Applicants who have already Satisfied Academic Requirements

Those who have already achieved AAA at A-level plus A in a fourth AS and have satisfied the subject requirements will be awarded 36 points at Stage One.  Points will then be awarded according to performance in UKCAT to give an overall score for shortlisting purposes.  UKCAT must be retaken as it is only valid for one application cycle.

Starting an Alternative Degree Course

Applicants who had initially applied for Medicine and who are either repeating A-levels or who have already achieved the relevant A and AS-level qualifications, are strongly advised not to commence an alternative degree course. If they have done so, all examinations taken must have been passed.

Mature Non-Graduate Entry

Applications from candidates who have had a significant break in study or did not have the opportunity to enter higher education at the normal time are welcomed.  Applications from such candidates are considered individually on their merits taking into account academic background, work experience and UKCAT scores in shortlisting for interview. Where offers are made, the normal A and AS-level requirements apply and applicants must also have the appropriate background in the relevant subjects at GCSE, AS and A-level to fulfil the course requirements.  Access Course qualifications are not acceptable.

Graduate Applicants

Graduate applicants are considered for the normal five-year programme.  In making decisions on graduate applications, the full academic background is taken into account.  Applicants must have achieved, or have the potential to achieve at least an Upper Second Class Honours classification in their primary degree and ABB at A-level/A2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 at Higher Level in the Leaving Certificate/ABBBB in Scottish Highers at the first attempt.   In the case of candidates with a First Class Honours degree or a PhD, a minimum of BBB at A-level or equivalent in other qualifications may be accepted. 

Candidates must have a relevant science background at GCSE, AS and A-level. This must include Chemistry and one other Science at A-level. Biology must be taken to at least AS-level (or acceptable equivalent) and Physics (or Double Award Science) and Mathematics to GCSE. A grade C is the lowest grade that will be considered in either Chemistry or Biology at A-level/AS-level as appropriate.

Grades will not be averaged ie AAC will not be acceptable in lieu of ABB.  However, averaging out above will still be acceptable eg AAC for those with a First Class Honours.

For graduates, at Stage One, 36 points are currently allocated for meeting the academic criteria required to qualify for consideration and points then awarded according to performance in UKCAT (as indicated above) to give an overall score for short listing purposes.

Applicants from a non-science background but who fulfil the conditions in terms of grades at A-level at the first attempt and degree performance will be considered if they undertake the appropriate Science qualifications on completion of their degree.  Such applicants are advised to contact the Admissions and Access Service for guidance.

Criteria for admission of graduates are currently under review for 2015 entry. This will not include changes to A-Level grade or subject requirements where a longer period of notice would be required.

Irish Leaving Certificate Applicants

When considering applicants Junior Certificate and UKCAT performance are important and these are scored. Junior Certificate is scored with 4 points for an A grade, 3 points for a B over the best nine subjects. 

Where offers are made these are conditional on obtaining A1A1(Biology and Chemistry)A1A1A1B2 at higher level in the Leaving Certificate.  Grades Cs in English and Mathematics at ordinary level are required if not offered at higher level.

A suitable background in Physics is also necessary and if not taken in the Leaving Certificate, a Grade A in Junior Certificate Science is acceptable in lieu.

Scottish Applicants

When short listing applicants for interview, previous academic performance and UKCAT are important and will be scored.  Applicants with a minimum of AAABB (at the first attempt) in Scottish Highers are given serious consideration.  Conditional offers range from AA-AAA (including Chemistry) in Advanced Highers and three subjects at this level will be required unless the applicant has achieved AAAAA in Scottish Highers.  If not taken as an Advanced Higher, Biology Higher is required and Standard Grade Physics and Mathematics are also necessary.

International Applicants

The University has a quota of 26 Medical places for students from outside the European Union. As with home students, requirements are normally expressed in terms of A-levels.  Where offers are made, the grades specified are currently AAA (including Chemistry and Biology) at A-level or A(Chemistry)AB  + A in a fourth AS-level, or equivalent in terms of other qualifications.  The normal subject requirements apply.  In the case of the International Baccalaureate Diploma an overall score of 36 points is required with 6,6,6 to include Chemistry and Biology at Higher Level. 

Previous academic background and UKCAT scores are important as is appropriate evidence of proficiency in English Language.

The University may choose to interview international applicants.

Transfer from other Medical Schools

Because of the intense competition for places to study Medicine and the integrated nature of the course structure, transfers from other universities are not usually considered. However, candidates who commence a course of study may in extremely exceptional circumstances be considered. All candidates must have the same entry requirements as those applying direct from A-level and must have passed any exams taken at University prior to transfer. Homesickness will not normally be considered as a reason for considering an application to transfer.

Applications should be made by the normal closing date of 15 October and the UK Clinical Aptitude Test should be retaken.  For applicants who are eligible for consideration an interview forms part of the selection process.

Applicants who have previously withdrawn from Medicine

Applicants who previously commenced a Medical Degree at any University and have failed exams or been asked to withdraw from the course for any reason will not be considered.

Number of Attempts (Applications) Permitted

In view of the  competition for places, it is the policy of the Medical School to allow a maximum of three attempts (ie applications in three different UCAS admissions cycles) overall (including applications made to other  Medical Schools) to gain admission and not more than two at either A-level or graduate level.   Those who have taken an extra year at A-level to pick up a relevant subject to fulfil the course requirements (because of a change of career choice) are permitted one attempt at this stage and two at graduate level.

Other Relevant Factors

  • Criminal Records Check and Fitness to Practise

Selection for medicine implies selection for the profession.  A degree in medicine confirms academic achievement and in normal circumstances entitles the new graduate to apply to the General Medical Council for provisional registration and to start practising.  Fitness to practise issues must therefore be considered when selecting students. The medical course is subject to the University’s Fitness to Practise regulations and the GMC’s guidelines.

The practice of medicine requires the highest standards of professional and personal conduct.  Candidates are therefore required to declare criminal offences and other related matters including cautions or cases pending.  Entry to medicine will be conditional on a satisfactory criminal records check.  International applicants are also required to produce appropriate evidence eg a Certificate of Good Conduct before admission to the degree.  

Students entering the medical course will also be expected to sign a Student Agreement and Self Declaration Form every year which places an emphasis on the continuing need for professional behaviour and standards to be maintained. If a positive police check is received or declared during the admission process the School will decide whether there are fitness to practise concerns and if necessary refer the case to the University’s Admissions Review Panel. Entry to the course may be refused.  During the course the Fitness to Practise regulations of the School will apply.

  • Disability

A disability need not bar a candidate from becoming a doctor provided that they have the potential to fulfil the rigorous demands of professional fitness to practise as a doctor.  Candidates with a disability should contact the School in advance of completing their UCAS application to obtain advice.  However, all candidates with a disability are expected to indicate this on their UCAS form and may be asked to provide additional information. Applicants are expected to declare a history of any serious physical or mental disorder.  A history of serious mental health will not jeopardize a career in medicine unless the condition impinges on professional fitness to practise. All such applications will be considered on a case by case basis. .  If the candidate meets the normal academic criteria for admission to the course but there are concerns over issues relating to health, a special advisory committee separate from the normal admission procedures will be convened. This Committee will take advice from the University’s Occupational Health Service before reaching a decision. 

  • Health Assessment

The Department of Health has issued guidance on Health Clearance for Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV for healthcare workers including students and the University must ensure that students comply with the guidance given in order to protect patients.

Medical students will have the following testing offered to them when they enrol. If they refuse testing or test positive at that time or at any time during the course they will be restricted in their clinical activities but should still be able to complete their undergraduate training.

Disease                       Test

TB                              Evidence of satisfactory BCG vaccination or Mantoux test result

Hepatitis B                  HBsAg negative

Hepatitis C                  Hep C negative

HIV                            HIV 1 & 2 negative