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Advice & Insight From TSA Specialists

​Key Information

Birmingham requires BBB at A Level. They do not accept General Studies, but will take into account a strong performance in the subject if you otherwise fail the conditions of your offer. You must have 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above, which must include English, Mathematics and one Science. A preferred A Level subject spread would be one out of Biology, Psychology, and Sociology, alongside two others.
Birmingham will then assess your academic achievements (including predicted grades), personal statement and reference. They offer little information on their interview process, but from previous students’ accounts you should expect a panel interview with two members of staff – one practising nurse and one member of the academic staff. 

Birmingham Application Interview Statistics

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What are Birmingham Looking for?

Birmingham provide a clear breakdown of what they are looking for in both your personal statement and interview. They want evidence of:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  • A clear understanding of the University of Birmingham Bachelor of Nursing programme 
  • Enthusiasm for a career in nursing and having a desire to make a difference within healthcare 
  • Understanding of what a nurse does and the values and personal qualities that make a good nurse (revise the 6Cs for this section)
  • Skills and knowledge gained when undertaking relevant work experience or voluntary work 
  • Experience of working in a healthcare setting or experience of being a carer or a service user 
  • Knowledge of current national issues within nursing and healthcare 
  • Skills acquired whilst undertaking Edexcel level 3 extended project 
  • Capacity for independent study 
  • Awareness of equal opportunities and cultural diversity

The Course: Benefits

Birmingham break down their course in detail, and emphasise certain elements of it. Indeed, they clearly lay out exactly why you should want to study at Birmingham. Therefore, not knowing the course inside out (and having some questions on it at interview) is inexcusable!
They have a research intensive teaching and learning strategy, meaning you can feel confident that your teaching is up-to-date. You’ll get the benefit of learning in some of the leading trusts in the UK, meaning your placements will be varied and interesting. There are regional and national centres of excellent in Birmingham. The Medical School is located right next to the Queen Elizabeth, which is one of the largest general hospitals in Europe. You’ll learn in the Medical School, meaning that you benefit from joint learning opportunities with students studying medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and physiotherapy. This opportunity to learn with other disciplines from the outset should be highlighted at interview, and linked to your abilities in team-working, communication, leadership and empathy. In terms of Nursing though, expect a small cohort – they promise ‘quality not quantity,’ meaning that each student will be well supported.
There are frequent clinical teaching sessions, student forums, and clinical skills support opportunities, all organised and assisted by the practice placement teams. Lecturers provide dedicated practice preparation, and additional sessions in the middle of placements to help you make the most of each placement experience. ​

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The Course: Overview

First Year at Birmingham is joint between all Nursing courses; Adult, Mental Health or Children’s – meaning you get exposure to a variety of practice settings and outlooks at the outset. It develops your understanding of holistic healthcare, across the whole lifespan of a human being. You should be well aware of holistic healthcare, and of patient-centred care, and ready to answer questions on these topics. Second Year builds clinical skills, communication skills, and health promotion. Third Year will prepare you for practice, with some overlap with nurses from other fields. ​

The Elective

You are able to take on a four week elective placement in the UK or abroad. Common destinations in the UK include prisons, hospices and other specialist units. Abroad, you can choose to go anywhere – meaning that you can experience a different healthcare service and an entirely different way of delivering care. If you are nurturing an interest in public health, or global health policy, this is a brilliant opportunity and should be emphasised at interview. You are also able to join organisations like charities or NGOs to further your personal professional development.

​Some Key Questions for Birmingham Interviews

  • Explain to us why the University of Birmingham course particularly appeals to you.
  • Do you think that inter-disciplinary working requires specific skills?
  • What are the qualities of a good nurse?
  • What does a nurse do on a day-to-day basis?
  • Why have you chosen Adult Nursing (or Children’s / Mental Health?)
  • The study of Nursing can often be tough. What have you done that shows your ability to learn under time pressure and do well?
  • What issues are affecting the Nursing profession at the moment?
  • What do you understand by the term holistic care?
  • What was the most important lesson you learnt from your work experience?
  • Are you interested in health policy or the idea of working outside of the traditional clinical environments?

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