This student applied in the 2019/20 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 study medicine
Course: Standard Undergraduate
In person MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
UCAT mock tests
Before I made my application…
When did you decide you wanted to apply for medical school?
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
All UCAT universities.
Location – nowhere too close and nowhere too far away.
I wanted early patient contact.
I also prioritised cadaver dissection.
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, Care work (e.g. in residential care), Customer service role (paid), Volunteering as Rainbows Girlguiding leader
How much work experience did you do?
3 weeks hospital placement total – 2 weeks on colorectal surgery and 1 week on breast care.
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement, Through asking someone I knew to take me on.
During the application process…
What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT): https://www.ucat.ac.uk/
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
Medify! I began to take practise tests every few weeks to start with. I would then use it to focus on areas I was not doing so well at. The 6 weeks running up to the test, I would spend 2 hours every day revising for UCAT. This would most often take the form of mocks on Medify.
I also used the UCAT mock tests on their website to get used to the format.
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?
At my university we were given the interview questions beforehand by the university itself. This was intended to make the interview process more equal, so regardless of access to resources, everyone had a more equal footing prior to the interview.
I began my preparation with researching medical school interviews. I looked at the differences between MMI & panel interview, the types of interview questions (e.g. scenario questions, practical problem-solving tasks, role-play scenarios, communication questions, knowledge questions), what an ‘ideal’ answer looks like. For this I mostly used free websites like The Medic Portal, Royal College of Surgeons, and Medical Schools Council.
As a result of this, I began to draft and rehearse my answers to common medical school interview questions, plus the questions provided to us by the university. I read up on current NHS, healthcare & science issues daily on the BBC news app, which was a quick and easy way to ensure I was up to date on current affairs they might ask about. I also researches the ‘key qualities’ of a doctor, using the NHS values and GMC ‘Duties of a Doctor’ document.
At my college we had a Medical Ethics Society that I was involved in the running of, where we discussed relevant ethical issues in medicine, which was really helpful for any questions about ethical dilemmas that came up (e.g. abortion care, genetic testing, public health management of smoking, alcohol, diabetes etc.) (school clubs and societies)
I also was lucky enough to attend a paid interview course. This took place in London and I believe was priced between £100-£200. This was extremely helpful as it was the only opportunity I had to attend mock interviews. The day started with some small lectures, with advice and tips about medical school and interviews. We then moved on to mock interviews, with feedback after. I found this experience really daunting, but am very glad I did it. It gave me a chance to experience the MMI interview environment and different interview questions.
What happened in your interview?
We were all sat in a large room in a building that was on site in a local hospital. Parents were allowed to sit in this large room, but most did not stay for the interview. In my opinion, the environment beforehand was stressful – lots of anxious looking students dressed smartly. Some people were looking at their notes and some were chatting amongst themselves. It was generally a friendly environment, most of us ended sitting in a big circle chatting. I think we were all feeling the same. The university also had some medical students there to reassure us and basically do a big Q&A about medical school – this was really helpful and helped lots of us to relax I think.
In my interview there was no discussion around my personal statement, as the interviewers didn’t have access to this. I was asked about my motivations for studying medicine. There were no stations with actors, and no practical problem-solving tasks. There were stations that asked about my interests outside of medicine. I was asked about a current ethical dilemma in healthcare and what I would do if put in a similar situation.
Dissection: Some universities use full-body dissection as a teaching method. This is when you personally get to dissect and be involved in the removal and looking at certain aspects of the body. Some students like the idea of this, while others don’t. This might inform where you choose to apply to medical school, so check out the universities you’re considering to see whether this is part of their teaching style.
Clinical work experience: Not every student will complete clinical work experience before they apply to medical school. Don’t worry, this is not required to be able to apply. You can use non-clinical work experience (e.g. a caring role, like in a care home) or even reflect on paid work you’ve done (e.g. in customer service) in a productive way. See our guide to this here:
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.
Paid-for 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.
Mock interviews: Don’t worry if you didn’t have this opportunity. Not everyone’s teachers can help organise this, and not everyone can afford to pay for a mock interview. Interviews are designed to take into account that not everyone has the same level of preparation. See our guides and blogs on interviews to find out more about free online resources.
GMC Good Practice Guidance: hese 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
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