The Flipside of Studying Medicine in South Africa

The Flipside of Studying Medicine in South Africa

Two determined students with a passion and dedication embark on a journey on the right and wrong way studying Medicine.

Studying medicine is a fantastic and unique field, and the aim of this book is to empower you, dear reader, to take the first steps towards a life of healing. South Africa has only nine medical schools – not nearly enough to accommodate the prospective students behind the roughly 36,000 applications received annually.

As a result, medicine has become a very, and perhaps even the most, competitive field of study in South Africa. Many misconceptions, myths and downright lies exist regarding medicine, specifically regarding the application process.

We aim to provide you with objective information as to the application process of each of the universities, as well as the relative chances of being selected. We provide subjective information about certain current medical students’ experiences, as well as what to expect once you get selected for medicine.

In conclusion, we want to drag medicine out of the shadows into which it has been cast by the (mostly) neurotic field of applicants and their parents, and into the light.

Two determined students with a passion and dedication embark on a journey on the right and wrong way studying Medicine.

Studying medicine is a fantastic and unique field, and the aim of this book is to empower you, dear reader, to take the first steps towards a life of healing. South Africa has only nine medical schools – not nearly enough to accommodate the prospective students behind the roughly 36,000 applications received annually.

As a result, medicine has become a very, and perhaps even the most, competitive field of study in South Africa. Many misconceptions, myths and downright lies exist regarding medicine, specifically regarding the application process.

We aim to provide you with objective information as to the application process of each of the universities, as well as the relative chances of being selected. We provide subjective information about certain current medical students’ experiences, as well as what to expect once you get selected for medicine.

In conclusion, we want to drag medicine out of the shadows into which it has been cast by the (mostly) neurotic field of applicants and their parents, and into the light.

It Always Seems Impossible Until it’s Done

Nelson Mandela

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right

Henry Ford

Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity

Hippocrates

The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease

Sir William Osler

About The Authors

A WORD FROM THE AUTHORS

When we went through the daunting application process during our matric year, all we had to assist us was our parents’ support and self-discovered information coupled with a substantial amount of self-doubt.

Following countless conversations with our seniors, juniors and friends we came to the conclusion that we were not alone in facing the application process without assistance.

This inspired us to gather as much information as possible regarding the application process and various other intricacies of studying medicine in South Africa. As you undoubtedly know, there are many myths and preconceived notions inherent to any discussion about medical schools in our country.

The aim of this book is to clear the air and show that it is indeed possible to be selected for an MBChB degree. We discuss the most likely obstacles that unsuccessful applicants face and provide you with concise guidelines for applying at each university.

We hope that this book can be of help to all those with a passion for the science and art of practising medicine.

Francois Jacobs|Edward Blignault

About Francois’s Experience

I think it is best to hear some information from some of us who have been through some of the journey. I am currently a medical student at the University of Pretoria, class of 2020.

How I prepared at school

My genesis for the passion of medicine

I had a good idea since grade 9 that I wanted to pursue medicine as a career. It helped a lot to read more about the medical field and the route that I should follow to become a doctor.

What helped me was to go to a professor to write an aptitude test. My results strongly advised medicine as a career. I would seriously advise you to talk to as many doctors as possible. Some doctors will try to demotivate you and others will be extremely passionate about their choice of career.

I think the biggest concern is that medicine comes with a lot of sacrifices. The sacrifices will already start at school level and it will never end. On the other hand, just imagine how satisfied you must feel to make a genuine difference in someone’s life.

About Edward’s Experience

I was fortunate enough to be selected during my matric year, but a tough choice laid ahead as I had to decide between prominent universities. As you would have gathered from previous chapters, the NBTs are quite important in most medical school’s selection policies and as a result these tests are the cause of many anti-anxiety prescriptions.

Although these words may very well fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes?) I am obliged to utter them: do not stress about the NBTs!!! Your academic performance has driven you to consider medicine as an option. Do not doubt your own abilities and do not fall for the tales of intellectual slaughter that resonate from experiences other than your own.

If you stress too much, your performance will suffer in the NBTs and for the rest of matric. Do not focus on the goal to such an extent that you forget to enjoy the journey. Follow the advice given in this book and rely on your common sense, especially in the mathematics paper. In preparation, I attended a one-day workshop where example questions and strategies were discussed. This was extremely helpful in calming my nerves before writing the test.

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