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
In-person MMI interview

Admissions Tests: UCAT

Recommended resources:
UCAT Website
Local University schemes

Before I made my application…

When did you decide you wanted to apply for medical school?
Within first year of college.

How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
I applied to places where I liked the city that were either PBL or integrated courses as I didn’t want a full traditional course. I think liking the city is more important than liking the course as you have to live there for 5 years minimum. I applied to Biomed as my backup as that particular Biomed course had a gateway into medicine after year 1 if things didn’t work out.

What types of work experience did you do?
GP surgery
Other healthcare setting e.g pharmacy, physiotherapy
Customer service role (paid)

How much work experience did you do?

I had a part time job throughout all of college which helped with talking to lots of different people and enabled me as someone from a background with little money to gain more money to support when I went to uni. I did a week in a GP surgery by emailing all the ones in my local area and my personal GP surgery was able to accommodate me for a week. I did 6 weeks in summer in a pharmacy, which I asked whether I could do when picking up my family’s prescriptions and they agreed to accommodate me. Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to be told no.

During the application process…

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

How did you prepare for your admissions test?
I started preparing about a month before and did a practise section a day until 1 week before in which I’d do 1 test per day. Don’t overstress and over prepare as you will burn out. Don’t prepare more than 1 month before (this is just one student’s opinion!) .

What resources did you use?

Any website that came up when typing free UCAT resources into google, the UCAT website which was the most useful, and a widening participation scheme at my local university gave guidance too, and I recommend anyone that can apply to this at their local uni to do so.

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?
I studied the questions that Sheffield gave to me before applying. Despite my parents not having been to uni or having any idea of healthcare, I practised saying my answers to them for my confidence. I also researched an area of medicine I found interesting to talk about in the interview as this helps for the why I want to do medicine section.

What happened in your interview?
I did not have to talk about my personal statement so I wouldn’t get caught up on trying to make this perfect. I did feel that questions were geared more towards holistic overview of medicine i.e. your skills and applying them so I would focus on this. I felt that the atmosphere as a result was relatively relaxed. Before you go in, chat to other applicants as it will make you feel more relaxed. Also remember that some of the people interviewing you are medical students so we remember what it was like as we did the same not too long ago. The interview took about an hour and a half I think.


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. 

Integrated learning: 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). 

Traditional course:  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. 

Gateway to medicine courses: Gateway to medicine courses can help students prepare for a medical degree if they don’t meet the requirements for standard entry. These might be a specific ‘Medicine’ gateway course, or a gateway course from an allied subject, such as Biomedical Sciences, or clinical sciences. Some gateway courses are designed specifically to widen participation in medicine, so they might have specific criteria for you to apply relating to your personal background.

Support networks:  While not every student will have a support network to help them prepare, there are plenty of other ways to prepare for your admissions tests and interviews, such as through free online resources, like on our website. 

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