This student applied in the 2020/21 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!
Course: Standard Undergraduate
Online MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
The Medic Portal
UCAT Question Book
Before I made my application…
What types of work experience did you do?
How much work experience did you do?
I only did one week of actual work experience placement. Although I did do some non-medical volunteering for a couple of years which I also talked about in my interview.
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/
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
A few practice questions every day for around 3 weeks before the test + some practice tests in the few days before. I took the day off the day before the test though, to try and calm down so I wouldn’t be too wound up on the day of the test.
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?
I initially practiced interview questions and technique for common questions that tend to come up (e.g. why medicine? why this university? etc). There were some free resources online with lists of common questions. I attended an interview course run by The Medic Portal which was paid but mostly I just did a lot of practice talking with my parents.
My school also organised a mentoring session for people applying to courses that required interviews run by students’ parents and provided us with a list of questions students in past years had been asked. I also spoke to an older friend who had already gone through the application process and did a practice interview with them.
Closer to the time of my interview I also looked through the specific advice they had sent and read up on some scientific topics that were recently in the news.
What happened in your interview?
We were given an outline beforehand of what each station would entail.
The interview mostly covered common questions e.g. motivation for studying medicine, why this uni, questions about yourself and your hobbies/experiences etc.
We also had one general problem solving station but it was not a medical scenario, it was just testing general critical thinking skills. We also had one station where we were required to discuss some medical news we had recently read about.
Generally speaking it was stressful, but once the adrenaline kicks in and you get into the swing of answering questions it feels more manageable. There was no harm done in taking a moment to slow down and think about a question more. The interviewers sometimes asked extra questions to get a better understanding of your initial answer. Overall it took around an hour.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Mentoring: Not everyone has had mentoring and some mentoring programmes services may have particular criteria for you to join the programme. Don’t worry if you’ve not had this opportunity. There are plenty of free online resources to help you prepare for the application process, like on our website, and not having a mentor will not put you at a disadvantage.
Insiders: 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.
The Medic Portal: 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.
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.