Selection for interview

Selection for interview

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 both the five-year MBChB and four-year graduate entry MBChB courses before you apply.   

Selection for interview (five-year course)

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
  • International
  • Widening Participation

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

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 weightings will be: 45% academic, 30% UCAT and 25% contextual
  • 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 identifed 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 3.0 in our process. For guidance, the decile ranges in 2019-20 are as follows (converted to a 0 – 3 scale):

Guidance on UCAT scoring
Total UCAT scoreDecileConverted score

2910 and above

10th

3.000

2790 - 2900

9th

2.667

2730 - 2780

8th

2.333

2670 - 2720

7th

2.000

2620 - 2660

6th

1.667

2560 - 2610

5th

1.333

2500 - 2550

4th

1.000

2420 - 2490

3rd

0.667

2320 - 2410

2nd

0.333

2310 and below

1st

0.000

It is important to note that the thresholds for each decile will be different for a 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 decile boundaries for 2018-19 were very similar to those above therefore we expect your UCAT score will fall either in the decile indicated above or in an adjacent decile.

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.

Please note that the consideration of contextual information is not new.

One change we have made is to incorporate the contextual element into the algorithm used to score all applicants, instead of setting aside 20% of interview places for contextual applicants.

A second change is to 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, even if it was only for GCSEs or A Levels and not both, you will receive a score for the contextual element if you apply.

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 2.5

2.5

2.0

1.5

1.0

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. To find out if you are likely or unlikely to be offered an interview, please use our downloadable calculator tool. The guidance you receive from this is based on data from previous admissions cycles and also the projected impact of 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. We model historical data to ensure it is accurate in the majority of instances. 

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 (four-year course)

We receive well over 800 applications and we will interview approximately 100 applicants.

Guidance

This will be our second year of scoring an application for the graduate-entry programme. For the 2019-20 admissions cycle, a majority of applicants selected for interview had achieved a 1st class degree and maximum points in our scoring process for A Levels. Nevertheless, a UCAT result and the other factors described here had a significant impact.

Application Scoring

We will select for interview using the following scheme:

This table indicates the points allocation for each parameter

Application scoring guidance
ParameterResultPoints

Degree*

1st

8

2:1

4

Predicted 1st (or borderline)

2

A Levels

AAA+

4

BBB+

2

BBC

1

UCAT Total Score (see separate table).

Top decile

4

9th decile etc.

3.56 etc.

Bottom decile

0

Years in full-time employment

(including postgraduate study/research/training)

 

3 or more

4

1 or 2

2

A Levels (contextual):

This points allocation will be used if the school attended
for A Levels is classified as contextual

 

ABB+ 4
BBC+ 2
CCC+ 1

*We will adjust the scoring for Care Leavers (see 'Entry Requirements')

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 score conversion we used in 2019-20 is as follows:

UCAT scoring guidance
Total UCAT scoreDecileConverted score

2770 and above

10th

4

2680 - 2760

9th

3.556

2610 - 2670

8th 3.111

2540 - 2600

7th 2.667

2480 - 2530

6th 2.222

2430 - 2470

5th  1.778

2380 - 2420

4th 1.333

2310 - 2370

3rd 0.889
2210 - 2300 2nd

0.444

2200 and below 1st

0.000

 

  • Further information on each of the above parameters is provided in the 'Entry Requirements MBChB Graduate Entry (four-year' section
  • We will rank applicants according to their total application score. If the 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)
  • We will not score your personal statement, but you must offer evidence of commitment to medicine (see ‘Preparing to apply’)
  • Please note that it is not possible to predict the threshold score because this will vary each year according to the number and quality of applications we receive.

Please see our Medicine interviews section for details of our interview process.