This student applied in the 2021/22 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
Ethnicity: Black African
I went to a comprehensive school that does regularly send students to medical school.
Course: Standard Undergraduate
Online MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT, BMAT
Official UCAT tests
Before I made my application…
When did you decide you wanted to apply for medical school?
I have wanted do medicine since I was a child (around 6).
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
How far the university is from my home, course structure (traditional, problem-based learning, integrated), what the city is like, what societies are available, student satisfaction, based on my stats (had high UCAT and GCSEs so applied to universities with heavy weighting on these), social/night life, is intercalation required or not. I did not apply to a 5th choice.
What types of work experience did you do?
Care work (e.g. in residential care)
Other healthcare setting e.g pharmacy, physiotherapy, Customer service role (voluntary)
Online work experience
How much work experience did you do?
- Care home (supposed to be 1year but only did 3 months due to covid)
- Pharmacy assistant (done over the summer)
- NCS – 2 week social action
- Online resources – Brighton and Sussex Online Work Experience and Observe GP
- GP shadowing (cancelled due to COVID but would have been for 2 days)
During the application process…
What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT): https://www.ucat.ac.uk/
Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT). Note: the BMAT will no longer be used for admissions after the application cycle in 2023.
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
Practice with as many resources as possible. Make sure to do timed practices as the main difficulty is the time pressure, not the actual questions. I started practicing about 4 weeks before my UCAT.
The morning of, I quickly learned timings for each section of the UCAT (e.g. verbal reasoning is 21 minutes to complete 44 questions. by 5 minutes I should have for 11 questions, 10.5 minutes I should have done 22 and 15 minutes I should have done 33). I immediately wrote it on the the whiteboard for all the sections so I could look down and check. This helped me know if I was on time or needed to work faster.
What resources did you use?
- Medify – was extreme helpful recommend to everyone as it has comparison tools to other users and is very similar to the actual exam
- Official UCAT tests – were useful to get a grasp of the layout but I found them much harder than the actual thing and they do not generate a score or retain progress
- Kaplan – they have one free test which was useful if looking for free resources
- BMAT Ninja – quite similar to the real thing, so very useful. My actual BMAT was on computer so was almost identical but if it is back to paper then make sure to also practice writing. I just used the free parts and found that was enough (note that BMAT Ninja also has paid-for elements).
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?
Used YouTube, and The Medic Portal for advice on how to answer interview questions. YouTube channels I particularly liked was Ali Abdaal, Medic Mind and Kharma Medic. I also found out the course structure and information about the city I was applying to so I could highlight key reasons why the course was right for me. I used medical news today to find out about new research that had been done. Also familiarised myself with the GMC guidelines.
What happened in your interview?
Sheffield provided the questions ahead of time so I was able to prepare. However it was difficult to make sure I didn’t sound too rehearsed and they did also ask follow up questions. Generally the questions were to make sure I was a right fit for the course at Sheffield and for studying medicine. They also wanted to make sure I would be able to cope in a stressful environment. I felt quite relaxed surprisingly, the interviewers were very friendly and I felt like they wanted me to do well. It felt more like a conversation than being grilled. My interview was online which likely helped as usually it is MMI and I would have met several interviewers with different interview styles. I think it took about 30 minutes. Each question was asked and then 1-2 follow up questions which were for clarification or out of interest. I had 2 interviewers and a current medical student, who alternated questions.
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.
The Medic Portal: The Medic Portal is a popular website that provides resources to help you prepare your medicine application. The 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.
Brighton and Sussex Online Work Experience: This is a free ‘virtual’ work experience course that explores different roles within the NHS as well as six medical specialties. It also consider some of the challenges and wider issues doctors face. https://bsmsoutreach.thinkific.com/courses/VWE
Observe GP: This is a free interactive video platform providing insights into the role of a GP and the wider primary care team. https://www.rcgp.org.uk/your-career/work-experience/observe-gp
GMC Good 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
YouTube: There are many current and recent medical students who create videos on YouTube about their experience and advice about applying. Remember that their experience is personal and individual, and may not reflect yours. They might provide some useful advice but remember that they might be advertising paid for services. Take their advice as part of a more holistic approach alongside moderated advice such as ours, and official advice from universities and test providers.