This student applied in the 2022/23 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 man who went to a fee-paying school.
Course: Standard undergraduate
Online MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
Try your best.
Don’t look or compare to anyone else.
Studying Medicine is the greatest thing anyone could do and is such a privilege. If it is something you want to do, go and get it by being yourself and giving it your best shot. That is all you can do!
Before I made my application…
Choosing to apply
When did you decide you wanted to apply to medicine?
I wanted to become a doctor since I was about 5 years old. Its all I’ve ever wanted so there was never a ‘I should apply to medicine’ moments – it was just going to happen. There is nothing else in my life I’ve wanted.
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
Quite simple – I’m awful at UCAT but have a lot of experience. So, any university that focuses on experience rather than UCAT scores!
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Care work (e.g. in residential care), Customer service role (voluntary), Customer service role (paid)
How much work experience did you do?
I worked in a NHS hospital as a healthcare assistant from a year after leaving school all the way up until the day I started as a medical student (about 18 months). I still work in NHS as a Bank Healthcare Assistant over the holidays!!! I didn’t see it as ‘a way to get into medicine’ – I saw it as an exciting opportunity to help and care for others (something I’ve always wanted to do) plus it might help me get an interview!
Obviously, as this was not ‘work experience’ but paid work, it was for a substantial period. I’ve also volunteered at a charity garden centre for the same time period plus did teaching experience at my school to younger year groups (Year 3 to Year 11).
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?
With the test, there is only so much you can improve so is not worth spending loads of money on resources that are not actually recognised by UCAT! I would just stick with there very reliable resources only. To be honest, it is more about practicing the skills rather than any UCAT questions – i.e: do you read a lot of articles/books/journals etc. Can you spot patterns in wordsearches? Doing these sort of things are equally as helpful.
I was never very good at UCAT – I only scored 2330 but still got an offer from my first choice university. The key was I recognised this was not my strong point and focused on other parts of my application (i.e: gaining experience). I just went in and tried my best and… see what happens! As it happens, the 2330 was the highest I ever scored!
What resources did you use?
UKCAT 600 book – was useful as lots of practice questions
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?
The key point is this: I wanted to try my very best – simply being I wanted to be myself. Then if they like me, I’d be offered a place (great!) or if they didn’t think I was right (no worries, at least I tried!).
The other piece of advice I would give is slightly counterintuitive – don’t prepare to get in, prepare to become the very best doctor you can be. For me, this meant working in the NHS for 18 months after leaving school. This meant that I gained a vast amount of experience that is applicable in any healthcare role. This also showed that I really loved working in the NHS despite the enormous challenges, pressure and workload there is.
But that was it. I didn’t go out of my way to do something special to prepare for interview, I just wanted to gain an understanding of what it means to become a doctor and turn up on the interview and be myself!
What happened during your interview?
I always thought that the interview was excellently structured. It was two (two person) panels where on each panel we did three MMI stations. The interviewers were really friendly, approachable and just easy to have a conversation with! This made it so much easier to be myself.
As with most medical school interviews there is an ethical station. I think they key to this is to a) have ideas, and b) explain why you have these ideas. The key is to talk through your thought process – this way they can get to see the real you!
There was a really good role play scenario with an actor that tests us on our interpersonal skills and handling difficult conversations. I found this really engaging and enjoyable to be honest – didn’t really feel like an interview!!
The rest of the questions are more generalised. It is really important to know why you are applying to a particular medical school. Each are unique and have there own styles and teaching methods that work well for others and not so well for some. It is important to know a) what the teaching style is at your medical school, and b) why this would suit you and what you could contribute.
Oh, and make sure you know why you want to become a doctor!! It is incredibly long, stressful and emotionally tortuous career that is equally rewarding. Be sure you want this, understand why you want this and, most importantly for interview, explain this verbally!
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.
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.