Tag Archives: Medical School

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 Check on the website if this is out of date next year.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.

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.

Offers and Southampton Interviews

Congratulations to everyone with their offers to study BM5/6 (and 4 of course). I met quite a few of you during the offer holders open days (with the BM6 one tomorrow). The university had a record number of applications this year so absolutely well done.

It would seem that the university is introducing interviews as of this year so you dodged that bullet well.

Lots of people ask me what they should study before starting and how to get ahead. I felt like that too. But to be honest, just enjoy it. Enjoy your summer and do nothing. You’ll miss that when you start.

Beth

Semester I exams and Semester II

So, we are now well into semester 2. I am pleased to say I passed semester one and passed it well. The anatomy was hard to learn but the exam wasn’t nearly as hard as the practice exams in the practical sessions.

The exams (though this may change) are a written paper called “short notes”. This is like mini essays/bullet points/diagrams on questions with drug calculations at the start. Then there is the one best answer which is statistics and then multiple choice questions.

They’re scary but not too bad, honest. Most of the year group got C grades (around 100 people), while only 50ish got A-B grades. Seriously don’t expect A’s in med school! I was more  than happy with my B!

Semester 2 is “RCR” or “Respiratory/Cardiovascular/Renal” 1. So far it has been interesting, with a lot more practical sessions than foundation of medicine. Blood pressures, ECGs and respiratory examinations have been covered so far for example.

We also are continuing our student selected unit with the humanities module. It requires a creative outcome (art, scultpure, writing etc) and I am making a cake! As always there is an SSU essay (reflective) to go alongside it and Medicine in practice (kinda clinical sessions) will also be examined this semester with an essay, a presentation and being observed taking a patient history.

We’ve also got our big essay due in 4 weeks. This time it is on Infective Endocarditis and related drugs, lesions, ECGs and blood pressures/ABGs. Busy busy busy!

So that’s the run down of Sem II so far!

BM5 at Southampton – October

So I have been back a month. So far we have covered a variety of topics in the Foundations of Medicine course.

In anatomy we have covered the skeleton and muscle. Next week we start the nervous system. The course has been revamped however and is now much better. Small group study frequently means you get good one on one time with teachers.

We have covered muscle and bone in histology along with connective tissue. This is a series of practicals and lectures and ties in nicely with anatomy! Pathology is similar with small group studies (and we get to see a post-mortem!) and lectures on inflammation and edema (which we had a small symposium on, this is like an interactive lecture).

In biochem and cellular biology we have done cell communication (so action potentials for example) and we have also done biomembranes and ion distribution within the body!

We have also done a little bit of communication skills in lectures and tied that in during MiP – Medicine in Practice. Here we have already met out families who we will follow for a year, and practiced history taking. Next week we start on real patients.

We have done a little psych and sociology and are currently on IPL – Interprofessional learning week, although this is likely to be removed from the syllabus next year.

The first assignment – a 2500 word essay on chronic pain and depression is also due on the 5th of November and we have also had small group tutorials to support us with it.

There is lots to do and lots to learn but it’s a good start!
Will update in a few weeks time!

Good news for one is good news for all.

A very good friend of mine has recently had some amazing success in med school applications. Like me, my friend has had a non-traditional background that is not associated with successful medicine applicants. However despite and in spite of this, they now stand in a better position than many “traditional” medicine applicants.

Times are changing and universities are becoming more and more aware of how many brilliant and talented people are out there, hidden by state schools and lack of encouragement. If you aspire to medicine, it has never been more accessible. Go for it!

Medical School Interview: It’s like fight club….

First rule about a med-school interview… don’t talk about your interview. Second rule of a med-school intervew – don’t talk about your interview.

It’s a new rule that is being enforced by TSR but it should apply regardless. Once you’ve had your interview, don’ t share the details with other applicants. It’s nice to help and once you’re in, that’s all very nice. But putting other people at an advantage at this stage in  the game is not what you want to be doing. How much would it suck if they send out 45 offers and someone you helped was 45 thanks to you, but you were 46?

This is a post on how I prepared for my interview, and here is an overview of what happened in mine.

Anyway, good luck if you’ve got an interview, I hope it went well if you’ve had an interview and to those still waiting, I have my fingers crossed for you.

Beth

BM5: SSU

So I’ve finally pretty much figured out what SSU is about!! It’s a “Student Selected Unit” where you get a (sort of) choice on a topic and for SSU 1 you need to make an academic poster on it. We’re doing teenage pregnancy. There is a group of 10 of us and initially none of us really had any idea what we were supposed to be doing! Academic posters are not something we’d come across before and the lecture on it just skimmed over all of SSU.

Recommendation: As tempting as it is to do 20 minute meetings and go home, it means that you’ll end up doing hours at the end. Do it as you go!

BM5: IPL Week

So IPL week is really odd. It’s interprofessional learning, so you get together with other healthcare professionals and make a game. We were only needed to be in uni 2 days in the week but available via the net for two others in order to do group work on our game.

It was really great to meet people from other professions and uni’s and our group were (obviously) pretty awesome. It was a bit drawn out and excessive and the first presentation is depressing but it’s interesting. Good time to get the first essay out of the way anyhow!

Medical School: Don’t be disheartened.

I’ve heard so many tales, including my own, of people being told by their colleges (or people on The Student Room) that they’re not cut out for medicine. To not even bother trying. This is absolute rubbish.

This is a message to all those who want to do medicine and have been told they can’t:

If you really want to do it, there is nothing that can stop you. If your GCSE’s are not 50 A*’s, you may not be able to take the most direct entry into the most prestigious university, but there will be a way. Whether it’s graduate entry, or a foundation year, or working your backside off at A level and getting those results that the unis are looking for, there is a way. Don’t be told that you’re not good enough. Don’t be told that you’re from the wrong background, or not right as you’ve never captained a polo club or been part of the schools rowing team. It is rubbish.

Some of the best doctors come from non-standard backgrounds, with life experience and a good work ethic.

Don’t let them tell you no. I decided in 2006 that I wanted to do medicine and my night college and then my full time college in 2007 told me not to bother. I was already 18 and just starting a full set of AS levels, didn’t have straight A’s at GCSE, my parents were not doctors, I didn’t live at home and I had not been striving for it my whole life. But being stubborn I decided to ignore them and plough onwards. Now, 5 years later, I’ve got a bunch of A levels, I’ve done my foundation year, I’ve started BM5.

I sent a polite email from my uni account to all the doubters when I started…

Nailed it!