Project Description

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Firstly, we want to give Honour and Glory to our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ, for guiding our steps throughout this journey. We want to thank the doctors for their time and effort to share their experiences of studying and practising medicine; Dr TP Venter, Dr E Kok and Dr G du Toit. Thank you to Leanne Wimble for your help regarding the legal advice. Thank you to Jason Tappan for helping us with the statistics. Thank you to all who answered the survey. We want to give thanks to Kerry Schravesande from Salt & Pepper for helping us with this journey.

Francois

Thank you to my parents, sister and grandparents for their role in my life. I have learned so much from each of you. Thank you to Magteld Arnold who helped me through the “Bergwinde” in this journey. To all my friends, thank you for adding flavour to my life.

Edward

To my investors, my motivators and biggest supporters: Mom and Dad, thank you for making this incredible journey possible. To all my friends, who are always ready with laughter and support, you were the highlight of my studies. Lastly to the girl who believes in me even when I don’t, I love you.

INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

Medicine. The revered degree spoken of in hush tones leading up to Grade 11 and Grade 12 exams. Can I get in? How do I get in? And if I do get in, what then? These and countless more questions have plagued aspiring medical students for many years.

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 9 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. Simply put, we want to drag medicine out of the shadows, into which it has been casted by the (mostly) neurotic field of applicants and their parents, and into the light.

Before we go any further, it is important for you to understand that, although difficult, it is indeed possible to get into medicine. Do not let the people around you discourage you from trying your best to follow your dreams. Medicine is a career unlike any other and the responsibilities are huge, but so are the rewards (and we’re not referring to monetary value here). For the most part, medicine is a calling, whether the call comes during your years in school or binge-watching medical dramas. We will explore the medical truths in later chapters, but life is unfortunately not always as glamorous or as easy as in most TV shows we know you watch for “motivation”. Do not worry though, we still watch them too! The point we are trying to get across, is that, with a few exceptions, medicine is not a second choice, neither is it one amongst many options for your future career. It is the option. That determination, that grit, that refusal to give up is what will carry you through some of the toughest, but most definitely the greatest years of your life.

You might want to look at this book as an episode of Mythbusters where we deconstruct all (or at least most) of the lies that you have been led to believe about medical school. We do indeed have social lives and no, we do not play quidditch matches in our free time. We laugh and cry and live normal lives, although, we might look a bit pale due to lack of sunlight at times… “cue the dramatic exam music”. We, as current sixth year medical students, want to encourage you to pursue your dream of becoming a doctor. Although this book will not guarantee your acceptance into a medical school; it is a VIP ticket of sorts, a glimpse behind the veil.

If becoming rich is the sole motivation behind your aspirations of writing doctor before your name, we are sorry to tell you that you will probably then not make it in medicine. Dreams and promises of fast cars, big houses, supersonic planes and overseas vacations are not enough to carry you through 9 tough years, consisting of 6 years of studies, 2 years of internship plus 1 year of community service. And only then you can start thinking of specialisation in a specific field(s). Of course, you might eventually never struggle financially as a doctor, but you will need something more than that to motivate you. It can be the smile of appreciation from a patient you’ve just helped, or a passion for learning about our amazing bodies, but money should not be your sole motivation.

We also discuss the marks you realistically would need in grades 11 and 12 in order to be provisionally and then finally accepted into medicine. Thereafter, the notorious NBTs are discussed and we make recommendations regarding preparation techniques (do not write this off – for some universities the NBTs comprise as much as 40% of the selection criteria). In preparation for writing the book, we compiled a survey that was completed by current medical students from most of the medical schools across the country in order to provide you with comprehensive perspectives and information from a wide range of individuals. This survey included the extracurricular activities of these medical students during their high school years, which gives you an objective and realistic view of their typical profiles.

We also delve into the unique requirements for every university as well as the number of places they have available annually. This merely serves to inform you about the different institutions, you’re applying to.

Lastly, do not be discouraged should you not be accepted into a medical school at first. This is the harsh reality that the majority of applicants, including many worthy candidates, have to face every year. We personally know medical students that fully completed other BSc degrees (BSc Medical Sciences, Pharmacology etc), before finally being accepted into medical schools. Our inspiration for compiling this book came from our struggles during the application process and the uncertainty we faced before and during applying. We hope that this book provides you with some clarity, motivates you and aids you in becoming a successful applicant. We wish you the best of luck and hope to see you on our campuses soon.

Regards,

Francois and Edward

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements…………………………………………………………………….. iii

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………….. iv

Disclaimer………………………………………………………………………………………. ix

Table of Figures……………………………………………………………………………. xi

National Benchmark Test (NBT)…………………………………………. 12

Admission Points Score (APS)……………………………………………… 16

University of Cape Town (UCT)…………………………………………… 22

University of Stellenbosch(SUN)…………………………………………. 31

University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)…………………………… 38

Walter Sisulu University(WSU)…………………………………………… 45

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU)…… 49

The University of Pretoria (Tuks)………………………………………. 56

University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)………………………………… 61

University of the Free State (UFS)………………………………………. 65

University of Limpopo(UL)……………………………………………………. 73

Doctor’s Experiences……………………………………………………………….. 77

Edward’s Experience…………………………………………………………….. 100

Francois’s Experience……………………………………………………………. 104

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements………………………………. iii

Introduction…………………………………………………………. iv

Disclaimer…………………………………………………………… ix

Table of Figures……………………………………………………… xi

National Benchmark Test (NBT)………………………………………….. 12

Admission Points Score (APS)…………………………………………….16

University of Cape Town (UCT)………………………………………….. 22

University of Stellenbosch(SUN)………………………………………….31

University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)………………………………….. 38

Walter Sisulu University(WSU)………………………………………….. 45

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU)…………………………. 49

The University of Pretoria (Tuks)………………………………………. 56

University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)……………………………………… 61
University of the Free State (UFS)……………………………………… 65

University of Limpopo(UL)……………………………………………… 73

Doctor’s Experiences………………………………………………….. 77

Edward’s Experience…………………………………………………… 100

Francois’s Experience…………………………………………………. 104