This student applied in the 2021/22 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 white woman who went to a comprehensive school that doesn’t regularly send students to medical school.
Course: Graduate entry
Online panel interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
Top tip: It doesn’t matter when you get in – the experience you have will support you though medical school!
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medicine?
In secondary school, I was about 14
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
I needed to work on weekends so I just went for the ones that I liked the look of online (I don’t recommend this alone!) although for grad med I had been to Southampton to have a look around!
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, Care work (e.g. in residential care), Customer service role (voluntary), Customer service role (paid)
How much work experience did you do?
Please remember I’m on grad entry so I had time to build this up! I was a full time healthcare assistant in a hospice for a year, then on the bank for another before moving to the community palliative care team for 3 years on the bank. I was a COVID vaccinator for 1 year, did camp America working with children with special needs and a health care assistant in the hospital in the city I did my undergraduate in.
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
I was employed 🙂
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 book, YouTube videos, and Medify -little and often I found to be most sustainable! And definitely definitely practise with the time limits once you’ve got used to each section!
What resources did you use?
Ollie Burton YouTube channel
Other YouTube channels
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.
How did you prepare for your interview?
I watched lots and lots of YouTube videos. Then practised answering questions blind with my flat mates (I was very lucky- they were UG medical and dental students).
What happened during your interview?
I spoke about my life experiences that reassured me I was suitable for medicine, but also that I really wanted to do it! Answered questions using specific examples – answers that are unique to you will make you stand out!
I was asked about various ethical scenarios and tried to sensitively and slowly working through each of the four pillars.
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.
Graduate entry medicine: a pathway into medicine for students who have already received an undergraduate/Bachelors degree. Some universities require this previous degree to be related to medicine (E.g. Biomedical sciences or in another science) while others don’t. Graduate entry to medicine is available at less universities and is much more competitive, but is a good option if you don’t get into medicine straight from school, or only decide you want to be a doctor after you’ve already received your degree, or later on in your career.
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.
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