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 doesn’t regularly send students to medical school.

Our Summary
Course: Standard Undergraduate
Online MMI interview

Admissions Tests: UCAT

Recommended Resources:
The Medic Portal

Top tip:
People will tell you that you need to spend a lot of money on preparing a medicine application, but there are enough free resources that you really don’t need to, and they may not always be better! 

Before I made my application…

When did you decide you wanted to apply for medical school?
I’ve always wanted to be a doctor!

How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
I liked the course structure – integrated course, focussing on making good doctors over great academics
I also liked the locations and feel of the universities

What types of work experience did you do?
Care work (e.g. in residential care)
Hospital volunteering during covid

How much work experience did you do?
Around 6 months in a care home and several months as a hospital volunteer.

During the application process…

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

How did you prepare for your admissions test?
Around 2 hours a day of practicing questions 6 weeks before the exam. Start doing the questions untimed to get a feel for them, then focus on doing them timed

What resources did you use?
Passmed – brilliant but not a reliable for difficulty accuracy compared to the official UCAT questions.
Guidance from The Medic Portal is decent

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 send out their interview questions, so you know the areas you need to develop. I worked on:

  • 4 pillars of medical ethics
  • Work experience – care home is good for this, particularly if you are able to go once a week for quite a few months and build rapport with people
  • GMC good medical practice
  • I also did a mock interview with someone from my school who was currently studying medicine

Practice speaking confidently, I wouldn’t recommend memorising answers, but consider bullet points that you’d like to include

Eye contact and smile!

What happened in your interview?
Mine was different to usual because of COVID, but there were questions relating to ethics, GMC guidelines and also on qualities needed to be a doctor


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). 

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.

GMC Good Medical Practice Guidelines: These guidelines describe what it means to be a good doctor. These can help guide you during your preparation for your application and how you answer questions in interviews. Find out more here: GMC Good Practice

Four pillars of medical ethics: These four pillars guide ideas about medical ethics. Knowing and understanding them can help you prepare for your interview and how you answer questions. Find out more here: BMJ 4 Pillars

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