fbpx

Gap year before Medical School – How to use it well

Gap year before Medical School – How to use it well

gap year before medical school
gap year before medical school
Colette Tolley
2nd-year Medical Student at University of Oxford
June 11, 2021

Taking a gap year before medical school

Taking a gap year before Medical School or starting medical studies can be a fantastic way to create some lifelong memories, earn some money and boost your medical CV.

Future medical students taking gap years fall into two categories; those with an offer who have deferred entry, and those without an offer who are reapplying during their gap year. Whatever the reason, a gap year should be productive.

Whether you are taking a gap your before starting Medical School because of rejection, deffered entry or something else all together, this guide will show you how to use your gap year the best way possible. 

Gap year before Medical School

PROS of a Gap year

  • Chance to get more work experience.
  • You will already know your A-level/ International Baccalaureate (IB) results.
  • Opportunity to retake exams and improve grades.
  • Take a breakout of academics.
  • Chance to learn something different and develop new skills.
  • Get a job to earn money.
  • Explore your own hobbies and interests.
  • Time to consider your career choices, is Medicine really for you?
  • Opportunity to travel and experience the real world.

CONS of a Gap year

  • Longer time to become a doctor.
  • Get too used to free time.
  • Possible rejection after a gap year.
  • Grow attached to your gap year job.
  • Behind a year, from your classmates.
  • Re-adjustment back to student life after a gap out of education may be hard.

Things to do during gap year before Medical School

Planning

Proper planning is key to making sure you accomplish everything you want to in your year off and to ensuring you’ve got a few things in there to impress medical schools! When planning your year off it could be helpful to write two lists:

  • a “personal” list – things you want to do for yourself and
  • a “medical school” list – things that will improve your CV

Make sure you complete as many items on both the lists as possible.

Get medical work experience

Its key to show you’ve maintained a strong interest in Medicine on your year off. This can be done through:

  • Work experience: shadowing or volunteering
  • Getting a job as a healthcare assistant

This will boost your medical knowledge and may provide you with an option of picking up work during medical school on the NHS bank.

It’s also great to show admission officers that you’ve mantained your interest in Medicine and made the most out of your free time by deepening your medical knowledge.

Medical Summer School–London

Award-winning, 1-week long, in-person medical school preparation course

Ward Round Live

Virtual hospital work experience course for students aged 15+

GP Live

Live online GP work experience course for students aged 15+

Work on the weak areas of your application

Look at our Guide on dealing with medical school rejection to help you do this.

It may simply be academic scores or entrance exam scores. Ask your old school for help if you’re struggling to register for any resit exams.

It may be other elements of your application such as extra-curriculars, work experience etc. If this is the case then pick up a new hobby, gain some more work experience or do some volunteering.

Volunteering abroad

By now, you may already understand how healthcare is delivered in the NHS from your work experience or paid work. Volunteering abroad offers students a unique opportunity to gain insight into healthcare in a different country whilst enjoying a new and rich culture.

Understanding healthcare in another country can provide some useful points to talk about at interview. 

There are so many students that have taken a gap your before Medical School and said it was the best thing that has ever happend to them. Have a look at one of our videos on YouTube to see for yourself. 

Keep doing your hobby

Hobbies are very important when it comes to applying to Medical School. As a Doctor, you will be under a lot of pressure and stress, and you need to be able to deal with it. The way most of us deal with stress is in our hobbies. And Medical Schools know this.

By keeping doing your hobby throughout your gap year before medical school, you will show Medical Schools that you have a strong non-medical interest that helps you to deal with stress. It will also help you clear your head and stop thinking about your Medicine applications for a while.

Volunteering abroad

By now, you may already understand how healthcare is delivered in the NHS from your work experience or paid work. Volunteering abroad offers students a unique opportunity to gain insight into healthcare in a different country whilst enjoying a new and rich culture.

Understanding healthcare in another country can provide some useful points to talk about at interview. 

There are so many students that have taken a gap your before Medical School and said it was the best thing that has ever happend to them. Have a look at one of our videos on YouTube to see for yourself.

How do Medical Schools view gap years? 

Provided you can produce evidence on how your gap year has helped you develop into a better prospective medical student, they will view them favourably. There is an expectation that you will have finished the year more mature, better informed and with a deeper understanding of Medicine.

If you’ve taken a gap year, be prepared to answer questions on it during your interviews as this will almost certainly happen.

GET YOUR HOSPITAL
WORK EXPERIENCE

You may also want to read

10 tips on how to manage your time

10 tips on how to manage your time

Hi guys, my name is Emily, and I'm a 4th-year medical student. As the title implies, this blog is about managing your time well when applying for medical school. I totally understand how you may all be feeling right now. Applying for medical school can sometimes feel...

read more

Latest Admissions Advice, Guidance and Tips

Also receive 10% off our courses