This student applied in the 2022/23 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 an Indian woman and went to a grammar or selective state school.
Course: Standard undergraduate entry
Online panel interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medicine?
End of GCSEs (y11)
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Key things I considered when applying:
- Structure of the course
- How heavily they use UCAT scores/predicted grades – to maximise my chances of getting an interview
- City and student life
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, Other healthcare setting e.g pharmacy, physiotherapy, Customer service role (paid)
How much work experience did you do?
3 day hospital placement at the end of Y11; volunteering at a care home – once a week for about 6 months; working full time in a pharmacy (during my gap year).
I found that clinical placements were not as important, compared to volunteering where you can elaborate on the skills you developed and how this is applicable to medicine. Clinical placements are good to show your interest and insight into medicine, but this can also be done by reading medical books and speaking to med students and doctors so having lots of clinical placements is not essential.
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
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/
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
I used the UCAT preparation course on Medify which has a lot of practice questions, you can do them timed/untimed. There are also lots of mock tests as well as mini mocks per topic. Gives lots of feedback and lots of videos on how to prep for the exam. I also used mock tests on the UCAT website.
What resources did you use?
Free mock tests on the UCAT website – useful but personally found them harder than the actual thing
Medify – paid resource but very useful – made up most of my UCAT preparation.
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 used resources such as the ISC medical and MMI for UK medical school books– they were a great question bank to practice the different types of questions that come up in interviews. The second book also tells you about the different format of interviews at each medical school (but this may be out of date unless you pick up the most recent edition).
I did research on the interviews for the medical schools I was applying to, read student blogs, reviewed all the information given to me by the university, acknowledged how heavily my personal statement would be used in the interview. The Medic Portal is a great website to start.
Made sure I was prepared with a few examples of where I have shown leadership, empathy, faced a challenge, worked in a team – these are very common questions asked across all medical schools
My sixth form also ran an interview workshop day where we explored different types of questions and got feedback.
Did wider reading to understand all current affairs in the NHS at the time.
Practicing with peers or getting any family/friend to test me by asking questions was very useful too.
What happened during your interview?
We were given a text to read independently and then were given time after to discuss it as a group. This was challenging as everyone is nervous but you are trying to use this as an opportunity to show your personality, ability to team work, as well as knowledge. Relaxing into it definitely helped it flow better.
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.
Gap year: Some students choose to take a gap year and apply after receiving their A-level grades. They might work or travel in this gap year. Some re-apply to medicine during their gap year. You should do whatever feels right for you.
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.
Mock interviews: Don’t worry if you didn’t have this opportunity. Interviews are designed to take into account that not everyone has the same level of preparation. See our guides and blogs on interviews to find out more about free online resources.
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.