Getting into Dental School can be described as a process of getting through a number of hoops until you finally reach the day you walk in through the doors of your school and you appreciate the fruits of your effort.
Firstly there’s the UKCAT, this can be a major hurdle for a number of students however it is not by any means something that is impossible. People often say it’s something you can’t revise for however this is the first mistake. True it is not a knowledge based exam however what it is, is a skills based exams. Therefore like anything that takes skill (which by the way is dentistry to a tee) it takes practice. The best advice anyone can offer for UKCAT is start practising early and go through as many questions as you can, vary the sources you use to gain experience for a wide variety of questions how they can be worded and how best to tackle them. The more you practice the more likely you will succeed. More information about the UKCAT is available here
The second stage is writing a personal statement. It’s important to remember that there are thousands of students with the same high grades you possess, the same work experience you have and the same drive you have to achieve that place. Here is where the personal statement comes in, this is the only chance you have alongside the interview to make yourself standout from the crowd. One of the most important aspects you need to include in your personal statement is reflection. This is something that students often forget however reflection is key and will endear you to every school that you apply to.
With these 2 stages done now you have the horrible period of waiting to hear back from the universities you have applied too. The best advice we can offer here is to just be patient, you won’t hear back any sooner than the university decides too. What you need to do here is to focus on your A-Levels, focus on your revision and work hard to get your grades, without these however good everything else is you won’t stand a chance.
Finally the interview stage, the majority of Dental schools offer MMI’s rather than the traditional forms of interviews. Again the best way to increase your chances of success at interview stage is through practice. Do as many questions as you can, get people to interview you, speak to people who have been through the process. Most importantly when you get to that fateful day of the interview, don’t panic! Each station in an MMI is an interview in itself and one station will not prove fatal if you do err. However what will cost you is that if you do have one bad station and let it affect you the other stations will also suffer and this will cost you dearly.
At the end of the day if you’re considering applying for Dentistry you’ve clearly worked hard, you’re committed and dedicated and have the ability to succeed. The only thing that will stop you is if you don’t prepare and take things easy at the wrong time. Remember that you’re almost at the doorstep of a new chapter of your life, on the pathway to a career that you want. Put in all the effort you can prior to your application and up until you have the offer in your hand its maximum a period of 6 months. Then after that enjoy the privilege of being a Dental student.
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Best of Luck,
The MedDentPrep Team