Section 1: The Application Process for Medicine at Manchester University
What qualities in a student does Manchester university look for?
The University of Manchester is the largest medical school in the UK and it has a cohort size of just over 400 students in each year. The university of Manchester is looking for well-rounded applicants with strong interpersonal skills and are able to communicate effectively.
What elements of your application does Manchester medical school value most?
At various stages of the application process, the University of Manchester will be looking for different qualities from their applicants. When shortlisting candidates for interviews, the University of Manchester will consider the information supplied within the Non-Academic Information Form (NAIF) and UCAT score. The NAIF is unique to medicine applicants at the University of Manchester, this form is sent out to candidates after the completion of the UCAS form on the 15th of October. The NAIF is used quite heavily by the University of Manchester when deciding who to interview, in fact the university does not look at the personal statement at all, the university explicitly states "we do not directly assess your personal statement as part of the selection process" [https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/medicine/apply/non-academic/], however it is important to mention that the university may read a small number of personal statements in special cases.
More information regarding the NAIF is detailed later on in this guide. In addition to the NAIF, the University of Manchester also utilises the use of a 'threshold' UCAT scores in order to determine which applicants are invited for interview. Candidates who are invited for interview will be assessed on their communication abilities, motivation for medicine, previous caring experience, matters of medical interest as well as ethical and other issues.
How important is the UCAT / BMAT score at Manchester medical school?
The university of Manchester employs the use of a UCAT threshold. Applicants above this threshold are automatically invited for interview. This threshold score will vary from year to year depending on the standard of the scores that are received for a particular year.
The table below summarises the minimum UCAT thresholds that were applied in previous application cycles which can be used as a rough guide for the future. Applicants with scores that were above these threshold were automatically invited for interviews.
In circumstances where the number of high scoring candidates exceeds the number of interview slots available, the university will instead rank candidates by overall UCAT score and SJT banding.
The University of Manchester also states that UK/EU applicants who are from similar educational/socio-econimic backgrounds will be considered against each other for UCAT scores using 'publicly available datasets'. They do this to find talented applicants from all backgrounds.
However, do keep in mind that applicants who do not meet the threshold can still be considered for interview via a 'holistic approach'. For the holistic approach, the university of Manchester will consider: your overall UCAT score and Situational Judgement banding; academic achievement (especially if these are above the entry requirements) and contextual data flags.
Generally contextual data at the University of Manchester involves considering the background of applicants, this means they will look at whether your school for GCSEs/A-levels performed poorly compared to the national average, if your postcode is in an area of disadvantage or low progression and whether you have been in care. Students who have refugee status may also be considered contextually. More information regarding contextual data is provided on the university's website: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/contextual-admissions/admissions/
With regards to the situational judgement component of the UCAT, the University of Manchester will not consider applicants who achieve a Band 4, even under the holistic approach, band 4 will always be rejected. Applicants who achieve a band 3 may still be considered, however priority will be given to those who achieve bands 1 and 2. [https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/medicine/apply/ucat/]
How important are the grades you ultimately achieve for medicine at Manchester university?
You must meet the academic entry requirements in order to be considered for interview.
A levels: AAA (in specific subjects)
GCSEs: Minimum of 7 GCSEs at grade A (7) or above.
It is important to note that if you are shortlisted for interview by meeting the UCAT threshold then having A-level/GCSE grades that exceed the entry requirements will not be advantageous to your application. However if you are shortlisted through the 'holistic' approach mentioned earlier then higher GCSE/A-level grades will be advantageous. [https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/medicine/apply/faqs/]
What other requirements does Manchester university have for Medicine?
The University of Manchester requires all applicants to complete the Non-academic information form (NAIF), this is used instead of the personal statement. The NAIF is a more structured version of the personal statement. There are several sections within the NAIF for applicants to fill out, these are:
Experience in a caring role - The university of Manchester states that this does not have to medically-related work experience. In fact they ask applicants to not use examples of shadowing. Instead they want applicants to discuss experiences that were more hands and on and involved, you need to discuss things that you have participated in rather than just observed. This could be for example work experience done in a care home. Responses should demonstrate a clear understanding of what studying medicine is like and what the role of a doctor entails. Candidates should also include what work was done, how much time was spent and what was gained from this.
Hobbies & interests - This section requires applicants to discuss what they do in their spare time. The section is less about what exactly you do in your free time and more to do with actually having some free time and using this free time to do something (i.e. indicating a work-life balance). You should mention what you do, how much time you have dedicated to this and if you have gained any outside recognition (such as awards).
Team working - Working within teams is a large aspect of being a doctor, you need to be able to show that you are able to work in teams and discuss your experience of having done this. You should also be able to show an understanding of the advantages of working within a team as opposed to alone.
Motivation for medicine - This will be quite personal to you. The university of Manchester wants to know how your experiences have influenced your decision to study medicine.
Why Manchester?- There is also space to discuss why you have specifically chosen the University of Manchester. Think about the type of course offered at Manchester and why this may be suitable for you.
What should I put in my personal statement for Medicine at Manchester university?
In the specific case of Manchester University, the personal statement is not relevant and the NAIF is much more important to focus on (see above)! You should of course give your personal statement attention with regards to the other universities you are applying to.
What is the structure of the medicine interview for Manchester university?
The university of Manchester uses Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format. For 2021 there were 4/5 stations which were each 7 minutes long with 2 minutes rest in-between. Information around the 2022 interviews hasn't yet been made available, however the University will detail the procedure and format to all interviewees prior to the interviews. Interviews for the 2022 entry will take place in December 2021 and January/February 2022.
What does Manchester university look for in a Medicine interview?
The interviews at the University of Manchester are not designed to test your academic knowledge, instead they aim to determine if applicants have the values and behaviors expected of a medical student.
Candidates should display strong interpersonal skills, communication abilities and be well-rounded throughout the interview. The university aims to conduct interviews in a relaxed manner, however some elements will be deliberately challenging in order to see how applicants handle stress.
Specific areas that are tested at interview:
Ability to communicate - the university of Manchester is looking for applicants who are able to clearly explain their ideas and give coherent arguments. Spontaneous yet well thought out responses would be better than long pre-learned rehearsed speeches.
Why do you want to be a doctor? - Applicants should discuss specific experiences that influenced their decision to study medicine. Common responses are often in the form of long rehearsed speeches so try to express your ideas more naturally in order to come off as more genuine.
Previous caring experience - It is important to focus on what you have actually gained from these experiences as well as your emotional response to them. These do not have to be from a traditional medical environment.
Matters of a medical interest - Candidates need to be aware of the current events in medicine, especially those currently in the media. Detailed factual medical knowledge is not needed here. In the few months leading up to your interview make sure you keep up to date with the news, especially the news and politics ongoing around the NHS and healthcare in general. A great place to do this is the Newsfeed (medmentor.co.uk/newsfeed)
Ethical and other issues - There are often no clear cut correct responses to these problems, instead you should be able to clearly display understanding of both sides of the arguments and cohesively explain the rationale behind your reasoning.
The University of Manchester does not offer a 4 year graduate entry medicine programme. However, those with previous degrees can still apply to the undergraduate programme.
What is the course structure for the 5 year medicine course?
The course at the University of Manchester is structured into pre-clinical and clinical years. The pre-clinical years refer to years 1 and 2 of the course while the clinical years refer to years 3, 4 and 5 of the course.
The pre-clinical years are done at the University campus on Oxford Road. For the clinical years, students will be sent to hospitals around Manchester. During the first two years of the course students will have occasional half day placements at hospitals/GP surgeries once every few weeks.
What is the teaching style at Manchester medical school?
Lectures at the University of Manchester are not mandatory to attend and are normally recorded and available to view online. It is important to note that although lectures are given during years 1 and 2, Manchester university heavily encourages proactive and peer led learning so expect to have to take control of your own learning and doing your own research.
A personal highlight of my time at the university of Manchester is the anatomy workshops, these sessions involved hands-on whole body dissections and the use of prosecutions as well as models to learn anatomy. Students can be as much or little involved as they want with the practical dissections, so don't worry at all if you don't think you'd enjoy or benefit from it. During year 1, students have to attend 1 workshop per week, during year 2 there was 1 workshop per week and extra workshops fortnightly.
Throughout years 1-5, the university of Manchester offers a 'personal excellence pathway' (PEP). This is basically a research component/module that is done by all students. As you progress through the medicine course the PEP modules become more elaborate. The topics are very diverse and students have full control over choosing topics that interest them. For more information on the PEP: https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/medicine/your-studies/teaching-learning/personalised/
What does an average day as a first year medical student at Manchester university look like?
The table below is provided by the University of Manchester and shows a typical week for a student in 1st year:
How does the structure of your day-to-day life change as you progress through the different years of the course?
There is quite a significant change as you move from year 2 to year 3 of the course; this is when you will be moving from the pre-clinical years to clinical years. In the first two years of the course at you would have spent most your time on campus, going to lectures, workshops and problem-based learning sessions. However once you enter year 3, all of your time will spent on placement attending hospital/GP surgeries.
Is an iBSc offered at Manchester university?
The university of Manchester does offer the option to intercalate, this can be done after year 2, year 3 or year 4. Students can intercalate to do a Master's after year 3 or year 4. Students can intercalate at the University of Manchester itself, however if there is a course that is not offered by Manchester but is offered by another university then students can intercalate at that other university.
A unique opportunity available to students at the University of Manchester is the option to spend 3 years intercalating for a doctoral (PhD) degree. Currently this is only available in cancer sciences. Those who do this will graduate with a MBChB and a PhD.
What is the typical cohort size and does this change as you progress through the course?
The cohort size for my year (2018/19 entry) was around 420 students, this slowly got smaller within the first few months as some students left to around 400.
Once you enter year 3, the cohort size for the year will get bigger, this is because some students from the University of St Andrews will join the Manchester students for their clinical years education. The University of St Andrews students will be placed in the exact same hospitals/GPs and have the exact same teaching as Manchester students and the cohort size will get larger to around 450 students.
Please note the exact numbers above are rounded estimates and they only apply to my particular year which was the 2018/19 entry. There might be slight variations for other year groups
Which hospitals are linked to Manchester medical school?
At the University of Manchester students can be assigned to one of four 'base' teaching hospitals. You will attend these hospitals, along with their associated district general hospitals during clinical years from 3rd year onwards. These are: Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (Oxford Road campus), Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (Wythenshawe), Lancashire Teaching Hospitals and Salford Royal Hospital. It is important to note that the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals are in and around Preston which is another city around 40 miles north of Manchester. Unless there are special mitigating circumstances allocations to these hospitals are done at random by the university. So if you are assigned Preston then expect to quite rarely see all the other students who are based in the Manchester hospitals as you will be based relatively far away.
Section 3: University & Medical School Life at Manchester
Where is Manchester university located?
The university is located in various buildings on Oxford Road. All buildings are around a 10 minute walk from each other. Oxford Road is rather close to Manchester city center too. Buses travelling to and from oxford road are very frequent, in fact I find that I never have to check bus time tables, I just go to a bus stop and there always seems to be bus that shows up after a few minutes. Travelling by train is also possible, the nearest station being Oxford Road train station which is around a 5 minute walk from the university. Walking further along oxford road will lead you to the infamous 'curry mile', this is a stretch of road with a large concentration of restaurants and takeaways specialising in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Bicycle lanes are also aplenty around the university.
Are students encouraged to take part in societies?
Being a very large university, there are plenty of of weird and wacky societies that students can get involved in. In addition to academically related societies there are also many sports societies and lots of others that are somewhere in-between.
What is the student satisfaction score for Manchester medical school?
The university of Manchester has a 81% student satisfaction score. This is around the middle of the league table.
How diverse is Manchester university and in particular the medical school?
With Manchester being a very diverse city, it is no surprise that the university is also similarly diverse. There are over 40,000 students at the university of Manchester as a whole and around 14,800 of those are international.
What bursaries are available at Manchester university for Medicine students?
The University of Manchester offers a very generous bursary of £2,000 for those with household incomes below £25,000 and £1,000 for household income below £35,000. Other hardship funds and financial support are also available for certain circumstances.
Are student support services readily available and easy to access at Manchester?
The University of Manchester does offer ample pastoral support, the university has its own counselling services and a large store of online well-being content that can be accessed by any student.
What are the best food spots around Manchester university?
Walk down the curry mile and see whatever catches your eye :) there are so many options available that it would be very hard to narrow down. It is worth noting that there will be something for every price range, you can find cheap takeaways if you're in a hurry or more fancy sit-down restaurants .
Is student accommodation available for Manchester university?
The University of Manchester guarantees student accommodation for 1st year students, there are several halls available that students are able to select from. These can be en-suite, shared bathrooms, catered or self-catered. There are 3 main locations for these student halls: the Fallowfield halls are the furthest away and are stereotypically known for being slightly 'rowdy', the city halls are closest to the university and tend to be the most quiet. The victoria park halls are somewhere in between these two.