For any applicant who thinks that there is a chance they might have dyslexia/dypraxia

Discussion in 'UKCAT' started by pixies89, May 31, 2010.

  1. pixies89

    pixies89 New Member

    Feb 12, 2007
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    For any applicant who thinks there is a chance that they might have dyslexia/dypraxia


    I just thought I would share my experiences as I feel it is very likely that I am not the only person who will be in a similar position. In summary, I would like to encourage anyone who thinks they might have special educational needs to look into this before applying to medicine.

    I went to a comprehensive school where I was a straight A student, I was moved ahead a year at the age of 4 and remained in this position until I left school to go to university at 17. I obtained As/A*s in my GCSEs and A levels and went to a highly competitive university to study philosophy. I gained a high 2:1 in my degree, with several 1st class marks whilst taking part in a large number of extracurricular activities and having a busy social life.

    I first noticed some difficulties whilst completing my degree, particularly with regards to structuring essays. I had also always been very clumsy, quite forgetful and not very good at sport. It crossed my mind that I might be dyspraxic but I did not consider it worth looking into.

    I decided to apply for medicine and applied immediately after graduating. I wanted to stay in London but was very unhappy to score only slightly above average on the UKCAT. I had loads of work experience and felt my application was pretty strong so decided to go ahead and apply for London Universities, but was fairly disheartened by my result in the UKCAT.

    In my UKCAT, I scored below average on DA and AR. I have always been quite good at maths and this dragged my score up quite a lot.

    I had one interview at BSMS which went quite badly as I felt so under pressure. After receiving rejections without interview for everywhere else on the basis of my UKCAT score, I decided it might be worthwhile to look into the possibility of having dyspraxia.

    I saw an educational psychologist who was recommended by my university (this cost £300 but is free if your school/university will pay for it) The psychologist confirmed that I am dyspraxic and to my surprise, also dyslexic. Many of my IQ scores were around 140/150 but those relating to puzzles/shapes were in the region of 110-120. My comprehension skills (of written information) were well below expected for someone of my verbal reasoning ability. My short term memory is my biggest weakness, (I scored around 80/90 for this) but my long term memory is one of my greatest strengths. My highest score was in my 'observational skills' in which I come in the top 0.4% of the population.

    It struck me that many of the tests they used to determine whether or not I had dyslexia or dyspraxia closely reflected the UKCAT, and in some ways, the UKCAT does discriminate against people with learning disabilities. My psychologist said that she knew many doctors who were dyslexic or dyspraxic, a large number of whom who are undiagnosed. Before the use of the UKCAT, these people would not have had encountered the problems I had in the application process.

    I contacted Barts to appeal my decision as I was only 3 points below their cutoff for interview last year. They did not reconsider my application.

    I applied to medical school again, this time I also decided to take the BMAT and the UKCAT SEN (25% extra time). I performed much better in the UKCAT and applied to 3 London Universities and Leeds. I also applied to King's 4 year course but withdrew and replaced this with Leeds as I felt quite insecure after the previous year's events, as well as feeling that I would prefer the slightly slower pace of a 5 year course .

    I received 3 interviews from the London universities. I also received an interview for King's 4 year course as they had not recorded that I had withdrawn my application! (I didn't attend this interview) I received offers from all 3 London medical schools (UCL, Barts, Kings) and was rejected from Leeds without interview. I will be going to UCL in September.

    Please ignore anyone who says that you can't be a doctor if you have special educational needs. Several years ago I would have not encountered these problems with the UKCAT (as it wasn't in use!) and may well have sailed through. Many academically strong people will never have their learning difficulties picked up on as they have excellent coping mechanisms when dealing with academic work. I think this is especially likely if you attend a comprehensive school as like me, you may well be one of the best students in your year - little notice was given to the areas in which I performed slightly less well in.

    If you would like to ask any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.:)
    #1 pixies89, May 31, 2010
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  2. Masuda

    Masuda Member

    Mar 10, 2010
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    Hi pixies89

    Congratulations on securing your place! and thank you for your post - anyone in the same position as you does need to do some advance planning for this - as when you sit your UKCAT you don't need to show any evidence of your Special Educational Needs to sit the version with extra time but you will need to show it to the university that you apply to.

    These disorders are by no means well enough understood in schools and it is definately worth getting it checked out if you have any concerns at all.

    Good luck to anyone who is coping with this on top of the rest of exams and applications.
  3. rosie85

    rosie85 New Member

    Mar 16, 2010
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    Hey Pixies, i just wanted to say congrats on your interviews and going to UCL, sounds like you deserve it! i was diagnosed with bad dyspraxia during my A-levels and at first this put me off applying for 2011 entry but i think you have to give things a go like you have done.

    Anyway i went back to the same ed psychologist that i saw before for an update for uni and so i could have extra time in ukcat / gamsat and strangely enough all signs / symptoms of it have gone so can't declare it etc. i'm obviously very pleased and i think that it also goes to show that you should always have regular assessments as maybe things can change? nobody with dyslexia / dyspraxia should have to give up their dreams of studying medicine, after all it is only a label and pixies89 is proof of that!

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