Applying to Medicine – The Admissions Process


Hello, I am Dr Austen Spruce. Admissions
Tutor for the MBCHB Medicine and Surgery programme at Birmingham Medical
School. I’m going to talk you through the medicine admissions process and also
explain our entry criteria. This first slide gives you an overview of the
information that we use to make a decision on who we invite for an
interview and what percentage of each requirement is considered when selecting
home applicants for interview for the five-year programme. At Birmingham you are
required to sit the UCAT, which must be taken in the year that you are
applying. We score applications of home non-graduate applicants based on GCSE
grades and UCAT result. Whilst we do not score your personal statement, we
expect to see evidence of your commitment to Medicine and your personal
qualities will be assessed at interview. You are also required to provide a
reference confirming your aptitude as well as to identify any concerns or
extenuating circumstances that have affected your education if applicable. We
use contextual data to select a proportion of our interview candidates
and it is the performance of the school that we look at. I will talk more about
all of these issues later. For our five year undergraduate programme. Our
standard offer is set at AAA at A Level and the subjects must include Chemistry
and Biology. The third subject can be in any subject except General Studies,
Critical Thinking or EPQ. For the International Baccalaureate you are
required to have 6,6,6 at higher level including Biology and Chemistry
with 32 points in total. AS grades are not used at all in the selection process.
We currently have 360 places available on our five-year
programme and interview approximately 1200 applicants who meet our criteria.
As a rough guide we will make around 850 offers to study with us. For selection
for interview we score each application based on GCSE results which makes up 60%
of the score and your overall UCAT result which
makes up the final 40 percent. For GCSEs we will score seven subjects five of
them are specified subjects which are both of the English subjects, Maths and
two sciences either Biology, Chemistry or Double Award Science. The final two
subjects can be any full GCSEs. We allocate scores based on the grades. For
UCAT when we receive the results for our applicants, we rank the UCAT
scores and segregate them into deciles. We give the top score in our process to
the top 10% of applicants. We do not score your predicted or achieved A level
grades. We rank applicants according to a combined application score. Which means
that there is no threshold for either of the individual components, GCSEs or UCAT. Please note that it is not possible to advise on the threshold score because
this will vary each year according to the number and quality of applications
we receive. To find out if you are likely or unlikely to be offered an interview
please use our offer calculator tool where you will be asked to enter your
GCSEs, A levels and UCAT scores. The guidance you receive is based on data
from previous admission cycles and also the projected impact of advertised
changes to the process. It is important to note that this tool is a guide only
and does not guarantee either an invitation to interview or an offer to
study at the University of Birmingham. To find out more, please visit the site
indicated on the slide. To help us achieve widening access to medicine we
use contextual data in relation to school performance to fill up to 20% of
our interview places. We exclude independent schools from this process. It
is important to note that we expect the threshold application score to be up to
2 points lower for contextual applicants please be aware that the Offer
Calculator takes the contextual scheme into account if you include school data.
We identify contextual applicants according to whether or not they have
studied at a school that meets either of our thresholds which are defined on the
slide. For example, someone who has taken GCSEs at a school that meets this
threshold will be in the contextual category whether or not they attend a
school that meets our A level threshold. Applicants in this category who are not
successful in our standard process will be ranked according to their application
score and about 250 interview places will be allocated to these applicants. If
successful following interview applicants who meet the contextual
threshold will receive an AAB offer. Our Graduate Entry to Medicine programme
is another route into Medicine. This is only available to graduates. We use
UCAT in our selection process. We will score an application based on results
from the degree and secondary school as well as the overall UCAT score. Full
details are available on our website. We have 40 places available on this course
on average we receive approximately 800 applications each year and interview
around 100 of these. Graduates are also considered for our five-year programme and
there is much more flexibility on the type of degree obtained.
However the A-levels required are higher than for the Graduate Entry Course. Again
we use UCAT results for selecting graduates for the 5-year programme. At the
interview stage we assess the personal qualities that are required of a Doctor
working in Medicine. Listed on screen are some of the characteristics that we are
looking for. To prepare you and to help you succeed in the interview process. It
is really important that you gain an understanding of health care practice.
The best way to develop this as well as your skills and providing patient care
is to have an active role as a volunteer. This can take place in a care home,
nursing home, hospice, as a ward volunteer or helping out with an organisation
providing support for adults or children with disabilities. We have no requirement
on amount but this type of experience will enable you to gain better insight
into the complexities of providing good care. You will gain good insight into Medicine
by shadowing Doctors in hospitals or GP surgeries but we do understand how
difficult this is to arrange. Which is why our process is designed not to favor
an applicant who has this experience. The same information can be obtained through
reading. It is important that your experience is ongoing and involves
long-term engagement. Paid work is also relevant even if it isn’t in a
healthcare setting. Whether you are working in a supermarket or in a
restaurant by interacting with the public you are developing skills and
qualities that are very relevant for interacting with patients as a doctor. Extracurricular activities are in
addition to the healthcare engagement that we look for. These can be activities
where you’ve taken on a substantial role and where you have a degree of
responsibility. This enables you to develop your leadership capabilities,
team working skills, ability to problem-solve and to negotiate a
solution. These skills are very relevant to the interview process. We also expect
that you will have a significant knowledge of the NHS and healthcare
issues in the UK. You can gain this insight from websites. This knowledge is
very important as you may be challenged with scenarios relating to these issues
during the interview process. Practice interviews are vital. Even in less formal
settings they will help you to present your own views and opinions on
healthcare issues. Make sure the person you are engaging with challenges you. so
that you have to defend the opinions that you hold.
As do most medical schools, at Birmingham we interview using Multiple Mini
Interviews. Our website describes our stations in more detail. But the most
common formats you will encounter are indicated here. It is important that you
prepare for these. The main criteria we are trying to assess are listed here too.
My advice to you is to work through a process where you identify what is
inspiring, interesting, disturbing and challenging about medicine and be able
to explain why this is. Work out what facilitates or impairs good health care
practice, form your own opinions on controversial issues and reflect on your
own abilities. Finally we expect candidates to understand the importance
of the development of their personal qualities to be effective practitioners.
I hope you found this information useful a comprehensive breakdown of entry
requirements and the admissions process including interviews can be found on the
Birmingham Medical School website. Thank you for watching this talk on the
medicine admissions process I wish you the best of luck with your application
and hope to meet you soon. you

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