Top grades in A-Levels alone not enough to guarantee university place | Latest Newry News, Newry Sport and Newry Business for Newry City

Top grades in A-Levels alone not enough to guarantee university place

This year’s summer exam results are due to be released this week and for thousands of university applicants throughout Northern Ireland, the wait has been long and arduous.

However, for many young people pursuing a degree in medicine or dentistry, securing the right results is just the first step in what can be a daunting and stressful process.

Places for courses at the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences are more highly coveted than ever with past application rounds at Queen’s University (2012) showing that the university received an average of 900 applications for courses that offered 252 places.

Similarly, in 2012 the University of Oxford received over 1,468 UCAS applications for their medicine degree whilst the University of Aberdeen received 2,400 applications in 2011 with just 175 places available.

However, all is not lost. According to admission statistics available at Cambridge University, Northern Ireland boasts the fourth highest success rate for applicants in the UK with 199 applications from the region in 2012 out of which 57 were accepted.

While top grades are standard criteria for all applicants; experience and interview skills to back up exam results can be vital in securing a place on many university shortlists.

Recognising the overwhelming struggle for young applicants, local private healthcare provider, The 3fivetwo Group saw the need for a bespoke training course to equip students with the confidence and experience to deal with an extremely competitive interview process.

The outcome was the adaptation of a highly successful interview-skills training course for aspiring medical and dental undergraduates, run by the 3fivetwo Training Academy.

The course is hosted by experienced NHS Consultant Physicians, Surgeons and Senior Lecturers such as Mr Mark Taylor, Consultant General Surgeon, Dr Steve Austin, Consultant Anaesthetist and Dr Siobhan McEntee, GP and offers students the opportunity to gain insight from people who, not so long ago, were in a similar position themselves.

Fiona Kerr, Business Development Manager at The Training Academy said, “3fivetwo Training Academy are Northern Ireland’s leading experts in Medical interviews; and we are passionate about providing top class training courses for students.

“We aim to provide interview skills courses that are designed specifically to meet the needs and requirements of university applicants, with priceless interview tips including real practice and live mock interviews.

“With all these at our disposal, we are confident in assuring hopeful university applicants the best possible chance during the submission process.”

However, any young graduate striving for work in today’s economic climate will know that securing a degree is not always the key to a job post-university. This was something that Mark Regan, Chief Executive of Kingsbridge Private Hospital and one of the course lecturers, was keen to address.

“Our experience is that having additional skills that improve making an impression at interview will make all the difference in successfully getting a job,” he explains.

“As an employer I know what I am looking for in the quality of person I employ and for many roles I am prepared to take someone I can train so long as they have essential qualifications and the right approach to on the job training. I’m keen to see the softer “life skills” emerge rather than didactic style answers at interview.”

“This is the future of job hunting and only the smartest will realise that investing in themselves in this way will pay dividends in building a career for the future.”

If you would like to find out more about the Interviews Skills courses available over the next few months go to or contact at or 02890735273

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Posted by on Aug 14 2013. Filed under Community, Jobs & Careers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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