Hopefully, this article will give you some useful tips and ideas about how you could spend your time during your Christmas holidays to prepare or work on your Medicine application.
Different pieces of advice in this article will be better suited to you depending on whereabouts you are in your medical school application journey, so don’t worry if you can’t do all of these things yet. Keep them in the back of your mind (or better, a planner/notebook/word document) until they are applicable to you.
Using Christmas to work towards your Medicine application
- Work experience
- Interview preparation
- Reflection journal
- TAKE A BREAK!
Another thing that is important to remember is that you need to make sure you are doing everything in moderation and looking after yourself! Although it’s really tempting to try and pack your holidays full of as many useful things as possible for your medical school applications, you have your holidays for a reason. Indeed, it is worth spending some time working on your medical school application, but you might also be balancing this with revising for mock exams, and holidays are a time for rest!
Christmas holidays and your Medicine application
Just as important as all the other pieces of advice, here is my sincere advice: take a break, have some fun, connect with your friends and family, and do some things you enjoy and don’t normally have time for!
Please find below a useful list of things you can do towards your medical school application.
This is most likely applicable to you if you are in Year 11 or 12 and aged over 16 (as this makes finding work experience much easier), or in Year 13 if you have decided to take a gap year.
The Christmas holidays can be a great time to organise your work experience, there is less demand, as most people arrange their work experience for the summer holidays. Also, medical services and the NHS are normally under a lot more pressure during the winter months, so you will get a great insight into this and the reality of working as a doctor, which will be great to write about in your personal statement and talk about during your interviews.
Even if you cannot arrange to do work experience during your Christmas holiday, you could start putting together your application, writing your CV, and contacting people. This article won’t cover the specifics of arranging work experience or how to get the most out of it – so check out some of our other articles to read more on this.
Obviously, you need to have continuous volunteering experience for your medical school application – not just one-offs. So I am not suggesting that you do a one-off festive period type of volunteering experience.
However, if you are already volunteering, make sure you keep this up as much as possible during your Christmas holidays. Doing this will show a great level of commitment to your volunteering and is a really good thing to reflect on and drop into your personal statement and interviews.
Suppose you have not yet organised your work experience, and you are in Year 11 / 12 and over 16, or in Year 13 and taking a gap year. In that case, this is again, similarly to the work experience, a great time to put together your application and start applying to volunteering opportunities.
If you have already submitted your UCAS application, you may well have already started hearing back from medical schools inviting you to interview by the Christmas holidays. This can feel really overwhelming and scary, but the Christmas holidays is a great time to practice and prepare for these, as you have so much more time than you do during term time.
You can do all kinds of things to prepare for your medical school interviews, and especially the smaller, shorter ones can easily be balanced with any revision for mocks and fun festivities!
Super easy things to fit into your busy days include reading or watching health news, which can be even just looking on the BBC news app at the health section and quickly scanning an article or two.
It’s also worth trying to set aside time to read some of our articles on interview types, preparation etc. Some of these are reasonably succinct, so they should only take around 10 minutes to read and write notes on.
Bigger chunks of time to set aside are useful if you want to try to attend any lecture-style events in preparation for medical school interviews or if you sign up for a mock interview event. You only need to go to a couple of these events, so don’t feel like you need to keep signing up for more and more.
Add to your reflective journal
Hopefully, if you have read some of my other articles, you will know what I am talking about and will have taken the time to create your own. It’s a really good idea to use the time you have over the Christmas holidays to either add to your reflective journal or get round to creating one if you haven’t already!
Reflective journals are a great place to write down all of the different experiences that happened during your application to study Medicine. This includes your work experience, volunteering and any interesting articles you read or documentaries you watch.
It’s really important to include lots of reflection in your writing, think long and hard about how things made you feel, the thoughts and reactions you have, and how things have influenced your decision to apply to Medicine. If done well, your reflective journal can make writing your personal statement and preparing for any medical school interviews so much easier.
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