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Views & Reviews The Bigger Picture

Prepared to fail?

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 08 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6764
  1. Mary E Black, global health doctor, London
  1. drmaryblack{at}

I join the serried ranks of earnest parents at an open day for the University of Cambridge. The admissions officers are upbeat, the students chirpy, and my treasured offspring is dazzled by ornate libraries, a stellar world scientific ranking, and free college punts. In a lull between relentless parental questioning on successful tactics for grasping the holy grail of undergraduate admission, I ask the question that dare not be asked. “What if our children do not get in?” Statistically they probably won’t. There are simply not enough places for all, no …

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