I missed my offer grades for medicine at alevel and went on to study biochemistry instead, before finally starting medicine this september.
It is indeed possible to take this route; however it is a LOT more expensive and time consuming to take the route if you have sufficient grades to study medicine at the first instance from alevel. You have the remaining summer and next year to try and gain as much experience as you can in a medical setting to know if its for you, and if worse comes to worse you change your mind after results day, then take a gap year ^^.
I had a lot of friends who were on the biochemistry course as a result of missing their medicine offers, or wanting to apply for medicine afterwards. Although there are quite a few of us who have been able to carry this through, i have a few friends who have simply missed their grades for medicine again on the degree or have then changed their minds over the years and have decided to stick with biochemistry and other sciences, or take a complete career change out of the sciences.
Biochemistry Personal Statement 7
For me, evolution is one of the most elegant processes on earth and has fascinated me ever since I learned of its ruthless nature, blindly selecting for characteristics with immediate benefit. This fascination naturally led to a great curiosity as to what life really was and how it might have all started. My passion for molecular cell biology and biochemistry stems from the desire to understand these fundamental questions.
During my AS study, the boundaries between sciences have seemed very blurred and I have found much is gained through applying concepts across subjects. For example my knowledge of functional group properties and isomerism learned in organic chemistry can be applied to biomolecules, allowing me to appreciate the importance of their structure. Similarly, through reading “The Chemical Bond” by Linus Pauling, I learned how resonance in the carboxylate group of amino acid zwitterions gives them stability. This book also increased my understanding of hydrogen bonds, allowing me to realise their importance in biological structures, particularly proteins. Intrigued by this, I watched online lectures on protein structure and was amazed by the significance of amino acid side chain properties; in particular the precise nature of disulphide bonds formed between thiol groups of cysteine residues. Likewise I have found the logical problem solving that is so central to maths to be of invaluable benefit for all aspects of scientific study.
Nick Lane’s “Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life” was an inspiring read. The book demonstrated a great example of comparative biochemistry being used to theorise the origin of the eukaryotic cell and establish the hydrogen hypothesis. Equally, many existing problems can be solved through the applications of biochemistry, from drug design to alternative fuels. A recent article in New Scientist, “The rush towards renewable oil” demonstrated a pioneering way that cyanobacteria have been genetically modified to secrete alkanes as a product of photosynthesis.
As well as reading and making use of online resources, I recently completed an Open University course “Human genetics and health issues” to broaden my understanding of genetic diseases. The ethical aspects of the course were most stimulating as I was forced to discuss the dilemmas of families faced by genetic disease, highlighting the social impacts of scientific research. However, the real challenge lay in the personal study and self-motivation needed to complete the course; I feel my success in both these areas is promising for university study. Finally, attending university open days and a twilight session at the University of Southampton chemistry labs has reinforced my enthusiasm for the practical side of biochemistry study.
Apart from academic life, I am a keen member of the school Debating Society and have taken great pleasure in the chance to improve my ability as a public speaker. Cycling allows me to combine exercise with my love of nature and so I regularly cycle around the nearby lakes and forest. Finally I am an enthusiastic skier and have been fortunate to be able to ski regularly over the past few years.
I believe my inquisitive nature, great enjoyment of science and capacity for independent learning stand me in good stead for the academic challenges of university life, after which I hope my understanding of life at the cellular and molecular level will lay the foundations for a happy and productive life in biochemical research.
Universities Applied to:
- University of Oxford (Biochemistry: Molecular and Cellular) - Rejection
- University of York (Biochemistry) - Offer (AAB) Insurance
- University of Nottingham (Biochemistry) - Offer (ABB)
- University of Bristol (Biochemistry) - Offer (AAB)
- Durham University (Natural Sciences) - Rejection
- Biology (A2) B
- Chemistry (A2) A
- Maths (A2) D
- Physics (AS) E
Article by TSR User on Thursday 15 February 2018