Section 1: The Application Process for Medicine at Leeds
1. What qualities does Leeds School of Medicine look for in a student?
The Leeds School of Medicine places a strong emphasis on clinical skills and particularly values students with good communication skills, who can demonstrate empathy when interacting with patients. These skills are built on and reinforced throughout the course.
2. What elements of your application does Leeds value most?
Leeds predominantly uses academic achievement to select which applicants will be offered an interview. This includes past and predicted grades and the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) score, making these very important aspects of your application. Whilst BMAT scores are used to rank applicants into quintiles, there is no cut-off score, meaning a low BMAT score doesn't necessarily exclude you from receiving an interview.
The personal statement is also considered as it gives an important insight into your interests and achievements, however isn't formally scored.
Using all of this information, the school of medicine ranks applicants and invites those that are highest ranked for an interview. Offers are made on the basis of merit and the ability of each applicant to meet the academic and non-academic criteria for admission. Approximately 1,000 candidates are expected to be invited to interview.
Once the interview stage is reached, the decision to subsequently make an offer depends entirely on your interview performance, not on your predicted or achieved academic performance, or other scores.
3. How important is the BMAT score at Leeds?
Leeds uses the BMAT. As mentioned previously, applicants' BMAT scores are used to rank them into quintiles: candidates in the highest 20% receive a score of five out of five, and those in the lowest 20% receive a score of one out of five. Everything in between is scored according to where they are placed in this distribution. A combination score using academic achievement and BMAT is used to determine a rank for shortlisting to interview. This information was taken from https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a101_gateway_to_medicine_2021_ad#incoming-1830205.
4. How important are the grades you ultimately achieve for medicine at Leeds?
However, there are various widening participation schemes offered at Leeds that have lower A-level entry requirements. For example, this includes a new Gateway to Medicine course. The A-Level entry requirement for the Gateway Year to Medicine is BBC including Chemistry or Biology at B grade. In the first year of the course, you’ll study material to refine your scientific understanding, develop your study skills and equip you with the skills and knowledge needed as the course develops. After successfully completing this Gateway year, including reaching the required grades on the assessment elements of the course, you’ll progress to the five standard years of the Medicine degree. Another alternative admission scheme is Access to Leeds, which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low-income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted. The typical Access to Leeds A Levels offer is ABB including A in Chemistry or Biology.
5. What other requirements does Leeds have for Medicine?
The course GCSE entry requirements are as follows: 6 A*- B or 9 - 5 including Chemistry and Biology (or Dual Science/Double Science), English Language and Mathematics.
These are the minimum entry requirements, but admission is competitive and the majority of applicants will have qualifications well above this standard.
6. What should I put in my personal statement for Medicine at Leeds?
The personal statement is an important aspect of the application process as it helps to assess the non-academic attributes that are essential in a career in medicine.
The university acknowledges that traditional GP surgery or hospital work experience can be difficult to obtain, especially over the last year due to the pandemic, but expects applicants to be able to demonstrate their motivation and enthusiasm to study medicine through experience in any health and social care setting, such as at hospices or homes for the elderly. Non-clinical and extra-curricular activities are also looked upon favourably, examples include volunteering at charity shops, involvement in the Scout/Guide Association, volunteering as a youth leader, coaching children, helping run a science club etc.
7. What is the structure of the Medicine interview for Leeds?
The Leeds MBChB interview is a multiple-mini interview (MMI) style. The MMI process consists of 8 different stations. Each station will last 6 minutes with 1 minute to move between stations and read the next task. At the end of each station, the examiners award marks according to a pre-determined standardised scale. After the completion of all 8 stations, a cumulative score will be given and candidates are ranked.
8. What are my chances of getting into Medicine at Leeds?
Around 1000 applicants are invited for an interview each year. Invitations to interview are issued by email in batches starting in December. In 2019 there were 2486 applications, of which 1056 applicants were interviewed and 394 offers were given. Offer holders achieved grades from ABB to AAAA at A-Level
2. What is the course structure for the 5 year Medicine course?
The MBChB has an integrated course structure, which combines the core biomedical scientific principles with early clinical exposure.
Some of the modules in Year 1 include:
IDEALS (Innovation, Development, Enterprise, Leadership, Safety) - this addresses the challenges and requirements of modern practice.
Campus to Clinic - in this module you will develop your clinical decision-making and patient safety skills.
Individuals and Populations - this explores the psychological and societal aspects of behaviour and human development, their role in health and illness and treatment of medical problems.
Other important areas of study include biomedical sciences, anatomy and pharmacology.
In year 2, you’ll learn about the anatomy of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Further exposure to clinical practise will help develop your consultation, diagnostic and practical skills.
You’ll be trained in the skills needed to carry out research effectively. You’ll also participate in a two-week project on enterprise.
In years 3, 4 and 5 your time spent on clinical placement will increase, as you transition from medical student to doctor
As well as the wide-ranging curriculum, there’s also a chance to tailor your studies through:
Intercalation – taking an extra degree in one year, usually after years 2, 3 or 4 of the MBChB. It’s a chance to broaden your knowledge and enhance your career opportunities. Up to half of Leeds undergraduate medical students choose to intercalate each year.
6-week elective – between years 4 and 5, this can allow you to gain wider clinical experience or carry out a particular project in the UK or abroad. The elective is about gaining wider clinical experience or carrying out a specific project. Past students have worked in health centres, charities, universities and hospitals in Australia, Samoa, Vanuatu, China, Italy, Nepal and Tanzania.
3. What is the teaching style?
The teaching style is traditional, with early exposure to clinical placement starting with half a day per week in Year 1 and moving up to 4 days per week in Year 4.
In Year 1 and 2 more than half your time is spent in lectures. Lectures are recorded, but students are expected to attend in person. The remaining time is divided between tutorials, small group work and clinical placement.
Anatomy is taught by cadaver prosection in the first two years. It is worth noting that until a few years ago, anatomy at Leeds involved wet dissection. If this is something you're particularly interested in experiencing, Leeds offer an intercalated Clinical Anatomy BSc.
4. What does an average day as a first year medical student at Leeds look like?
Below is a typical 1st Year timetable:
IMS = Introduction to Medical Sciences.
RESS = Research, Evaluation and Special Studies.
I&P = Individuals & Populations.
C2C = Campus to Clinic.
IDEALS = Innovation, Development, Enterprise, Leadership and Safety.
As you can see, mornings are usually taken up with lectures. Wednesday afternoons are kept free for university sports traditionally. Friday afternoons can also often be free, which is handy if you plan on travelling home for the weekend.
In Years 3-5, the timetable becomes predominantly clinical placement. There is generally 1 week of lectures and clinical skills training, followed by a block of approximately 5 weeks on clinical placement. The hours on placement are often 8 am-4 pm, but in Years 4 and 5 there is some shift work including night shifts.
5. How does the structure of your day-to-day life change as you progress through the different years of the course?
As you progress through the course your time spent in the lecture theatre will decrease, while clinical placement time steadily increases.
Years 1 and 2
Half a day to 2 days of placement in a GP surgery and hospital each week. This involves shadowing medical professionals and working with voluntary groups close to your practice. You will learn and practice clinical skills such as injections and blood taking. You will also begin to develop your history taking, examination and interpersonal skills.
Students will integrate their clinical skills and knowledge by undertaking five junior clinical placements, each lasting five weeks. Placements include those in integrated medicine, surgery and peri-operative care, elderly and rehabilitation care, primary care and special senses.
Students undertake a further five clinical placements lasting six weeks each. These offer experience in specialist areas of medicine such as psychiatry, paediatrics and child health, gynaecology, obstetrics and sexual health, emergency and critical care, and cancer and continuing care.
Students will participate in a mandatory series of clinical placements with a strong focus on the transition to early postgraduate practice. These placements provide core experience in key clinical areas, with additional small variations in clinical exposure allowing you to tailor the final year to suit your individual learning needs.
6. Is an iBSc offered at Leeds?
Intercalated degrees give you the chance to study a subject in-depth and gain an additional degree in a single year. At Leeds intercalation is optional and can be undertaken at this university or elsewhere. The university offers intercalated BSc and Masters degrees. The specific iBSc courses that Leeds are known for include:
7. What is the typical cohort size and does this change as you progress through the course?
The typical cohort size is approximately 300 students. This can increase slightly with the entry of international medical students during the MBChB.
8. Which hospitals are linked to Leeds School of Medicine?
The School of Medicine is primarily linked with the following hospitals:
Leeds General Infirmary
St James's University Hospital
Bradford Royal Infirmary
Airedale General Hospital
Harrogate District Hospital
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals - Pinderfields Hospital, Dewsbury and District Hospital, and Pontefract Hospital
Hospital and GP surgery locations vary from a few minutes to approximately 1 hour or more from the school of medicine. Hospitals outside of Leeds generally offer free accommodation or subsidised travel to students.
Section 3: University & Medical School Life
1. Where is the University of Leeds located?
The University of Leeds and the School of Medicine are all based on one campus, which is about 100 acres in size. The campus is just a 10-15 minute walk from the city centre and also nearby to the student-friendly Hyde Park and Headingly areas.
2. Are students encouraged to take part in societies?
There are over 300 sports teams and societies within Leeds University Union! As well as another 30 specifically for medics. Students in the first and second year can easily get involved in many societies, although the workload as the course progresses may limit involvement to just one or two!
Activities offered by the Union include football, rugby, dance and even chess, wine tasting and skydiving!
Notable medic run societies are listed below:
Medsoc: events include the cocktail party, the spring ball, the summer barbeque and the ski trip. Fancy dress is a must at a Medsoc party!
4. What bursaries are available at Leeds for medical students?
Additional funding and bursaries are available to students on the MBChB which can be based upon academic merit, low income and whether you are experiencing hardship. For example, Leeds Financial Support (LFS) is a non-repayable grant for students from low-income backgrounds. The funding is offered yearly and the amount depends on household income.Students may apply for the Leeds Hardship Fund and NHS Hardship Grant, which are means-tested and depend upon individual circumstances. Further scholarships and awards based on academic merit are also available, see here fore more information: https://students.leeds.ac.uk/info/1000038/funding_for_medics_and_dentists/1204/additional_funding.
5. Are student support services readily available and easy to access?
The university is a very supportive environment. Students are given a personal tutor throughout their time at medical school and will meet with them at least 3 times per year. Other wellbeing support services, for example counselling, are also available to medical students.
The Leeds University Union also operates a student advice centre which comprises a self-help site as well as trained advisors, to answer any questions you have regarding all aspects of student life.
Students also have the option to apply for mitigating circumstances if required for exams or coursework.
6. What are the best food spots around the University of Leeds?
There is a huge amount of choice when it comes to eating out in Leeds. If you want to venture further than the many cafes in the university itself, Bakery 164 is a nearby student favourite. In Hyde Park you can indulge in pancakes for breakfast in LS6 cafe, or venture further for delicious South East Asian cuisine at May's Thai Cafe.
Good places to grab a drink include Terrace, where medical students often head straight after a big exam. There is also the famous Otley run - bring your best fancy dress and comfortable footwear for this 1.5 mile long pub crawl!
7. Is student accommodation available at the University of Leeds?
The university guarantees accommodation to 1st year students. Locations vary from the city centre to the university campus itself.
Residences popular with medical students tend to be those that are closest to campus since so much time is spent there! These include Charles Morris Hall, Henry Price, Lyddon Hall, Central Village, Cityside, Leodis and The Tannery.
Since these are all located within a 10 minute walk of campus you can expect to pay a little more for the convenience: approx £125-£160 per week.
For those who are willing to travel, Headingley is around a 40 minute walk, or 30 minute bus journey. Accommodation here includes Oxley and Lupton residences which charge from £95-£126 per week, depending on whether you opt for a shared bathroom or en-suite.