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Perth College - Pathway to Medicine Access Course

Discussion in 'Access to Medicine' started by PTMNO1, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. PTMNO1

    PTMNO1 New Member

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    Perth College - Pathway to Medicine

    Hi, my name is Alex and I'm a former access to medicine student who completed the course at Perth college and secured one of the guaranteed places for St Andrews Medical School. Further to my previous post, I have added some updated information at the request of the course leader as well as added some updated advice on the process.

    The access to medicine course is designed to bring non-traditional backgrounds into medical education.

    I have an update (July 2013) from course leader Dr Robert Boyd.

    Eligibility
    Applicants must:

     Be UK or EU citizens
     Have normally left school four or more years prior to application
     As a minimum for consideration, have a Higher pass (A, B or C) in one of the following scientific subjects; Biology, Human Biology, Biotechnology, Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry (desirable).

    or

    Have achieved an A Pass on an Access to Science programme that includes a Higher pass (A, B or C) in a Science subject.

     Applications will be considered from those who have already studied at post-school level on HNC or HND courses, or up to Level SCQF 7.
     Demonstrate a clear interest and commitment to pursuing a career in Medicine.
     Satisfy the Medical Fitness to Practise regulations.


    Progression:

    Those applicants who are accepted onto the HNC Applied Sciences 'Pathway to Medicine' will be competing for one of five places in the Medical School.

    Only those who have passed the HNC at the level prescribed will be considered and the following will be taken into account when deciding which students should progress:

     Academic performance in the HNC.
     Reference from the HNC Course Team.
     UKCAT score.
     2nd interview carried out by Medical School staff from St Andrews.

    Progression to the MB ChB Medical Programme (3 years at the Medical School followed by 3 years at either Manchester Medical School or a Scottish Medical School).


    Course Prerequisites:

    Described in these official websites:

    Perth College: Application

    Perth College: PTM

    School of Medicine: Perth College


    How to apply

    You don't have to apply through UCAS, you apply directly to the college. I would advise that you contact Dr Robert Boyd and he will inform you if you're eligible for enrolment.


    Subject Areas

    DNA structure and function
    Human Biology
    Microbiology
    Maths (v.basic)
    Health and Safety
    Cell Biology
    I.T.

    Chemistry - split into 4 units (fundamentals 1 & 2, Organic and Inorganic) This subject is usually the seperator in academic abilities across the class.

    Finally in the second semester you will complete a Self Selected Project (5000 words) where you can choose to investigate an area of science you're interested in.

    UK CAT

    This is now more relevant than when I completed the course. Now I would expect that the UKCAT will have a cut-off set by St Andrews (don't know what this is), but provided you meet this minimum, it will only provide a small percentage of the overall consideration of a student's suitability to progress.

    What's good about it?

    Regardless of what anyone says, this course has 5 guaranteed places for the top 5 students. The only change from my day, is that it's not only grades that are used to separate students. 2nd interview and UKCAT will be covered later in this post.

    Now that the course has grown in reputation it may also be considered by other medical schools. It could be worth applying elsewhere while completing the Perth course to at least get interview practice for your 2nd Interview with St Andrews.


    Funding

    You should apply through SAAS, everyone is allowed 7 years of funding, so that should cover the Perth year and the 6 at St Andrews. Things have changed lately, and the NHS will cover last year or two of your tuition fees, so this might provide some wiggle room for students who have received a student loan for another course.

    Teaching

    The teaching in Perth is superb. They truly understand that you may have been out of education for years so they take it really slowly to begin with and eventually pick up the pace after a month or two. The teachers are mostly available for tutorial session if you're having trouble, especially chemistry. Additionally, the teachers are quite specialised in their areas so are well qualified to support your progression.

    Support

    There is a growing Perth College Alumini. Below is a Facebook group for students who are/about to/completed the Perth course. We have a couple of students who are very close to graduating as Doctors, so there may be opportunity for shadowing and/or support as you progress through medical school.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/131847810221261/

    Examinations

    Firstly the Practicals........ simple lab experiments and lab reports for a few subjects that are mandatory. Not really examined, you just have to complete them to a reasonable standard.

    Written exams no longer separates who's going and who's not. Out of all the subjects I mentioned earlier; Chemistry (4 exams), Human biology, Cell Biology and DNA are used to separate the pack academically. All of these have a pass mark of 70% and above.

    The Student Selected Project has a 60% pass mark as do all the other subjects on the list.

    As a pathway to medicine student you are allowed 2 resits throughout the year, although not in the same exam.


    MAIN DECIDING FACTOR

    2nd Interview:

    The 2nd interview will be carried out by Medical School staff from St Andrews. I imagine that it will be similar to your first interview, however, they will be expecting you to have progressed not only your knowledge but your experience of what a career in medicine requires in terms of commitment, motivation, support networks, reflection, high level moral values and ethics. I would advise reading through the GMC links below to gain an insight into how you are expected to develop professionally.

    GMC | Good medical practice (2013)
    GMC | Undergraduate education
    GMC | Good medical practice in action (GMPiA)

    I cannot stress how important this 2nd interview is! I have no official figures, but I would personally weight it as 50-60% of your overall grade, exam performance as 30%, and UKCAT 10%. This means that the control of progression very much lies with St Andrews. So make sure you please them by thoroughly researching their course content (it's different from most medical schools), and being fully aware of the most important and most recent medical and ethical topics.


    Work Experience

    This is where Perth College truly excells. They organised a 5 day placement for EVERYONE under a consultant at Perth Royal Infirmary where you observe their day to day activities. There are several placements on offer.... Paediatrics, general medicine, geriatrics and surgery, to name a few. I chose surgery and spent most of my time in theatre watching operations like a right anterior colon resection, right inguinal hernia removal and a cholecystectomy.


    Easing the transition

    They take you on a visit to St Andrews in April to sit in on a practical class as well as a lecture to get a feel for what St Andrews is like. Here you can ask questions about the course and see what pathway lies ahead. During this you will probably meet a few Perth graduates students for lunch.

    Overall this is a smashing course with a high success rate. Myself and my fellow Perth classmates of 2007/8 have just breezed through our first year medical exams. Perth College truly prepares you for the leap to university study.

    You can PM me with any questions and I'll do my best to help (few days reply time).

    Good luck in your applications.


    Thanks, Alex
     
    #1 PTMNO1, Jun 8, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  2. leemkule

    leemkule New Member

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    Hi again Alex, great post.

    I was on this years (08/09) pathway to medicine at Perth and it truly was an excellent experience and I feel thoroughly prepared to attend med school next year.

    As Alex said, the standard of teaching is absolutely fantastic and all the lecturers are supportive and easy to find if you require help.

    One comment that I'd like to make is that I think our year was the last to follow the Chemistry structure that Alex explained. I'm not 100% certain, but I think they are scrapping inorganic chemistry and adding an Introduction to fundamental chemistry which has an exam at the end of it to make the learning curve a bit less steep.

    Again, as was the case last year, our year had 6 out of the initial 10 pass, which is an incredibly high success rate. However we have yet to have confirmation as to whether the person who finished 6 will gain a place.

    I strongly recommend that anyone who fits the entry criteria and is serious about studying medicine considers this course, it's a great opportunity for you.

    Looking forward to next year, see you there!
     
  3. Zedd

    Zedd Member

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    Is there an oral/presentation component to the course?
     
  4. leemkule

    leemkule New Member

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    Yeah, there is a presentation skills for science unit which involves a summary of a scientific article, a more in depth chemistry report, a poster presentation (on the subject of your graded unit) and a gene therapy presentation of 7-10 minutes.
     
  5. PTMNO1

    PTMNO1 New Member

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    Presentation skills for science

    As my fellow St Andrews medic said, there's a unit spanning both semesters and it's supposed to teach you generic scientific research skills in a fashion that allows you to take a project from start to finish..... like the real scientific community.

    For instance, they begin with the teaching of basic scientific concepts, then get you to test them via lab experimentation. This is complimented by analysing scientific papers in parrallel with writing lab reports on the experiments. This gives you the ground work to be able to begin preparations for your Student Selected Project (SSP).

    In addition to this you will have to prepare a 10 minute powerpoint presentation on a method of gene therapy. However, don't let this be a burden as it's rather informal and everyone always passes.

    Finally a poster presentation where you display your SSP findings before a small congregation of college staff......... just don't make my mistake and blabber on about Parkinson's disease to a fuc**** neuro-scientist (what are the chances eh) :)

    Are you thinking of applying Zed?
     
  6. Zedd

    Zedd Member

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    I had sent in an application but pulled out before my interview but now, with my situation being a bit different, I'm considering reapplying (assuming they have any spaces left).

    We've done a similar thing for my access to biomed course this year, an 8-10 minute talk (I did cholesterol and put everyone to sleep), ~2500 word essay (Effect of drug discovery on society, my writing is apparently "flowery") and our biology and chemistry projects ('optimal growth media of varied cultures' & 'determination of alcohol concentration by optical density').

    Part of my concern would be my lack of experience/volunteering of health care (care homes, hospital, gp, etc) so, when they ask me to bring my personal statement for medicine with me to the interview I feel like I'm writing an incomplete PS...should that be a problem? Presumably they work with you on your PS during the first month of the course, correct?
     
  7. leemkule

    leemkule New Member

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    I don't think you're too late to reapply, a girl got accepted to the course really late, she came a few weeks into the year. I think you're kind of misunderstanding how the course works, you apply to Perth College and when you attend the interview there are staff members from St Andrews University. If you are accepted on the PTM, you are automatically accepted to St Andrews if you finish top 5 and get the required grades. The UCAS form is just a formality. Most people just condensed their Perth application personal statement.

    Do you have any work experience at all? There were some people from my year that only had very small amounts of work experience. It's not about quantity of experience, it's what you gained from it.
     
    #7 leemkule, Jun 11, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  8. PTMNO1

    PTMNO1 New Member

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    Go for it

    I spoke to the Dr Boyd today and he said he's still accepting applications for this year. Personally, I started 2 weeks into the course as unknown to me I was sunning it in Africa when I was supposed to be at an interview:) I just called and re-arranged, phew.

    The lucky thing for us is that due to poor advertising in the past there has not been huge interest in the Perth course; this is apparently soon to be changed.

    My advice is to never pull an application, but since you're in "that place" I would just re-apply. Call Dr Boyd and have a quick chat about the course and express your interest in applying, possibly voicing your reasons for withdrawal.

    Simon (Leemkule) is correct in saying that everything is dealt with before the start of the course i.e. St Andrews interview, personal statement.

    If you're worried about the process you can send me your email and I would be glad to send the personal statement & any questions I got at interview as a guide.

    Now, I've spoken with the head of admissions at St Andrews and the main thing they want.... CAN'T EMPHASISE THIS ENOUGH..... they want you to be reflective. Tell them what you have done and what you learned from it; additionally you can inform them of any strategies you have employed to improve your methods or experiences in the future. During 1st year at St Andrews they constantly babble on about reflection.

    The work experience thing can be a bit tricky; technically you're ok with having none as it's an access course for non-traditional backgrounds, but why not quickly organise something and it gives you something to back up your commitment.

    Have a few questions for them....... just not my one:-/ Asking Dr Boyd why did he get into medicine, which he proceeded to tell me, "I'm a botanist son." Classic me:)

    Finally just add in something about the course at St Andrews.... lecture based, fully integrated, dissection (seeing with your hands). Remember, anyone who reads this post has an advantage at interview as you know the course inside out:)

    Alex
     
  9. Diana021

    Diana021 New Member

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    Question about Perth College

    Is it true that an applicant has to have no tradition of university study in their immediate family?
     
  10. PTMNO1

    PTMNO1 New Member

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    University history

    Hi Diana, welcome to the thread.

    That was an initial stipulation when I joined the course, but my mother had done a social sciences degree (first degree in the family) and 1 of my sisters was doing English literature. I didn't disclose this, nor was I asked..... To be honest, it's none of their business:)

    However, I've emailed the course tutor to ask for clarification on this as it is a little ambiguous:)

    Alex
     
  11. Wanna be Dr S

    Wanna be Dr S New Member

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    Interested In Access to Medicine

    Hi Alex, p.s everyone

    I am seriously interested in joining Perth College for their Access to Medicine course but I was not sure if my qualification and age is considerate by the college, so would you just like give me a feedback whether I should apply or not.

    I am more than happy to defer my year if places are fully allocated this year, as long as I know that I will be offered a place for 2010.

    I am 23 years old. I have always wanted to study medicine. I came to the UK at the age of 13. So i completed half of year nine here and then did my gcse whilst learning English from scratch, since I only spoke Arabic at the time when i came to this country.

    I didn’t do so well at school with my gcse's and achieved C's in Humanities, IT, Textiles, Religious Studies and an A in Arabic.

    I then went on to complete this bridging course in Science which was equivalent to GCSE's and achieved 32 credits at level 2 in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and maths. At the same time I did GCSE maths and English and achieved 2 C's.

    I struggled to get the best of grades because at the same time I was a career to my younger sisters, because my parent left us at very young age. So whilst learning English, looking after my sisters, helping being a good mother, I did my best to achieve the best possible.

    I couldn’t go on straight then to complete my A levels because I had to become a full time career to my sisters.

    When they were old enough to start college I went on to complete an Access to Medicine Paramedical and Humans Sciences course at City and Islington college, hoping that it will be a pathway to medicine for me, but that was not the case because they were more willing to support graduate applicants application to medicine because they would have more success rate than me. But I didn’t lose hope and worked very hard throughout the course and achieved distinctions throughout which were 66 credits at level 3 and 24 at level 2, the maximum available credit from the course. I did this on 2006/07

    I did try my best to apply to medicine independently but have been unsuccessful. This year I tried to get more detailed feedback and Universities told me I need an Access course which is more accepted by majority of universities as Access to Medicine from City and Islington is not recognised.

    I also have extensive experience within the NHS, ranging from Geriatrics ward, to Orthopaedic and currently working in the A&E.
    I am a very determined person and extremely interested in medicine, my only worry is that Perth college wants students who have left school 4 years ago. For me it’s only been 2 years coming to 3 years. I am very confused but I also know this is what I want. Are there any suggestions. I would really appreciate all the feedback from everyone.:confused:
     
  12. giella

    giella New Member

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    Medical schools usually also require English and Maths at B or above. That might be where you're going wrong.
    You're on the right track with Perth, but have you considered the College of West Anglia or City College Norwich? Perth is small and has a limited number of places available. I believe they also give preference to Scottish students, although I may be misremembering things from a year ago. Have a look at those courses. They have more places available and they're accepted just about everywhere.
    Keep your options open. Apply to all three. From what I can tell, Perth seems to be somewhat flexible with the entrance requirements, so you might be on the right track.
     
  13. PTMNO1

    PTMNO1 New Member

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    Hi Dr S,

    I've passed your post onto the course tutors and they have given me the relevant information to ease your concerns regarding your eligibility for the course.

    The courses you have done previously fall below SQA level 7 so there is no issue there, the other access course you did should prepare you well for this one.

    As you indicated in the private message you are a UK eligible student, so you fall within the catchment.

    To clarify what the "not been at school for 4 years minimum" rule is....... This is designed to ensure the applicants are over 21, as they are not allowed to stipulate an age requirement due to EU law. Again, you don't need to worry about that factor.

    Medical admissions tutors enjoy interviewing knowledgeable candidates who show they are continually improving their educational pedigree, and you seem to have done that as well as your circumstances have allowed.

    Overall it seems you would be a good candidate for admission. As long as you gave a good performance in an interview I don't see any reason why you couldn't get in (my opinion).

    Any more questions are welcome :)


    Alex
     
  14. Wanna be Dr S

    Wanna be Dr S New Member

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    Thank You


    Hi Alex,

    Thank you again for your reply, i really appreciate you doing this for me. I am definetly going to get in touch with the college on Monday. I hope i really hope I get through.

    I will let you know how i get on.

    Thank you.

    s:)
     
  15. leemkule

    leemkule New Member

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    Best of luck with your application Dr S. Just show how devoted you are if you receive an interview and I'm sure you'll be fine.
     
  16. leemkule

    leemkule New Member

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    Alex,

    Quick question - do you remember how long after completing the course it took for you to receive your unconditional offer?:)

    Simon.
     
  17. PTMNO1

    PTMNO1 New Member

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    mmmm, good question.

    I just remember being told I was in and to expect the conditional soon. Couldn't have been later than July as they'll want to sort all the PTM'ers out before the A-level results get delivered.

    Feels good when it comes in though:)


    Alex
     
  18. Lynsey Rachel

    Lynsey Rachel New Member

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    Hi Alex, the access course at Perth has interested me and I have a few questions.

    First of all, would I be too late to apply now? It is clear that there are only a few places available compared to somewhere like COWA or CCN so is it possible that all the places will be full up? Also, as I already have a degree does this mean I am not eligible to apply? (Although my degree is in history and is therefore not a science. I only have biology A level at grade C and my science GCSEs at grades AA in terms of science qualifications.) And lastly, considering I already have a degree does this mean I will not be eligible for any funding? You mentioned that students are allowed upto 7 years funding so that would cover the course and medschool, but as I already have a degree I am wondering if this means I won't be allowed funding because some places are like that. Also, I am English, so would I have to pay tuition fees or are fees covered?

    Thanks!
     
  19. Zedd

    Zedd Member

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    It is not too late to apply, I'm happy to be able to say. I just heard back from admissions so I think I will fill out my application and get to work on my personal statement. There is still a huge toss-up over what I will be doing come this September though :S
     
  20. PTMNO1

    PTMNO1 New Member

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    Degree entry to HNC?

    Hi Lyndsey,

    There are still places available as I think the max class size is 16; also the Perth course is relatively unknown compared to some of the more established courses.

    However, you degree will probably render you unelligible for application as you have studied at a level higher than HNC before. It's not just the science thing, it's the fact you will have a clear advantage over other candidates who don't have the same study experience as you. Call Dr Boyd and ask (01738 877879), a choice in your Pathway is very important and I wouldn't feel comfortable giving difinitive advice.

    Before the rules were tightened, a few people who pulled out mid degree were allowed in last year. I believe they're fees were covered for the HNC but they have to make a contribution to the St Andrews years. I think this is around £1000 but I really can't be sure. The other thing to take into consideration is that the NHS pays your fees for the clinical years so technically, only the first three years of St Andrews counts towards funding. Please check this information as I'm only advising this on my own limited experience of the SAAS system.

    In regards to tuition fees, I'm genuinly not sure as this can be a complex matter. I know someone who avoided them as they lived in Scotland for 5 years.

    I hope I've helped and good luck in your applications:),


    Alex
     

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