Improvement Work, Access to High Tariff Courses

Access to High Tariff Courses – Training Day for Early Applicants August 2011

Context

The impetus for the development of this one day course arose from a conversation between a local secondary head teacher and the principal psychologist, during which it was noted that despite applications from a clutch of very able pupils for medical courses last year, not all had successfully gained an interview despite having the relevant entry requirements.

Through discussion it emerged that further selection by several universities for high tariff courses is based on results gained in the UKCAT or United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test, the BMAT or Biomedical Admissions Test and the LNAT or National Admissions Test for Law – which applicants have to sit prior to being considered for interview.

While it is sometimes stated that you cannot study for these tests, investigations revealed a plethora of commercial ‘training courses’ being advertised online plus a UKCAT textbook for purchase. In addition there are many courses specially designed for increasing chances of entry to e.g. medical school.

We felt that our pupils were potentially at somewhat of a disadvantage and hence the training day was born.

A team was convened comprising two educational psychologists, a depute head teacher and a community learning librarian to develop a training package.

In order to provide our young people with practical and useful advice, the following elements were considered essential for inclusion:

  • General admissions advice from Universities
  • Awareness raising re the UKCAT and other tests
  • The personal statement
  • Interview skills
  • Input from a solicitor for the Law applicants
  • Advice from former pupils now at University on high tariff courses.

The course was offered to all early entrants to high tariff courses from North Ayrshire Council’s nine secondary schools. We had young people attend from eight of them. In addition individual guidance staff from 3 schools accompanied their young people.

As a result of the very positive evaluation this course will be continue to run.

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