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Preparing for Veterinary Medicine

Posted by: Student - Tom - 02 March 2020 - Activities & Sports - Read time: 3 Minutes

Applying for Veterinary Medicine can be a very daunting and stressful period and now, as I apply at the age of 23, I wish I had received more guidance as a teenager at school. After completing a Zoology degree, I decided that I would return to my ambition of studying Veterinary Medicine, which for many universities required me to have an A level in Chemistry. I therefore enrolled at MPW on their one-year Chemistry course and, although I was nervous at first, the staff quickly put my worries to rest. Thanks to the great teaching of Michael, not only am I succeeding in Chemistry, but I am also enjoying the classes. I find the weekly Timed Assignments (weekly examinations) really helpful for revising topics and consolidating my knowledge.

Most of the universities list their entry requirements online and expect you to have A grades in Chemistry and Biology and a third subject of your choice. Likewise, with Veterinary Science, one of the fundamental requirements is plenty of work experience, which must be obtained within 18 months of applying through UCAS. I would suggest trying to get a broad range of experience not only to improve your knowledge and confidence around animals, but also to impress the universities and have plenty to talk about at interview. For example, I gained two weeks’ work experience in veterinary practices and many weeks of experience on dairy, pig, sheep, and ostrich farms! I would also recommend asking for references on headed paper from your work placements, as the universities will inevitably ask for proof that you attended these places.

When applying through UCAS you have a maximum of four veterinary schools you can apply to. As there are only around eight veterinary schools in total in the UK, this makes the decision process a little easier. I made my choices by reading the course descriptions online and attending Open Days, which gave me an insight into the daily life of a veterinary student. Open days can be booked online and fill up very quickly.

My Personal Tutor, Elpida, was a great support system throughout applying to universities and was always happy to answer questions and provide advice. A key component of the application process is the Personal Statement. For this, the universities are really trying to gage what you have learned and enjoyed on your placements and what you are like as a person in general, for example your hobbies and interests. Once you have submitted your UCAS and Personal Statement you are then required to fill out a WES form (Work Experience Statement) for each university and for some, a personal attributes test. These take a long time to fill in and must be completed within two weeks of applying, so make sure you set reminders and allow yourself enough time.

The universities will then rank you based on your submissions, and if you are successful you will be Invited to an interview. In preparation for the interviews I made sure I made notes on all the cases I had seen on work experience and what I had learned. Likewise, I researched hot topics in the veterinary field such as infectious diseases and new treatments. Once I had my interview invitations, MPW arranged a mock interview for me with a former student. This was extremely useful in helping me prepare and discuss with someone who had been through a similar process.

On the day of the interview you will receive an introductory talk and then spend part of the day on a campus tour followed by the interview. Many of the universities now operate an MMI (multiple mini interviews) style of interview, where you rotate around different stations, each lasting approximately 5-10 minutes. The universities will let you know what each station is based on before arrival, for example: work experience, numeracy, practical test, moral and ethics, insights into the profession, welfare and role play. I personally liked this style of interview, as each station is graded individually, so if you make any mistakes you can make up for them in another station. As long as you are yourself and confident in your knowledge, then I am sure you will excel in the interviews.

I am extremely grateful for the support and quality of teaching I have received at MPW which, I have no doubt, has contributed heavily to me receiving offers from Russell Group universities. I only wish I had come sooner.