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Smashing!!! university guidance, advice and help

University Guidance Advice and Activites Workbooks

Cambridge Entrance Exam (ESAT) for Biology and Chemistry

Oxford, Cambridge and Top 20 UK University Advice and Activities (91 pages)

Oxford, Cambridge and Top 20 UK University Activities ONLY (52 pages, editable in Word .docx format). In .pdf format

For the ESAT CHEMISTRY revision book (408 pages), (University of Cambridge Natural Science degree entrance exam). For the same book but 2 pages per sheet (260 pages). For a version that can help any student aiming to make a competitive application to a top 20 UK university(92 pages). For the BIOLOGY revision book for the ESAT exam (475 pages), and for the same book but 2 pages per sheet (289 pages).


Questionnaire to get students' goals and intentions AS version (2 pages)

Questionnaire to get students' goals and intentions A2 version (2 pages)

Researching university courses, entrance requirements and career worksheets (6 pages)

Reading list for science news (including a list of science-related podcasts), and general science books (mainly Chemistry, but also Biology) (5 pages)

Printable worksheet to both guide students in their extracurricular choices (for AS students), as well as allow students to describe and explain their activities and interests to help whoever writes their reference (for A2 students) have all of the necessary information in a single place to write the best possible reference (8 pages)

The main government websites for UK career guidance, university comparison and university course information are below. Also extremely useful is the individual university's Wikipedia page, which will also include ranking information.

For the UCAS Course Search site click here 

For a trailer to a fascinating, but flawed, documentary about US universities watch the 2014 film Ivory Tower (produced in part by CNN), trailer on YouTube is available here


Choosing the right Post-16 subjects and qualifications
The best advice available comes from the Russel Group of universities (top 24 universities in the UK) which have created this website, click here, that explains which subjects and what syllabus is preferred by them.
An older version that is a printable booklet from 2013, and no longer available through their website, can be downloaded by clicking here.
Smashing !!! Career advice
For a list of 505 different careers that have been ranked according to criteria like job satisfaction, sense of meaning and their average salary for workers in the US, click here. This list only covers the main fields but can help you when you are thinking about what you want from your lifetime of work.
For really general advice, you could go to a country's government-run careers service:

Click here for a list of the best companies to work for operating in the US. What kinds of qualifications do they look for in their recruits? At the bottom of this page is a selection of other multinational companies that employ people from a wide range of backgrounds.

For a list of 505 different jobs in a spreadsheet with their US salaries, average job satisfaction and average sense of meaning to the work that is being done, click here

Writing an Oxbridge ready Personal Statement

Thousands of personal statements and the courses and universities they got accepted to can be found at the Studential site

For students applying in 2024 onwards (so students starting in 2025) there will be a new 6-question structure to the personal statement

University rankings
Times Higher Education - Maybe the most famous of the lists, and, to my knowledge the most reputable.​
Centre for World University Rankings - Started in Saudi Arabia (what does that mean?).

For an American perspective (from the magazine Forbes) click here
Rankings based on presence on the world wide web - Fascinating way to rank universities

​Stuff you could look into for general graduate careers:

Generally, what some people do is get a degree and then find a job that fits their qualifications. With just a little planning before you start university though, you can make sure your degree fits the options you are interested in!

Here's a list of employers that hire graduates from a variety of disciplines:
Top 100 employers:


OneNote University Notes from some universities from around the world click here (you will need a Microsoft account, as easy to create as a Google account and as useful)


Mr Paddy's Uni Notes (static, so doesn't update like my OneNote notes).pdf

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For a range of university resources including Oxbridge interview questions click here

Useful articles and websites about the application process

Choosing the right degree, university and career


1. Planning for your Future.docx

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2 Choosing the right University Course.docx

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3 Career Profile for Choosing the Right Uni.docx

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General help on admissions testing and university interview technique
For Cambridge Assessment International Education CAIE (formally CIE) informational videos about university entrance exams, including Oxbridge and BMAT (and others like IMAT) click here
For the website which may also be useful, which is also from CAIE, click here

Applying for medical school in the UK
Acceptance rates in the UK (including the proportion of EU and non-EU acceptances and applications) click here
There are 2 main tests for UK medicine courses, the UKCAT which most use and the BMAT which some of the older universities use, but the BMAT is being changed in the 2024 application cycle.  For the US system, I'm not sure, but I have heard that it is hyper-competitive for foreign students to access (possibly impossible, in fact).  

UK Clinical Aptitude Test brief overview: "The UKCAT does not contain any curriculum or science content.  It focuses on exploring the cognitive powers of candidates and other attributes considered to be valuable for health care professionals.  It is delivered on computer[s] worldwide." From their website, click here to access it. 
For advice on multiple-choice questions in general, though they are a for-profit enterprise, so their end goals might not be aligned with yours 


BMAT - This is being scrapped for 2024 applicants starting in 2025
BoMedical Aptitude Test brief overview: This is a test for Oxbridge, Imperial and UCL and a few others (less than about 10 in total). The test is divided into 3 parts: 1. Aptitude and skills, 2. Scientific knowledge, 3. Writing task. It looks a bit like psychometric testing, also a bit like the US SAT in parts. Like all tests though there are patterns in the thinking behind it, so an ocean of revision can overcome it.

When? Registration for a test for admission the following year (i.e. in your final year of A-levels/IB) starts in September, the test is around the 4th of November

All of the following were taken from the BMAT website in April 2015, for the most recent versions of all click here for their homepage
For universities requiring it click here



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For more information on jobs that exist (updated in 2017) (need to sign up, but interesting breadth)
Finally, this list, of the 100 best graduate employers might also be helpful:



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Applying for medical school in English-speaking countries like Australia, Canada and Ireland

For a good discussion about the differences between Australia, Canada, and Ireland, click here.

The Australian Medical Association's (AMA) advice on becoming a doctor there is here.


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