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In brief;Reviews;General;Books

GETTING INTO MEDICINE. By Andrew R Houghton and David Gray. Hodder amp; Stoughton . pound;9.99.

Anyone interested in becoming a doctor knows they face stiff competition. making sure they take the right A-levels, applying to the most appropriate universities and being well-briefed at interview can help to narrow the odds.

The authors of this excellent guide give outlines of UK medical schools, the structure of their courses and what questions are likely to be asked at interview (they warn that applicants' opinions on rationing of health care, abortion and euthanasia can be sought) together with sections on what daily life as a medical student is like and post-qualification opportunities.

GET A LIFE!

By Bede Cammock-Elliott. The Industrial Society. pound;9.99.

Get a Life!" aims to help young people identify what they define as success in life and, having done so, set strategies for fulfilling their dreams.

Self-help exercises and activities are based on topics such as "Taking Responsibility" "Positive Thinking" "Understanding Your Mind", and accompanying quotations stress the gung-ho, upbeat approach. (Franklin D Roosevelt's "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" is typical.) There is a lot of advice on time management and the benefits of list-making; no doubt some will find this useful but the relentless, American-style optimism could be off-putting to others.

TAKING A YEAR OUT. By Polly BirdHodder amp; Stoughton . pound;9.99.

The gap year between school and university should ideally be spent gaining experience of the world and boosting confidence, as well as having fun and - in these days of tuition fees and student loans - maybe earning some money as well.

To make the most of the time, planning is essential. This handbook offers guidance on such activities as expeditions, working holidays and community service in the UK and around the world, with full details of relevant organisations, how and when to apply, costs, eligibility and support available when you are there. There is also a section on how to deal with post gap year depression.

Elaine Saunders

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