This student applied in the 2019/20 application cycle and therefore the selection process at Southampton 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
In-person panel interview with group task
Admissions Tests: UCAT
Recommended resources: Medify, but it was much easier than the actual UCAT.
Top tip: Work hard and use everyone around you, such as your teachers, friends, and online resources. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, it is your own personal journey!
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medical school? Before I completed my first degree.
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Looked at the ratios for which unis take the most international students, my UCAT was also low compared to averages so I applied according to this.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Customer service role (voluntary), Phlebotomist
How much work experience did you do?
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?
Watched YouTube videos of people doing UCAT practice exams and listened to their thought process and how they went about picking the best answer. I also used Medify, as well as the UCAT book by Kaplan which I didn’t find as helpful.
What resources did you use?
Medify, but the UCAT was much harder than the tests on Medify.
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.
Group task: At Southampton, most interviews have a group task, where multiple candidates are interviewed together.
How did you prepare for your interview?
I had a friend who interviewed there but didn’t get in who gave me a lot of tips! I also just filmed myself answering questions that are pretty common (such as why do you want to study medicine and not nursing)
What happened in your interview?
The interviewers went through my personal statements and asked me to explain why I did certain things and what I’ve learned from the experiences I had.
There was also a group task that was unique where we were given a topic related to healthcare and it seemed like there was no right or wrong answer and they just wanted to see how we interact together.
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.
YouTube videos: 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.
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.
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.