Selection for interview and Application Scoring

Student working on laptop

Applying to study Medicine is extremely competitive and making an application can be quite daunting. In this section we aim to make the  process of selection for interview easy to understand. Please check the entry requirements for the five-year MBChB course before you apply.   

Selection for interview 5-year MBChB (Home applicants)

The principles described here apply to our standard process of selection for interview. The following categories of applicant each have amended processes, which are described elsewhere:

  • Graduate
  • Widening Participation

Further information on these categories can be found in the relevant sections (see 'Entry Requirements').

For information on how we score international applications, please see the 'Selection for interview - 5-year MBChB (International)' section further down this page.

We will apply the following selection process to all standard applicants:

  • Applications will receive an overall score, which is the sum of weighted scores for each of three components: academic, UCAT and contextual
  • The inclusion of a contextual element to the score replaces our previous method of assigning 20% of interview places to contextual applicants
  • The weighting will be: 45% academic, 40% UCAT and 15% contextual. Please note, these are different weightings to those used in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 application cycles
  • We will not score your personal statement, but you must offer evidence of commitment to medicine (see 'Preparing to Apply')

Scoring an application

An application score is generated from GCSE and UCAT results as well as a contextual element as follows:

GCSE

Each application will receive a score for academic achievement based on results in seven GCSE (or equivalent) subjects. The subjects that will be scored are: English (both English Language and English Literature), Mathematics (or one, but not both, of Methods in Mathematics and Applications of Mathematics), Biology and Chemistry (or dual award science), plus two additional GCSEs in any subject. We will not exempt anyone from requiring a score for all identified subjects.

For the subjects specified above a minimum of grade B/6 must be offered and the scores allocated to the different grades are as follows:

8 or 9/A* = 4

7/A = 2

6/B = 1

For each of the two unspecified subjects, a score of 2 will be allocated when an 8 or 9/A*grade has been obtained. Lower grades will not receive a score.

The total GCSE score will be scaled to a maximum of 4.5.

Because we rank applicants according to a total score, we cannot define a GCSE grade profile that will be acceptable.

UCAT

There is no minimum UCAT cut-off score. Your total UCAT score from the four subtests (i.e. excluding the band result for the Situational Judgment Test, SJT), will be ranked among those for all applicants. The scores will be segregated into deciles and we will allocate our own score to each decile. For example, the top 10% of applicants’ scores will be in the top decile and will receive a maximum score of 4.0 in our process. For guidance, the national decile ranges for tests taken in 2021 are as follows (converted to a 0 – 4.0 scale):

Guidance on UCAT scoring
Total UCAT scoreDecileConverted score

2860 and above

10th

4.000

2740 - 2850

9th

3.556

2650 - 2730

8th

3.111

2580 - 2640

7th

2.667

2510 - 2570

6th

2.222

2440 - 2500

5th

1.778

2370 - 2430

4th

1.333

2280 - 2360

3rd

0.889

2160 - 2270

2nd

0.444

2150 and below

1st

0.000

It is important to note that the thresholds for each decile will be different for each new set of applicants. Therefore, the UCAT score applied to your application may differ from the above table, but the difference is expected to be marginal. 

The band score for the Situational Judgment Test (SJT) component of UCAT will be used at the interview stage.

Contextual

Applicants must have attended a contextual school to receive a score for this element. 

Consideration of contextual information is not new but from 2020/21 we have incorporated the contextual element into the algorithm used to score all applicants, instead of setting aside interview places for contextual applicants. We also incorporate POLAR4 data into our process.

We describe elsewhere the mechanism we use for identifying a contextual school and an explanation of POLAR4 (see ‘Entry Requirements MBChB (5 year)’).

Contextual School

View the list of schools that meet our contextual criteria. If you studied at one of these schools for GCSEs and/or A Levels, you will receive a score for the contextual element. Applicants from state (non-independent) schools in Wales will receive a contextual score.

POLAR4

You can retrieve your POLAR4 quintile from the Office for Students website: OFS Postcode Lookup.

We will allocate a score based on the following scheme:

POLAR4 scoring scheme
POLAR4 Quintile

1

2

3

4

5
Allocated score 1.5

1.5

1.2

0.9

0.6

How we select interview candidates

Selection for interview is determined by ranking applicants according to the total application score (combination of GCSE, UCAT and contextual scores, with a maximum of 10). We expect to interview over 1,100 standard applicants.

If this ranking does not allow us to identify an exact cut-off, we will rank applicants with the same score according to their UCAT results (focusing primarily on the score for Verbal Reasoning).

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. For more detailed information regarding thresholds from previous application cycles, please see our application statistics document.

To ensure that we are identifying applicants with the necessary skills and aptitude, we will also consider all other information in an application, including your personal statement and reference, both before and after interview.

Selection for interview - 5-year MBChB (International applicants)

Please note that we do not calculate an application score for international applicants.

The following is taken into consideration when assessing an international application:

i) Academic

  • Academic results will be studied to ensure minimum academic standards are met (see below for specified qualifications). Graduates must offer a 2:1 (equivalent) degree. These minimum standards may be raised through competition.
  • All applicants who meet the threshold academic standards will go forward to the next stage of selection

ii) UCAT

  • Applicants will be ranked according to total UCAT score from the four subtests. Information on threshold total scores for selection for interview in past application cycles can be found on our application statistics document

iii) Non-academic

  • The final stage of selection for interview is an assessment of your non-academic qualities, which will be made based on the evidence provided in your personal statement (see 'Preparing to Apply for Medicine')

Threshold Scores

For more detailed information regarding thresholds from previous application cycles, please see our application statistics document.

We are unable to predict the threshold score because this will vary each year according to the number and quality of applications we receive. We have to consider the number of interview places and places on our MBChB programme available, along with the unknown factors such as who will apply, the quality of applicants' academic results and their UCAT test performance. Once these are all factored together in the way that we describe above, it is only then that we can define who to invite to interview.

We believe this to be the fairest way to decide who should be able to attend interview when viewing all applicants within the context of the whole pool of those who applied.

The threshold application scores for the current cycle will be published at the end of the admissions cycle (around September/October time). Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individual feedback on your application due to the volume of applications we receive and process.

Application Decision Dates

Invitations to interview are normally sent out between December and January.  Your interview status will not show up on UCAS Track, so please ensure you check your junk mail and any alternative inboxes, or email addresses you have used as part of your application, regularly during this time in case an invitation to interview has been sent.

We aim to have all decisions on UCAS Track by mid-March, and these decisions are final.

If you are a Pathways to Birmingham applicant who applied before the deadline and have not received an update on your application by 1st January, please contact outreach@contacts.bham.ac.uk.