Getting into Midwifery - Nottingham Through Clearing

If you’ve read or followed any of my social media posts recently, you will have seen I have been accepted to study Midwifery at the University of Nottingham. While this post will directly discuss my process of getting into the programme through clearing, and offering advice of that nature, I can only assume the interview process for getting in through first applications is similar.

So starting at the very beginning, I decided I wanted to study Midwifery at the start of July. I was happy to wait a year to start and although I didn’t know what I would do during that time, I had accepted that would probably be the case. A week later, I decided to take the chance and reach out to a number of different universities offering the course to gage whether I would have any chance in being able to study and get in for entry this year. It was a long shot but worth a try. Surprisingly, a number of universities offered me a place immediately while others said they wouldn’t be able to confirm until A Level results came in.

Given that the ones who offered me a place weren’t my top choices, nor were they highly ranked, I thought I might as well wait for a week to see the options through Clearing.

Clearing day came as the results were realised and I ended up spending a few hours looking through universities with clearing spaces. I did a fair amount of research on the range of courses and Nottingham was a clear favourite. I rang immediately and that’s when the process started.

First of all was a man who had nothing to do with the School of Healthcare but just wanted to explain the process and confirm my A Level results. I feel almost embarrassed when saying my results out loud especially when applying for a course that doesn’t require them. He asked me multiple times if I was sure so I felt a little awkward but nevertheless he said someone would call me by the end of the next day.

I jumped in the shower and 20 minutes after the first, I received a call, this time from the administrative team for the Midwifery course. I was completely unprepared for the call and it ended up being an over-the-phone interview. They asked simple questions but as I hadn’t prepared in the slightest, I felt a mess. Still, after a brief period on hold, I was offered an interview for the following Tuesday…4 days!

Everything went so quickly.

By Friday evening, we’d booked the hotel to stay over on the Monday evening and that was that. A quick 2 hour journey up, we arrived at the hotel ready for an early rise the following day.

My interview began at 8.30am. Considering how late I’ve been sleeping in over the past 3 weeks, it was a little bit of a shock to the system to be up with the sun but I was excited and ready. I feel like everything ran very smoothly.

The day begins with registration and after a fair bit of waiting around and a brief welcome, you’re taken to another room to listen to a lecture. Having now down research of the course, university and profession, I felt very much so that the presentation was a waste of my time but I can see it putting people at ease and relaxing those more stressed. For those who hadn’t come quite as prepared it would definitely have helped them.

My favourite thing about the session was that a current student midwife was on hand to answer questions and offer advice to us. I actually really appreciated the time she took out of her day. The time that was allowed was truly valued.

The interview itself was split into 2 separate entities. We have been asked by Nottingham not to release the questions asked however I don’t think I will be breaching any rules by talking through the process or offering advice.

The first part consisted of a group interview. The large group was split into groups of 5 people and taken to separate rooms. On the table was a sheet of questions, some pictures and a timer. We were given 15 minutes and then had to discuss the questions relating them to the picture. I very much think this sort of activity can change so it may not be the same for you.

Most importantly to remember is that this station is necessarily about what you say! I am no admissions tutor so don’t take my word for it, but the impression I received was that they are looking purely at communication skills. This includes, but not limited to:

- Take it in turns. This is a group activity remember so they want everyone to be involved. While you definitely need to say something at times, don’t speak over others and over power others.
- Be interactive. Don’t become a robot. Try to relax, enjoy the conversation and use body language.
- Visibly actively listen. Nodding, sounds of agreement and eye contact are great! But don’t nod then don’t respond to what someone says. As I was listening to others, I was picking up on some things I thought were completely unnatural. I tried to tie in my response to theirs rather than make it a separate entry.

After returning to the holding room, we didn’t have long to wait until we were told our interview times and groupings. Compared to my medical school interviews – of which I had four – this was completely different. I knew in advance it was a multi-mini interview (MMI) set up but I wasn’t quite expecting such a comfortable or short process, given that there were just 4 stations.

As we walked into the interview room we were laughing and joking with the interviewers and it was very calming. The lead collected us from the waiting room and we picked which station to start with. Each station was 5 minutes long and then we returned to the waiting room each time. It was very odd because we were allowed to talk in between stations, even though we’d all been doing different ones. Trust me when I say not to worry about the time limit. I never finished early because I had so much to say!

Like I mentioned before, we are not allowed to talk about the questions but they are very much the traditional interview questions in regards to the ones you should know off the top of your head. Plus, they throw in some situational questions which require careful consideration of all aspects and viewpoints.

We were told we would finish at 1pm but ended up leaving just after 11.30am so perhaps have a contingency plan in place in case of an early finish.

All in all, I think the fact I wasn’t desperate to get on the course this year was actually a benefit. As I thought it was a long shot, I was very relaxed throughout the whole process and not stressed in the slightest. I felt I was completely myself through the whole process. Being calm and staying calm is without a doubt, the number one key to success.

My only other piece of advice is to take a bottle of water with you. You are literally talking for 20 minutes with short breaks in between so my mouth got very dry!

All in all, I really enjoyed the experience. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or message me via any of my social media accounts. Good luck!


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