TIFFIN MEDICS’ SOCIETY PRESENTS

MEDICINE APPLICATIONS GUIDE

• 2011 •

Handy hints and tips from those who’ve been through it all before...

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TGS Medics’ Society: Applications Guide ‘11

Dear aspiring medic,
First of all, congratulations on choosing medicine. One year ago, we were in your position—halfway between A-levels, panicking about the assortment of goodies universities throw at us: personal statement, BMAT, UKCAT, interviews, and worrying if we’ll ever make it through the other end. But every single medical student has passed through these loopholes. What makes you think you can’t? Before you begin stressing, it is crucial to make sure that you’ve made the right decision. Medicine is competitive. It’s intensely academic, and you need to prove that you’ve got the discipline and perseverance to pursue it as a career. Ask yourself, what are your reasons for choosing medicine? Do you have a realistic idea of what being a doctor is like? It’s easy to make a stock statement: “I’ve wanted to do medicine since I was 3” but proving that in physical terms is an entirely different story. The answer to your problems = work experience. You don’t have to spend 6 months shadowing a brain surgeon in Bolivia—2 to 3 weeks is plenty. But do have experience in a hospital, GP surgery and/or voluntary work especially in the summer prior to sending your UCAS application. Whilst you are there, be vigilant, ask questions, take a notebook with you and jot down interesting things that you see: either of specific medical conditions or certain aspects in the way doctors and nurses work. Think and reflect on your experience. Not only will these notes be indispensible when the time comes round to writing your PS, it will also give you a leaping point in your interviews, from which you can expand and bring in a personal viewpoint, and demonstrate to interviewers that you have an appreciation for what working as a doctor is really about. The next step in your labours is, of course, those dreaded Entrance Exams. And yes, they are capitalised for extra effect. These UKCAT/BMAT exams are just one element of your application you must treat with equal importance—each of the components is a step towards getting an offer. In preparation for these exams, start early. In our experience, it is best to begin UKCAT immediately after completing your AS exams in the summer, and take it in late August/early September. After that, focus on the BMAT (normally early November). Time is of the essence with these exams, and unlike GCSE/A-levels, they are almost exclusively skills and abilities-based and cannot be crammed for. We have provided you with a list of preparatory materials towards the end of this booklet. This brand new edition of ‘Medical Applications Guide’ is specifically designed by us, the previous year of aspiring medics like yourself, to provide help in all aspects of your application. So use it wisely, and remember that strong-will, determination and perseverance are vital ingredients towards success.

GOOD LUCK!

Medics’ Society 2011
Ellen, Kishaani, Laura

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Contents
Choosing your Medical School ................................................................................... 4 2011 Medicine Entry ............................................................................................... 10 Interview Feedback 2011 ......................................................................................... 11

Birmingham .............................................................................................................. 12 Birmingham 2 ........................................................................................................... 14 Imperial College London 1 ....................................................................................... 15 Imperial College London 2 ....................................................................................... 16 King's College London ............................................................................................. 17 Liverpool................................................................................................................... 18 Leeds ....................................................................................................................... 19 Newcastle ................................................................................................................. 21 Nottingham ............................................................................................................... 22 Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry ....................................................... 3524 Sheffield ................................................................................................................... 25 St George's, University of London ............................................................................ 26 UCL, University College London .............................................................................. 27 Cambridge 1......................................................................................................... 3528 Cambridge 2............................................................................................................. 29 Oxford .................................................................................................................. 3530

BMAT ................................................................................................................... 3533 UKCAT ..................................................................................................................... 35 Useful Resources ................................................................................................. 3537

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Choosing your Medical School
This could easily be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Medical students spend an average of 9 years in the area of their medical school, so it is important that you are not only happy with the course and the teaching style, but with the location too. Having said that, I want to stress how applying for medicine is different to applying for any other course. Because of the competitive nature of medicine, the best strategy in getting that place at medical is to NOT apply to places you like, but to apply to places that will like YOU. Remember, you only have 4 chances! When you get your grades in August and (hopefully) find to your amazement you actually got an A in Chemistry (everyone’s worst fear) it’s easy to feel like all you have to do is choose the places you like, prepare for a quick interview and that will be it! But like I’m sure you already know, it’s competitive, and all medical schools have a slightly different idea of their ‘ideal candidate’. The way to get a place is to be smart, assess your strengths and weaknesses in your application and then apply, having balanced this with choosing the type of course and location that suits you. It might take a while and be a lot of effort, but it’s such a relief getting an offer; it will be worth it!

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The Course
TRADITIONAL = a subjects based course of lectures (i.e. you do an anatomy course, a physiology course a biochemistry course etc, all of which are completely separate) this type of teaching is synonymous with Oxbridge, and tends to have the traditional preclinical/clinical break after 3rd year. Almost all teaching is lecture based. OXFORD, CAMBRIDGE

INTEGRATED = Is the GMC's recommended new approach to medicine; instead of teaching anatomy and physiology etc. etc. as separate courses, the idea is to join them into systems (aka the systems based approach) where you will take a bodily system, such as the circulatory system and consider the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology of it all at once. The new integrated approach also encourages early patient contact and self directed learning. Much of the teaching has a basis in lectures, supplemented with tutorials and your own self-directed work. However, there have been many interpretations of how this new integrated approach can be implemented; one of the big 'different interpretations' was pioneered by Manchester and is what we refer to as PBL NEARLY ALL ARE INTEGRATED. OR AT LEAST NAME THEMSELVES “INTEGRATED”. SOME HOWEVER, INCORPORATE SLIGHTLY MORE PBL THAN OTHERS INTO THEIR COURSE. THESE INCLUDE: HULL AND YORK, BRIGHTON AND SUSSEX, SOUTHAMPTON, ST GEORGES (Please note, if you have an interview at any of these, do not say “I like the way the course is quite PBL” - a lot of universities are quite proud of their lack of PBL, despite the fact it is there, just under a different name!) PBL = in its purest form puts the absolute focus on self directed and tutorial based learning. You are given a 'problem' often a clinically related one, and are basically left to your own devices (as a group) to learn about the various aspects of it. Many medical schools use some form of PBL, even if it’s just for one module like in Leeds. PBL has the emphasis in selfdirected learning supplemented by lectures. STRAIGHT PBL – PENINSULA, MANCHESTER, KEELE, LIVERPOOL, GLASGOW

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Location
LONDON More expensive to live, less of a “student atmosphere”, yet close to home and very good teaching standards! BARTS, IMPERIAL, KING’S, ST GEORGES, UCL CITY Again, less of a “student atmosphere”, easier access to nightlife, often greater variety of medical experience as more diversity in cities, and more to do, depending on the size of the city! ABERDEEN, BRISTOL, CARDIFF, DUNDEE, GLASGOW, LEEDS, LEICESTER, MANCHESTER, NEWCASTLE AND DURHAM*, OXFORD, QUEEN’S BELFAST, SHEFFIELD. CAMPUS Great “student atmosphere”, everything within walking distance, accommodation sometimes cheaper, yet slightly secluded and compact. BRIGHTON AND SUSSEX*, EAST ANGLIA, PENINSULA* CAMPUS, BUT RIGHT ON THE DOORSTEP OF A CITY Best of both worlds, involves a bit of travelling BIRMINGHAM, EDINBURGH, HULL AND YORK*, LIVERPOOL, NOTTINGHAM, SOUTHAMPTON. VILLAGE Not quite a campus, still ‘normal’ people living around you, but not as big and noisy as a city CAMBRIDGE, KEELE, ST ANDREWS. *a medical school spread over two universities. You can be allocated to different sites or hospitals for different years, and it means you get a taste of city and campus life.

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What if I’m not doing biology or chemistry A2? If you’re not doing either, you will need to apply for a different course than the A100. Many medical schools offer a course that has an extra year at the beginning that covers the science you would have covered at a level that is essential for medicine. You can then join the others in the 5 year program a year later. If you’re only doing one and you want to apply for the standard A100 course, it will definitely limit your options and make it more difficult to get in. It’s still possible, just more difficult. And you’re going to need a very good reason when it comes to interview, because you will almost certainly be asked why you didn’t take it. You need to convince them you will really enjoy 5 more years of mostly biology and chemistry! These medical schools do not require biology at A2 (but they do require chemistry and another science – either maths or physics) BIRMINGHAM, BRISTOL, CAMRIDGE (SOME COLLEGES), DUNDEE, EDINBURGH, GLASGOW, LEEDS, MANCHESTER, SHEFFIELD.

These medical schools do not require chemistry at A2, (but they do require biology and one other science) ABERDEEN, EAST ANGLIA.

These medical schools require one of EITHER biology or chemistry at A2, (and one other science) BARTS, CARDIFF, DURHAM/NEWCASTLE, IMPERIAL, KINGS, KEELE, PENINSULA. Having said that, we definitely would recommend doing both, as it keeps your options open, and prepares you for medical school – the work is difficult and you need all the preparation you can get. While the universities SAY they don’t mind, if it comes down to it, they may prefer a student who is doing both biology and chemistry.

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The extra tests – UKCAT AND BMAT
Medical schools that do not take either into consideration – these tend to be quite competitive, as everyone who does badly in their UKCAT will apply here BRISTOL, LIVERPOOL, BIRMINGHAM, MANCHESTER

Medical schools that use the BMAT – be careful about how many of these you apply to as you do not know your BMAT score until after the deadline for UCAS. It is taking a bit of a gamble as the BMAT could go badly and you could have wasted some of your 4 chances. (This is a rough order of how much weight they place on the exam) OXFORD, IMPERIAL, UCL, CAMBRIDGE

Medical schools that use the UKCAT. (In a rough order of how much weight they place on the exam) NEWCASTLE, SHEFFIELD, BARTS, SOUTHAMPTON, DUNDEE, KINGS, HULL, ST ANDREWS, GLASGOW, PENINSULA, LEICESTER, QUEEN’S BELFAST, EAST ANGLIA, NOTTINGHAM, CARDIFF, EDINBURGH, ST GEORGES, ABERDEEN, LEEDS, KEELE, BRIGHTON (only after interview when they are stuck deciding between the last few)

Interview
Some interview more than others – the more they interview the more importance it has. These numbers vary from year to year. Medical schools that don’t interview – SOUTHAMPTON, EDINBURGH, QUEEN’S BELFAST, and occasionally GLASGOW

Good GCSEs
OXFORD, CAMBRIDGE, BIRMINGHAM – need lots of A*s!

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Good personal statement
Be careful with these! Personal statements are subjective, somebody might love it and someone else might completely hate it! For this reason, don’t apply to too many universities that base a lot on personal statements. ABERDEEN, BRISTOL, LEEDS, LEICESTER, LIVERPOOL, ST GEORGES, SOUTHAMPTON

Work experience
Both at interview and in your personal statement. LEEDS, LIVERPOOL, NOTTINGHAM, MORE THAN OTHERS. All of them care a fair amount though! NOTTINGHAM also get you to fill out an extra questionnaire! This can count quite a lot towards your application.

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2011 Medicine Entry
MEDICAL SCHOOL ABERDEEN BARTS BIRMINGHAM BRIGHTON BRISTOL CAMBRIDGE CARDIFF DUNDEE EDINBURGH GLASGOW HULL IMPERIAL KEELE KINGS LEEDS LEICESTER LIVERPOOL MANCHESTER NEWCASTLE NOTTINGHAM OXFORD PENINSULA QUEENS BELFAST SHEFFIELD SOUTHAMPTON ST ANDREWS ST GEORGES UCL EAST ANGLIA Total OFFERS 0 2 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 2 1 0 0 1 4 0 1 0 3 2 0 0 1 0 28 REJECTIONS 3 0 1 1 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 7 2 2 3 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 2 4 0 0 5 0 43 REJECTIONS AFTER INTERVIEW 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 14

This is the data (as close as we could get to it) for 2011 entry in Tiffin. Hopefully it will give you some idea of where Tiffin girls tend to get in!

The whole point of this section is to make that decision easier for you, and give you the information you need. It will hopefully be a quicker option than you searching across student room for hours. Please do your own research too, though. Medical schools are changing their requirements all the time and, while this is done to the best of our abilities, we may have made a mistake! Please don’t base your entire application on us, but please do use it as a guideline and to save you time and stress! GOOD LUCK!

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INTERVIEW FEEDBACK 2011

Birmingham ......................................................................................... 12 Birmingham 2 ......................................................................................14 Imperial College London 1 .................................................................15 Imperial College London 2 .................................................................16 King's College London .......................................................................17 Liverpool ............................................................................................. 18 Leeds ...................................................................................................19 Newcastle ............................................................................................ 21 Nottingham .......................................................................................... 22 Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry ............................... 3524 Sheffield .............................................................................................. 25 St George's, University of London ....................................................26 UCL, University College London .......................................................27 Cambridge 1 .................................................................................... 3528 Cambrdige 2 ........................................................................................29 Oxford .............................................................................................. 3530

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Birmingham
Why did you choose this university? I chose it because they interviewed everyone with over 8A*s at GCSE, and then give offers to about 80% of those people. Also liked the science based course. The location is really good – the university train station is literally across the road, 30 seconds walk away. They also don’t use the UKCAT or BMAT and as I hadn’t done either of these yet when I applied I needed to apply to one that wouldn’t mind if I messed them up! What was the structure of your interview (number of people/ethical scenarios) 3 people, 2 doctors and 1 medical student. There was a bit about me, a few ethical scenarios and a bit about my knowledge of the structure of the NHS. Questions you were asked … I can’t really remember as it was a very long time ago, but from what I remember: Why Birmingham? How long does it take to become a consultant/gp? What happens after the 5 years at medical school? Maybe something about the structure and funding of the NHS. What I saw on my work experience Ethical scenarios about Jehovah’s witnesses (they pushed this quite far, Jehovah’s witnesses, their children, their friends, and I ran out of things to say pretty fast, but the important thing is to show you’re thinking about what they’re asking) And then about 10 seconds on my personal statement and the fact I play the piano. How did you prepare for the interview? I hadn’t had much time to think about preparing for any medicine interviews as I didn’t decide to apply till after AS results day. I prepared for all my interviews the same way. I compiled a 7 page document of all the past interview questions I could find from the internet/books and wrote them all on massive pieces of paper on my wall and answered some of them (didn’t have time for all of them!) but it got me thinking about the sort of things I would say.

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Think of a few scenarios you’ve been in that you could draw on for a variety of examples if asked, e.g. when you volunteered somewhere / your work experience / d of e etc. So when they say “give me an example of when you’ve had to work in a team” you won’t be stuck. I also collected a few newspaper articles (and pretended they were recent even though I used the same ones for all of my interviews) and really learnt them and understood what they were saying and formulated opinions of my own. I used topics that interested me – I had an article on obesity, one on addictions and another on never-events in the NHS. You’ve just got to show enthusiasm for what you’re talking about – if you aren’t enthusiastic, they’ll know. Also know about the university. Why do you want to go there? Have some good reasons. Know which clubs you’d join / things you’d get involved in. For Birmingham I said that I wanted to go there because I loved the course, the science basis of it, the fact that Birmingham medical school has the largest catchment in the UK (5ish million people I think) so this would give you the most exposure to different diseases / ethnic minorities etc. They seemed impressed I knew that. Further comments … My advice for Birmingham – know your facts! Their interview: acceptance ratio is very high, however, and as long as you’re a good speaker and have something to say for yourself then you should be fine. Also be prepared to have an early interview if your GCSEs are good. Mine was on the 18 th October – the first working day after the deadline and I was not ready for it! You will hear back pretty quickly (I heard in 2 weeks) and I was glad of having it as a backup, because although I didn’t particularly want to go there as much as my other universities, it was nice to know I had an offer in the bag really early on and it took the pressure off my other interviews.

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Birmingham 2
What was the structure of your interview (number of people/stations?) 15 mins with 3 on the panel. One medical student, one admissions tutor, one consultant. Very formal. Questions half from admissions tutor and consultant, med student just observing and looking on sympathetically, Questions First of all a problem to solve, for example: “A man was thought to be dead and placed in a sealed coffin, he was actually alive. He weighs 60kg and the coffin is twice his volume, he needs 200ml of oxygen per minute, how long does he have to live?” You are given 15 mins to do this before the interview then you hand in your paper as you enter and they look at it after you are gone. Why medicine? Why Birmingham? What would you do if a patient was complaining about you as a doctor? What is the role of the GMC/BMA? What do you read (novels)? What do you read medically? Explain the article you read in scientific terms. What do you do in your spare time? What do you do to relax? How do you plan to continue this at medical school? How long does it take to become a consultant/GP? Are you prepared for this? What are you studying at school at the moment? What is your favourite subject and why? Why are plants important?

Further comments: Bring a calculator. Make sure you have lots to say about why Birmingham is such a good medical school (big city – more experience – better doctor etc) 14

Imperial 1
Why did you choose this university? Great course – mix of traditional style (in first 3 years) and more modern take on med ed with an early exposure to patients; GP groups and home visits and so forth. Also, living in one of the best parts of London (South Kensington) was a major plus—the Science Museum and Natural History Museums are literally next door! The focus on research is prominent at Imperial, especially with medicine, where you get to complete a compulsory BSc in the 4 th year between a choice of science/biomedical projects, which provides a solid foundation for (perhaps) a career veering into medical research. What was the structure of your interview (number of people/stations) 3 lecturers/doctors 1 med student (who always asks at the end what you can contribute to the uni) Questions you were asked …       Why medicine? Leadership/teamwork skills If you didn’t get into medicine this year, what would you do? NHS current issues Ethical issue: organ donors on the NHS How do you cope with stress?

How did you prepare for the interview?      BBC News/NewScientist Background to NHS, current issues Ethical issues University/course Books/lectures

Further comments … Be prepared to talk at length on anything you’ve written in your PS. Definitely go on the tour before your interview – they sometimes quiz people on whether they’ve attended this or not. It shows your commitment. I was told about my interview January, and the interview was held in March. Some people were told two weeks beforehand; they gave me 2 months notice. It all varies. My stint in the waiting room was very long – I was the penultimate candidate to get called in. Don’t let this waiting game scare you (if it happens). The BMAT cut off is very severe with Imperial. Make sure you do well in all three sections to secure an interview. 15

Imperial 2 Why did you choose this university?
I really like the atmosphere of the university when I visited and the fact that it was in such a great location – right next to Hyde park and the Royal Albert Hall. Also the reputation of the uni is very high in terms of academics. Also the facilities available are great (especially the gym!) and library of course : there’s a whole floor just for medics.

What was the structure of your interview (number of people/stations)
4 lecturers/doctors and 1 3rd year student

Questions you were asked …
      Tell us about some work experience you have done. What did you learn from the experience? Are you a team player? Being a junior doctor what challenges would you face? Being at the Tiffin Girls’ School you must feel pressured at times, how do you cope with stress? Have you done any experience in a GP surgery?

How did you prepare for the interview?
   Research the university thoroughly and went through past questions from the website Read BBC news and picked a few issues to talk about Read through my personal statement and made sure I knew It inside out

Further comments … My interview was quite short (10 mins) but other people had very long interviews – up to 30/40 mins so don’t be worried if you feel your interview was too short. They usually run late with interviews so be prepared to wait. Be relaxed and focussed. But honestly there’s nothing to be nervous about at all! There is a BMAT cut off so a lot of people don’t get interviews because of this.

Good luck 

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Kings College London
Why did you choose this university? It has a friendly atmosphere and is located in central London so there are always things to do. The teaching is very good, mainly traditional based learning and this is what I enjoy. Social life and work life balance great! What was the structure of your interview (number of people/stations) Two people, made me feel very relaxed and they were both interested in everything I had to say. Questions you were asked …       What work experience have you done in a hospital environment? What did you learn from this experience What can you offer the student community at Kings? What is an angioplasty? Give an example where you have worked in a team Do you think being pushy is necessary if you are a consultant leading a group of medical professionals

Form to fill in while you wait for your interview:      Why Kings? Give an example where you’ve worked in a team Tell us about something you’re proud of doing Give an example of you being a leader Have you considered any other careers other than medicine?

How did you prepare for the interview? Read new scientist and the green book: Medical School Interviews – A practical guide to help you
get that place at Medical school Stay up to date with the news the week of your interview

Further comments … Make sure you stay relaxed and make sure your personality come through in the interview. Be prepared to go in earlier to your interview because I went in 30 mins before I was meant to! Also when called for interview Kings usually use GCSE grades as an initial selection criteria for interview. SMILE and celebrate after your interview, don’t worry about your interview afterwards. 17

Liverpool
What was the structure of your interview (number of people/ethical scenarios) 15-20 minutes, 1 interview, 2 interviewers, friendly but not informal (there’s no desk) Liverpool/PBL – 40% PS/Work Exp – 50% Ethics – 10% Questions Why Liverpool? (Some people were asked Why Medicine? instead) What do you understand PBL to be? Why are you suited to PBL?/What skills are particularly important for PBL? What are the disadvantages to PBL? Tell us about some clinical work experience you’ve done? What difficulties do you think the doctors face there? Which work experience did you enjoy best? Can you tell us about an ethical scenario you’re interested in that you may have read about recently? When have you worked in a team that was successful? A team which was less successful?

Further comments It’s really friendly so try and be relaxed and give an impression to them that you’re friendly too. Take your time to think about the answers and don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat a question if you don’t hear/understand.

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Leeds
Why did you choose this university? Not 100% sure why I chose it – on the open day I hated it. However, on my interview day I was so glad I’d chosen it – the people there were much more friendly, open and genuine than any of my other interviews. I had a 3 hour wait before my interview but it flew by because everyone was so chatty. They also do dissection, the nightlife is fantastic, great SU, so much to get involved in and I just knew I’d love it. It went from being a I’ll-never-comehere-in-a-million-years to this-is-my-top-choice in the space of 5 minutes. What was the structure of your interview (number of people/ethical scenarios) 3 people, 2 doctors and 1 medical student. Questions you were asked … What could cause someone to get ill? (they wanted a lot from this, I reeled off about 10 before getting to the one they thought I was being a bit stupid for forgetting – genetics. I also said things like environment, upbringing, exposure to chemicals, food etc. etc.) Ethical stuff. Who gets the hip transplant or something like that. Why Leeds? Personal statement stuff – the medical student was lovely and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, and kept answering questions What qualities do you have that would make you a good doctor And many more but for some reason I can’t remember them! How did you prepare for the interview? I prepared for all my interviews the same way. I compiled a 7 page document of all the past interview questions I could find from the internet/books and wrote them all on massive pieces of paper on my wall and answered some of them (didn’t have time for all of them!) but it got me thinking about the sort of things I would say. Think of a few scenarios you’ve been in that you could draw on for a variety of examples if asked, e.g. when you volunteered somewhere / your work experience / d of e etc. So when they say “give me an example of when you’ve had to work in a team” you won’t be stuck. I also collected a few newspaper articles (and pretended they were recent even though I used the same ones for all of my interviews) and really learnt them and understood what they were saying and formulated opinions of my own. I used topics that interested me – I had an article on obesity, one on addictions and another on never-events in the NHS. You’ve 19

just got to show enthusiasm for what you’re talking about – if you aren’t enthusiastic, they’ll know. Also know about the university. Why do you want to go there? Have some good reasons. Know which clubs you’d join / things you’d get involved in. Further comments … Leeds can leave you hanging quite a long time. I didn’t hear about my interview until late February. You MUST have a good all round application. Personal statement is very important – it counts for as much as your grades, reference and ukcat put together. Cram as much in as you can.

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Newcastle
What was the structure of your interview (eg number of people/stations/length) 2 people interviewing, a child physiologist and a consultant About 30 mins long, a formal interview, but very casual and friendly atmosphere Questions you were asked …       How was your journey here? What do you think of the city? Why do you want to study medicine? Why do you want to come study at Newcastle? What in particular really attracted you here? What do you think the worse things are about being a doctor? Talk to us about your work experience? What really stood out to you from your wex / what did you learn? What would you do as a junior doctor, if you’re on call registrar shows up to work drunk and you are the only other doctor on the ward? No one else is available to help. How would you act if you felt a consultant was being unfairly rude to you and bullying you? If you had one liver available for transplant would you give it an alcoholic mother or a newborn baby with a genetic disorder? What is your opinion of the NHS? What are the main problems facing it? Can you give any examples of how you have witnessed them through your wex and voluntary work? How could these problems be solved? Do you think the NHS should carry out surgery that doesn’t save a life, but only improves quality of life?

  

Further comments … Just stay relaxed and be friendly. They were very nice and made it easy to answer their questions. Also make sure you have certain points that you want to get across in your answers, that way you won’t come out feeling like you hadn’t given the best impression of yourself.

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Nottingham
Why did you choose this university? Because the number of people on the course is my favourite number. Honestly! Other than that, Nottingham is a campus university which I liked, the medical school is in the hospital, the medical school isn’t miles away from the campus, good reputation, they do full body dissection. What was the structure of your interview (number of people/ethical scenarios) 2 doctors. (attempted to play the bad cop good cop but I think the bad cop had got a bit bored of his role and was being quite nice) Questions you were asked … Nottingham’s interviews are all about motivation and empathy. Know the meanings of these words, examples of when you’ve been these things and the difference between empathy and sympathy. You WILL get asked about them Why Nottingham? What contribution you will make to the university. What steps have you taken to ensure that medicine is for you? Why not nursing? (I always said that although now nurses have more similar roles to doctors in the treatment of patients, nurses don’t have such a broad education and I wanted to learn about everything!) What qualities make a good doctor? And do you think you have these? (I always said “I’d like to think so” to this which always got a good response or a smile…) And then the usual personal statement bit on the end. How did you prepare for the interview? I prepared for all my interviews the same way. I compiled a 7 page document of all the past interview questions I could find from the internet/books and wrote them all on massive pieces of paper on my wall and answered some of them (didn’t have time for all of them!) but it got me thinking about the sort of things I would say. Think of a few scenarios you’ve been in that you could draw on for a variety of examples if asked, e.g. when you volunteered somewhere / your work experience / d of e etc. So when they say “give me an example of when you’ve had to work in a team” you won’t be stuck. 22

I also collected a few newspaper articles (and pretended they were recent even though I used the same ones for all of my interviews) and really learnt them and understood what they were saying and formulated opinions of my own. I used topics that interested me – I had an article on obesity, one on addictions and another on never-events in the NHS. You’ve just got to show enthusiasm for what you’re talking about – if you aren’t enthusiastic, they’ll know. Also know about the university. Why do you want to go there? Have some good reasons. Know which clubs you’d join / things you’d get involved in. For Nottingham I knew I wanted to go there the most out of all my universities and I tried to let this come across! Also for the “qualities of a good doctor” I made a list and learnt them. I had about 20. don’t just stick with 5, often they want an awful lot more than that. Further comments … The questionnaire and UKCAT are quite important for Nottingham. Have lots of work experience and be able to talk about. But above all, just be yourself and be enthusiastic – they’ll take people they like!

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Peninsula What was the structure of your interview
1 interview approx 20 minutes, anywhere between 2 and 4 interviewers (I had 4) WHO HAVE NOT READ YOUR PS, no table, friendly interviewers but a bit formal – don’t be put off if they don’t shake your hand. You have to fill out a questionnaire beforehand (used only to differentiate between borderline candidates) and look through (and make notes if you like on) 1 of 3 ethical scenarios you’re given. You’re supposed to get 30 minutes to do this but you may get more or LESS depending on when you get called in. Questions based on the ethical scenario – 50% Questions based on you – 50% Questions Questionnaire (which do not seem to change much from year to year):     What qualities do you have that would make you a good doctor? Why PMS (Peninsula Medical School)? (Yes it actually said “Why PMS”) What achievement are you particularly proud of? List briefly 4 issues currently affecting the NHS.

Interview (ethical questions are standardised i.e. same qs used on everyone):          Why medicine? What are the main ethical issues brought up in this scenario? How would you come to a decision about what to do with the patient? How do you think the patient’s decision would affect his family? His wife comes up to you in 4 months time and blames you for his current situation, how would you feel? How do you think his decision affected his relationships? Tell us about a time you had to work in a team - what worked well/less well? When have you had to make a difficult decision? Can you tell us about a time you were confused or upset?

Further comments Plan your time wisely during the questionnaire part – you might not get the full 30 minutes (I only got about 20) so give the scenarios a proper look through in good time. Remember that you are always the junior doctor so you wouldn’t make any decisions yourself. Look through the prospectus and see all the qualities they’re looking for – make sure you bring these out in your answers, especially things like empathy. 24

Sheffield
What was the structure of your interview (eg number of people/stations/length) 3, one nurse, one consultant, one med student 20 mins formal but was told it was an “informal chat” so interviewers friendly and nice

Questions you were asked …             How was your journey/how did you get here? Why Sheffield University? Why Sheffield (as a city)? Why medicine? What do you like about the course? Why would you be a good dr? What qualities does a good dr need to have? Whats your favourite film? What job would you be doing if not medicine? Why not nursing? What have you read recently medicine related that excited you? What could account for a difference in life expectancy in different areas in the city? How would you combat this? What would you say to someone as a dr to get them to change their lifestyle? What have been the biggest med advancements in the last 20 years? Have I seen anything that could have put me off medicine in anyway? What would be the hardest thing for you about being a dr? In your opinion is the NHS a good thing?

Further comments … You can direct where the conversation goes so even if they don’t mention work exp you can bring it up and they will lead on from there. If you don’t know the answer BE HONEST but this applies to all med interviews, say you’re not sure but make a suggestion. Be confident, they’re nice, there’s nothing to worry about.

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St George’s University
Why did you choose this university? As a back up and most people get interviews at this university What was the structure of your interview? 7 Stations each 5 minutes. There’s one interviewer and one question at each station Questions Role play; you’re neighbour went on holiday and asked you to look after their rabbit but it died. How would you tell them? What work experience have you done? Travelling on the London Underground, one of your friends has become separated from the group – it’s their first time in London – describe your plan of action You have a list of 15 individuals, giving their sex, age and occupation – you can save five of them from nuclear attack – which five and why? As captain of a football team, inform a member of your team that they have not been selected to play in the final Inform your neighbour that you have just run over and killed their cat How did you prepare for the interview? Researched articles on internet Ace medicine course Further comments I wouldn’t advise applying to St Georges because it is rare for tiffin girls getting in to this university. Apply to Queen Marys rather than St Georges as a backup if you want one in London.

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UCL
Why did you choose this university? Good reputation, UCL offers a variety of courses in both arts and science subjects. The fact that it’s a London uni (somewhat)… I never really liked the university when I went on the open day—the atmosphere was very city-ish, the buildings are sparse and encircled by roads and roadworks, but on the day of my interview, it was very calm, and the red-brick medicine building is quite beautiful. It also has a white-marble pillared library, like something statuesque out of ancient Greece, with a large ground where students can sit and chat at lunchtimes. The facilities in the med department were quite good. What was the structure of your interview (number of people/stations) 2 lecturers from university 1 lay person Questions you were asked …     Why medicine Work experience (GP) NHS current issues How do you cope with stress

How did you prepare for the interview?      BBC News/NewScientist Background to NHS, current issues Ethical issues University/course Books/lectures

Further comments … With UCL interviews, make sure you speak calmly and with composure. Do not rush into rash statements. Don’t come across as being arrogant. If they try to argue with you, it is fine to disagree and express your own thoughts as long as you are polite. Show that you are aware of differing opinions. Speak s-l-o-w-l-y. UCL commonly like applicants who hold arts subjects (Eng Lit, History, languages etc) rather than the all-encompassing science array, but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. They may ask you about your BMAT essay, so be prepared to stand your ground (or be swayed, whatever). 27

OXBRIDGE
Cambridge: St Catharine’s
What was the structure of your interview? 1st General – 1 interviewer (30 mins) very friendly 2nd Specialist (2 interviewers but only one asked questions – 30 mins) Questions If you were a doctor in the 18th century what would be your main concern and how would you deal with it? Shown a graph about blood pressure and told to explain it. Tell me a recessive genetic disease? What is the chance that a child will suffer from a recessive disease if both parents are carriers? What percentage of people who do not suffer from the disease are carriers? Tell me about your work experience. - Follow up questions on work experience - What did you learn? - What is an angioplasty? What have you read recently? Shown reflex arc and told to explain. Shown two bones and asked what they are. Is a ball and socket joint stable? How do humans see images? What exactly happens in the eyes when light enters? How did you prepare? Briefly read over AS biology and chemistry and read around the subject of medicine in general. Most of the questions they ask are science based. If they ask you something you haven’t covered yet or don’t know then SAY so. Be honest  GOOD LUCK

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Cambridge, Sidney Sussex
What was the structure of the interview – how long, how many, how many people interviewing, formal or informal etc 1st Science – 2 interviewers, both asked questions, 30 minutes, quite friendly 2nd Science – 2 interviewers, both asked questions, 30 minutes, very relaxed; conversation -like Interview Questions (as many as you can remember) Why do you want to do medicine? (starter) Tell us about your work experience. - What did you learn? - Draw a diagram of the skin. - How do histamines work? - What happens to the blood pressure of the patient during an anaphylactic reaction? - What does adrenaline do? My hypothesis is that my white hairs are growing at a faster rate than my normal hairs, how should I go about testing this hypothesis? Tell us about DNA replication and protein synthesis. If I had a set of DNA codons, and I took either the first, middle or the third out, which would be more prone to developing mutations? If protein synthesis occurs in the endoplasmic reticulum attached to the nucleus, why do you need separate synthesis sites within the cytoplasm? In what type of cell would you find the many synthesis site structures? How does the finished product/protein branch off the synthesis site and out of the cell? How did you prepare? Lots of background reading; news sites, NewScientist articles, clippings from newspapers. Reading over Bio/Chem AS/A2. Basically trying to absorb a ton of stuff. Most of it didn’t come up in the interview. Read from that what you will. G’luck!

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Oxford
Why did you choose this university? Many reasons. My GCSEs were good and Oxford valued those and the BMAT most when deciding on interviewees. Also loved the science based course (at the time of applying, now see that perhaps it isn’t so great). Also thought “it’s Oxbridge, might as well have a go”. Loved the university and thought the hard working atmosphere might actually motivate me to do something! What was the structure of your interview (number of people/ethical scenarios) 4 interviews. 2 at each college (you apply to one, the other is allocated randomly). 2 or 3 people interviewing in each one. Questions you were asked … If you became director of the NHS tomorrow, how would you cut £20 million in 3 years? What are the causes of dementia? What is the pH scale?What is the pH of the human body? What are the qualities of a good doctor? What are your best qualities? What is your main weakness? How will you cope with the academic rigours of an Oxford medical degree? What is surfactant and how does it work? How, if the parents do not show signs of the disease, is it possible for children to show symptoms if the allele is dominant? What would you like to talk about? What would you change about your school? How has your school made you into who you are? What has it taught you to be like? What is important for the brain to work? What is the molarity of water? What are the benefits of a logarithmic scale over a standard one? And what might each show you? Why might Britain not want to follow Brazil’s fantastic healthcare regime example which targets disease locally? Why might there have been a drop in the number of children immunised against whooping cough in the 1970s? 30

Why does the heart show up as white on an X-ray? What is an advocate? What does the term doctor mean to you? Describe an experiment you have done at school recently Describe an aspect of science that interests you You can see on this X-ray that one side of the lunge has not collapsed properly on exhaling. On inhaling the lungs look normal. The person does not have emphysema or problems with their diaphragm. What could be wrong? Describe a memorable patient from your work experience A woman with dementia who cannot communicate properly develops pneumonia and needs to go to intensive care. The daughter agrees to this. The son, however, says it is not what she would have wanted and doesn’t let her go. What are the ethical issues here? Should plastic surgery and IVF be funded on the NHS? What adaptations does a tapeworm have to the intestines? Describe a situation where the oxygen levels in the blood would be high and the carbon dioxide levels low. Describe a situation where both the oxygen levels and carbon dioxide levels would be low. If there is more oxygen in the blood, does the pH of the blood go up or down? What did you think about the BMAT? Did you do any practise papers? Did you have a mock interview for today? How many drafts did you do of your personal statement? What is wellbeing? How did you prepare for the interview? I prepared for all my interviews the same way. I compiled a 7 page document of all the past interview questions I could find from the internet/books and wrote them all on massive pieces of paper on my wall and answered some of them (didn’t have time for all of them!) but it got me thinking about the sort of things I would say. Think of a few scenarios you’ve been in that you could draw on for a variety of examples if asked, e.g. when you volunteered somewhere / your work experience / d of e etc. So when they say “give me an example of when you’ve had to work in a team” you won’t be stuck. 31

I also collected a few newspaper articles (and pretended they were recent even though I used the same ones for all of my interviews) and really learnt them and understood what they were saying and formulated opinions of my own. I used topics that interested me – I had an article on obesity, one on addictions and another on never-events in the NHS. You’ve just got to show enthusiasm for what you’re talking about – if you aren’t enthusiastic, they’ll know. Also know about the university. Why do you want to go there? Have some good reasons. Know which clubs you’d join / things you’d get involved in. For oxford I also revised my AS sciences. Note – this is not enough! You will need to know your A2 stuff back to front too. This is why I advise that if you’re not the sort of person who has spent their entire summer holiday pre-learning their A2 syllabuses, not to bother with oxford. Having said that, looking back, I don’t know if revising the A2 stuff would have helped me a great deal. It was all science stuff that you feel you ought to know… but you don’t. What are the uses of a logarithmic graph over a normal one? I don’t actually know… Further comments … The chance of getting an interview at Oxford is pretty low. And you have to apply not having done the BMAT. Which is very, very hard. It’s multiple choice which is how I reckon I got an interview – extremely lucky guessing. But you won’t get an interview unless you do really quite well. Some of the questions in the science paper were further maths standard – we’re talking M3 here. Without a calculator it’s not easy, especially as you only have about 45 seconds or something to answer each one. Then when you’ve done the bmat there’s the agonising wait for the results. Then there’s the agonising wait to find out if you’ve got an interview. And then you have about a week to prepare for said interview. Stressful! Having said that, I am glad I applied. The interview experience was very tough but made all my subsequent ones much easier and I was more relaxed for them. So on that front, it was very useful. Also the experience at interview was quite fun – you get to stay the night, meet loads of new people and get lots of free food! It doesn’t matter what university you go to to study medicine. At the end of the day, you come out a doctor and no one cares where you studied. If any of you watched the series called Junior doctors this year, you’ll have noticed that the person who seemed least prepared was the Cambridge graduate. Study where you want to study because of factors that are important to you (like nightlife, course, city etc) and not because of where you feel you ought to go. Gemma Dracup gemmadracup@btinternet.com

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BMAT
‘BMAT cannot be 'crammed' for; however, basic familiarity with a test's question and answer style will help you prepare. Everything that you need to prepare for the BMAT is on the website, and you can practise the test with the specimen papers available for download. BMAT Section 2 will always be based around the relevant version of the National Curriculum taken by the majority of the cohort’ Anyone planning to study medicine at the following universities must do the BMAT!
   

University of Cambridge University of Oxford Imperial College London University College London

Where can I sit the BMAT? You can take the BMAT exam at your school, college or sixth form. Tips on preparing for the BMAT exam
     

Look at the question papers on the website so that you know what to expect. Brush up on your GCSE level science, especially the concepts Practise writing a side of A4. This will be useful for section 3 where you have to write one side of A4. Answer the question on the paper!- don’t twist it into something that you’re comfortable with. Answer all aspects of the question in section 3. Take a practise exam paper and time yourself to be aware of what pace you need to work at.

Common mistakes by candidates taking the BMAT exam

When answering section 1, don’t bring anything into your answer that’s not in the question or go off on a tangent. Look at what’s in the argument. We’re not trying to trick anybody. What you see is what you get. A common mistake in section 3 is when candidates try to show off their knowledge and bring in things that are irrelevant. Remember, admissions tutors won’t be reading your paper and the person marking it isn’t interested so don’t waste your time on it! Be aware of time. Some candidates do not complete the paper in the given time

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UKCAT
Candidates intending to apply in 2011 for entry to one of the universities and courses listed below in 2012 or for deferred entry in 2013 are required to take the UKCAT by the 7th October 2011 deadline.
University of Aberdeen Brighton and Sussex Medical School Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Cardiff University University of Dundee University of Durham University of East Anglia University of Edinburgh University of Glasgow Hull York Medical School Keele University King's College London Imperial College London Graduate Entry University of Leeds University of Leicester University of Manchester University of Newcastle University of Nottingham University of Oxford Graduate Entry Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry Queen's University Belfast University of Sheffield University of Southampton University of St Andrews St George's, University of London Warwick University Graduate Entry

All these universities require you to take the UKCAT.

The key to passing the UKCAT is doing as much practice as possible and being very quick when actually doing the test. Timing is definitely an issue for most people, so be prepared for this.

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TIPS:

 Read, and re-read the question to ensure you fully understand what is being asked  Eliminate any incorrect answers  Do not spend too much time on one question - remember you only have a set amount of  Do not keep changing your mind – research has shown that the first answer that appeals to
you is often the correct one time per section

 If you cannot decide between two answers look carefully and decide whether for one of the  Pace yourself - you will need to work through the test at the right speed. Too fast and your  In the actual test, you will be given the opportunity to mark your questions for review, so do try
accuracy may suffer, too slow and you may run out of time. to remember and go back and check that you have answered all the questions to the best of your ability  To familiarise yourself with the way the online test will be conducted, visit the online testing demonstration which is available on the UKCAT website  When you take the test, listen carefully to the administrator’s instructions  If you are unsure about anything, remember to ask the test administrator before the test begins. Once the clock begins ticking, interruptions will not be allowed options you are making an unnecessary assumption - trust your gut instinct

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Useful resources
BMAT
Preparing for the BMAT – the official guide to the BioMedical Admissions Test Publisher: Heinemann ISBN: 978045280130

Passing the UKCAT Clinical Aptitude Test and BMAT – 2009 edition Authors: Felicity Taylor, Rosalie Hutton, and Glenn Hutton Publisher: Learning Matters ISBN: 978184452842

BMAT and UKCAT Uncovered – a guide to medical entrance exams Authors: T.O. Osiniwo, R.A.Weerakkody, H.W. Woodward Publisher: Wiley-blackwell ISBN: 9781405169189 Also visit http://www.admissionstests.cambridgeassessment.org.uk/adt/bmat for sample papers

UKCAT
Get into Medical School: 600 UKCAT Practice Questions Author: Olivier Picard, Laetitia Tighlit, Sami Tighlit, David Phillips Publisher: isc medical (interview skills consulting) ISBN: 9781905812097 How to pass the UKCAT (2009 edition) – Unbeatable practice for success in the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test Authors: Mike Bryon, Jim Clayden Publisher: Kogan Page ISBN: 9780749453336 Visit http://www.ukcat.ac.uk/ to download the fully-timed UKCAT practice software

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Interviews
Medical School Interviews – A practical guide to help you get that place at Medical school Authors: George Lee, Olivier Picard Publisher: isc Medical (interview skills consulting) ISBN: 1905812043

Useful Links
http://www.ucas.ac.uk/documents/external/ukmed.pdf http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A717527 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_school_in_the_United_Kingdom http://www.medical-student.co.uk/ http://www.acemedicine.com/Downloads/FREE_guide_to_medical_schools_in_the_UKw... http://www.acemedicine.com/Downloads/Insiders-Guide-to-day-in-a-Life-at-Medic... http://www.acemedicine.com/Downloads/freeucasguide.pdf (includes example PSs) http://www.acemedicine.com/Downloads/Insiders-Guide-to-The-Medical-School-Int... interview stuff http://www.wanttobeadoctor.co.uk/main.php?page=3 http://www.mymedschool.co.uk/page.php?pgid=9 http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=195 http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Medicine_Applications_Further_Reading Some news sites; http://www.nursingtimes.net/ http://www.trust.org/alertnet/ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/medical_notes/default.stm http://www.medscape.com/

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