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Reapplying To Medical School: 4 Tips To Overcome Med School Rejection

Published on
May 2, 2024
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Applying to medical school is a long and exhaustive process. A whole year of time is given to preferencing medical schools, sitting through the gruelling GAMSAT or UCAT exam, and displaying your skills at a medical interview. Finally, after all of these layers of evaluation, you you are still in the dark as to whether you were successful in your goal of a place at medical school. The entire process is not only time-consuming, but also includes anxiousness and mental fatigue. And with every passing year, this experience is only getting worse due to the ever-increasing competition to enter medicine. 

Considering the difficulty in the selection process, only a lucky few enter a medical school in their first shot. However, if you are among those that faced a rejection, do not give up and instead think about improving on your weaknesses for next year's application cycle. 

In this article, we talk about a list of ‘must-knows' that can help you to increase your odds of getting an offer in the next year that you apply.

Let’s jump right in!

1. Strengthen Your Extracurriculars Or Clinical Experience

Medical schools greatly value extracurricular activities, mainly because they showcase a range of core skills that can be compared to how a student may function in a hospital setting. There are many challenges one needs to tackle in a dynamic medical environment; hence, showcasing your interpersonal skills through an extracurricular activity can positively impact the admission committee’s final decision on your application. 

Having established the importance of extracurricular activities, it is safe to say that acquiring a solid work experience in your chosen internship can make the most of your gap year before applying to med school again. 

Furthermore, by undertaking healthcare experience, you add value to your personal statement or portfolios in the case of UoW and UNDA demonstrating growth from your gap year.

If you are unable to get a position at a hospital, there is often a possibility of finding internship opportunities at aged care facilities or working as assistants at pharmacies, or in other allied healthcare services. 

Ultimately, your objective is to make your application look good, so do not limit yourself to only finding clinical-ward experiences. In fact, any internship opportunity will offer important areas for learning. Medical shcools can recognise your skills and hard work both in your portfolio and in your maturity when you return for another interview.

2. Boost Your Exam Scores

GAMSAT Score 

The GAMSAT or the UCAT, depending upon your medical degree, is an important prerequisite in the selection process. Most postgraduate medical schools have opted for an unweighted or weighted GAMSAT, except Monash University, which disregards the GAMSAT score altogether. Therefore, an understanding of how different medical schools emphasize the GAMSAT score could also streamline your application process.

In addition, many students undertake the GAMSAT more than once, this does not indicate they lack the necessary skills or are any less deserving of a medical place. Re-sitting the GAMSAT is an option, but bear in mind that it requires commitment for the next couple of months, and your everyday routine will return to processing a mountain of information, practising online mocks and attending private tutorials

A huge advantage for those re-sitting the GAMSAT is that you know your strengths and weaknesses across each GAMSAT section and are also aware of tactics to avoid burnout on the day of GAMSAT. 

So your main goal is to maximize your performance and obtain that high score in order to make your med school application look promising.

UCAT Score

Your UCAT study can have a better direction if you have a basic understanding of the percentage of UCAT score taken into consideration. Alternatively, it is good to learn whether your undergraduate medical school considers UCAT in their ranking process or has its personalized selection criterion, like the Bond University psychometric evaluation.

For example, Newcastle Uni considers the aggregate UCAT score, however, it overlooks the Situational Judgement band score while ranking a potential student for undergraduate medicine. In contrast, Monash University gives equal preference to the ATAR, UCAT score and the medical interview.

So, if you are disheartened about not receiving a medical place this time, then you could implement some of the aforementioned tips and rectify your UCAT study strategy

To maximize your performance in this setting, a good tactic is to maintain a UCAT study journal and jot down some of your difficult encounters from your previous sitting to reflect on. It is good to have a reflective personality, as it can help you improvise on your next UCAT sitting and avoid repeating mistakes.

It is also worth remembering that a reflective nature is a key strength observed in the medical interview, so if you under-performed in your medical interview and are looking for strengths to talk about, you could use the ‘reflective personality’ as one of your personality traits to display you in a good light to the interview committee.

3. Work On Personal Development

Undeniably, personal development is crucial in order to strike a balance between your mental faculties and overall well-being. This balance cannot be obtained overnight, it takes time and effort to build.

It is understandable that medical school rejection might be difficult to cope with, however, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Instead, acknowledge the failure and flip it into an opportunity to work on yourself. Try to view this rejection as a means to improve your character traits and take on new hobbies to develop yourself further. The things you get up to over the year will help your medical school application in ways that you initially might not have imagined.

4. Improve Your Medical Interview Tone

A student with a good academic record may not necessarily have great communication skills or open body language. Medical school interviews are designed to interpret whether you are as good in person as you appear to be on paper. First and foremost, if you have made it to the interview stage, so you just need to work on the final touches of your application in order to be successful in achieving a medical school place.

For those who didn’t get an interview offer, your focus should be on strengthening your medical school application in regards to gaining more experience from internships and, critically, undertaking the medical entrance exams again. It is important to understand that getting accepted into medical school is competitive and tedious, so you should take the time to reflect on your motivation level before having another swing in the application rounds.

To improve your interview skills, you could familiarize yourself with the interview format that the medical school has adopted. Your interview preparation should be based on whether it is an MMI or the traditional panel interview. Undertake multiple mock interviews or enrol into an interview prep course, which can give you hands-on tricks to perform well in the interview. 

Alternatively, you could seek help from your peers or family to question you on various interview themes and get feedback. A medical interviewer merely evaluates you on your interpersonal skills and overall medical potential, so take as many mock interviews as you can before the real interview to build confidence. 

Where To Next?

Facing a rejection can be heartbreaking, but it is one of the most important life lessons that could shape you into becoming a good doctor. There will be many adversities that you will encounter regularly on the wards and in life more generally. So it is recommended that you develop coping mechanisms at a premed stage to be more resilient in your thinking and decision making.

We hope you found this article interesting and had some solid insights to work on if you did not get into medical school this time. We provide a range of courses and one-on-one tutoring, be it for UCAT, GAMSAT or interview preparation. The team at Fraser’s has got you covered!

For more information, refer to Fraser's website and reach out to our friendly tutors if you ever have any questions. Alternatively, you could check out our Free Resources and Tools designed specifically to help you in different stages of your medical journey.