This student applied in the 2018/19 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: 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 medical school? GCSE level- year 10/11
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
My UCAT score narrowed down my options. I also looked at those that were not too far away from home, and looked at their rankings.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, Care work (e.g. in residential care)
How much work experience did you do?
I week shadowing a doctor at the hospital, 1 week at a care home and 1 week volunteering with a children’s charity so not much at all.
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
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/
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?
I used online resources like Medify for UCAT and just did lots and lots of questions. I started early and just did untimed questions, but closer to the exam, I timed myself.
For BMAT, I just learnt a lot of basic chemistry, biology, physics and maths. And then used my book to go through each section.
What resources did you use?
Medify – useful for some sections, not so useful for situational judgement.
Free resources online including practise banks.
Also did the mock tests.
For BMAT, I used the book of practise questions from amazon- fairly useful but a lot to go through.
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 kept up to date with new and ongoing medically related news stories and hot topics. I also learnt my personal statement in detail and practised answering questions about it. I looked at the common question answers like ‘why medicine’. Practising with friends or family can be really useful!
What happened in your interview?
The panel part is mostly generic questions and things related to your personal statement. I was asked about my work experiences. The group task was a bit overwhelming in my opinion but they mostly wanted to see our interaction and involvement.
Do you have any further advice?
Remember, applying and getting in to a university to do medicine is a long and hard process. So before doing all that, make sure that you really do want to do it and have the motivation. But if you do, then stay positive and keep going no matter what, don’t let a rejection or a low score put you down, there are always other options. And make sure to start early with preparation, and know that there are hundreds of others just like you, who are going through the same thing. So you are not alone, and talk to someone else if things don’t go your way.
But most importantly, stay determined and never give up!
In terms of work experience, email your local hospitals, GPs and care homes early on, you don’t have to do a lot, but just be able to reflect on what you do.
Practise interview answers with friends, with tutors, and family. Put yourself in difficult situations beforehand so that you are more at ease in the real thing.
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.
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.
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.
Support networks: 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.