Students from East Lancashire have made a start on the path in their chosen careers of medicine or dentistry by attending a specialist Kaplan UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude test) preparation course at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form.

The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) is used in the selection process by a consortium of UK University Medical and Dental Schools. It allows universities to select the most suitable applicants from amongst the many highly-qualified young people who apply for their medical and dental degree programmes.

Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form has an outstanding and highly regarded Science department, which was recently awarded STEM Assured Status, which recognises excellence in the provision of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education. Each year, students progress onto degree courses in some of the best universities in the country, including Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial, studying a range of medical related programmes including Medicine and Dentistry. In recent years, the number of students successfully gaining entry to these courses has risen dramatically, due in part to the College’s excellent Pre-Professional Programme for Medicine (Pre-med).

12 students attended the UKCAT course, 11 from Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form and 1 from Burnley College. The students were given specialist advice and guidance about sitting the UKCAT by Wilson Wong, an expert from Kaplan – a company which specialises in preparing students for high level tests. In addition to advising the students what examiners would be looking for in certain questions, they were given tips on time management practises during exams, so that they could make effective choices when answering the questions.

Feedback from students who attended the course has been extremely positive. Andleeb Shah, who is currently studying A Levels at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form said “I found the UKCAT course very useful and would strongly recommend it as it is a very worthwhile investment.”

Another Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form A Level student, Harriet Sinclair agreed and said, “Not only have we been given time keeping techniques, we have been given strategies that can be applied to each of the sections and the question sets within them. After taking this course, I now feel that the UKCAT exam is a lot less daunting, and I also feel that I have a huge advantage over other pre-meds who haven’t been on the training course.”

Brenda Rowan, Pre-med co-ordinator at the College said, “Getting a place at medical or dental school is a real challenge. As well as being someone who can achieve top A Level grades and who can show commitment with varied work experience, students have to take an additional test, the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT). Medical and Dental schools use the results of the test, alongside other criteria, to decide who to interview. A group of students recently completed a two day UKCAT training course, delivered by an expert from Kaplan, and organised by Nelson and Colne College. This opportunity is part of a package of support offered to students when they join the Pre-Med group at College.”