Outcome of the course
Information for applicants
At the end of the undergraduate programme you will receive your MBBS (or equivalent) degree, which is a primary medical qualification (PMQ). Holding a PMQ entitles you to provisional registration with the General Medical Council, subject to its acceptance that there are no Fitness to Practise concerns that need consideration.
The GMC has decided to introduce a Medical Licensing Assessment – the MLA - from 2022 to demonstrate that those who obtain registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK meet a common threshold for safe practice. Applicants should be aware that to obtain registration with a licence to practise, medical students will need to pass both parts of the MLA, pass university finals and demonstrate their fitness to practise.
The MLA will be in two parts: there will be a knowledge test, which will be set and run by the GMC, and an assessment, delivered by medical schools, that will evaluate students’ clinical and professional skills.
Provisional registration is time limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days (1125 days in total). After this time period your provisional registration will normally expire.
Provisionally registered doctors can only practise in approved Foundation Year 1 posts: the law does not allow provisionally registered doctors to undertake any other type of work. To obtain a Foundation Year 1 post you will need to apply during the final year of your undergraduate programme through the UK Foundation Programme Office selection scheme, which allocates these posts to graduates on a competitive basis. All suitably qualified UK graduates have found a place on the Foundation Year 1 programme, but this cannot be guaranteed, for instance if there were to be an increased number of competitive applications from non-UK graduates.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year 1 programme is normally achieved within 12 months and is marked by the award of a Certificate of Experience. You will then be eligible to apply for full registration with the General Medical Council. You need full registration with a licence to practise for unsupervised medical practice in the NHS or private practice in the UK.
Although this information is currently correct, students need to be aware that regulations in this area may change from time to time.
There is some discussion about whether to remove provisional registration for newly qualified doctors. If this happens then UK graduates will receive full registration as soon as they have successfully completed an MBBS (or equivalent) degree. It should be noted that it is very likely that UK graduates will still need to apply for a training programme similar to the current Foundation Programme and that places on this programme may not be guaranteed for every UK graduate.
First year - Phase 1 Clinical Orientation
This phase begins with a programme covering biological sciences, anatomy and medicine in society, since you will have covered little of these in comparison with your knowledge of other life science subjects. You’ll work on problem-based case studies as part of a tutor-supervised group of about eight students, with each of you covering all aspects of the case studies. The problems are grouped into four six-week themed blocks covering basic science, anatomy (including prosection), ethics, medicine in society and behavioural science, with all these aspects integrated into each of the case studies.
Second year - Phase 2 Clinical Experience
You will be based in the same Teaching Hospital Trusts that currently teach the third-year course for students on the five-year MBChB, spending the first semester in one teaching Trust and rotating to another in the second. You’ll also join our five-year MBChB students in their clinical science lectures, pharmacology teaching and special study modules in public health and epidemiology. In addition, as a GEC student you’ll continue with a small component of case-based learning to further your basic and behavioural science training.
Students on the Maxillofacial Surgery training programme will commence their studies at this stage.
Third and fourth years
You will now move onto clinical attachments with attachments in medical, surgical and other speciality subjects, such as Cardiology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Bone and Joint Disease, Oncology, Ear, Nose and Throat and Peri-Operative Care. You will also do attachments in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics and General Practice. During the final year, you will be able to bring all of your learning and skills together through the Acutely Ill Patient attachment, as you prepare to become a medical practitioner.
Dr Austen Spruce, Medicine Admissions Tutor, discusses the entry requirements and admissions process for the MBChB Medicine and Surgery programme at Birmingham Medical School.
Preparing to Apply for Medicine
When we are deciding whom to invite for interview, academic excellence is not our only criterion. Therefore it is important for you to demonstrate your motivation towards a career in medicine and are able to show evidence that you will be able to acquire the values of the NHS (including: working together for patients; respect and dignity; compassion; commitment to quality of care; resilience), through people-focused work experience or volunteering.
It is essential that you provide evidence of an understanding of working in a UK healthcare environment and an on-going commitment to medicine. The types of experience that we value include voluntary work in a nursing home, care home, hospice or hospital volunteer. We do not rank applications on the amount of experience that has been obtained, though we do expect that the time spent is stated. We are more likely to be reassured of your commitment if you offer a combination of a minimum of two full weeks of experiences within the previous year. Shadowing of doctors is not required and, though it has its benefits, we prefer active involvement in a healthcare setting. Experiences gained whilst still at secondary school are of minimal importance.
We recognise that extracurricular activity in areas outside of healthcare can supplement the development of the broader qualities required of a potential doctor. Therefore, you must offer significant and substantial involvement. We especially appreciate non-academic experiences that you have sought independently (such as a job in a customer-focused role). A voluntary role giving you responsibility for a group of individuals is also valued. In general, it should be very clear from your application that engagement in significant activity and taking on responsibility is natural for you and, therefore, should be on-going and of some years duration.
We will consider all of these non-academic aspects as described in the personal statement and take account of your total involvement. Thus, for example, we will be concerned if there is little evidence of the use of relevant skills (leadership, effective team-working, problem-solving, coping with significant responsibility) even if there is a great deal of evidence of attending healthcare placements.
The Medical Schools Council has produced guidance on work experience and the development of attitudes and behaviours:http://www.medschools.ac.uk/Publications/Pages/Work-experience-guidelines-for-applicants-to-medicine.aspx
If invited for interview, candidates may be asked to provide details of their work experience placements.
Preparation for interview and indeed for study on a medicine programme is aided by engaging in frequent discussions with friends and family about medical issues appearing in the news and media. You should also use your time on work experience effectively by gaining insight into the demands placed on staff, the problems they encounter and the strategies that they employ to handle difficult situations as well as the benefits they obtain from caring for people and working in teams. Again, opportunities to engage in discussion of these issues must be taken.
Core Values and Attributes
The Medical Schools Council has produced a statement on the core values and attributes needed to study medicine:http://www.medschools.ac.uk/Publications/Pages/Statement-on-the-core-values-and-attributes-needed-to-study-medicine.aspx
Some of these are assessed in the mechanisms used to identify applicants for interview (described below). Our interview process will address many more of these, including: self-insight, reflection, problem-solving, dealing with uncertainty, communication, teamwork, resilience, empathy and honesty. In common with all organisations selecting people to work in the NHS, our recruitment is values-based.
From those who apply, approximately 90 candidates are invited to attend for interview. This selection is based on the information provided on the UCAS application. The majority of the interviews take place in January.
Interviews are organised in a multiple mini-interview format. You will participate in seven separate, short interviews, lasting 6 minutes each. The format allows you to start afresh at each mini-interview. A range of your personal attributes relevant to studying medicine will be assessed by means of different tasks. Interview stations are designed to assess aspects such as: motivation for medicine; communication; self-insight; ethical reasoning; data interpretation; ability to evaluate information and identify relevant aspects.
To find out more about each stage of the interview process, download our MBChB interview information document.
Outcome of interview:
The decision whether an offer is made is based primarily on the interview performance data. We will not re-review academic information in making the decision unless absolutely necessary (e.g. if there are a number of applicants on the same interview score). The scores for each station are used to calculate an average score (simple arithmetic mean), which is used to rank all applicants. We expect to make up to 60 offers and these applicants will be identified according to the rank order (the precise overall score is not relevant). We expect to set a minimum performance standard for each station (which will be well below the threshold for the average score). If this is not met than an offer may not be made even if the overall score is above threshold.
Review of Admissions Decisions
If you wish to question the decision that has been made, please refer to Section 6 of the Code of Practice for Admission of Students to the University of Birmingham.