Category Archives: BM6

Southampton Interview

Some of my most frequently asked questions about interviews.

How do they decide who to interview?

For BM6:
If you meet all the criteria, they will review your PS and rate it on the non-academic entry requirements.

Non-academic entry requirements In addition to academic entry requirements, you will be assessed against our non academic criteria.Applicants must be able to show they:

  • Are self-motivated and resilient
  • Have reflected on and learnt from life experiences (this may include, work experience, paid employment and personal experiences both in and outside health and socialcare settings)
  • Can communicate effectively
  • Are able to interact successfully with others
  • Can demonstrate an understanding of the values of the NHS constitution

For BM4 and BM5:

If you meet all the criteria, they interview in order of highest UKCAT.
When are interviews?
BM6:  6th of March and 13th of March 2017. Check on the website if this is out of date next year.

BM5 and 4: Various dates. Check the website.
When will I hear?
You will get 2 weeks notice.

How will I hear?
The uni send out invites via email.

How many interviews will there be?
120 for BM6.

Someone has an interview but I haven’t heard yet, what does that mean?
Nothing at all. They decide who is getting one and everyone in that lucky list will get one eventually.

How should I prepare for interview?
Read your personal statement.
Read it.
No seriously, read it.

Read the news starting now. Read BBC News Health section if you don’t buy a paper regularly. Check NHS Behind the Headlines to get the real understanding.

THIS is how I prepared and is a good place to start. And then here is what happened at my interview.

DO NOT search out people to tell you what you will be asked. It will not help. You’ll be too rehearsed or you simply won’t be asked those questions and wont be prepared for that whey do ask. No 2 interviews are the same.

Where can I practice?
Your college should offer mock interviews. Ask anyone who can read your personal statement and a list of potential questions!

What will happen on the day?
You will have 2 interviews. 1 on your own with 2 interviewers and one in a group. These can happen in either order and you’ll spend the rest of your time there in your group with some current medical students relaxing and chatting.

Who are the interviewers?
These are lecturers, doctors, teachers, admissions staff. Huge variety.

What is the individual interview?
This is a 20 minute interview based loosely on your personal statement with 2 interviewers. You can be asked a range of questions depending on what you have written. Expect – Why medicine? Why here?

What is the group interview?
This is also 20 minutes but you’re also given 5 minutes to prepare. You’ll be given a topic for discussion and after having 5 minutes to think about it, you will discuss it as a group in front of 2 interviewers. It is relaxed and friendly. Don’t worry about it! It is not a knowledge test, and you can’t really practice for it.

What questions will come up?
I’ve listed 2 almost universal questions above. Otherwise the rest will vary enormously from person to person depending on what they say and what is in the PS. People get asked about the history of medicine, the future of medicine, books they mentioned they read, hobbies, ethics, law. Each interview is totally unique and so there isn’t any point in trying to work out what you’ll be asked.

Just practice answering anything (use the link to my blog on how I prepared) because that is the best way to a) come across unrehearsed and b) be able to answer complete curve ball questions.

What happens after interviews?
You’ll get a letter saying if you have been successful or unsuccessful. If this is going to take a while you may get a “further consideration” letter that says you’re still in the running. This may not happen until March/April, even if others hear before you.

How do they choose?
After each task, you will be listed as “suitable” or “not suitable” ad marked on their assessment criteria. This is then taken into consideration with the rest of your application before an offer is made.

How will I get an offer?
This is an update on UCAS Track and then a letter follows.

What is the offer?
The offer is the same for everyone – for BM6 it is BBC in any of your subjects (ie you don’t need to get B’s in specific subjects). BM5 it is AAA and BM4 is a 2:1, plus A level requirements.

Is it conditional or unconditional?
Last year a few people got unconditional offers but these are reserved for people with their A levels in hand and proven. Everyone else gets an unconditional offer until they get their results or prove old results.
If it is conditional and you send in your certificates, they may not update your status until August Results Day.

What to do on placements?

This is something I never understood until I started more full time placements. It’s hard as a med student to balance learning, down time, and ward time but also it’s very difficult when you feel like you’re in the way on the wards and don’t know what to do with yourself. So here is my advice on what to do:

-Befriend the team. If they’re looking out for you they will get you involved.

-Go to a few ward rounds. Write in the notes as if you are an F1. Take a history from a patient and present them on the ward round. Scary, but if you mess up you will never make that mistake again.

-Follow a junior. The consultants do lots of busy consultant things. But the juniors do all the work you’re going to do. Help them out. Do their jobs for them. Take their bloods etc. They might teach you in return, but even if they don’t it is good practice.

-Just talk to the patients. Pick one from each bay. They’re bored. Most of them love a good chat. Take a history, examine them, and then find someone to present to if you’re really brave.

-Ask someone where you’ll find the most classic patients. Clinics or wards? And spend time there.

-When you hear of a new patient coming in through AMU etc, find them, take a history and follow them through the day. Even better, follow them up throughout the week. You’ll learn their case and remember it if you remember them personally.

-Get in on a surgery list and ask to scrub in. The worst they can say is no. But nothing cements in your mind the layers of the abdomen by watching someone slice through them while you help.

-Spend time in the library, but not too much time. Learn through doing.

Final Year

Unbelievably I have started final year. It’s been good so far and looks like this:

Medicine In Practice 3              6 weeks
Obs & Gynae                              4 weeks
Paediatrics                                  4 weeks
Medicine                                     8 weeks
Student Selected Unit               4 weeks
Psychiatry                                   4 weeks
Surgery                                        7 weeks
General Practice                        2 weeks

FINALS

Currently on Medicine which is 5 weeks of Elderly Care, and a week of cardio and a week of AMU which will be an assistantship – basically traipsing round after an F1 and trying to do their job

Paediatrics was interesting, can’t say I am a huge fan to be honest. I love kids, but not while they’re screaming or totally uninterested in their consultation and instead are asking their mum to take selfies with them while the doctor desperately asks questions. It’s a good placement though and I got to spend time on the Paeds Assessment Unit, in surgery, in the neonatal unit and in clinics.

Obs and gynae was amazing. Delivered lots of babies and saw lots of very cool surgeries. It’s a really really interesting speciality and I have arranged to do 4 more weeks of it to see if I could do it for a career. The hours look a little terrifying though. But it’s a good mix of medicine and surgery, highly specialised at times but also more general when it comes to the mothers.

MIP 3 was okay. As 4th year was a research project year I was a bit rusty so we got to spend time in general practice, surgery and in medicine to remind us what patients were.

Final year has changed structure in Southampton but these placements will be in there somewhere I am sure!

Update on Southampton Selection Process for Medicine BM4 BM5 & BM6

Things are changing at Southampton! Here is a quick rundown of the latest info I have:

BM6
No real changes. Entry grades are BBC with interviews decided on personal statement. Graded on interview and personal statement and offers given to the highest scorers. Interview will also have a group task.

5A*-C grades at GCSE,

BM5
Big big changes. GCSEs 7A*-B grades, and A levels now required AAA. In addition, applicants will be ranked by their UKCAT. Those scoring the highest in the UKCAT will be invited to interview. The selection day will be a group interview and individual interview.

BM4
Still 2:1 in any subject, C grade now required in Chemistry A level though if your degree contains a lot this can be waived. All applicants will be ranked by their UKCAT. Those scoring the highest in the UKCAT will be invited to interview. The selection day will consists of a written component, group interview and individual interview.

BM6: Overview of content

This is available from the Faculty of Medicine but seems to be hard to find, so I thought I’d share it here. It gives a general overview of the content covered in the BM6 year at Southampton. It’s not detailed enough for you to get started (so don’t, you don’t need to, you’ll be fine :D) but it’s nice to have a general idea of what lies ahead.



Human Structure & Function I
This will enable you to understand key physiological, anatomical & biochemical concepts and principles that you can apply in problem based scenarios.
This will prepare you to successfully undertake the early years of the BM programme. You will specifically study; the structure and function of biological macromolecules and the principles of metabolism; principles of homeostasis & homeostatic imbalance, particularly as applied to the cardiovascular system; the structure & function of cells & tissues; basic anatomy; nutrition & the digestive system; principles of enzymology and energetics; principles of medical microbiology and immunology.

Professional Practice I
This will enable you to understand and experience the practice of medicine through work placements and to help you evaluate & reflect on these experiences and to apply theory to practice.
The unit is designed around 3 projects; The roles of health care professionals; Communication in health care: The media and medicine. You will be introduced to aspects of health sociology and psychology as applied to medicine and also develop your skills in numeracy, statistics, IT and information retrieval.

Human Structure & Function II
This unit will enable you to build on your learning in HSFI as it is in a similar format with similar modes of assessment. Again you will be provided with an understanding of essential anatomical, physiological & biochemical concepts that you can apply to problem based scenarios.

The topics include the structure and function of the nervous system, muscle, the renal system & the endocrine system. Aspects of imbalance in these systems will also be considered. You will also explore the principles and applications to the human body of acid base balance, pH, dissociation constants, buffers and redox reactions. Also covered is cell division, the cell cycle, growth and the stages of human development. Finally you will explore the principles of genetics and some of its applications.

Professional Practice II
This unit will enable you to build on your learning in PPI as it is constructed in a similar format. As in PPI you will produce a portfolio of your placement experiences and project work.
In particular this unit will develop your understanding of the organization of health care ( primarily in the UK), the different factors that influence health and illness and ethical issues in medicine. You will further develop your understanding of IT, information retrieval and basic statistics and their application in health care.

BM6: Reading list

So I noticed I was having a few hits from people looking for the BM6 reading list! The uni gives you a list of book that are helpful, but by far the best book for BM6 is by Elaine Marieb. Otherwise the others are just an expense. Try books before you buy them, read them and see if you like it. Remember they’re all available in the huge library so it’s not like you’re going to be missing out!

The recommended ones are the ones that the course uses most, but seriously, Marieb will be your bible for the biology part. Beth Alder (the book has a pregnant lady on the front smoking) is also great for the sociology and psychology side of things.  Other than that I didn’t find the others particularly useful personally!

Dictionaries are useful, but with the internet… a bit pointless. The rest of the list are books you’ll want to read for one topic or part of an essay. Nothing hardcore or serious.

Anyway, this is the (huge and scary) list:

Recommended Reading

The Highly Recommended Key texts are :

Marieb EN,Hoehn K Human Anatomy & Physiology. Pearson International Edition San Francisco : Pearson Benjamin Cummings; 8th ed.2009

Baynes J,Dominiczak MH Medical Biochemistry. Mosby;3rd ed.2009

Gatford JD,Philips N.Nursing Calculations. Churchill Livingstone;7th ed.2006

Alder B,PorterM,Abraham C,van Teijlingen E.Psychology & Sociology Applied to Medicine.Edinburgh:Churchill Livingstone;3rd ed 2009

AMedical Dictionary is also highly recommended, ONE from :

Black’s Medical Dictionary.Editor.Marcovitch H.A&C Black Ltd; 42nd ed.2009

Mosby’s Medical Dictionary.Mosby Publishing;8th ed.2009

The BMA-Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Dorling Kindersley;2nd ed.2007

Recommended/Useful texts

Bateman A,Carr N.The Flesh & Bones of Pathology.Mosby Elsevier;2009

Chandar N,Viselli S.Cell and Molecular Biology (Lippincotts-Review Series)International ed Lippincott Williams & Wilkins:2010

Dominiczak M.The Flesh & Bones of Metabolism.Mosby Elsevier ; 2007

Coggon D.Statistics in Clinical Practice.BMJ Books;2003

Ewles L,Simnett I.Promoting Health : A Practical Guide to Health Promotion.Bailliere Tindall ;6th ed.2010

Forshaw M.Essential Health Psychology.Arnold Publishers;2002

Goering R,Dockrell H,Roitt I,Zuckerman M,Wakelin D.Mims’ Medical Microbiology.Elsevier;4th ed.2008

Greenhalgh T.How to read a paper:the basis of evidence based medicine.BMJ Books; 4th ed.2010

Guyot A,Schelenz S,Myint SH. The Flesh & Bones of Medical Microbiology.Mosby Elsevier 2011

Helbert M.The Flesh & Bones of Immunology. Mosby Elsevier 2006

Hope T,Savulescu J,Hendrick J. Medical Ethics & Law.The Core Curriculum.Churchill Livingstone; 2nd ed 2008

McGeown JG, Master Medicine : Physiology.Churchill Livingstone;3rf ed.2007

Naish J,Medical Sciences . London: Churchill Livingstone; 2009

Nettleton S.The Sociology of Health & Illness. Polity Press; 2nd ed 2006

Noble A,Johnson R,Thomas A,Bass P, The Cardiovascular System; Elsevier Churchill Livingstone ; 2nd ed 2010

Norman RI,Lodwick D.The Flesh & Bones of Medical Cell Biology;Mosby Elsevier:2007

Petrie A,Sabin C.Medical Statistics at a glance.Blackwell Scientific ; 3rd ed.2009

Pommerville JC, Alcamo’s Fundamentals of Microbiology. Jones & Bartlett;9th ed 2011

Sarafino EP, Health Psychology:Biopsychosocial interactions.Wiley & Sons; 7th ed 2010

Schwartz L, Preece PE,Hendry RA.Medical Ethics. A case-based approach.Edinburgh: Saunders; 2002

Silverman J,Kurtz S,Draper J.Skills for communicating with patients.Radcliffe Medical Press ; 2nd ed. 2004

Sompayrac LM.How the Immune System Works. Blackwell Publishing ;3rd ed,2008

Spina D.The Flesh & Bones of Medical Pharmacology. Mosby Elsevier :2008

Tate P, The Doctor’s Communication Handbook.Radcliffe Medical Press ; 6th ed 2010

Taylor RJ, Smith BH,van Teijlingen ER,Health and Illness in the Community .Oxford Core Text; 2003

Timberlake KC,Chemistry : An introduction to general,organic and biological chemistry.Benjamin Cummings ; 10th ed 2008

Tortora GT,Derrickson B,Principles of Anatomy & Physiology.John Wiley & Sons; 13th ed.2011

BM6: Getting the grades

Just wanted to outline the importance of getting the grades. This is vital to all medicine applications and seems obvious, however in my class many people got turned down who had not quite made the requirements of CCC. This included those with CCD (and extenuating circumastance) and even those with BBD.

This was a little overshadowed by the fact that 33 people did make it, 3 over the normal class size already, however in the class of 2011 only 29 students made it. This goes to show that even when there is space, those without the minimum grades are no longer considered, even if only missing out by one grade in one subject.

Although this is not great news, it just reinforces the idea that once they’ve given you an offer, if you meet it in, you’re in. If you don’t, you’re not. It’s clear cut and simple, no confusion of will I won’t I.

So to those applying good luck! And those lucky 29 who made it this year, congratulations! It was all worth it in the end.

BM6: Timetable and subjects

A lot of people have been asking me the basic layout of the BM6 timetable so I thought I’d give you a general overview. There are 2 basic subjects in the BM6 year. Human Structure and Function (HSF) and Professional Practice (PP). HSF is biology and PP is more about the NHS and healthcare, sociology, ethics etc.

The basic timetable is as follows:

Tuesday
9 – 1:  HSF

2 -4: PP

.

Wednesday

Alternates between a morning of PP and a morning of placement. Afternoons are free time!


Thursday

9 – 1: HSF

2 – 4 (or 5):  PP (usually statistics).

This is basic, and sometimes Mondays or Fridays have timetabled things but rarely. This was just my experience and may have changed but oh well!

BM6: Year End Results:

Semester I:

HSF Exam:                                                A (AA)    (Averaged from 2 papers)
HSF Coursework:                                       B (BB)     (Averaged from 2 essays)
PP Exam:                                                  A
PP Coursework:                                         A

Semester II:

HSF Exam:                                                A (AA)    (Averaged from 2 papers)
HSF Coursework:                                      A (BA)     (Averaged from 2 essays)
PP Exam:                                                  A
PP Coursework:                                         B

A bit annoyed about the second PP coursework B as I was only a percent off and I knew I should have had more practical and less theory but oh well!!

Really really pleased and ready to go on and kick BM5 butt!

BM6: Semester II Results

So exam time was an emotional disaster with some family issues. Decided to decline the offer of having special considerations so that if I failed I’d get to resit next year. Final results came through today and I saw “PASS AND PROGRESS” at the bottom of the email and ran to tell Craig before checking my results! I got another 2 A’s (AA for HSF – averaged to A and A for PP) miraculously, which leaves me with AAAB for semester II!

Passed, progressed, BM5 here I come!