This student applied in the 2021/22 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 an Indian woman who went to an international fee-paying school.
Course: Standard undergraduate
Online MMI interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT, BMAT
Top tip: There’s lots of information out there; don’t overwork yourself.
The process requires lots of dedication but it’s worth it!
Before I made my application…
Choosing to apply
When did you decide you wanted to apply to medicine?
How did you choose what medical schools to apply to?
- I already had my UCAT score, which I knew was relatively high, so most of my schools were UCAT schools (to play to my application strengths)
- I also knew my school predicted was relatively high, so I picked schools that had similar grade thresholds – I went for 1 school that had a significantly lower grade requirement, 1 that was slightly lower than mine and 1 that was around mine/slightly higher (no schools really had a higher requirement)
- I looked at location (I didn’t want Scotland), rankings, style of teaching (e.g. problem based, lecture heavy, etc) and clinical exposure
- For the fifth choice, I picked Biomedical sciences but I just put a reach school (Oxford) just to see if I’d get in, I wouldn’t have gone regardless because I didn’t want to do anything aside from medicine
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, Care work (e.g. in residential care), Customer service role (voluntary), Online work experience
How much work experience did you do?
- Shadowing: 1 month in the summer before Y13
- Volunteer work:
- 2 projects, each for around 3 months
- 1 project for 6-9 months (founded and lead this)
- 1 project for 6 years (founded and lead this)
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/
Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT): BMAT is used by some medical schools to inform whether they might invite you for an interview. From 2024, the BMAT will no longer be used during the medical admissions process, but will be used if you are applying to medical school in October 2023.
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
- I learned all the concepts/watched videos to understand everything I needed to know for the test (this took longer with the BMAT as compared to with the UCAT)
- I then did many practice questions and then several practice tests
- I monitored my progress over time and spent extra time on the sections that I wasn’t as good at (e.g. verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning or physics, math) to try and strengthen my weaker areas
What resources did you use?
- I used Medify to prepare for the UCAT and I found it very useful (*paid-for)
- I used BMAT Ninja to prepare for the BMAT and I found it very useful (*paid-for)
- I used Medify to prepare for the BMAT but I didn’t find it as useful
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 read all the information my medical school sent me to ensure I understood the format and any tips they gave me, along with going on their website to see any advice provided
- I used Medic Mind and The Medic Portal’s extensive websites to research on NHS news to stay up to date with scientific topics and current affairs that could be brought up and asked about in the interview
- – I used their MMI question banks and created model answers for the basic types of questions so that I had a rough idea of what I could say when asked these questions (e.g. why medicine? why Nottingham? why do you think you’d be a good doctor?)
- I watched Ali Abdaal’s YouTube videos on ethics to understand the 4 pillars of medical ethics and practice evaluating ethics scenarios, along with the above websites and their guidance on ethics scenarios
- I researched into the NHS values and the NHS system to ensure I had a good understanding of how the healthcare system worked (as an international student, this was important because I didn’t have firsthand exposure to healthcare in the UK)
- I researched into each of the universities that I was applying to to see the things they were looking for and ways my profile fit into their values, as well as to find answers to the “why our university?” questions
- Finally, I did mock interviews with my friends and family to practice answering questions in a pressured situation
What happened during your interview?
- There were role play stations where I had to show empathy and understanding
- There were stations where I had to evaluate an ethical situation based on information provided
- It was stressful at first, but as it went on I tried to be confident and ended up relaxing into it
- Mine was online, which meant it was on Teams and I did it from my room
Do you have any further advice?
There’s a lot of information online regarding the medicine applications with thousands of people giving you advice on what you should do, how to strengthen your application, what you can do to stand out, etc, and it can be overwhelming because you might feel the need to do everything and overwork yourself to create an outstanding application. While it is important to ensure that you have all aspects (some work experience, maybe some volunteering), focus on your grades, your personal statement and then the interview. Highlight your personality with the things you do have in your application through your personal statement and in the interview. You could do the most impressive things but write a poor personal statement or not achieve the grades you need or not do well in the interview and get rejected.
Also, the medical school application is a long, tiring process. It requires dedication, focus and prioritisation. But remember that it is worth it in the end 🙂
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.
Paid-for resources and courses: 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.
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.
Medic Mind: Medic Mind is a company that runs medicine application preparation services. They have some free online resources but some are paid-for. There is no evidence that using paid-for resources gives applicants an advantage. There are good, free alternatives for preparation available online, so check out our guides and the university websites for details.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.