This student applied in the 2020/21 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: Gateway year entry (BM6)
In-person panel interview with group task
Admissions Tests: UCAT
Recommended Resources: Get Into Medical School – 1250 UKCAT Practice Questions by Oliver Picard.
Advice from this student: – Take every opportunity, applying to everything which seems viable.
– I would say research opportunities in the local area and in the UK, as many unis offer residential and other events which I did, which allowed me to in fill in the gap I had with other candidates regarding work experience
– Moreover take initiative early on e.g. in year 12, so that when year 13 comes theres a lot to write in terms of your personal statement.
– Something I heard in a public lecture for college students at University of Westminster by the doctor speaking about admissions etc, which was “Everything you do, dont do it for your personal statement but instead do it for yourself”. On reflection I realised the personal growth orientated mindset I achieved through him and I still carry on this mindset in university, whilst still allowing me to benefit in other ways such as portfolio content. As now I see things as opportunities to develop myself and I feel if students do the same, it will definitely show in interviews etc.
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medical school? Year 12.
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Based on University Courses which would accept me with my application grades.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Other healthcare setting e.g pharmacy, physiotherapy
How much work experience did you do?
I didn’t do much work experience to be honest, because I wasn’t able to get any, in year 12 I visited countless GPs and hospitals to try get work experience but it was difficult and I didn’t have much luck. However in year 10 I did a little work experience in a pharmacy for 2 weeks and they allowed to do some more in year 12. It was a mix of work experience and volunteering for my Duke of Edinburgh award.
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 didn’t prepare as much as I could have for my test to be honest, at the moment of time in college. I was also juggling writing my statement and studying for exams and other extra curricular activities. I mainly used Medify to practice questions and do mock tests, as someone had paid it for me as a gift. I used Medify until the date of the test. Originally I rescheduled my test to the latest possible time due to not feeling prepared at the time because of other things happening at that time. Moreover I used the UCAT official mock exams to also prepare for the test. Also there was another website which I had forgotten but it had ethical scenario multiple choice questions which allowed me to prepare for the Situational Judgement Test part of the UCAT
What resources did you use?
Medify – was useful however felt the mock exams given on the website were easier than the actual UCAT exam so I felt a little unprepared when sitting the test.
Medic Portal – had tips for the UCAT exam. I also did the official UCAT mock papers online which were good.
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 was apart of TargetMed program at UCL where I had a student mentor who did interview practice with me and the program did mock interviews for us with feedback sheets.
- Attended free society mock interviews across London at different unis for example at King’s College London, ran by medical students.
- Always read the “Medical School Interviews” book by ISCMedicalto get a grasp on question styles and answering methods.
- Used a lot of free websites and online resources to find past material on interviews to get a gist of questions used at particular universities.
- Was up to date with current affairs through the BBC news website incase any relevant questions came up.
What happened in your interview?
My panel interview happened right before the original lockdown in Feb 2020, My panel interview was very good compared in terms of the atmosphere compared to another interview i had elsewhere (this is just one student’s opinion).
In my interview they focused more on personal statement based questions and follow questions rather than general questions. I felt the interviewers were very friendly and nice which allowed myself to be more relaxed and answer better. The panel was 20 minutes long with a 5 minute warning at the end.
The group task happened afterwards where as a group we discussed an ethical prompt given to us and we reflected at the end (this has now changed to a problem-solving task!). This was a lot more relaxed and in a way more fun since we interacted with other candidates.
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 time: 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!
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.
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.
Situational Judgement Test: The Situational Judgement Test is a part of the UCAT, but is not about academics or reasoning. The SJT tests your ability to judge and make decisions in real-life scenarios – think of it like an ethical test. There are ways to prepare for this, so check out some free online resources which might help you understand how it works a bit better.
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.
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.
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.