On 17th – 18th July 2019 students from Cambridge University, Ankit Chadha (Medicine) and Tom Compton (Natural Sciences) spent two days at Long Road Sixth Form College to support our Medicine and Vet students with their Personal Statements and for the UCAT exam. On day one Ankit and Tom essentially spent the morning discussing techniques and requirements, whist the afternoon comprised writing workshops and 1 to 1 support for all ten students with their individual personal statements. On day two Ankit and Tom went through each section of the UCAT test, passed on essential techniques and tips, then got the students to practice many examples, with detailed feedback.
Organiser, Paul Andrew (Course Team Leader for Biology) noted that, “We’re told that 80% of UK medical students come from just 20% of our schools, so students at the majority of state schools are rather under-represented. At Long Road we are trying to redress this by bringing in expert and professional help to support our most aspirational students. Producing a good personal statement is a significant requirement for many Medicine and Vet schools, so the guidance from Ankit and Tom has been absolutely invaluable. The UCAT is a very difficult test, so the insight they provided was priceless.”
The students found day one really helpful. “I liked the way they broke the personal statement down into chunks, making it seem less daunting” (Natania). Parsa, Arya and Natania found the 1 to 1 session with Tom to be very helpful in identifying weaknesses. “Realising what is good and what is not when writing my personal statement improved my understanding of what universities are looking for” (Alice). Sophie stated that “Having two people with extensive and recent knowledge of personal statements helped us to pick out good and bad elements”.
For day two, the fact that time was given to actually practice the questions and getting immediate feedback was very important to Harry and Arya, whilst Parsa thought the techniques for taking short-cuts to save time were invaluable. “Going through the explanation of the question having done them under time pressure was really helpful.” (Antony) It is intended that Long Road will run these sessions again next year as the feedback from the students was so positive.
A huge thank you to Ankit and Tom for a wonderful 2 days with our scientists! Click here to head to our Facebook page and see more photos from this mentoring event!