Tag Archives: UKCAT

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:

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,

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.

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.

Southampton Uni UKCAT

So I helped out at the open day the other week. I met a proportion of the 25000 people or something that visited. Lost my voice completely but found out interesting things about the UKCAT!

– BM6 requires the UKCAT to be taken but they DO NOT USE IT!
– BM5 requires the UKCAT and they discount those with scores that are below 2500 (when added together). This will be going up.

I don’t think “they”, you know, the scientists, know if it is effective in determining who is going to be a good doctor but oh well.

Here is a link to a list of hints that I found useful when doing the UKCAT!

The Application: The Interview Preparation

So I’ve spent the last few days before my interview, sitting down and thinking… at the end of this, what do I want them to know about me? I’ve made a list of the things I really wanted to get across and looked up possible interview questions on the internet, trying to answer each question once for every item on the list, each time incorporating the idea I was trying to project. It seems to be going well and I seem to be getting better at reflecting on experiences! After getting bored of this however, I’ve also been picking a random list item, and a random question and just trying to make it work. It’s amazing how much better I’ve become at making connections between an experience and the things it has taught me!

I’ve done some serious research on Southampton and the BM6 course, and figured out what they are proud of, what they pride themselves on, and I am hoping that I can bring this up in the interview!

I’ve also been trawling through forums (The Student Room is AMAZING!) and it seems that there have been a lot of interview letters sent out so am not getting hopes tooooooo high. Ok, maybe a little high.

Exams are going alright  I suppose. One biology paper was insanely hard and stupid and rubbish. Oh well. I won’t need it for Southampton!

2 days to go!

The Application: Good news!

I have an interview @ Southampton for BM6! It’s on Craig’s birthday but still! Doesn’t give me long to prepare though! 2 weeks!!!!

Revision is insane at the moment, and interview is in the middle of exams but it’s all good.

The Application: Things are getting interesting….

Still volunteering at WBC which is inspiring. Went along to my day at the GP practice which was AMAZING. Saw lots of patients each with unique and interesting cases and even got to attend a house call to a patient unable to make it into the surgery. Seeing a GP’s work from the “other side of the desk” was eye opening especially within a village environment where everyone knows the doctor, and the doctor knows everyone.  I got to sit in the antenatal afternoon clinic where mums were measured and heartbeats were monitored and it was nice to see anxious first time mums and confident experienced mums equally relieved when everything was okay.  A friend of mine has arranged some work experience in Wales to spend 3 days in theatres which I have been invited to, so the work experience just keeps rolling in!

No major updates yet although I have had a letter asking me to prove my entitlement to study the BM6 course at Southampton which I very VERY promptly returned in the post.

We shall see!

The Application: UKCAT Tips

So I have done the UKCAT twice now, and the second time was much better than the first. I have come up with a few basic tips and rules that I followed which could be helpful to someone else doing it!


1) Use time wisely – If you find you’re not getting anywhere, skip and come back to it. Make sure you divide your time equally among the questions and don’t overrun unless you have time at the end.

2) If you cannot come up with an answer, guess – there is no negative marking, so a wrong answer is better than none.

3)  When practising for the absract, read the answer and apply it to the question. Then you’ll have a foundation of rules and themes to build on when you do thetest for real. This really helped me.

4) In the ones with masses of text, don’t bother reading the whole text. Skim it, and get a feel for it (informational or prose, topic etc) and then look for the answer to the question. Don’t waste time reading it in depth.

5) When you get time between each set of questions, take it. Have a pause for a moment and get into the mind set ready for the next set of questions, and forget those stubborn ones you couldn’t find the answer to in the last round.

The Application: Take 2….

So, here it goes again. Round 2. Except this time, I have insider knowledge of the procedure and no college to take up my hours.

Spent summer working and volunteering at Worthing Blind Society helping those with visual impairments enjoy craft activities which has been great and makes up for not managing to get the application procedure finished for CTH. Have also managed to get some work experience booked for November with a GP who is an old friend of my Nan’s! Dr Smethurst has very kindly agreed to let me sit in on her practice for a day which I am really looking forward to, but until then revision is my life. Resitting Biology and Psychology exams in January which I have booked and revision has therefore commenced!

Reapplication is done. Have gone for BSMS (again), St. George (again) and Southampton (again)! Except this time I have applied for both A100 (BM5 course) and A102 (BM6) which is an access course. It lasts a year and guarantees a place on the BM5 course. It also only requires CCC which I already have, and is aimed at people from less privileged backgrounds and somewhat odd educational/personal backgrounds, like me!! It seems massively over subscribed as there are 30 places for the 1000 or so applicants but oh well! It’s a back up if January does not go as planned!

As with last time, I will stick in my personal statement as a bit of inspiration for anyone doing this miserable task!

As a mature student, I took the time to find a career that would challenge me, seeking academic rigour in an interpersonal environment with a foundation in science. At 16 I left education due to the financial constraints of independent living. During this time I focussed on what career I really wanted to pursue and gained valuable life experiences. Living independently I have overcome many obstacles, balancing homework and housework, education and earning. Since October 2007 I have worked in Worthing Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department. Performing initial triage allows me to see a range of complaints, familiarise myself with a patient orientated environment and develop an understanding of patient confidentiality. Working in a front line multidisciplinary team also gives me an understanding of how every person plays a vital part in maintaining excellent patient care under pressure.  Being confronted with often traumatic injuries, I learned the value of organ and blood donations and have now become a regular blood donor. In these sessions I learned how blood is taken and preserved before it is used whole or split into its constituents, for example the plasma is used reverse the effects of anti-coagulants.

Returning to college was a challenge I enjoyed and I quickly settled in. Taking contrasting subjects allowed me to grow my research and essay writing skills but also my problem solving and logic. I have taken advantage of every opportunity available, including leading group study in lessons, organising and running revision classes, and coordinating charity events. This helped to hone my leadership skills and taught me how to bring out the best of everyone in teamwork situations. I accepted a place on the BrightMed course last year where I had the privilege to experience anatomy at its best and observed a dissection. During the session I learned how each cadaver is treated with respect, and the importance of body donation. It was fascinating to see the human body in such detail as to be able to identify the cause of death, in this case a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. Inspired by this, I initiated a college visit to the Body Worlds exhibition “The Mirror of Time” which explores human development and aging. Being able to see the intricacies of the human body was fascinating, providing a more detailed understanding of different systems and processes such as the circulatory system and foetal development, both topics that I had enjoyed during my Biology studies.

Having volunteered at Worthing Hospital for over two years, I appreciate the often challenging work that comes with treating individuals with individual needs. I have learned that medicine is often not a simple case of diagnosis and treatment as individuals can have unique symptoms. Talking to patients on the wards showed me how much medicine can improve quality of life which I found thoroughly rewarding. This has led me to take up further volunteering at Worthing Society for the Blind, helping those with vision impairment enjoy a range of craft activities. I found it very humbling to see how people adjusted to the loss of their sight but it was inspiring to see how this was overcome and activities such as knitting were still enjoyed. This firsthand experience of making a difference has reinforced my aspirations to work in a healthcare environment to improve the lives of others.

My experiences have widened my familiarity with differing levels of care of patients with a range of difficulties. I am keen to learn more I have obtained a work experience placement with a GP in November. Through work experience and college I have a developed an understanding of the demands of a medical career both academically and professionally and feel that my experiences have presented me with the potential to flourish in both.