Application to University of Nottingham in 2019/20

This student applied in the 2019/20 application cycle and therefore the selection process at Nottingham 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 British woman who went to a comprehensive school that doesn’t regularly send students to medical school.

Our Summary
Course: Standard undergraduate entry

In-person MMI interview

Admissions Tests: UCAT

Top tip: Practice is the most important thing; have self-belief! You can do this!

Before I made my application…

Choosing to apply

When did you decide you wanted to apply to medicine?
I knew I wanted to do medicine since at least year 7.

How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
Method of teaching – Case-based learning, Problem-based learning, traditional. I decided I didn’t like PBL so avoided these. Visited the universities to get a grasp of where I liked. I did not list a 5th option as if I did not get into medical school I would’ve reapplied.

Completing work experience

What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, Customer service role (voluntary), Customer service role (paid)

How much work experience did you do?
2 days worth of hospital shadowing at my local hospital. This was all I could get but it was pre-Covid.
I volunteered at the same hospital, on the wards as a ward assistant. I essentially helped the nurses with non-clinical tasks, chatted with the patients and made sure they were comfortable.
I also volunteered at a local Brownie group.

How did you find your work experience opportunities?
Through a formal scheme or work experience placement

During the application process…

Admissions tests

What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT):

How did you prepare for your admissions test?
Practice papers, questions, anything I could find.

What resources did you use?
I used Medify which I paid for and used for the month before my exam. Medify was probably the most similar to the UCAT but certainly not an exact replica. Before that I used The Medic Portal question bank which was free at the time. I also had a book which had been lent to me but I found that hard to use and the questions were extremely difficult. (*paid-for resource)


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?

  • Kept up to date with current health news.
  • Chose some examples of life situations to provide evidence for skills they may ask for eg teamwork/difficult situations.
  • Bought a med school interview questions book and practiced with friends
  • Teachers gave me a mock interview– not sure it was too helpful as my school rarely sends students into medicine- I was the only candidate in my year group of 300+ students.
  • I used NHS and GMC resources – eg guidance on being a ‘good doctor’ etc
  • I used forums such as The Student Room as people often shared resources on there.
  • I watched YouTube videos on how to answer the questions. Some good content especially on ethical scenarios and how to answer such questions.

What was your interview like?
I think there were about 6-8 stations at Nottingham interview. We had a couple of stations which involved actors. One involved helping the actor with a task, another was providing advice and listening about a situation. We had other stations that were more practical. These stations involved us having to use fine motor skills.

I did not feel relaxed at all and was very surprised to receive an offer because I felt it went badly!

I was extremely nervous, as expected, but the interview process threw me off a little bit because we were supposed to have a non examined icebreaker but my interviewer forgot about this. I thought the atmosphere was quite tense and none of the interviewers were especially friendly.

Each question was about 5 minutes long and a bell rang in between for us to move to the next station. The practicalities were fine and it worked well.

Do you have any further advice?
Practice the UCAT questions. Practice interview questions. With teachers, friends, family, yourself in the mirror.
Be as confident as you can, even if you don’t feel it. Believe in yourself, you can do this!


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. 

Traditional teaching: a traditional approach to teaching is different from PBL and integrated in that it is ‘split’. Firstly, you will be taught the scientific and academic knowledge in a pre-clinical phase, and then you will learn the clinical skills in a clinical phase. Traditional teaching is now only used at a few universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge. 

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.

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. 

Paid-for courses and resources: Some students choose to pay for courses either online or in person to help them prepare for admissions tests and interviews. 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. 

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: 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. 

NHS Values:  The NHS Values guide healthcare education and careers. It’s important to know and understand these values to help you be as successful as possible in your application. They can help you answer questions in your interview, or guide what you write about in your personal statement. Find out more here: NHS Values

GMC Guidelines for Good Medical Practice: These guidelines describe what it means to be a good doctor. These can help guide you during your preparation for your application and how you answer questions in interviews. GMC Good Practice 

Online forums: Online forums can be great spaces to find advice and first-hand knowledge, but remember that it may not always be the most trustworthy source of information. Take what you read with a pinch of salt.

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. 

Role play: Some interviews or interview stations may require you to engage in a bit of role play. You might have to act out being in a scenario where you might have to deliver bad news or a clinical decision.

Interviewers: Some interviewers may be blunt or direct, but it’s not personal. Don’t worry too much about this.

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