This student applied in the 2017/18 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 doesn’t regularly send students to medical school.
Course: Standard Undergraduate
In-person MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
UCAT Questions Book
Top Tip: Speak to current students and look at outreach programmes, and try to reflect upon your experiences effectively as this ensures quality and that is more important than how much you do! Good luck!
Before I made my application…
When did you decide you wanted to apply for medical school?
I don’t remember exactly when, but it was before choosing my options for GCSEs.
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?With the exception of Cambridge (which I liked from doing a summer school there and I thought it was a pretty city) I chose courses with more clinical activity from earlier on, with a mix of lectures, tutorials and practical skills. I also only chose universities that offered dissection for anatomy teaching, and the option to go abroad for elective as this is something I had started saving for before even starting university and was really excited for.
I chose Biomedical science at my first choice university (Sheffield) as my fifth choice, as this was my favourite of the university courses and I wanted to explore transfer options onto medicine / study a course that would leave me in a good position to apply for Graduate Entry medicine.
What types of work experience did you do?
Care work (e.g. in residential care), I attended a couple of outpatient clinics at a hospital, and had some work experience in a care home.
How much work experience did you do?
Not much at all! A few days in a residential care home as part of my schools mandatory work experience, and two outpatient clinics in a hospital. I also volunteered at a local charity flu jab event in my home town. I think reflecting upon the experiences you have is more important than the amount!
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
I don’t remember exactly, but it involved a big chain of emails of a friend of a friend of a friend of my sister.
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 for medical admissions after the 2023 admissions cycle.
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
Lots of practice!
What resources did you use?
The classic UKCAT book was very helpful. Also online practice papers were useful.
The paid course I did wasn’t too helpful really, and now with more insight I don’t think it’s appropriate to charge large amounts for courses like these that make them only accessible to more well-off students (the course I did was at a nearby private school, which was free to their students and £55 to us!).
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?
The medical school now gives applicants the questions beforehand to prepare but didn’t when I applied, so I spoke to someone I knew who had applied the year before me. I didn’t know a whole lot about the interviews but if I can remember right I watched a few YouTube videos.
What happened in your interview?
I was asked about problems within the NHS, my extracurricular activities, the medical course at Sheffield, and a problem solving game using abstract reasoning skills.
Graduate Entry Medicine: a pathway into medicine for students who have already received an undergraduate/Bachelors degree. Some universities require this previous degree to be related to medicine (E.g. Biomedical sciences or in another science) while others don’t. Graduate entry to medicine is not available at every medical school, and is much more competitive, but is a good option if you don’t get into medicine straight from school, or only decide you want to be a doctor after you’ve already received your degree, or later on in your career.
Books: Don’t worry if you’ve not been able to find this particular book or afford to pay for it. You might be able to find secondhand copies online which are usually much cheaper, or at your local library (sometimes, libraries will order in books that you’ve requested, so check out this as a possibility too!). Bear in mind that some books may become out of date, so make sure you check when they were published, and if any changes to the relevant admissions tests/interviews have been made since then.
Insiders: Don’t worry if you don’t know people like this. Most students don’t have friends who have already been through the process or healthcare professionals that they know who might be able to support them. You can meet current medical students to speak to at open days, or via free mentoring schemes, but it’s not a requirement for you to be successful.
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.