This student applied in the 2021/22 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 British woman who went to a comprehensive school that doesn’t regularly send students to study medicine.
Course: Standard undergraduate
Online MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
Before I made my application…
Choosing to apply
When did you decide you wanted to apply to medicine?
In year 10
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
I chose based on the style of course (I wanted an integrated course), I also looked in league tables. I didn’t pick a 5th choice.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Other healthcare setting e.g pharmacy, physiotherapy, Customer service role (paid), Online work experience
How much work experience did you do?
I did 2 types of volunteering for around 6-8 months, I did healthcare work experience in a pharmacy for about 3 months and then online work experience courses (such as the BSMS virtual work experience) which took a few days each.
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 first did one of the tests on the UCAT website to establish a baseline for what I needed to work on ( this revealed that I definitely needed to prepare as I didn’t do very well on my first attempt). I then used The Medic Portal’s practice book to learn about and practise strategies for how to approach each section.
I then used the Kaplan test prep book to practice sets of questions for each section under time and there were also a few full-length tests in here which I practised under time.
Finally I used the practice papers on the UCAT website under time to get used to the standard of question and the exact format the exam would take.
The practice questions, especially in the Kaplan book, were in my opinion harder than the actual test although this was good preparation.
What resources did you use?
The Medic Portal UCAT prep book (I think it was called Mastering the UCAT) – this was really useful in terms of developing strategies to approach each section, however the volume of practice questions wasn’t great
Kaplan Test Prep UCAT book (Score Higher on the UCAT)- this was really useful as it had lots of practice questions in and several full-length tests to practice to time, however it was less useful for developing strategies to approach the sections. This book also came with an online question bank which was useful for practising answering on a computer.
UCAT website practice papers – I used these towards the end of my preparation to get used to the specific format the actual test would take, this was definitely important to prepare
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 read up on Good Medical Practice and the NHS values and then made sure I had an example from my experience/volunteering for each of the key areas. I also made sure I was up to date on current medical affairs by reading BBC health news and signing up to the Medic Portal newsletter (this was free) which sent current affairs and headlines to be aware of.
I read all the information the medical school had sent me to ensure I understood the format of the interview.
I then used the Medic Portal’s (free!) online interview question bank – this had loads of questions which were really helpful and covered all the major points that come up in med school interviews – I practised thinking of answers on my own and then got a family member to have a mock interview with me closer to the time.
What happened during your interview?
I think each station was around 5 minutes long. I felt very nervous during the interview although once I had answered a few questions I did get into the flow of it. I also had a technical issue as my MMI was online via video call and my internet cut out – however the interviewers were understanding and repeated the question I had missed, and I managed to fix the issue by leaving and rejoining the call. I hadn’t been given prior information about the specific stations so for some of the stations they briefly explained the task before I got started. There was generally a few people in each ‘room’ although and usually there were two people asking questions for each ‘station’.
Integrated teaching: Most universities use an ‘integrated’ style of teaching where they teach the scientific topic alongside the clinical skills. This means when you learn about a specific aspect of the body, they will teach you all the science, and the clinical skills to go with it, rather than teaching you all the science first, and then giving you the opportunity to learn the clinical skills at a later date (traditional teaching).
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.
Brighton and Sussex Virtual Work Experience: This is a free ‘virtual’ work experience course that explores different roles within the NHS as well as six medical specialties. It also consider some of the challenges and wider issues doctors face. Find out more here.
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.
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.
Paid-for courses and resources: Some students choose to pay for courses and resources either online or in person to help them prepare for admissions tests and interviews. There is no evidence that they give you an advantage. There are good, free alternatives for preparation for admissions tests and interviews, and some offer bursaries and discounts to students who come from low income families. Check out our guides and uni websites for more details.
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
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