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I want to be a pathologist (scientist) - February 23rd 2010, 09:00 PM

Hi, I want to go into Clinical Pathology via medicine. Was just wondering if anyone else had gone down that route? What was it like?

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Re: I want to be a pathologist (scientist) - February 23rd 2010, 09:21 PM

I don't want to do pathology but I DO want to do medicine and have applied for it this year.

I'm just going to go ahead and copy/paste parts of a leaflet I wrote for my college

So you want to be a doctor?
Getting into medical school is not an easy feat, and every year thousands of applicants with straight A grades receive no offers. You have to jump through a lot of hoops to be successful, so before you start putting together your application, ask yourself whether this is what you really want.
This leaflet should inform you of all the things you could, and should, be doing to bring your application up to the standards required to get yourself to the interview stage.

Subjects and grades
There are high academic requirements for GCSEs and A Level results. If you don’t have the grades, you won’t get in.

GCSEs: Universities vary on GCSE requirements, ranging from two B’s to 8 A*s. Most applicants have A and A* grades at GCSE – the more A*s the better! If you don’t, be careful about where you apply and research your choices. It is very important that you check and double check the GCSE requirements of the Universities you hope to apply to before you do so.

A Level: AAB at A level is the lowest grade requirement, though the most applicants have AAA predictions - from 2011 entry very few Universities will accept AAB A' Levels and you will find it hard to get in with less than AAA predictions. You need four AS levels, and you will struggle without having Chemistry and Biology to A2. An A in these subjects is normally needed. For the other two subjects, Universities range on whether they prefer all sciences or a mixture of arts and sciences. My personal suggestion would always to be to take Chemistry, Biology and Physics/Maths and then a contrasting arts subject such as History or English Literature. It is up to you whether you continue all four to A2 – this is not necessary but may give you an advantage if you are confident of achieving high grades.

Work experience
Following getting the required grades, work experience is the second most important aspect of your application. With no work experience, you won’t get an offer. Great work experience can make up for poor GCSE grades or a low score on the entrance exam.

What kind of work experience are they looking for?
Getting work experience in a GP surgery or hospital is great, but hard to get and Universities understand this.
Regular volunteering will significantly strengthen your application, especially as if you start now, you will have been volunteering for over a year when it comes to applying.

Work experience that you can find easily
• Volunteering at a care home
• Volunteering in a charity shop
• Volunteering at the League of Friends in your local hospital
• Volunteering at your local hospital
• Visit CVS centre in your town for help finding a voluntary position and full list of what is available.
• Volunteering on a Vitalise holiday.

Work experience in a more clinical setting
It is harder to get this, but not impossible. Write a formal letter and send it out to as many people as possible.
This means work experience shadowing doctors. Have a look on the websites of your local hospital or call them up to enquire about work experience schemes they run.
*I've removed addresses of some places that Ithought students at my college might be successful at*

Extra-Curriculum activities
In other words, what do you do outside of college? Do you play an instrument or a sport, do you speak another language, do you dance or go scuba diving? What are your hobbies?
If you don’t really have any hobbies, don’t worry, you’ve plenty of time to acquire some. I would say as long as you have two extra-curriculum activities, this is sufficient.

Entrance Exams
Most Medical Schools require that you sit an entrance exam; the only exceptions are Bristol, Liverpool and Southampton – which as a consequence have many more applicants per place. There are two different entrance exams, the UKCAT and the BMAT.
· Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London ask for the BMAT
· You take the BMAT on the 4th November after you have submitted your UCAS application. The cost of the BMAT varies depending on where you sit the exam, but is normally around £30. You get your results on 1st December.
· You can register to take the BMAT and find out more information at www.bmat.org.uk
· All other Universities ask for the UKCAT
· You take the UKCAT the summer before you apply. EG, if you are applying for entry in 2011, you will take the UKCAT in summer 2010. The UKCAT exam costs £60 before 1st September or £75 afterwards. The last date to register for the UKCAT is 9th October. You take the UKCAT exam on a computer at a test centre.
· The UKCAT gives you a score between 300 and 900, with the average score being 600 and most applicants scoring between 500 and 700. Different Universities use the UKCAT in different ways, with some having high cut off scores, but it is generally agreed that you should aim for a minimum of 600. You get your results on the day.
· There are a lot of practice books and courses aimed to help you do well in the UKCAT, I would recommend “Get into Medical School - 600 UKCAT Practice Questions”
· You register to do the UKCAT at www.ukcat.ac.uk – you can also find a lot more information here.

Other things you should know:
• Look into attending the Medlink conference – it’s a great experience and is very motivational.
• For Medical school an application, your personal statement is often the thing that decides who does and does not get an interview. All the things I have suggested here will give you a stronger personal statement, but always be on the look out for things you can do that you could add to your personal statement. Are there any science trips going on?


This site often gives excellent support, advice and information on everything you could possibly need to know about applying to study Medicine.

For more information on the UKCAT

For more information on the BMAT
I hope that's helpful.

With regards to pathology in particular, I think that although it's great you have such clear career goals now it would be a good idea not to go shouting about it when you apply - they don't tend to think it's brilliant when you appear to know what you want to do and that doesn't involve working in a hospital/being a GP. I know it's not the same as going in and saying 'yeah I want to do medicine but only because I want to do medical law' but sometimes you do have to play the system. So do talk about wanting to be around people, communication skills, etc.

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Re: I want to be a pathologist (scientist) - February 23rd 2010, 09:26 PM

Medicine is crazy hard to get into, and sadly even harder in America

good luck!

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Re: I want to be a pathologist (scientist) - February 23rd 2010, 11:44 PM

Not doing Med but doing Genetics. You can always do biomed and get into pathology i believe
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Re: I want to be a pathologist (scientist) - February 24th 2010, 04:04 AM

I think pathology is pretty cool!

I'm in medical school right now so if you have any general questions about medical school or pathology, let me know or PM me! It's always exciting talking to someone who also wants to become a doctor.

But I don't think I can give you any specific answers about getting into medical school because I think the admissions criteria is different in the UK compared to USA.

Good luck!
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Re: I want to be a pathologist (scientist) - March 1st 2010, 12:18 AM

I am planning on doing forensic pathology when I finish school. I volunteer at my local hospital in the lab so I am starting to meet people and see what it would be like to work in the lab. I know that for forensic pathology it is 13 years of school after high school. I think for clinical, its only 10-11. You will need to take plenty of science in high school and college. And then med school before your residency. Its a very rewarding career path and I hope you succeed and enjoy your future job.

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Re: I want to be a pathologist (scientist) - March 4th 2010, 02:24 AM

Some pathologist info:


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pathologist, scientist

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