Application to University of Southampton in 2019/20

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!

More about this student

Sometimes students share information with us about their demographics, which may help put their application experience into a bit more perspective.

This student identifies as a Nepali woman, and they attended a comprehensive school in the UK that doesn’t regularly send pupils to study medicine.

Our Summary
Course: Standard undergraduate

In-person panel interview with group task

Admissions Tests: UCAT, BMAT

Top tip: Just try everything and don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it. Email everyone, find their emails on the hospital website. Look for volunteering opportunities. Always take a notebook write what you learn and reflect on experiences afterwards.

Before I made my application…

Choosing to study medicine

When did you decide to apply to medical school? In year 12

How did you choose which universities to apply to?
I picked the ones my friends were applying to as well as those which didn’t do problem-based learning as I knew I didn’t want to do PBL learning. I picked ones not too far from home but far enough that I could live away.

Completing work experience

What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, GP surgery, Customer service role (voluntary)

How much work experience did you do?
I did one week at a GP but it was basically as a receptionist i didn’t spend much time with the GP.

I did one year of volunteering with a charity attached to my local hospital, in which I got a lot of patient interaction and time on wards but did not spend time with doctors. I also got to do some public health engagement with this. I found this opportunity online and then applied.

I did 1 week at a tertiary centre shadowing a consultant HPB surgeon (a surgeon who operates on the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and biliary ducts) which was very useful and fun.

How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement, Emailing loads of consultants with CV + cover letters

During the application process…

Admissions tests

What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT):

How did you prepare for your admissions test?
I spent about 1.5 weeks preparing for UCAT, completing all the questions in a UKCAT book and then doing the practice papers on the website. I spent longer preparing for the BMAT using the same respective resources but didn’t do as well.

What resources did you use?
The UKCAT book was good, I went through all the questions and did well. There were some free courses for BMAT which I found quite helpful.


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 read through my personal statement as well as GMC guidelines, I used to go to lectures for sixth form students in KCL and Imperial college London (Widening Access so free), looked at NHS values, mock interview at school, reading up on current affairs. Prepared answers to classic Qs like why you want to study medicine. 

What happened in your interview?
Had a panel interview where they asked about me and my personal statement as well as about our healthcare system. Also did a group interview which was a self led discussion on points they would give us.


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. 

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.

Tertiary care:  Tertiary care is a very specialist form of healthcare, such as neurology, or transplant care. It might be completed at a specialist hospital, too. You can find out more about the different parts of the NHS here: Tertiary Care

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.

GMC Good Practice Guidelines: These 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. 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

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.

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