Ric Biology

Specialist Medical Sciences Programmes

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Priya Sethukumar

To all the staff of Rochester Independent College. Thank you so much for helping me achieve my dream of studying medicine and getting into Imperial College, London. The unconditional support, encouragement and motivation meant so much.

Priya Sethukumar

Rochester Independent College has been helping prepare students for medical, dental and vet school entry since 1984. Our teachers and UCAS Advisors offer a support programme that will help you increase your chance of winning a place, to build on your academic and personal strengths and help you develop confidence as a potential medical professional.

We offer intensive one-year A level Science and Maths courses that have been successfully taken by highflying international and mature students preparing for medicine, dentistry and vet science. We also offer two year A level and successful retake programmes.  

Rochester Independent College is part of Dukes Education and as such our students also have access to some of the best specialist university applications advice available as well as UKCAT and BMAT preparation courses through Dukes Medical Applications.

Many of the College’s former students are now successful practitioners working locally and many of the local GPs, surgeons and consultants send their children to us. This gives RIC a real wealth of experience to draw upon when advising students about who to approach when planning their work experience. Our parents also help with the mock interviews we organise for all our applicants aiming for these courses.

There is no secret to how to make a successful medical school application and the universities themselves are increasingly transparent about the process.  They tend to point score applicants on each aspect of their application- academic performance to date, work experience, personal statement, UKCAT score and interview performance. Rochester Independent College’s Senior UCAS Advisor is Dr Rachel Woolley, former executive administrator in the medical school at Birmingham University. Dr Woolley and the UCAS team works closely with all of Rochester Independent College’s prospective medics, dentists and vets and we keep up to date with the constantly changing entry requirements.

With up to 10 applicants per place at UK medical schools it is inevitable that every year there will be students with top grades and good work experience that are left disappointed. With international students there are additional challenges in preparing applications. The medical schools operate a quota system for overseas applicants so it is particularly important that applications are targeted strategically.

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Conor McManaman, joined RIC from Gravesend Grammar, Destination: Medicine at Newcastle

RIC’s use of testing and reflection mirrors a lot of what I use at medical school and I am particularly thankful that I learnt these techniques when sitting my A levels. Passionate and engaging tutors encouraged me to take a mature approach to learning that not only made A levels, dare I say it, enjoyable, but also equipped me with the skills set to tackle the challenges I have faced in my first year at Newcastle. Dr Rachel Woolley at RIC also offered me constant, personalised and quality advice, guidance and support when applying for medical school, ensuring my personal statement and interview preparation was the best it could be. For this I am very grateful.

Conor McManaman, joined RIC from Gravesend Grammar, Destination: Medicine at Newcastle
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For medical school entry it is often advisable for students to do an arts or social science subject as their fourth subject to show a degree of breadth. UCL actually state that candidates who do so are at an advantage. Obviously the most important A level subjects for potential medics are Chemistry, Biology and Maths, all subjects that Rochester Independent College has an established track record in. Options chosen in the A levels at RIC are often geared towards medical school entry, for example the Sociology of Health and Medical Physics.

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Myrran Hills, joined RIC from Highsted Grammar, Destination: Vet Science at Liverpool

I was impressed with the standard
 of teaching from
 day one. The continuous support I received from my excellent teachers, Janet and Julian, and their individually tailored teaching methods and approach to exams really pushed me to succeed. Dr Rachel Woolley, RIC’s UCAS advisor, knew exactly what was required to help make my veterinary application the best it could be, and offered me great advice in preparing for my interviews. To come out with A*AA was an amazing feeling. So now my dream has become my reality. I am unbelievably excited to start this new chapter of my life, and to apply everything I’ve learnt at RIC to my studies at university.

Myrran Hills, joined RIC from Highsted Grammar, Destination: Vet Science at Liverpool

Students are guided through every aspect of their UCAS application.RIC students also have an outstanding track record of securing places on medically related courses such as Pharmacy, Audiology, Optometry and Radiography.

Useful background reading for medicine

  • Roy Porter’s Blood and Guts- A Short History of Medicine
  • Raymond Tallis’s Hippocratic Oaths: Medicine and Its Discontents
  • Roger Taylor’s God Save the NHS
  • Nathan Wolfe’s The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age
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Medics at Medway

A group of Year 12 students enjoyed a fascinating morning on a guided tour round several of the departments at Medway Maritime Hospital this term. Sadly, cameras were strictly forbidden as we were allowed privileged access to the wards and behind-the-scenes areas. While some of the students were interested in Medicine others were interested in allied careers such as Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy and Biomedical Engineering. Seeing the CT and Ultra sound scanners in operation was fascinating, but what seemed to catch everyone’s imagination was the robot in the Pharmacy Department! No one predicted that this would be the students’ highlight of the day. Many thanks indeed to Felicity Lucas at the Medway Trust for helping to organise such an informative visit. We hope to take another group of aspiring medics next term and see even more departments in operation. 

Young Person’s Medical Conference 

Dukes Medical Applications is running the first Young Person’s Medical Conference in London this summer and RIC students had a front row seat as part of their medical programme. It’s the only medical conference in the UK aimed entirely at students aiming to apply to Medical School. Designed to emulate the global conferences doctors and medical staff attend worldwide every year, the Young Person’s Medical Conference offers students a taste of the ever-evolving world of Medicine, the new advances in technology and care changing the way we treat patients today, as well as expert guidance on how to begin on your own path to becoming a medical professional. Students are immersed in the world of Medicine from the minute they walk through the doors of the conference, which is held in London’s famed medical district. Talks from leading medical practitioners are complemented by hands-on medical exercises such as learning to stitch a wound, and workshops from medical admissions tutors and consultants on how to make a successful application to medical school. Find out more about the conference here.

RIC’s Flying Doctors 

2016 

Joseph McManners, joined RIC from Tonbridge School, Destination: Medicine, Oxford
Abi Wong, joined RIC from Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar, Destination: Medicine, Exeter 
Natasha Alford, joined RIC from The Judd School, Destination: Medicine, Bristol 
Myrran Hills, joined RIC from Highsted Grammar, Destination: Vet Science Liverpool 
Natasha West, joined RIC from Clifton High School, Bristol, Destination: Dentistry, Bristol
Thanish Fais: joined RIC from Rochester Maths, Destination: Medicine, Czech Republic 
Awais Shafi, joined RIC from The Judd School, Destination: Medicine, Czech Republic
Wipada Wongchuen, joined RIC as a Thai Scholar, Destination: Dundee, Dentistry
Nonpawith Phoommanee, joined RIC as a Thai Scholar, Destination: UCL, Biomedical Engineering
Natthikan Phongteeramitr, joined RIC as a Thai Scholar, Destination: UCL, Pharmacy
Chanathip Rojjanapanitpreeda, joined RIC as a Thai Scholar, Destination: Brunel, Physiotherapy

2015 Medics

Charlie Bicknell, joined RIC from Egerton Rothesay School, Destination: UCL, Medicine
Florence Wallace, joined RIC from Cranbrook, Destination: Bristol, Medicine
George Hales joined RIC from Simon Langton Boys Grammar, Destination: Medicine, Exeter
Camilla Harris, joined RIC from Tonbridge Grammar, Destination: Optometry, Aston

RIC’s top GCSE performer in 2015 was Caitlin Borowsky who joined RIC from a local preparatory school in Year 7 at age of 11. Caitlin achieved 7A* grades and 4 As. Caitlin’s dedicated and committed approach was rewarded with a set of GCSE results were the first step towards fulfilling her ambition to study Medicine. In Year 13 Caitlin, received a clean sweep of medical school offers from Newcastle, Sheffield, Southampton and Birmingham. In August 2017 she got AAA at A level and has chosen to take up a place at Sheffield. Head of Science Katharine Lang says: “Students at non-selective independent schools can achieve results and win university places that are just as outstanding as the super-selective grammar schools.

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