Sunday 23 July 2017

Graduate students need to brush up to get into medicine

One of the notable developments in medical education in recent years has been the increasing availability of places for graduates on accelerated medical degree programmes. Currently four medical schools -- UCC, UCD, UL and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) -- offer four-year courses for graduate entrants to medicine, with about 240 places between them for Irish and EU applicants.

Graduates applying to any of these four courses must hold, or expect to hold by July 2012, at least a Second Class Honours Grade One (a 2:1) in their first undergraduate Level 8 (Honours) degree in any discipline. They must also sit the GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test).

The GAMSAT consists of three elements, (1) reasoning in humanities and social sciences, (2) written communication and (3) reasoning in biological and physical sciences. The 2012 GAMSAT test will take place on 24 March at centres in Cork, Dublin and Limerick.

Q Are applicants awarded marks for their degree performance as well as the GAMSAT?

A No. Once applicants have at least a Second Class Honours Grade One (a 2:1), they are deemed eligible applicants, but their score will be based on their performance in the GAMSAT only.

Q I have a Second Class Honours grade 2 (2:2) in my B.Sc degree, but have a master's degree as well. Would that be acceptable?

A At the present time, applicants to the graduate medical courses must have a grade 2:1 in their first Level 8 honours degree.

A better result in a higher degree will not make them eligible, but applicants with questions about eligibility should contact the admissions office of the institution.

Q Is the syllabus the same in all four courses?

A All courses lead to the same medical qualification as the undergraduate entry medical programmes, but the syllabus may differ slightly from college to college. Applicants should explore each course to see which one might suit them best.

RCSI, which held a dedicated open day for graduate entrants to medicine earlier this month, holds a second open day for graduate applicants on January 14. Booking is required.

Attendees break into small groups and rotate through separate interactive discovery sessions. Attendees can also learn more about the importance of preparation for the GAMSAT, the financial commitment -- fees are substantial although they are subsidised by the HEA --, what job opportunities there are on qualification, and more.

Applicants to graduate entry to Veterinary Medicine in UCD also sit the GAMSAT. But the assessment procedures for veterinary medicine differ somewhat to those for graduate entry medicine. Graduate candidates to veterinary medicine are assessed on a combination of GAMSAT scores, educational performance, and personal statement outlining their motivation.

Open days: National College of Art and Design (NCAD) hosts its Annual Open Day tomorrow, from 9am-2pm. Trinity College Dublin (TCD) hosts open days on Friday next from 9am-3pm, and on Saturday, from 10am-3pm. Details of the timetable of events are available on Trinity's website, www.tcd.ie. Also on Saturday, there is an open day in St Patrick's College, Thurles, Co Tipperary, from 11am-3pm.

Irish Independent

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