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 Bengali woman, and they attended a comprehensive school in the UK that doesn’t regularly send pupils to study medicine. They received free school meals.
Course: Gateway year course (Southampton BM6)
In-person panel interview with group task
Admissions Tests: UCAT
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medical school? When I was in year 7/8
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Based on my GCSEs as they were not all As and A* so went for universities that have a good widening participation record or accept lower GCSEs.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, I used my job in at a tutoring centre as experience
How much work experience did you do?
2 weeks at 2 different hospitals
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
1 hospital I found myself and requested work experience, another hospital local to me had a medicine day so I alone had to ask my head of year to apply to that so then I could attend as it had to be through school, but I found the opportunity.
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?
I was not aware there was a bursary for the admission test so I paid for it, but was eligible. I tried by just practicing questions but found it difficult to manage time with family, work and other commitments.
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?
Found a blog online and practiced panel interview by myself and the group task with my older siblings.
What happened in your interview?
Panel: It was all about my personal statement and then questions about why medicine, Southampton and the BM6 course specifically.
Group Task: If I recall it was a discussion around a specific health policy and at the end of the task we had to reflect on how we did individually back to the interviewers who observed us.
(The group task’s focus has now changed to a problem-solving task)
When we entered we were greeted by medical students who were all really nice and friendly making me feel much more comfortable and less nervous.
Gateway year course: A gateway year course has an additional year at the start of the course, meaning it will last 6 years. Gateway courses are designed for students who wouldn’t meet the standard requirements for entry to medicine, so they are aimed at widening participation into medicine. The best way to see if you are eligible is to check the individual university website to find out the requirements and criteria.
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.
Balancing your time while applying: while you’re applying to medicine, you might be studying for A-levels or balancing things such as paid work. Make sure that you take time to rest, and use a planner to help you schedule in any preparation work you’d like to do, like revision for admissions tests. If you’re struggling, reach out to a teacher or someone you trust to talk about it!
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.