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BMBS.. Red Cross... BTEC Course... Gap year vs. Age... Advice anyone?
Hey guys,

So I want to study Medicine but there seem to be about a thousand factors affecting it. Firstly, I was taken out of school for 2 years so my GCSEs aren’t quite Med school standard (A, B and C's) which in turn means I haven’t been able to get on to A level science courses and instead I'm doing a BTEC National Diploma in Applied Science which, alongside a decent GAMSAT and UKCAT test results, would be enough to get me in to a 6 year medical degree (and some 5 years too).

However, I've missed the exams for this year so to enter the GAMSAT test (and thus make my GCSE results less relevant) I would have to take a year out and could perhaps build up a strong portfolio of work experience, etc.

Then on the other hand, I've been working for the British Red Cross doing First Aid and have recently trained to join the BRC Ambulance Crew which means I'm spending a lot of time in a medical environment caring for a wide range of people. However, over the next year I'm going to be doing work for them which would make my entry in to university even stronger (GCSE grades aside) - teaching, ambulance crew work and could maybe make a strong case for medicine with my college grades and work experience with the BRC.

However (again) if I took a year out I could travel around the world working for the BRC and (being honest) really mature and grow up a little bit. I'm also about to start volunteering for a hospital doing 4 hours a week which, this time next year, would be great for my application. Unfortunately, I wouldn't have this experience by the time I write my personal statement.

So: - The way I see it I have 3 choices:

1) Apply for Medicine this year and hope what I've done speaks volume.
2) Apply for Medicine next year, sit the GAMSAT test, get even more experience, etc.
3) Apply to do a Paramedic Practioner degree and in a few years time apply for the Graduate entry to Medicine (the only problem with this is I'm 22 in October and ideally, I would like to settle down sooner!)

Thanks for reading this far! Any advice or opinions would be great!
Hi there benjamin,

You have a very similar case to me, but im not a mature student yet so i'll be taking graduate entry most likely. I've looked at universities that are most likely to take on students like me and you and what i do know is, University Of Leicester and I think Southampton and Bristol accept BTEC students, but only students with Full Distinctions, so unless you have distinctions, regardless of other grades, you might not likely get an interview. As for work experience, This comes usually second to grades and doesn't usually make up for missed out grades, but does increase your chances against students who have the grades, (you must have the grades too). Seeing as your a mature applicant, some universities are more considerate to mature applicants because of their life experience. My advice to you would be, make sure your GCSE's are grade C average and you have Distinctions overall in your BTEC and consider applying at University of Leicester and some other universities which take on BTEC's. Also try retaking your GCSE's and take one or two AS levels if you can, because universities want to know if you can cope with exams, this is why BTEC's aren't usually aaccepted and aren't as academically rigorous as A Levels. Some universities such as Manchester and Leeds take on HND/HNC students so you might want to consider doing a HND or HNC in a medical field, then taking entry to medicine. I'd say you've done enough work experience and i think you should concentrate more on studies now. I hope this helps.

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