Taking a Gap Year before Medical or Dental School

Whether you’ve decided to take a gap year or not, it can be an excellent opportunity to take some time to travel, gain more experience or even start up your side-hustle. Starting a medical/dental degree is the first step of many in a long and busy process that doesn’t get any less time consuming until after your foundation doctor years. Therefore, having that quality year to yourself can make a real difference.

Work Experience/Job 

Getting a paid job within the NHS or local services is a good chance to save some money before your year begins, especially since not all individuals may be able to survive on this alone comfortably. If not, undertaking work experience will allow you to develop resilience, teamwork, and discipline skills while also gaining core clinical experience. Tutoring through (medicmind) is another excellent chance to get part-time work while enjoying your break away from education.

Travelling Abroad 

If you decide to travel across the UK or even the world to bask in the wonders it offers, you should plan out your finances and look for the cheapest deals possible. It might include looking at websites such as (HolidayPirate) and (Skyscanner.) to secure flight and holiday packages for yourself and your friends. During your medical degree, the only feasible time to travel is the summer when there is a longer break between terms and less revision and work to do for your degree. However, this needs to be managed as there may still be course requirements for studies and you may want to get ahead for the year to come.


Setting up a youtube channel, podcast or perhaps even selling your wares on a website like Etsy is a great chance to start creating a side-hustle that will be able to support you through University and later on into your career. Doing this means you’re less reliant upon student finance as you can build up funds before you start your medical degree. It is important to note though, that you need to think about managing your time wisely if you are to continue this throughout your medical degree as it may become time-consuming, meaning you have less time for studies.

Start learning the fundamentals 

As your gap year draws close, it might be worth revising critical aspects of the medical degree you’ll be undertaking by revisiting key topics from A-level sciences. A variety of courses are offered by organisations such as “Coursera” and “LinkedInLearning.” It Is great to build up your interpersonal skills and scientific knowledge, which are two key aspects which will underpin your future career as a doctor/dentist.

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    Unsuccessful applicants 

    If you’re taking a gap year as you weren’t successful in your application, then no need to worry as this is only a minor setback. By reapplying next year and following this guide, you’ll be leaps ahead of the competition and ten steps closer to securing a place at your chosen medical school. If you would like further support, check out our articles on Reapplying to Medical School and Applying to Dentistry through Clearing.

    Overall, the opportunity of having a gap year can be a great time to improve upon your skills and gain more experience, whether that’s locally or by travelling the world. 

    Frequently Asked Question

    →What is a gap year?

    A gap year is a period of time, typically a year, where students take a break from their academic studies to pursue other experiences, such as travel, volunteering, or work.

    →Why should I take a gap year before medical or dental school?

    Taking a gap year before medical or dental school can provide you with valuable life experiences, help you gain new skills, and give you a break from academic studies. It can also help you clarify your goals and motivations for pursuing a career in medicine or dentistry.

    →What can I do during my gap year?

    During your gap year, you can participate in a range of activities, such as volunteering in healthcare settings, working in a related field, or pursuing travel or cultural experiences. You can also use the time to study for entrance exams or participate in research or other academic pursuits.

    →How can I make the most of my gap year?

    To make the most of your gap year, you should approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow. You should take advantage of new experiences, challenge yourself, and reflect on what you are learning throughout the year.

    →Will taking a gap year hurt my chances of getting into medical or dental school?

    No, taking a gap year will not hurt your chances of getting into medical or dental school. In fact, it can demonstrate to admissions committees that you are a well-rounded candidate with diverse experiences and interests.

    →How can I demonstrate the value of my gap year to admissions committees?

    To demonstrate the value of your gap year to admissions committees, you can highlight the experiences and skills you gained, and how they have prepared you for a career in medicine or dentistry. You can also demonstrate how you have used the time to clarify your goals and motivations, and how it has strengthened your commitment to the field.

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