This student applied in the 2017/18 application cycle and therefore the selection process at Keele 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 white woman who went to a comprehensive school that does regularly send students to study medicine.
Course: Standard undergraduate entry
In-person MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
Before I made my application…
Choosing to apply
When did you decide you wanted to apply to medicine?
I thought about it during school, I then did an undergraduate degree and with work experience decided I wanted to apply for medicine.
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
I was a post-grad so I chose two post-graduate degree and two undergraduate degrees as post-grad is much harder to get in. The undergraduate degrees I chose as I wanted to do cadaver dissection and the two unis I applied to had this.
I didn’t have a non-medical choice.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, GP surgery, Care work (e.g. in residential care), Customer service role (voluntary)
How much work experience did you do?
I had a lot of work experience as I worked throughout my undergraduate degree as a carer for 2 years, this was the most of my work experience.
My hospital work experience I received a day at a local hospital and I got to join the ward round and team on the normal day to day work. I applied to about 5 hospitals near me for work experience through their website.
I got some GP work experience by emailing GPs local to me (but not my own) and I did about 5 days in GP practices sitting in with nurses and GPs.
I also did a few months volunteering in a care home helping out at the event days. A few care homes near where I lived offered volunteering, but the process required a long application form, interview and waiting for DBS, which all took about 2 months.
I also helped out at my local cub group, this was helpful as in my interviews I could talk about helping the children with complex needs. I emailed my local scout group to ask if they needed any extra support for children with additional needs and they let me know they did. To become a scout leader you also need a DBS before starting.
How did you find your work experience?
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?
I used the online practice tests and free resources as well as a book I borrowed from a friend who had done it the year previously.
For the quantitative reasoning section, I did practice maths questions from GCSE, practicing percentages, simple equations, and aimed to work on my estimating ability as there was never time to answer all the questions. In the UCAT, I estimated the questions I thought would take me too long to answer.
For verbal reasoning, I used online resources for long answer questions, getting used to picking out the useful information on text. I never wrote anything down as this added too much time for me.
All the other sections, I used the book and online resources for practice.
What type of interview did you do?
MMI: 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 found out how the MMIs worked and looked at information online about the best way to attempt MMIs. Keeping up to date with current affairs was important as some of the stations included asking about recent events in the news, or using the news helped talk around the topic. I aimed to focus on what that MMI was specifically asking about e.g. empathy, confidence, knowledge, assurance, and how to address these in each station.
For the medical school, I made sure I knew about how the course was run, the parts I found the most interesting so I could say why I chose it. Then, I found common interview questions online like ‘why medicine’, ‘what will I do if I am unsuccessful’ etc and made answers up for these to give. I made sure these weren’t too rehearsed as I wanted to show my personality when answering these types of questions. I also looked into training pathways for careers I was interested in as well as the normal day in the life of an F1/F2.
I looked into and learned about the NHS constitution, four pillars of ethics, the duties of a doctor within the GMC and BMA to show I knew about general duties of a doctor.
Finally, I talked to healthcare professionals my parents and I knew and asked them about interview tips, how to present myself with simulated patients.
What happened during your interview?
There were 11 mini interviews, one of which were reading stations which would have questions on during the next station, and two of which where you had to watch a video before entering.
I started all the interviews by shaking the interviewers hand and introducing myself. All the interviewers were very friendly, except where the aim of that station was them to disagree with you!
Relaxing into the stations was difficult, I made sure to really listen to the first few questions and speak slowly for the first few questions once I was relaxed and think about maintaining eye contact while I was still nervous. I also made sure to wear my hair up and keep anything of my wrist (watch, bracelet, hairbobble) to avoid playing with it. I also wore an outfit I was very comfortable in and it was looser fitting so I wasn’t worried about what I looked like, my clothes were too tight or sweating.
Two of the stations were with actors, the main aim of these were to act in empathy, explain who you were and perform a task. The task stations it is important to know that they are not looking for you to complete it, but reassure the patient and work with them.
Other stations included talking about your past experiences in difficult situations and during work experience and the reasons for doing medicine.
Some stations bought up ethical dilemmas, this is where keeping up with the news was helpful as many of these linked to the news. Some stations gave examples of what you thought are the difficulties a doctor faces in certain scenarios and there was discussion around how to face these.
One of the stations tested your ability to be confident in your own choices as the interview would question your decision making and you needed to give rational ideas to your choices.
Do you have any further advice?
Make sure you on the university websites to how closely they look at personal statement vs UCAT/BMAT vs their own form as to what would be the best fit for you.
Prepare for the interview, but make sure to not sound too rehearsed, they want to see your personality rather than a prepared line you have made. I tried to avoid this by bullet pointing common questions when preparing so I could alter how I said it each time, but the main points were always there.
Also take into account that university should be a fun experience, does the rest of the uni offer things you are interested in such as sports, music, etc.
Dissection: Some universities use dissection as a teaching method. This is when you personally get to dissect and be involved in the removal and looking at certain aspects of the body. Some students like the idea of this, while others don’t. This might inform where you choose to apply to medical school, so check out the universities you’re considering to see whether this is part of their teaching style.
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.
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.
Four pillars of medical ethics: These four pillars guide ideas about medical ethics. Knowing and understanding them can help you prepare for your interview and how you answer questions. Four Pillars
GMC Guidelines for Good Practice: 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
Clothes: Usually, the dress code for Medical School interviews is something smart. You don’t need to be in a full dinner suit but it’s worth dressing smartly, whether that’s a nice shirt and trousers, or a shirt and skirt or dress. You don’t have to spend lots of money, and if you need new clothes, take a look in the local charity shops as there’s usually lots of options there!
Role play: some interviews or interview stations may require you to engage in a bit of role play. You might have to act out being in a scenario where you might have to deliver bad news or a clinical decision.