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: White British
I went to a comprehensive school that does regularly send students to medical school.
Course: Standard Undergraduate
Online panel interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT, BMAT
Local University schemes
Don’t panic too much about getting clinical work experience – any volunteering, paid work or online schemes can be good ways to talk about times when you have faced challenges or worked as a team. Practice interview questions to do with teamwork, overcoming difficulties and the key NHS Values and try to make sure you have an example for each, whether it is medicine related or not. Good luck, and try to stay motivated – it’s a long process but you will get through it!
Before I made my application…
When did you decide you wanted to apply for medical school?
During the summer of Year 11.
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
I narrowed it down initially by looking at the course – specifically courses which were mostly integrated as PBL does not suit my learning as well. I also looked at how early patient contact occurred in the course. Once I had a list I researched the cities and universities as a whole, before going to open days both in person and online to talk to students. I went to as many information sessions as I could and tried to apply to two UCAT and two BMAT universities to keep my options open. I didn’t apply for a fifth option.
What types of work experience did you do?
Customer service role (paid)
Online work experience
How much work experience did you do?
I did a free online work experience course with Medic Mentor, and then did one morning shadowing a GP and one morning in a hospital shadowing during an outpatient clinic. Most scenarios I used in my personal statement were actually from my own jobs as a maths tutor and waitress, and voluntary work as a cub leader.
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 that the BMAT will no longer be used after the 2023 admissions cycle.
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?
I used Medify for my UCAT prep which was really helpful, I could do a practice test or a set of questions every day and see my progress. I used Blackstone Tutors for my BMAT prep which was good as there aren’t as many BMAT practice questions available, but I also revised for this using a BMAT book.
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?
I practiced role play scenarios with friends at school, and made flash cards on current NHS topics – The Medic Portal had some great free resources. I also practiced whole interviews with family and friends to try and get used to the interview process. For my interview I was given the questions in advance, so I practiced with family and friends but was careful not to become too rehearsed/learn my answers by heart – instead I focuses on key themes I wanted to include in each answer, but changed the phrasing every time.
What happened in your interview?
For my interview I was given the questions in advance. The first questions were about the university, course and city, followed by more questions about my own motivation and hobbies. It wasn’t until the last question that ethical dilemmas were discussed. I enjoyed this interview format – knowing the questions meant I was more relaxed, and I felt that I had enough time to answer each question to a good degree of detail, compared to other interviews I did. There was also a guessing game to test critical thinking, which was a nice break and felt more about the process than whether I reached the right answer.
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).
NHS Values: The NHS Values guide healthcare education and careers. It’s important to know and understand these values to help you be as successful as possible in your application. They can help you answer questions in your interview, or guide what you write about in your personal statement. Find out more here: NHS Values
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.
Role play: Some interviews or interview stations may require you to engage in a bit of role play. You might have to act out being in a scenario where you might have to deliver bad news or a clinical decision.
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.