Day 173 University of Birmingham – Medicine

I attended the Birmingham open day on Thursday, and looked around the campus. I attended two talks on medicine. The first was called “Getting into Medicine”. The Queen Elizabeth hospital (also known as the QE) is next door to their medical schools, and the university is known for strong lab and clinical research. The course structure is a mixture of teaching formats, with some PBL. As for anatomy teaching, Birmingham teaches by prosection, as opposed to dissection, their reason being that students often make mistakes in dissection, which won’t help them to learn what the body part is meant to look like.

There are 334 places available on the course, with 2500 applicants competing for the places. The university makes 750 offers for the course, as 50% of applicants accept an offer. This means that they interview 1150 applicants, and the UKCAT/BMAT aptitude tests are not used. Selection is primarily based on academic results, and they ask for A* in Science, Maths, and English Lit or Lang at GCSE. They ask for AAAA at AS Level (Further Maths doesn’t count), and A*AA at A2 level, which must include Biology and Chemistry.

We were also told that the interview was likely to have five parts to it, and each part would be 6 minutes long. The Communication part would involve role play with a medical student. The Motivation and Insight part would ask the interviewee to talk about their work experience. Ability to Understand and Interpret Data would involve looking at a graph. Self-Insight and Reflection would allow the interviewee to talk about their personal experiences relating to healthcare. Finally, Resilience and Honesty and Compassion would ask the student to consider challenging situations, including a Situation Judgement Test.

The next talk was called “Student Life in the MedicalSchool”. The medical school is 5 years long. The first two years (pre-clinical) would consist of lecture and tutorial based teaching. Exams would be sat in January and May of every year. Years 3, 4, and 5 (clinical) would be hospital based, and there would be lectures and bedside teaching. GP placements from the first two years would also continue.

We were given some ‘top tips’ for interview.


1)      Be honest and realistic

2)      Be confident

3)      Dress smartly

4)      Find out what DRs really do (GMC, NHS etc)


1)      Talk to other candidates about your interview

2)      Ramble

3)      Memorise lots of medical facts

4)      Panic


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