If you are thinking of becoming a dentist in the UK, I hope that you have thought about your decision long and hard. I say this because, I know it is very structured and long path for you. It is also not as glamorous as it can appear. Although if you have decided that it is the career for you, you are really going to enjoy the journey and all the great fulfillment that comes from this career
Over the past 10 years I have become the go-to for students who know me and want to become a dentist. I have been a qualified dentist for over 10 years and helped my brother at first before the word spread. I have now got together with a team of successful current dental students and teach other students using a programme which we have developed.
Ask yourself these questions if you are considering a career in dentistry… 1) Do I enjoy working with people all the time? 2) do I enjoy working with my hands in a very practical career 3) Can I concentrate and do very small detailed work? 4) Am I patient? If you can answer positively to all of these that is great. Plan your career as early as possible since you will need to pass certain exams and improve your manual dexterity.
At any stage you can improve your chances to get into dental university, But your chances will really improve if you have worked hard at your GCSEs. These universities are looking at your GCSEs now as well since the competition has increased. It also gives them a indication of how you will perform in your A levels. Really make sure you get A/A*’s in biology, chemistry, maths and english. It will really help later.
As a dentist, you will be doing all sorts of gymnastics with your hands. To improve your skill and show that you enjoy working with your hands, make sure you do a hobby which reflects this. It could be anything like fixing cars, knitting etc. It could even be playing the Piano or guitar. This will look really good for you and increase the flexibilty of your hands, which will be really useful when you are a dentist.
The A level stage will seem like the hardest before you get into dental university. This is because you will be applying to all the dental schools while trying to get at least an AAB in your A levels. You will be expected to have biology and chemistry as 2 of your A levels with grades A in both. The other A level, should be either a science or maths, although some universities are a lot more relaxed about this. They all do not accept general studies as another A level.
As well as all the exams, most dental schools will expect good grades at a UKCAT test. This is not such an easy feat. It tests your skills such as verbal reasoning and decision analysis. You will have to practice at this test while you are doing your A levels. Although it seems that this is unrelated to dentistry, it really is, since you will be making instant decisions, for which you will need to draw upon your common sense and analysing abilities.
In your second year of A levels you will be applying to dental schools. This can be quite stressful because they will expect you to write about why you should go to thier dental school and why you want to become a dentist. This personal statement has a lot of weighting with universities. Take your time and get a lot of advice on this. Also work hard at your A levels, as most universities will not accept retakes.