Kara's thoughts as a tutor applying for Medicine

It’s definitely been a change of pace for me; going from a student to a teacher’s position in a matter of months. Fascinating and eye-opening would be some relevant terms to describe it all. Not only witnessing, but being part of the ‘behind the scenes’ of the type of work that goes into education has truly been enchanting.

Of course, being in my gap year, I’m currently in the process of my university application, specifically, to study medicine. As a medical (and Cambridge) applicant, the early deadline of the 15th of October applied to me, meaning most of the application was completed around the end of my second week of tutoring. Most.

The process of creating my personal statement was a funny one this year. It involved liquidating my old personal statement into fundamental ideas, and building a new one from these recycled parts, while including newer and more relevant information. Forming a butterfly from a caterpillar was the metaphor I would often use to describe the process, though it always sounded better in my head.

Thankfully, I already had a sufficient amount voluntary medical experience to use for my personal statement. This year, the journey to and from work has given me a lot of time to catch up on my reading list, which consists of a lot of medicine related pieces written by practitioners. So, rather than work experience, this year, I’m broadening my knowledge of the field of medicine through the power of reading.

Virtually every medical school you apply to in the UK requires you to sit the UKCAT, the UK Clinical Aptitude Test. Those who don’t (Oxbridge, Leeds, Lancaster, UCL, Imperial University etc.) require the Biomedical Aptitude Test, known as BMAT, to be completed. These are both finally out of the way for me, so now I am anxiously, yet eagerly, in the position in which I wait for interview invitations.

The perks of being part of the Yipiyap tutoring team go far beyond the opportunities of developing your personal skills or being able to have a positive impact on pupils. A great example of these perks would be the seminar we were lucky to have by Dil Sidhu, the Chief External Officer at Manchester Business School. It was both an entertaining and informative talk on the science of influence of persuasion. The fact that a lot of us were already using some of the principles of influence that we were told about was eye opening, and definitely had me thinking about the potential uses of what Dil explained to us.

The concept of loss framing, for example, was so simple yet so effective that I wondered how I had not been using it more often. I had occasionally used loss framing in classes with difficult students, but after listening to Dil, I realised how I could use it further, such as in a university interview.

The seminar really captivated me, and led me to do some research on Robert Cialdini, someone Dil looked up to and someone who has devoted his life to the science of influence. The most important thing I learned from Cialdini was: despite now being educated in the art of persuasion, I should not immediately reject those that I notice attempting to influence me. Instead, I should want someone to influence me in a direction that is consistent to what appeals I have said appeals to me. What is crucial is that I use my new knowledge to identify those who misuse the art, for example, if someone claims to be some form of authority to gain my trust, when in reality, they are not.

I’ve genuinely enjoyed my beginnings at Yipiyap, and I look forward to being part of such an inclusive community. Here’s to this year!