This student applied in the 2020/21 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 an white British woman who went to a comprehensive school that doesn’t regularly send students to medical school. They received free school meals.
Course: Standard undergraduate
Online MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT
Top tip: Always smile in interviews and be yourself!
Before I made my application…
Choosing to apply
When did you decide you wanted to apply to medicine?
When I was four I was hospitalised and it was at that age I became interested in healthcare. I never considered medicine because I was from a rough area and didn’t have a lot of money growing up. I focused on being a radiographer or physiotherapist until I did my GCSEs and actually did okay in them. I decided to go to college and at least try to apply for medicine. I couldn’t believe it when I got my first offer. I always thought medicine was a career for rich people with doctor parents. It is not.
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
I chose them based on location and teaching style. I knew PBL (problem-based learning) would suit me. I also was limited based on my GCSEs (they were excellent for my school, but still did not meet the standard that most medical schools require).
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Customer service role (paid), Online work experience, Volunteered in a hospital doing FaceTime calls for patients and their families during COVID.
How much work experience did you do?
I volunteered in my local hospital for two years, working one or two days a week. This is definitely not necessary but I fell in love with the job and decided to keep doing it even after getting an offer for medicine.
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
I called them constantly telling them about my idea. My grandad had been in hospital weeks before and he is elderly and didn’t know how to use FaceTime. I knew that many other elderly people would be in the same position and it would make their day to see their family, even if on a screen. They finally agreed to it and set up a booking system so families were able to “book” me for half an hour to take the hospital iPad to their relative.
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 prepared 6 weeks in advance for one hour per day.
What resources did you use?
I used the UCAT section of Passmedicine which I found very useful. I also brought some books but I wouldn’t really recommend them due to the fact that there is obviously no time pressure when answering questions from a book. I watched lots of YouTube videos, for example Julia Bahja which were great at explaining the reasons for the answers.
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?
I found the free questions which are available on The Medic Portal website very helpful in preparing for interviews. I got my mum to help me by asking me the questions which was awkward but prepared me well. I also used the section on the Medic Portal website for current events. As I was a member of Steps2Medicine, a widening participation group at Keele for students in the local area, I was able to have a mock interview at Keele which also really helped.
What happened during your interview?
My interview was split into two with a half an hour break in the middle. I found the first interview very stressful and I was very tense. I tried to relax and joke but it was a serious atmosphere. This made me feel like I’d done really bad, but my understanding of it now is that they try to pressure you to see if you crack (*this is just this student’s opinion – this might not be true).
There were many questions in which I was cut off and they asked one question deliberately which I would never have been able to answer. In this situation I calmly asked if they could explain it a bit more. I think the ability to ask for help is a good attribute for medical students and that is why they asked the question (*this is just an opinion, this might not be what the interviewer was looking for!)
Do you have any further advice?
In your interviews, put a smile on your face even if you seem scared. Always be yourself.
Problem-based learning: PBL is a teaching style that many universities use to teach their medical students. Usually, you will work to solve a problem, and this is how you learn about the solution, rather than being taught the solution first and then applying it.
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.
Passmed: Passmed offers 6 months free UCAT revision, but also offers paid revision support for medical students during their courses. Lots of students use it to help them prepare for UCAT.
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.
The Medic Portal: The Medic Portal is a popular website that provides resources to help you prepare your medicine application. The Medic Portal has some free resources online but some are paid-for. There are good, free alternatives for preparation available online, so check out our guides and the university websites for details.
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.
Mock interview: 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.
Mentoring: Not everyone has had mentoring and some mentoring programmes services may have particular criteria for you to join the programme. Don’t worry if you’ve not had this opportunity. There are plenty of free online resources to help you prepare for the application process, like on our website, and not having a mentor will not put you at a disadvantage.