Application to Sheffield University in 2020/21

This student applied in the 2020/21 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

Gender: Woman
Ethnicity: White British
I went to a comprehensive school that does regularly send students to medical school.

Our Summary
Course: Standard Undergraduate
Online Panel interview

Admissions Tests: UCAT

Recommended Resources:
The Medic Portal

Before I made my application…

When did you decide you wanted to apply for medical school?
Year 12 (16/17 years old)

How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
Distance from home
Course structure (integrated, problem based learning (PBL) or traditional)
Grade requirements
Student satisfaction

What types of work experience did you do?
Care work (e.g. in residential care)
Customer service role (voluntary)
Online work experience

How much work experience did you do?
Very little due to COVID. Volunteering in care home cut short due to closure of care homes. Online work experience during lockdown was somewhat useful. NHS trust work experience was also cancelled due to COVID.

During the application process…

What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT):

How did you prepare for your admissions test?
Did practice questions every day for around a month and a half, stepping it up closer to the exam. Mock tests were particularly useful for learning timings for UCAT questions as I found this to be the greatest challenge

What resources did you use?
Medify – really useful. Paid for 3 months and found it incredibly helpful. Would definitely recommend.

What type of interview did you do?
Panel: This type of interview is a ‘traditional’ sit down interview where you’ll be interviewed by a group of people, usually academic tutors and doctors. This differs from an MMI interview, which is based around ‘stations’ which have themes or scenarios attached to them. 

How did you prepare for your interview?
For Sheffield they give you the questions prior to the interview so I was able to prepare. I spoke to other applicants at my school and we prepared together as several of us were applying for the same uni. The most useful online resource I found was The Medic Portal which is free. I prepared for the given questions as well as reading around each topic to prepare for any follow up questions. I also spoke through my answers with friends and family to make myself sound less robotic and as if I had memorised my answers.

What happened in your interview?
We had some questions asking about ourselves and why we wanted to go to the uni and then discussed work experience. We then spoke about the GMC as well as looking at some current affairs and ethics. There was also a more logical thinking question which challenged problem solving skills and forced me to think outside the box. The atmosphere was very friendly and allowed me to relax into it and perform to the best of my ability.


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). 

Problem-based learning: PBL is a teaching style that many universities use to teach their medical students. Usually, you will work to solve a problem, and this is how you learn about the solution, rather than being taught the solution first and then applying it.

Traditional teaching: a traditional approach to teaching is different from PBL and integrated in that it is ‘split’. Firstly, you will be taught the scientific and academic knowledge in a pre-clinical phase, and then you will learn the clinical skills in a clinical phase. Traditional teaching is now only used at a few universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge. 

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. 

Medic Portal: Medic Portal is a popular website that provides resources to help you prepare your medicine application. Medic Portal has some free resources online but some are paid-for. There are good, free alternatives for preparation available online, so check out our guides and the university websites for details.

General Medical Council: The GMC is the governing body for all the doctors in the UK. Every doctor needs to be registered with the GMC to be able to practise medicine here. They also set the rules and guidance for doctors, like best practice and professional standards.

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