This student applied in the 2018/19 application cycle and therefore the selection process at Sheffield may have changed since then. You should read all the information a University sends you about the selection process to get the most up to date details!
Remember to check out the glossary at the bottom of the page for our explanations of all the jargon we medical students like to use!
More about this student
I went to a comprehensive school that doesn’t regularly send students to medical school.
Course: Standard Undergraduate
In person MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
It’s good to do the volunteering at a care home or something similar, and for as long as possible to show that you have an interest in the health care field, it also gives you a better idea if it’s something you’d enjoy.
I wasn’t set on doing medicine until I shadowed a doctor and sat in on their consultation and I really enjoyed just observing them work!
When doing your personal statement try to be reflective with your experiences and how it contributes to your future learning and practises as reflective learning is a big part of medicine.
Before I made my application…
When did you decide you wanted to apply for medical school?
In 6th form.
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
I chose the ones that were integrated courses and were not too far from me. I would’ve been happy to go anywhere really. For my 5th option I chose bio-med as I was interested in those sciences, and the course at Sheffield also allowed for dissection and anatomy modules.
What types of work experience did you do?
Care work (e.g. in residential care)
How much work experience did you do?
I did 3 days shadowing doctors in my local hospital. I also spent 8 months volunteering weekly at a dementia care home to get a better insight into different health care staff and patient exposure.
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement.
During the application process…
What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT): https://www.ucat.ac.uk/
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
My 6th Form paid for an account for an online resource where they had practise UCAT questions and mocks. I used this the entire week before my scheduled assessment. I also had some teaching on UCAT questions from the summer school to get a better idea of what each section would cover.
What resources did you use?
Medify for the UCAT
What type of interview did you do?
MMI: Multiple Mini Interview. This type of interview usually includes several short interviews or ‘stations’ which may involve different types of questions and scenarios. This is different compared to a panel interview, which may cover the same scenarios/types of questions but be a more ‘traditional’ sit-down interview.
How did you prepare for your interview?
Sheffield had sent their interview questions before hand and I prepped my answers for those. I had also borrowed the MMI practise questions book to get a better idea of what to include in my answers. I was able to attend a free summer school that my 6th form participated in where there were practise MMI stations.
What happened in your interview?
There were stations where I had to talk about what I knew about the course and city, talk to a real patient and learn about their condition, discuss my hobbies, discuss an ethical situation in medicine, and a problem solving station.
Integrated teaching: Most universities use an ‘integrated’ style of teaching where they teach the scientific topic alongside the clinical skills. This means when you learn about a specific aspect of the body, they will teach you all the science, and the clinical skills to go with it, rather than teaching you all the science first, and then giving you the opportunity to learn the clinical skills at a later date (traditional teaching).
Dissection: Some universities use full-body dissection as a teaching method. This is when you personally get to dissect and be involved in the removal and looking at certain aspects of the body. Some students like the idea of this, while others don’t. This might inform where you choose to apply to medical school, so check out the universities you’re considering to see whether this is part of their teaching style.
Paid-for resources and courses: Some students choose to pay for courses either online or in person to help them prepare for admissions tests and interviews. There is no evidence that they give you an advantage. There are good, free alternatives for preparation for admissions tests and interviews, and some offer bursaries and discounts to students who come from low income families. Check out our guides and uni websites for more details.
Mock interviews: Don’t worry if you didn’t have this opportunity. Not everyone’s teachers can help organise this, and not everyone can afford to pay for a mock interview. Interviews are designed to take into account that not everyone has the same level of preparation. See our guides and blogs on interviews to find out more about free online resources.
Medify: Medify is a popular website which provides resources for helping you prepare your medicine application. Medify has some free resources online but some are paid-for. There are good, free alternatives for preparation available online, so check out our subject guides and the university websites for details.
Books: Don’t worry if you’ve not been able to find the particular book this student has mentioned, or afford to pay for it. You might be able to find secondhand copies online which are usually much cheaper, or at your local library (sometimes, libraries will order in books that you’ve requested, so check out this as a possibility too!). Bear in mind that some books may become out of date, so make sure you check when they were published, and if any changes to the relevant admissions tests/interviews have been made since then.