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Applying for Medicine at Sunderland during the time of Covid-19

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Applying to do Medicine is tough at the best of times but during this period of uncertainty and limited opportunity it is even more difficult. What can you do to prepare for your application at this time? Tim Paget, Academic Lead for Admissions for Sunderland School of Medicine, explains.


Second to examination performance, gaining some form of health-related or public-facing experience is important for your MBChB Medicine application, as the skills that you can develop from such experiences are vital. You may be wondering how you can gain such experiences in the current climate, when we are still in lockdown and many services are closed. Here are several approaches you can take that will help you fulfil this requirement:

1) Produce a portfolio of experiences, for example where: 

  • You have helped members of the public (other than your family)
  • You have been the main carer for a member of your family or extended family
  • You have helped individuals in your school or college. This should not be what is typically expected of prefects or head girl or boy – but something you have done outside of those roles and that is long term (i.e. more than a few months)
  • You have worked in paid employment that is public-facing

For the experiences you have identified for your portfolio, you should describe:

  • The duration of the experience
  • Explain what you did (i.e. your role)
  • What was the result of your involvement?
  • What did you learn from the experience?
  • What did you learn that has relevance to medicine and being a good doctor?

2) If possible, you could also look to offer help to local charitable organisations to support vulnerable people; however please note we would not expect you to put yourself at risk

3) If you have been undertaking paid work, see if the place you have been working in needs help in restarting trading and is there something you can do to support; again we would not expect you to put yourself at risk

These experiences are captured in our Roles and Responsibilities form that is sent out to applicants who meet our GCSE and UCAT requirements. Don’t forget that using your initiative and self-motivation are important characteristics for medicine, so think more broadly about what you can do to gain relevant experience. 

Observe GP

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have launched a free, online interactive video platform called Observe GP, which allows you to gain insights into general practice from anywhere in the UK. Available 24/7, Observe GP provides you with an element of relevant experience when applying to medical school. You can register to access Observe GP on the RCGP website

"Don’t forget that using your initiative and self-motivation are important characteristics for medicine so think more broadly about what you can do to gain relevant experience."

Tim Paget
Academic Lead for Admissions, Sunderland School of Medicine


UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test)

Registration for UCAT 2021 will open on 2 June 2021 and you will be able to book your test from 28 June 2021. For a provisional timeline please refer to the UCAT website.

They also have a range of resources to help you prepare for the test so please make full use of these.

Keep up to date with current medicine topics

Finally, don’t forget to keep up to date with the NHS and current topics around medicine. A lot of topics are currently focused on Covid-19 so don’t be surprised if some aspect of this makes it into our MMIs.

Find out more about Sunderland School of Medicine

Our Online Open Days are your chance to find out more about studying Medicine at Sunderland; hear from students and staff and live chat with us, all from the comfort of your own home.

Published: 27 January 2021