The Ultimate Medical School Guide

Barts and the London (QMUL) Medical School

BY:
Dhillon & Allegra
LAST EDITED:
2021

Section A: The Barts (QMUL) Medical School Application Process

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1. What qualities in a student does Barts (QMUL) medical school look for?

Barts and the London looks for well-rounded students, i.e. a student with a diverse set of interests and talents (extra-curriculars) as well as academic excellence so that the students can both cope with studying medicine but also contribute to the university. They also would like students to have been involved in volunteering in some form. Find out more here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/smd/undergraduate/courses/full-entry-requirements/medicine-mbbs/

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2. What elements of your application does Barts (QMUL) value most?

To receive an offer from Barts is a two-fold process. To receive an interview the medical school uses a cutoff academic score which is made up of your UCAT score and predicted/attained A-levels (UCAS tariff). After the interview, the university will assess your personal statement and interview answers to decide whether to give you an offer. The number of students selected for an interview can vary year on year but most recently (2020) 999/1399 students who applied reached the interview stage. More statistics, for example those specifically looking at overseas students, can be found here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/smd/undergraduate/courses/admissions-statistics-for-medicine--dentistry/.

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3. How important is the BMAT score at Barts (QMUL)?

Barts uses the UCAT and not the BMAT as part of the admissions process. The UCAT is a vital part of the application in helping you to secure an interview. Immediately, candidates with a UCAT result below the third national decile will be filtered away. The remaining students will be selected for interview based on a 50:50 balance between their UCAT score and UCAS tariff. The lowest UCAT scores achieved by offer holders can vary year on year but in the 2020 cycle it was 2300, with the average being around 2700. There is no particular guidance on the SJT banding, but it is likely to be considered at the interview stage alongside your interview performance.

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The UCAS tariff is a score that you can calculate here: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator. It is made up of your predicted or achieved A-level grades and AS grades and other qualifications e.g. EPQ, dance/music exams etc. Each qualification gives you points - these vary depending on what the qualification is and your level of achievement in it - which are accumulated to give you a total score.

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The majority of points will be gained through A-level results/predictions: an A* is 56 points, an A is 48 points, a B is 40 points and a C is 32 points. Barts has a cutoff score of 152 which is equal to a prediction/achieved result of AAA, thus aligning to their A-level requirements. In the most recent cycle, the lowest tariff achieved by offer holders was 152 but the average is closer to 200 which is roughly equal to an AS level graded A, predicted AAA at A-level + an EPQ predicted A OR an AAAA prediction at A-level.

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Because of the 50:50 weighting, achieving a high UCAT score will mean the UCAS tariff you require will be lower and vice versa. Combinations of scores that were sufficient to achieve an offer at Barts in the 2020 cycle include:

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  • Low Tariff of 166 supported by a high UCAT of 3050
  • High Tariff of 260 supporting a low UCAT of 2410
  • Mid-range examples: Tariff 242 UCAT 2580, Tariff 216 UCAT 2640, Tariff 180 UCAT 2720, Tariff 168 UCAT 2750

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Note: Tariff scores are only counted for the highest level of achievement in a subject i.e. you cannot count points for an A in AS biology if you are predicted an A in A-level biology.

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All of the scores listed above for the 2020 cycle can be found here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/smd/undergraduate/courses/admissions-statistics-for-medicine--dentistry/.

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4. How important are the grades you ultimately achieve (end of Year 13) for Barts (QMUL)?

The entry requirements can change year on year and have increased in recent years, but the current requirements are A*AA which as stated earlier, aligns with the minimum UCAS tariff requirement to reach the interview stage. It is quite rare but not impossible for students who miss their offer by a single grade to be accepted. Recent statistics have shown 3, 1 and 13 students in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively to still be accepted despite missing their offer by one grade. No students have been accepted for missing their offer by two grades. The few students who are accepted are carefully chosen depending on the space left in the cohort, and the student's application (interview and UCAT score).

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5. What other requirements does Barts (QMUL) have for Medicine?

The university has a minimum requirement for GCSE grades but it is not involved in the comparison of students. The minimum is a 777666 or AAABBB in subjects that must include Biology or Human Biology, Chemistry, English Language, Mathematics or Additional Mathematics or Statistics, and Science (Double Award) or substituted with any individual science.

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6. What should I put in my personal statement for Medicine at Bartsย (QMUL)?

The medical school has outlined several qualities that they are looking for in students which they assess in your personal statement and at interview. These are:

  • your motivation and realistic approach to medicine as a career
  • whether you show initiative, resilience and maturity
  • whether you work well as part of a team
  • your organisational and problem-solving abilities
  • your ability to communicate effectively

Therefore make sure to write/talk about experiences where you have shown these skills. Often these may overlap e.g. leading a sports team can give improve your initiative, team-working and organisational ability. Be obvious and clear when explaining how an experience allowed you to demonstrate a certain skill.

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They also state that they want students to be well-rounded and to have contributed to their community. So, it is important to discuss your involvement in extra-curricular activities as well as any volunteering experiences that you have.

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Although work experience in medicine (GP, hospital) is a good way of showing your understanding of a career in medicine, they are aware that it can be difficult to attain work experience and so virtual experience/volunteering in a care role can be an alternative. It is also important to demonstrate your understanding of a medical career in your personal statement and interview.

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7. What is the structure of the medicine interview for Barts (QMUL) university?

Barts have a single 20 minute panel interview which is made up of one or more members of senior academic/clinical staff and a medical student. The interviewers are always very friendly and will try to make you feel at ease.

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8. What does Barts (QMUL) look for in a Medicine interview?

During the interview they will be assessing the following:

  • your motivation and realistic approach to medicine as a career
  • whether you show initiative, resilience and maturity
  • whether you work well as part of a team
  • your organisational and problem-solving abilities
  • your ability to communicate effectively
  • your interests/talents (extracurricular activities) - both academic and non-academic as well as voluntary
  • why you want to study at Queen Mary/Barts (have a bit of knowledge about the course structure/location/placements/societies etc)
  • what you can contribute to the university

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The questions they ask will guide you so that you have the opportunity to cover these points. Before the interview, the university may also send you an article to read around medicine/ethics. They will then ask you questions on the article in your interview (these are usually relatively straightforward/predictable so it is a good idea to brainstorm what kind of questions might come up beforehand). An example could be a news article on organ donation becoming an opt-out system and in the interview they may ask questions on the pros and cons and potentially also your own opinion. If you are asked questions on an article, the interviewer will make sure to leave sufficient time (at least half the interview) to ask you questions about yourself and allow you to demonstrate your qualities.

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9. What are my chances of getting into Barts (QMUL) medical school?

In recent years around 250-280 places are available for home/EU students and 24 available for international students for the A100 undergraduate medicine course.

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The number of applications varies year on year and COVID has also had a substantial impact on this as universities have had to change the way they decide on interviews, and also encouraged medical schools to increase the number of places on offer. This means that these stats aren't as reliable as they were previously but for interest they are as follows:

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Note: these are specific stats for home/EU applications in the A100 course.

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2017 cycle: 2088 applications, 813 interviews, 549 offers, 253 places

2018 cycle: 2190 applications, 916 interviews, 589 offers, 253 places

2019 cycle: 1655 applications, 989 interviews, 692 offers, 276 places

2020 cycle: 1399 applications, 999 interviews, 752 offers, places unknown as of yet

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Therefore the chance of an interview has been 39%, 42%, 60%, 71% in the years 2017-2020.

Post interview the chance of an offer has been 68%, 64%, 70%, 75% in the years 2017-2020.

The overall chance of an offer has been 26%, 27%, 42%, 54% in the years 2017-2020.

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This information has been carefully taken from a spreadsheet posted by Queen Mary here where you can find more about the statistics for A101 and for international students/graduates: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a100_admission_statistics_medici_4.

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10. What are the entry requirements for Medicine at Barts (QMUL)?

Find everything about entry requirements here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/smd/undergraduate/courses/full-entry-requirements/medicine-mbbs/.

Section B: What is Medicine at Barts (QMUL) really like?

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1. What types of courses are available at Barts (QMUL) medical school?

Barts (QMUL)ย offers two medicine courses :

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Both courses are open for home/EU students and International students.

Note that students also have the opportunity to take an additional intercalated BSc/MSc year within the undergraduate course making it 6 years in total. This is either taken post 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year of medicine (however MSc's must be taken after at least 3 years) and can be studied internally or externally (although this is very competitive).

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2. What is the course structure for the 5 year Medicine course?

The course structure is fairly traditional with a pre-clinical and clinical split but there is an element of clinical exposure from early on in the course.

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The course is split into three phases:

Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2) - During this phase students learn about normal biological structure and science of the body as well as environmental and social factors that influence health. This teaching is supplemented with SSC (student selected components) as well as fortnightly placements at hospitals/GP's.

Phase 2 (Years 3 and 4) - After learning about the basic sciences of the body, students enter clinical placements where they will spend most of their time at hospitals and in community placements. These placements are intertwined with relevant teaching for the module they are learning at the time. During the placements they will learn about applying the knowledge and skills they know to real life medicine.

Phase 3 (Year 5) - The central focus of the final year is to prepare students to be a foundation year doctor. Their time is split between shadowing current foundation year doctors, learning about a specialty that they may have not experienced, and practising common scenarios they may face as a FY1. They finish the year with an elective and a final 4-week placement shadowing the FY1 doctor they will be replacing.

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3. What is the teaching style?

The teaching style is a mix of traditional and problem/case-based learning. Within Phase 1 the timetable is split between lectures, problem-based learning group sessions, anatomy/physiology/histology classes, and fortnightly clinical skills sessions. Problem-based learning, anatomy/physiology classes and clinical skills sessions are done in small groups of 10-20 students. Within Phase 2 and 3 the timetable is split between placements, clinical skills and problem-based learning. Throughout the course there are also student selected components (SSCs).

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Summary of the different teaching sessions:

  • Lectures - The frequency of lectures reduces as you go through the years. Lectures in the first phase are usually in a large theatre with the entire year group and are the basis of examinations. The lectures are generally recorded with slides uploaded online and attendance isn't usually monitored. As you enter Phase 2 and 3, lectures are in smaller groups and become more haphazard in terms of recordings/slide availability.
  • Problem based learning - These are sessions in small groups (around 8 students) where students work together on a case study on a specific topic/condition. This allows students to develop teamwork as they work through the case and develop objectives to research individually. In the following session students then teach other what they have researched to increase their understanding.
  • Anatomy/Physiology/Microanatomy - These take place in laboratories and IT labs, building upon topics covered during lectures. Anatomy a sessions take place in the laboratories where small groups of students can look and study prosections whilst filling out workbooks and asking questions to the anatomists at the session. Physiology sessions usually consist of fun practicals/experiments done in small groups (PBL groups) to learn about the workings of the human body and lastly microanatomy is taught in the IT labs where students can work through e-learning courses whilst doing quizzes and asking questions to the present lecturer.
  • Clinical Skills - These include practical skills such as learning how to conduct physical examinations and communication skills
  • SSC's - This stands for 'Student Selected Components' and are projects that you select that are completed throughout the year including making a group poster, doing anatomy dissection, learning more about a topic in healthcare, medical education, surgical skills and many more (or anything you can self organise). In later years these are more patient based.

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4. What does an average day as a medical student at Barts (QMUL) look like?

A first year medical student timetable is biweekly and can look something like this:

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However, a clinical years timetable can look quite different and less specific. A week of teaching is usually followed by placements, timetable of which can depend on the hospital you are based at and more teaching sessions are dotted around your time on the wards. Problem/case based learning continues in clinical years and usually done at placements.

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Do check out the youtube channel of Journey2Med to learn about days in the life of two medical students at Queen Mary in first and second year.

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5. Is an iBSc offered at Barts (QMUL)?

An intercalated year is a year taken out of medical school to study something else for a year, this can be either a BSc or an MSc. You can learn more about intercalated degrees in our blog post 'What is an Intercalated Degree And Is It Worth It?'.

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As mentioned earlier, Barts (QMUL) does allow students to undertake an iBSc or an MSc. iBSc's can be taken post the 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of medicine and MSc's can be taken after the 3rd or 4th year.

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There are a large variety of iBSc's and MSc's available at Queen Mary but there is also the opportunity to study an intercalated degree at an external university. It must be noted that this opportunity is limited to 25-30 students and so is quite competitive (decided based on medical school ranking/results).

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There are 8 intercalated BSc's available as of writing this including:

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There are also 16 MSc's available including:

  • MSc Cancer & Clinical Oncology
  • MSc Cancer & Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • MSc Cancer & Molecular Pathology and Genomics
  • MSc Cancer & Therapeutics
  • MSc Clinical Drug Development
  • MSc Clinical Endocrinology
  • MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health
  • MSc Critical Care
  • MSc Cultural Psychology and Psychiatry
  • MSc Forensic Medical Science
  • MSc Gastroenterology
  • MSc Global Public Health and Policy
  • MSc Healthcare Research Methods
  • MSc Laparoscopic Surgery & Surgical Skills
  • MSc Neuroscience and Translational Medicine
  • MSc Regenerative Medicine

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You can read more about intercalation at Barts (QMUL) here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/smd/undergraduate/courses/intercalated/

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6. What is the typical cohort size and does this change as you progress through the course?

The cohort size during first year has been briefly discussed earlier - it changes year on year and as medical schools are being encouraged to include more places it is likely to grow in size over successive years. Recently the statistics are as follows:

2018: 253 Home/Eu students + 24 international students

2019: 284 Home/Eu students + 24 international students

2020: 284 Home/EU students + 24 international students

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Within Phase 1 (Year 1 and 2) these numbers are fairly stable, however they can change in Phase 2. This is because after the second year of the undergraduate course:

  • A few students choose to intercalate
  • The graduate medics join the cohort (around 40)
  • 10 Qualified dentists join the cohort to then enter oral medicine once qualified
  • A few students join as transfers from St Andrews

As a result cohorts after the second year generally increase by about 50 students.

However in the fourth year the personelle of the cohort can change significantly but numbers stay relatively constant as students leave to intercalate and other return from intercalation.

The cohort of the final year of medicine is mostly the same as the fourth year as few students intercalate after the fourth year.

There are also students who may retake a year due to failure or defer a year because of extenuating circumstances. There are very few students who are deregistered from the course.

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7. Which hospitals are linked to Barts (QMUL)?

There are several hospitals linked with Barts and the London. These are split into In-firms and Out-firms. You will be placed at these hospitals from third year onwards (Phase 2 and 3).

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In-firms are hospitals based in East London and include:

  • The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel
  • St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London
  • Whipps Cross University Hospital, Leytonstone, London
  • Newham University Hospital, Newham, London
  • Homerton University Hospital, Homerton, London
  • Queens Hospital, Romford, Essex
  • King George Hospital, Romford, Essex

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The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel
St Bartholemew's, West Smithfield

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Out-firms are hospitals based in Essex and include:

  • Southend University Hospital, Southend, Essex
  • Colchester University Hospital, Colchester, Essex
  • The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, Essex
  • Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, Essex

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In-firms are variable distances from campus with all except two being within a 30 min tube ride. Out-firms are based in Essex which can be up to 100 miles from campus. However, the medical school will provide you with free accommodation close to the hospital throughout your placement stay. Therefore you are often very close to where you need to go and you don't need to worry about residential costs. However, as with in-firms, you are expected to organise travel yourself from your residence to the hospital. Out-firms generally have less students and so students report more teaching time but they do sacrifice having to living away from friends on campus.

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You do receive some choice as to where you will like to be placed in your clinical years. You will be asked to put three preferences for each placement and the medical school will try to assign you to one of those choices however it depends on the choices of the rest of the cohort. Generally, throughout your time at medical school, they will try to assign you to as many different hospital placements as possible to give you a feel as to how different ones work.

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The medical school will try to balance the number of in-firms and out-firms you undertake throughout your clinical years.

Section C: University & Medical School Life

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1. Where is Barts (QMUL) located?

Barts (QMUL)ย is located in East London, specifically in Mile End, however the medical school is based a 15 min walk away from Mile End, at Whitechapel, just beside the Royal London hospital. Teaching is usually split between Whitechapel, Mile End and also West Smithfield/Barbican (found next to St Barts hospital). The East London campuses (Whitechapel and Mile End) are in a slightly less well developed area of London but there are still fantastic facilities close by for example great restaurants, cafes, leisure centres and a lovely park. The East London campus is just a 25 min tube ride from Central London (Barbican) where you can experience the attractions of London with an abundance of activities and things to see.

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Note: there is also a campus based in Malta.

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2. Are students encouraged to take part in societies?

Societies are generally split between those at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry and Queen Mary. A full list of societies can be found here https://www.qmsu.org/clubs-socs/find/ - as you can see there is a great split between academic and non-academic societies. It's much more natural for medical students to join the societies at Barts and the London (BL) as opposed to Queen Mary as they can be more relevant (medicine based) but also closer and easier to access. However, students also join societies across at Mile End in Queen Mary which gives them a great opportunity to meet students from other courses at the university. Whether it's academia, education, sports, music, or performing arts, there is a society for everyone at Barts and the London (or Queen Mary), and if there isn't why not start a new one!

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Barts and the London (BL) Societies include..

Academic: BL Anaesthestics and Intensive Care, BL Ear Nose and Throat, BL Friends of MSF, BL Gastroenterology, BL Haematology, BL Plastic Surgery, BL Respiratory, BL CardioSoc, BL Radiology, BL Urology.

Non-academic: BL African and Caribbean, BL Badminton, BL Art and Photography, BL Christian Union, BL Commuters, BL Gospel Choir, BL Indian, BL Irish, BL North African, BL Tamil, BL Tennis, BL Cricket, BL Golf, BL Netball, BL Football, BL Sustainability, BL SAMDA (Student Assisted Medical and Dental Applications)

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+ more!

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3. What is the student satisfaction score for Barts (QMUL)?

The most recently available results (2010) have shown overall satisfaction on the MBBS course to go up from 94 per cent to 96 per cent putting Barts and the London as the top in London, third in the Russell Group and seventh equal in the UK for this measurement. This is based on a survey asking final year medical students. Unfortunately more recent, specific Barts and the London statistics are unavailable as of yet - we are in the process of sourcing this information.

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4. How diverse is Barts (QMUL) medical school?

Barts and the London is a very diverse medical school especially being based in East London. The school itself accepts around 24 international students every year. Students are from a variety of ages and backgrounds in both the undergraduate and graduate courses. To improve diversity, Barts offer several means to help talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds. They offer contextual admissions (more information can be found here https://www.qmul.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/entry/contextualised-admissions/), which includes over 60 offers for students from widening participation programmes such as Realising Opportunities or their own programme called Bridge the Gap where they teach students about what it means to be a doctor, give you a mentor and offer mock interviews with Barts students.

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5. What bursaries are available for medical students at Barts (QMUL)?

Queen Mary offer a standard bursary for the undergraduate course of ยฃ1,700 per year if your household income is less than ยฃ20,000, or ยฃ1,000 per year if your household income is between ยฃ20,000 and ยฃ35,000. This should be assessed when you apply for student funding (e.g. SFE) but contact the university before you start (pre-August) university to make sure - the email can be found here https://www.qmul.ac.uk/scholarships/items/bursary---queen-mary-university-of-london-bursary-202122.html.

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There are also several other scholarships available to medical students, which are listed here https://www.qmul.ac.uk/undergraduate/feesandfunding/find-a-scholarship/ and here https://www.qmul.ac.uk/smd/undergraduate/finance/bursaries/.

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6. Are student support services readily available and easy to access?

As Barts and the London is slightly separate from QMUL , there are multiple means of accessing student support. Medical school student support can be accessed via email, phone, Microsoft Teams or by visiting the office itself. The student office offer advice, support, and counselling for all issues via a service called SAPS (Student Academic and Pastoral Support) which aims to help with all issues and minimise them having any impact on your academic progress.

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Additionally, there is support from QMULย which students can access and they offer high quality counselling and therapy if needed.

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The university understands that welfare is of utmost priority, and is very aware that students can often experience difficulties during their studies. Therefore they allow students to submit extenuating circumstances for difficulties around exams, this is often accepted and leads to deferred examinations. However deferred examinations can mean there is no time for a resit if you are unable to pass. A failure in this case (or in a resit) can often mean students have to retake the year.

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7. What are the best food spots around Barts (QMUL)?

There are some great places to eat on campus both at Whitechapel and Queen Mary. The most popular place for a bite in Whitechapel is at the Griff Inn where students can get reasonably priced breakfast and lunch and attend regular events such as Tables (a weekly celebration of BL sporting teams) every Wednesday. At Mile End, the most popular place is the Drapers Bar and Kitchen which offers a great menu and caters to a variety of dietary requirements. Check more about the food spots at campus here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/topten/favourite-place-to-eat-on-campus/.

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Outside of campus, in East London, there are several restaurants available with classic fast food chains as well as cheap pizza houses, cafes and a variety of cuisines. Being in the capital of course means there is an immense variety of restaurants when you venture out towards Central London. In terms of supermarket availability, there are some cool maps available here https://www.bartslondon.com/accommodation showing the nearest shops at each accommodation.

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8. Is student accommodation available for Barts (QMUL)?

There are two main student accommodations for Barts and the London medical school which are Dawson Hall and Floyer House.

Dawson Hall is based in Charterhouse Square (Barbican) which is a 25 min tube ride from the Whitechapel Campus buts gives you the opportunity to live in Central London for a fraction of a normal stay there.

Floyer House is located at Whitechapel, at the medical school campus meaning you are usually just a couple of minutes walk away from lectures and PBLs in your first year.

There is also a smaller third accommodation called Albert Stern which is located at Mile End, near the main university campus.

You can check out more information here https://www.bartslondon.com/accommodation

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The prices for accommodation varies depending on the type of room which you choose to rent. In Dawson Hall the price ranges between ยฃ138-158 a week. In Floyer House it ranges between ยฃ100-175 a week and at Albert Stern between ยฃ100-137. For all accommodation, the contract length is of a minimum of 38.3 weeks (268 days).

Virtually tour each type of room at each accommodation here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/residences/college/qm-accommodation/

See the specific costs here: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/residences/college/fees/

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There is alternate accommodation available (private halls/accommodation) which is usually used by students after their first year once they have an idea of where they would like to stay and who with.

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