This student applied in the 2017/18 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 Persian man who went to a comprehensive school that does regularly send students to medical school.
Course: Standard undergraduate entry
In person panel interview with group task
Admissions Tests: UCAT, BMAT
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medicine?
Since I was a child.
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Based on location and whether they wanted UCAT or BMAT. You will know your UCAT score before you apply so by looking at previous applicant scores you get an idea of how your UCAT is.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, GP surgery, Care work (e.g. in residential care), Other healthcare setting e.g pharmacy, physiotherapy
How much work experience did you do?
3 days is enough for hospital shadowing.
3 days or A week is good for GP- GPs normally have a pharmacy nearby so you can also ask to attend that to add to experience.
Volunteering work depends on what it is but once a week or every few weeks is good. The main thing is to be signed up somewhere and attend a few times to gain the experience.
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement, Through asking someone I knew to take me on
During the application process…
What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT): https://www.ucat.ac.uk/
Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT): Southampton doesn’t use the BMAT to select applicants and the BMAT won’t be used after the 2023 application cycle!
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
For UCAT and BMAT I used similar techniques, I used about 6 weeks to prep:
- I used Medic Mind resources to study the different techniques for answering. They have good videos and booklets. I also attended one of the day courses. In medic mind you can also gain access to a private tutor who you can what’sapp questions.
- I used Medify questions bank to practice, they also have some tutorials.
- On YouTube you can learn about the general format of the exam and also tips from people.
- I first went to one of the day courses, then I started reading the booklet/videos on medic mind to learn the techniques and about how to answer questions. After this I worked on answering Medify questions.
What resources did you use?
Medic Mind, YouTube – karma medic, ali abdaal, general search in YouTube, Medify question bank
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 used Medic Mind resources on their website. They have a range of recourses which I found very helpful.
I prepared bullet point answers for a range of questions the interviewers may ask me. This also included preparing examples of how I have shown or developed particular skills. I tried to focus on the skills a doctor needs and uses.
Speaking to people in the year above and my peers is very helpful. Try to have read about a few topics on the news. Googling and searching YouTube for example questions for interviews and then preparing answers.
What happened during your interview?
If you are given a topic to debate about it is important to speak about both sides of the argument and then give a conclusion. If you are in a group of people try to involve others as well. Interviews are a place to sell yourself, be confident but also humble because you know you don’t know everything about everything.
I was asked about my personal statement, be prepared to go on more detail. It is useful to make bullet points of things to mention for each topic. For example, for communication in your notes, write about why this is important for a doctor then make bullet points about how you saw this in practice like work experience, and then have bullet points to talk about how you have developed this skill or a time when you showed this skill. This will flow very nicely and when you have prepared this for around 5 different skills it will make you more confident and less stressed (* this is one student’s opinion!)
This technique can also be used for different parts of your personal statement for example about a book you have read. When you prepare your bullet points it will be fluid to talk about in the interview. Don’t over memorise it because you want it to be natural.
Practicing with friends and family or just recording your voice while talking or loud are good ways to practise.
Do you have any further advice?
- Try to include something research based in your application, for example doing an EPQ project, or a society related to research or reading books.
- Be with a group of other people who want to do medicine, this will help you all to be aware of tips and tricks and also practice.
- Read some examples of personal statements of people in the year above or from the Internet.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. You may be turned down a number of times but that one time you find someone who provides valuable information will make it all worth while.
- Be organised to make sure you keep on top of A level work while working on medical applications.
- Make the most of your time during the week, aim for 48 hours of pure work over the 7 days of the week. Working hard from the start will save you later on and help you get ahead.
- Any experience can be used in your personal statement or interview. It’s important how you present it and relate it to medicine and medical school. Explanation is key so the examiners know what you mean about something and why it’s relevant.
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.
Medic Mind: Medic Mind is a paid-for service. 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.
YouTube: There are many current and recent medical students who create videos on YouTube about their experience and advice about applying. Remember that their experience is personal and individual, and may not reflect yours. They might provide some useful advice but remember that they might be advertising paid for services. Take their advice as part of a more holistic approach alongside moderated advice such as ours, and official advice from universities and test providers.
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.
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.
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.
EPQ: Extended Project Qualification. This is another qualification that some students sit while completing their A-levels. It usually consists of an extended written up research project about a special interest. Don’t worry if you have not completed an EPQ, it is not a requirement to apply to study medicine.