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: Mixed British
I went to a fee-paying school.
Course: Standard Undergraduate
In person MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT, BMAT
The Medic Portal
ISC Medical Book
Before I made my application…
When did you decide you wanted to apply for medical school?
In Year 11.
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
I chose Universities based on location, I wanted to be close to home. I also prioritised UCAT universities as I scored in the top 1% so knew I had an increased chance of getting an interview. I also did not want to go to a PBL university so excluded these.
What types of work experience did you do?
How much work experience did you do?
I did a week of hospital shadowing (4 days due to a bank holiday)
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement
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 booked my UKCAT for the start of September, and revised over the summer for it. I used Medify for around 3 months and would do several blocks of questions each day. I did a range of questions from each section each day, rather than focusing on a specific section each day. One of the things I found most useful was to make a list of the different patterns that came up in the abstract reasoning puzzles. This helped me to identify patterns more easily and meant that I fully understood patterns.
What resources did you use?
Medify – Very useful and pretty much the only resource I used. I felt like it helped me prepare for each of the UKCAT sections and that I improved over time in each. It wasn’t as useful for BMAT, but it was the first year that they had added a BMAT section so may have been improved since.
What type of interview did you do?
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?
To generally prepare for interviews, I used resources on The Medic Portal and The Medical School Interview book by ISC Medical. I also attended a mock interview day that was organised by my school and consisted of a panel interview with a senior teacher and a doctor. My school also organised an interview preparation course which we could attend. These were all very useful in preparing me for what to expect in interviews and help give me ideas about the topics which could potentially be discussed.
Prior to my interview we were sent the different stations and the questions we would be asked. To prepare specifically for each station, I read through the list of stations and associated questions sent by the university and bullet pointed ideas of things that I could say for each question.
What happened in your interview?
At the interviews, we were taken to a room and had to stand outside the stations. We then had one minute to read the instructions outside of the station, before going in and completing the station for 7 minutes
In one station, I was faced with an ethical dilemma and was asked to describe what I would do in the situation. A couple of the stations asked me to talk about myself, why I wanted to do medicine, my motivation and experience, and why the course would be a good fit for me. There was one station where we had to interact with a patient and another which tested my deductive skills. There was also stations asking about what I knew about the course and the university.
Standing outside the first station, it felt quite intense but once inside the station, it was east to relax as I was prepared for the questions and the interviewers were friendly. Some of the interviewers were also medical students which made the process even less intimidating.
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.
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.
Mock interviews: Don’t worry if you didn’t have this opportunity. 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.
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.
Paid-for resources: 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.