UoO: Alternative ('Other') Category Chat/Enquiries

drum99

Regular Member
No, I took some other pathways through my 20s, so never finished an undergrad. I'm here working my way through HSFY to apply via general entry to make it into med.

Re: HSFY - it's a pretty crazy year. As we are on different entry paths, my experience won't be quite the same as what you will face, but there will certainly be some parallels. I think the main thing that I've seen the Alt entry students struggle with this year is the twin challenge of the course material and family situations for those with young families. To help with the course material, there are a number of prep-courses available from the Uni including the physics course mentioned by Stuart above. There is an equivalent chemistry course also, I believe. There are also many in-semester aids available like drop-in times, additional tutorials etc. The good thing about the Jumpstart course is that a number of mature students take it, so it's a good chance to meet others in the same boat. Having one to three other like minded individuals to form a study group with is hugely rewarding and provides an invaluable group to bounce ideas off, and to use as a first port of call. Don't be afraid of engaging with the youngsters as well. 50% of my study group are school leavers from last year, and they're absolutely awesome. They have been crushing the assessments so are an integral part of the group. It's a good deal as I get to tell them about the 90s and noughties, and provide advice on life! It's a good trade haha. I think finding out the main resources that are available should be a priority prior to starting the semester, and then ensuring you use them as a matter of course, rather than just before a test. There are a number of excellent tutors that are available that many students use that can definitely be worth the typical cost of $30-$50 per hour. But all in all, just remember the required standard, and work to that. I think many of the Alt students are quite nervous until the first assessments and then once they achieve to the required standard, a lot of stress goes off.

For external commitments (ie family) it best to ensure you treat your HSFY as your primary focus for the year. Depending on individual knowledge and efficiency, in order to achieve the required grades for Alternative entry, a 40 hour working week is more than sufficient. Also as Stuart has said above, focussing on learning techniques should be your main task prior to commencing studies to ensure your learning is efficient. I did quite a reasonable deep dive into available literature about what the main tools for learning and over all, they are quite simple. Active recall, spaced learning, and practicing the test, are really all you need to succeed. How you do that is entirely up to you, but I have becoming a big advocate of a programme called Anki which does spaced repetition and active recall all in one programme. There are other ways this can be achieved, but I firmly believe it is the most efficient 'high yield' method. I'm achieving a grade that should be sufficient for med, and have yet to own, or read a single or the textbooks or assigned readings for the year. Finding high yield stuff and focussing on that is the best way to ensure you can really focus on study, but make sure there is enough time available for you have a life outside of Uni.

I guess that's a short overview - happy to answer anything more specific.

Cheers.
Man that's impressive you're going for the competitive entry pathway!! Good luck!!
 
Hi - first time poster. Congrats ‘Carmax’! :) I got an offer too! Pretty stoked! A bit about my background- I’ve been working as an Audiologist in NZ for the last couple of years. I did both my Bachelors and Masters at the University of Auckland. All the best to any future applicants reading this :)
Hey there, I'm working as an audiologist too and am hoping to apply via alternate pathway next year - would love to chat and keep in touch through your journey if possible pretty please! Send me a message if you're keen :)
 
Hi team, I'm a HSFY student currently. I'm in my mid-30s and moved the family down from the North Island etc to take up study. I'm happy to chat to anyone that wants to get a feel for what it's like.I can answer any burning questions or pass on some top tips.
Would love to chat please! Hoping to apply next year
 
Hey there, I'm working as an audiologist too and am hoping to apply via alternate pathway next year - would love to chat and keep in touch through your journey if possible pretty please! Send me a message if you're keen :)
Nice!! Happy to help with any questions- I am quite new to MSO, so it won’t let me send you a message yet, sorry!
 
Nice!! Happy to help with any questions- I am quite new to MSO, so it won’t let me send you a message yet, sorry!
Yeah same here haha. I'll have to send you a message when I reach that status. Really keen to hear about your experience. You've given me hope that it might be achievable :)

I'm really interested to hear from the alternative applicants if there was something specific that prompted you down this pathway or if it had always been a long-term goal? And what you think were some of the things that made your application successful/any tips to start preparing for any aspects of the application? Also if there's anyone on here who was successful and is now down the track (beyond HSFY) if there is anything you wished you prepared yourself for (study-wise, family-wise, life admin-wise etc)?
 

sophdio

Lurker
Hi everyone,
Like some of you, I’m also starting HSFY next year. Currently trying to plan a move from the North Island to Dunedin, panicking about 6 years of no income and going back to full time study. It’s been a while since I have had to study and have that learning mindset full time. I’m also in my 30’s and would be keen to meet with people.

I was reading about prep courses for Chem/physics are any of you thinking of doing it? If so, in Dunedin would that be in Dunedin this summer?

Congratulations to everyone !!

Yeah same here haha. I'll have to send you a message when I reach that status. Really keen to hear about your experience. You've given me hope that it might be achievable :)

I'm really interested to hear from the alternative applicants if there was something specific that prompted you down this pathway or if it had always been a long-term goal? And what you think were some of the things that made your application successful/any tips to start preparing for any aspects of the application? Also if there's anyone on here who was successful and is now down the track (beyond HSFY) if there is anything you wished you prepared yourself for (study-wise, family-wise, life admin-
Hi team, I'm a HSFY student currently. I'm in my mid-30s and moved the family down from the North Island etc to take up study. I'm happy to chat to anyone that wants to get a feel for what it's like.I can answer any burning questions or pass on some top tips.
How have you found the first year?

Are you working part time or full time study? Did you do prep courses prior to moving?

how did you find going from a working routine to study routine?
Sorry for all the questions, I’m just having a little panic about all this life changing stuff but I’m pretty stoked and excited for everything to come.

Regards,
Sof
 

drum99

Regular Member
Hi everyone,
Like some of you, I’m also starting HSFY next year. Currently trying to plan a move from the North Island to Dunedin, panicking about 6 years of no income and going back to full time study. It’s been a while since I have had to study and have that learning mindset full time. I’m also in my 30’s and would be keen to meet with people.

I was reading about prep courses for Chem/physics are any of you thinking of doing it? If so, in Dunedin would that be in Dunedin this summer?

Congratulations to everyone !!
For what it's worth - I found out that one option is to do the distance Chemistry prep paper before heading down (like over the summer): Distance learning, Department of Chemistry, University of Otago, New Zealand. Then you can do the Physics prep paper that's held in person once you move down (think it's held about one month before semester starts): JumpStart Physics, Health Sciences First Year, Department of Physics, University of Otago, New Zealand.

This was my plan anyway - in the end I ended up staying in Auckland, but I did the Chem prep paper anyway, and I found it to be good. Although it's a bit light on the organic chemistry side of things, and organic chemistry is currently kicking my butt at UoA right at the minute. But it was a great prep paper nonetheless. Thank God I don't have to do Physics this year haha!!

All the best for the big move!!!
 
You amazing people who have been accepted, do you need to do the whole HSFY or is it dependent on what your previous study was? And will you need to sit UCAT?
 

drum99

Regular Member
You amazing people who have been accepted, do you need to do the whole HSFY or is it dependent on what your previous study was? And will you need to sit UCAT?
It's dependent on previous study - for instance, I had a provisional offer which depended on doing all 7 HSFY papers (I believe I had to get a B average with no mark less than a C). However, I've talked to someone who had done the premed year at UoA several years ago, and didn't have to do any of the HSFY papers and went straight through to 2nd year medicine....

No need to do UCAT if you get accepted through Alternative. I did UCAT but only to apply to UoA as a post-grad....

Cheers
 
Hi everyone,
Like some of you, I’m also starting HSFY next year. Currently trying to plan a move from the North Island to Dunedin, panicking about 6 years of no income and going back to full time study. It’s been a while since I have had to study and have that learning mindset full time. I’m also in my 30’s and would be keen to meet with people.

(Content removed) Chem/physics are any of you thinking of doing it? If so, in Dunedin would that be in Dunedin this summer?

Congratulations to everyone !!



How have you found the first year?

Are you working part time or full time study? Did you do prep courses prior to moving?

how did you find going from a working routine to study routine?
Sorry for all the questions, I’m just having a little panic about all this life changing stuff but I’m pretty stoked and excited for everything to come.

Regards,
Sof
Congrats!

1. You can stay in the North Island if that is easier for you. Any/all of the pre med papers can be done through UOA if you want.
I had to do a physics paper. I chose to remain in Auckland, it mean't I could work part time while doing the paper and work full-time once it was done to save money. It also meant my husband could have his job for another year. If this is an option for you, (content removed)

Alternatively, you don't have to work. Being over 25 means you are eligible for some money weekly depending on your situation.

2. Med school is challenging but definitely not unachievable. Depending on your work previously you might find some papers much easier then others. Im not a very academic person so I found the first couple of years more challenging, but because I had worked in hospital before I have found ALM4 much easier.

3. Make friends with all the young people. They are so fun to be around. They know the latest technology. I have had my first baby this year (it has been really fucking difficult) and my classmates have been so supportive and helpful. Its actually the young ones that have the time and energy to help!

4. If you do move to Dunedin, get a warm house because it legit is super fucking cold compared to the North Island lol. :D

Truthfully, it is scary but completely doable. As I said before you get used to being a lot poorer! And with social media there are groups for anything so you can definitely get in contact with others in the same boat as you!
All the best!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

LMG!

MBBS IV
Administrator
Sorry folks, just a reminder that any discussion about paid prep services/tutoring etc of any kind is banned content (as per forum rules), whether you name the provider or not. We’ve had issues here in the past, and the site owners have settled for a blanket ban as it’s the most straightforward thing to moderate. Thanks for your understanding.

ETA: I’m an Aussie 30+ student and I thoroughly second the ‘make friends with the young people, they’re fun to be around’ comment!! And the ‘it’s scary but doable’ comment!!!
 

sophdio

Lurker
Congrats!

1. You can stay in the North Island if that is easier for you. Any/all of the pre med papers can be done through UOA if you want.
I had to do a physics paper. I chose to remain in Auckland, it mean't I could work part time while doing the paper and work full-time once it was done to save money. It also meant my husband could have his job for another year. If this is an option for you, (content removed)

Alternatively, you don't have to work. Being over 25 means you are eligible for some money weekly depending on your situation.

2. Med school is challenging but definitely not unachievable. Depending on your work previously you might find some papers much easier then others. Im not a very academic person so I found the first couple of years more challenging, but because I had worked in hospital before I have found ALM4 much easier.

3. Make friends with all the young people. They are so fun to be around. They know the latest technology. I have had my first baby this year (it has been really fucking difficult) and my classmates have been so supportive and helpful. Its actually the young ones that have the time and energy to help!

4. If you do move to Dunedin, get a warm house because it legit is super fucking cold compared to the North Island lol. :D

Truthfully, it is scary but completely doable. As I said before you get used to being a lot poorer! And with social media there are groups for anything so you can definitely get in contact with others in the same boat as you!
All the best!
Hey, thanks so much for valuable insight 😊
 

GeeUWotM8

Lurker
Hi team! I just found this after receiving an offer. I am panicking at the thought of being a penniless student for 6! more years (I'm in my thirties). Do you guys have a place to chat since this is mainly interview advice? Or we could make one?

To make this post relevant to the forum- know why you want to be a doctor and what qualities you bring to Otago med. Read up on equitable healthcare and just be a generally nice person! I had no clinical scenarios.
Hi Swes9321,

First time poster here, but loved all the advice I got through this forum! I'm in the same boat - received an offer last month (pending police vetting and if I have to do any HSFY papers, still very grateful for Otago Med for giving this immense opportunity1). I'm in my late 20s, and certainly panicking at being a broke student after 3-4 years of steady income. I have some savings, but heavily relying on student allowance. Will you eligible for those?

And a question for others - I am very aware of how hectic med school can be, but is there a prospect of anyone doing part time work without impact the studies too much? I am planning on that as I don't think student allowance would be enough by itself!
 

GeeUWotM8

Lurker
Oh, and the single best resource than I can recommend for HSFY is aklectures.com. I used Khan Academy initially, and they do have a broader range than AK, but I found the delivery style and content to better with AK.

MATE! THANK YOU SO MUCH for that website - holy shit its so good. I threw away all my old uni notes, and I was wanting to do some revision/refresh my memory/start getting into study habit for going back to uni next year. I think this site is definitely a great way to get into it :)
 

GeeUWotM8

Lurker
I'm really interested to hear from the alternative applicants if there was something specific that prompted you down this pathway or if it had always been a long-term goal? And what you think were some of the things that made your application successful/any tips to start preparing for any aspects of the application? Also if there's anyone on here who was successful and is now down the track (beyond HSFY) if there is anything you wished you prepared yourself for (study-wise, family-wise, life admin-wise etc)?
I work as a physiologist at the moment. I did apply for med after 1st year biomed but didn't get in, so moved on to just pursue science. So I guess you could say that it was a long term goal, but at the back of my mind. When working with some amazing Drs, I first hand saw the impact they were making on patients and that's when I reconsidered applying for med. COVID only made me want to be on the frontline more as I didn't feel like I was helping out as much as I can or could do due to lack of skills and knowledge.

I entertained the alternative category idea for quite a few months before I even began writing the personal statement, which I think is probably the most important when applying for med. I spoke to many colleagues, friends, family who I knew would be frank with me and not sugarcoat things - this really helped to get my priorities and pros/cons straight in my head, and mostly what I would be able to achieve as a Dr vs as a Nurse. When writing the personal statement, I didn't worry about the page limit - just word dump and write your heart out (this will take a few days for sure). Then when editing, I was told by a colleague that you should tone it such that a GP (who's more likely to think about communication/patient interaction) and an Interventional Radiologist (who wants to see a candidate that can get shit done) both will be happy to read it. And then once I was happy with the draft, I showed it to 3-4 trusted people for honest, brutal feedback. Even when happy with the almost-final draft, think about wording that shows the true you rather than who you want to be seen as. Hope this helps :)
 
Hi Swes9321,

First time poster here, but loved all the advice I got through this forum! I'm in the same boat - received an offer last month (pending police vetting and if I have to do any HSFY papers, still very grateful for Otago Med for giving this immense opportunity1). I'm in my late 20s, and certainly panicking at being a broke student after 3-4 years of steady income. I have some savings, but heavily relying on student allowance. Will you eligible for those?

And a question for others - I am very aware of how hectic med school can be, but is there a prospect of anyone doing part time work without impact the studies too much? I am planning on that as I don't think student allowance would be enough by itself!

It sounds scary but its really not. I miss the autonomy and independence of having money. You can buy what you want when you want. It just takes some life adjustment.

Just this week I spoke to my alternate classmates about this. We are now at the end of fourth year, one of my classmates literally has "$8 in her bank account" and the other decided to get a studentship over summer to bring him through till the new year when allowance restarts as he was going to have to "live off ramen and a bag of rice". I also have little money now... but some how we all survive.

If you wish, you can definitely work part time. That depends on how you feel and are finding the course.
My younger classmates do the usual harvey norman, mitre 10, bar-tending, teaching/tutor gigs through the university to make money whilst the alternates tend to stick to their profession. For example: nurses/pharmacists/radiation therapists/physios get locum/weekend jobs.
Alternatively some (including myself) went full-time over summer and earned enough to cover through the year.

Honestly the money side of things seriously will work itself out!
 

Pwnter

Member
The trick is to get used to drinking cheap piss again. Forget your craft beers and nice bottles of vino. We are back on the cleanskin wines and double browns! Besides, it helps you to identify with the young students and to fit into the crowd, if you so choose haha.
 
It sounds scary but its really not. I miss the autonomy and independence of having money. You can buy what you want when you want. It just takes some life adjustment.

Just this week I spoke to my alternate classmates about this. We are now at the end of fourth year, one of my classmates literally has "$8 in her bank account" and the other decided to get a studentship over summer to bring him through till the new year when allowance restarts as he was going to have to "live off ramen and a bag of rice". I also have little money now... but some how we all survive.

If you wish, you can definitely work part time. That depends on how you feel and are finding the course.
My younger classmates do the usual harvey norman, mitre 10, bar-tending, teaching/tutor gigs through the university to make money whilst the alternates tend to stick to their profession. For example: nurses/pharmacists/radiation therapists/physios get locum/weekend jobs.
Alternatively some (including myself) went full-time over summer and earned enough to cover through the year.

Honestly the money side of things seriously will work itself out!
With a name like pillmonkey, are you a pharmacist?
 
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