GP work experience

School and college pupils aged 16+ who are interested in studying medicine can find top tips for obtaining GP work experience and how to make the most of a work experience placement in general practice. 


Considering the challenge and uncertainty posed by COVID-19, the RCGP are advising that all work experience placements be postponed until further notice. We wish to support practices to focus on patient care and their own wellbeing at this time.

An alternative for aspiring medics is our free interactive video platform Observe GP which provides insights into general practice, and is an element of relevant experience when applying to medical school. The platform is due to be launched on 30 April 2020. If you have any queries regarding COVID-19 specifically, please refer to our dedicated web page.

Relevant experience

Medical schools are looking for applicants who have:

  • Had people focused experience, providing a service, care or help to others and that applicants understand the realities of working in caring profession.
  • Developed some of the values, attitudes and behaviours essential to be a doctor such as being conscientious, good communication skills and the ability to interact with a wide variety of people.
  • An understanding of the realities of medicine and the physical, organisational and emotional demands of a medical career.

Work experience is one way to obtain these experiences and develop these skills.

In the past, many medical schools had entry requirements which specifically asked for clinical work experience. However, many entry requirements now ask that applicants have gained understanding, but not specifically through work experience. The Medical Schools Council now talk about 'relevant experiences' which include work experience in general practice or secondary care settings and also reading relevant books, and articles, listening to suitable podcasts, watching documentaries, undertaking voluntary work or part time paid work, and informal conversations with healthcare professionals.

Applicants can use examples from, for example, their part-time work - during interview - to demonstrate that they have developed their communication skills. Many skills are transferable, and these examples can tell interviewers a great deal about you.

I am under the age of 16, can I obtain work experience with a GP? 

Due to insurance and safeguarding pupils under the age of 16 cannot undertake work experience with a GP, but in the meantime they can find out more about pursuing a career in general practice.

Top tips

How to obtain GP work experience and make the most of your placement 

The RCGP is delighted to work closely with the Medical Schools' Selection Alliance to support young people who are interested in studying medicine. 

Medical Schools Council logo

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