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After high school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but thought about becoming a doctor, doing paramedics or becoming a police officer.
I was a volunteer with St.John Ambulance and a youth development coordinator where I met a number of volunteer doctors who where extremely helpful and illustrated medicine to be a worthwhile career.
I applied for Biomedical Science at Burwood in 2005 and finished that in 2007. Still unsure about what I was going to do, my options were going on to do paramedics at Monash, apply for the police, or doing medicine. Half way through my 2nd year, word started to travel about the opening of a new medical school. I had reasonably good grades, and thought this was my chance. It was something I always had in the back of my head, to do medicine, but always thought you had to be extremely smart, not smart, just committed to working hard.
The application process was rigorous and draining. Early in my last year of undergrad I had to prepare for the GAMSAT test which consisted of a science, essay and analytical component. Be prepared for this test, it’s what decides if you even get considered or not, so study (there are prep courses, just ask around, look at science boards etc). Once that’s over, you don’t need to do much just keep your grades up as high as possible (this makes you more competitive, especially if you don’t do too well on the GAMSAT). Hopefully by mid-year you get reasonable GAMSAT results and have already started applying at graduate universities. I choose Deakin as its familiar, having done three years already and its something new.
At some point you will hopefully get notification that all is well and you’ve been selected to sit an interview. The interview is a 10 station, 10 minute scenario based interview. Essentially you get two minutes to read the scenario and 8 minutes to address / discuss it with the interviewer. Examples of this include a mock act where you integrate with an actor (as per scenario) and exhibit what you would do, to addressing scenarios and how you would approach them. The key to interview is being honest; they will catch you if you lie (not from my personal experience, just word of mouth). Remember they just want you to answer honestly, openly and be sure to justify everything you say, their not looking for pre-planned answers (not that you could, you only see the questions during the interview), although if you are applying, its good idea to read the schools websites, and mission aims etc. To make sure you integrate that when you answer so the interviewers know you’ve done your homework. E.g. Deakin is a medical university in a rural city and is focused on addressing the rural skills shortage. Little things like this count and will put you in pretty good stead.
What’s left, is to finish the degree (push hard, as last year is weighted the most), or if you’ve finished and working, just relax. Towards the end of the year, you’ll hopefully get positive notification and just start planning for medical school.
But do not get complacent, medicine is hard work, it is vigorous and you need to be disciplined. Teachers help a lot, but the course is self directed, so your teachers teach you, but you’ll teach yourself (so lots of reading text books and journals), many hours are spent behind books, computers and the library, and there are limited holidays throughout the year, it’s intense. On the plus side, you will feel accomplished on how much you do learn, the comradery and skills you attain through the PBL and clinical skills classes, these not build confidence but puts your learning to real-life like situations.