UCAS Application Tips

UCAS Applications

It’s the start of year 13 and applications for competitive UCAS applications and degree choices applications has started.

Just to recap, if you are applying for Oxford or Cambridge, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or Dentistry, then you need to apply by mid-October most years.  And this includes your tutor reference being added! You will get plenty of support in school and college, but as a starting point here are some pointers to be aware of.

By now, hopefully you will have researched which uni courses to go for! And your personal statement will have been through at least a draft or two already. You will have undertaken, and reflected upon, any work experience that’s needed for your application. You will have found out about and registered for any extra university admissions tests you need to do.

There are some practical steps to go through now, to help make sure you are as prepared as possible and your application is as good as it can be.


There are a few different dates to be aware of. The next UCAS deadline is 26th January. If you don’t need to meet the mid-October deadline, this doesn’t mean you should ignore the application form until late January though! In fact many schools and colleges will be encouraging their students to get the form sent in by the October half term. Why? It means that with it done you can concentrate on finishing your studies. It also means that you will actually be beating 60-70% of the application forms being sent in. This means that admissions staff will spend longer (perhaps a whole minute longer!) reading your form. It may not sound much, but it is. And universities have recruitment targets to meet – so being able to give out offers before most applications come in is really helpful for them.

Extra Tests

There are a number of tests that are sometimes asked for, depending on your uni choices. If you planning to apply for medicine (and some dentistry courses) you’ll have hopefully heard of BMAT and UCAT. The LNAT course is used by some law courses. Oxford and Cambridge have a range of tests for different subjects too. There isn’t space in this blog to ‘unpick’ them all, but if you’d like more information, https://www.theuniguide.co.uk/advice/ucas-application/which-admissions-tests-do-i-need-to-take is a good starting point. The main thing you will need to do is make sure you check where and when you need to get these done by. For some of these, you will be able to do the test at school or college, for others you will need to go to a test centre, often where driving theory tests are done too!

Multi Mini Interviews – aka MMI’s

These are often used for subjects like medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. How are they different to a ‘normal’ university interview? In several ways. Firstly, each interview station will only last 10-15 minutes at most. There will be a number of them, covering topics like ethics (for instance for vet courses you might be asked about a current issue in the news, for instance if breeding dogs for drugs trials is acceptable), work experience, your personal statement and your current academic studies. There aren’t any ‘right’ answers you can have but you do need to ensure you can talk through your opinion and explain why, also give some thought to what you gained from work experience rather than just list what you saw – you will hopefully have done this with your personal statement anyway. https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/medicine/apply/interviews/  and https://higherhorizons.co.uk/app/uploads/2020/06/HH-Veterinary-Interviews.pdf are useful.

And lastly….

If you have found a university course that really interests you, or rather several universities that offer it, it is really worth giving it a go and applying. By applying early and being prepared, you will increase your chances of getting offered a place. But by the very nature of applying for a competitive course means that some people won’t get offered a place. So… do have a fall back idea. Find out what other degree courses are available, that relate to it. If you’re applying for medicine, would pharmacology be a good fall back or if its veterinary medicine, would zoology or animal science be an option? Don’t expect your school to just tell you what to apply for – this is your uni choice! One of the wonderful things about university is that there are a huge range of courses that you haven’t found out about, many of which will relate to your original uni choices.

Here at My Uni Choices we specialise in helping students, parents & educators make the best choices. Review all the Universities & Courses here or discover more About Us & the best uni courses for you, finally if you’re ready let’s take The Test to find out what course or degree you should do.

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