Dispensing a Dose of Pharmacy Wisdom

Posted in: Faculty of Science, Undergraduate, Why Bath?

Hi, my name is Madaleine, and I am a 3rd year Pharmacy student at the University of Bath.

So, why did I choose Pharmacy? Well, I studied A ‘levels in Biology, Chemistry and History and enjoyed them all but knew that Science was going to me my study choice for university. This led me to explore the many Science-based degree options on UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), and the realisation that my preference was for a degree and subsequent career that was not purely lab-based. I recognised that being in a patient-focused field could prove rewarding for me, so I then began researching Healthcare study options. I was drawn to Pharmacy because it offered a high-level scientific study route, where I could apply my knowledge and skills in a clinical setting to deliver patient care. So, from here, I just needed to decide on which universities I wanted to apply to ….


As for many, my university research opportunities were limited due to Covid restrictions and I did not get to go to any open events, summer schools etc. I submitted my UCAS choices around late November 2020 and was thrilled to start receiving interview dates and offers ahead of being notified of my interview at Bath, which was scheduled for mid-February 2021.


Bath, my first-choice uni, ticked lots of my boxes. Being a campus university, Bath meant I could live ‘on site’ in my 1st year, with everything only a short walk away. Meanwhile, the city itself is not massive either, so everything is within walking distance, making it easy to get around and meet up with friends etc. Also, the fact that Bath is a very safe city and is undoubtedly incredibly beautiful from an aesthetic point of view, made it look like a pretty attractive place for me to be spending the next 4 years of my life. Additionally, Bath has long held a good reputation for being extraordinarily strong academically, and as such, it was my most aspirational choice. Whilst I know you should not plan your studies solely based on course rankings, knowing that Bath’s degree was ranked amongst the UK’s top 10 left me feeling reassured at the prospect of a solid degree with excellent teaching, and in turn, high student satisfaction levels.


Bath students typically outperform other universities’ Pharmacy students in the annual ORIEL exam; this is an exam taken at the end of 3rd year to determine your pre-registration year placement. Furthermore, Bath graduates hold a record for a 100% pass rate in the pre-registration exam itself, as set by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC); this must be passed to achieve registered Pharmacist status and become fully qualified to practise in the UK. Finally, Bath University also has good placement links around the city and the Southwest more broadly, so I knew I would get lots of valuable experience out in practice, and I have indeed enjoyed many integrated placements so far, providing me with many valuable insights and learning opportunities. All these factors contributed to my choosing Bath for my degree and feeling confident that this would be a wonderful place to study and prepare me well for my career after university.


My interview was online with one of Pharmacy department’s lecturers, who was immediately friendly, which helped calm my nerves. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It started off with standard questions such as why I chose Pharmacy, what skills I had which could help me be a good Pharmacy student/Pharmacist, what, if any, prior work experience in Pharmacy/Healthcare did I have, why had I chosen Bath etc. I then had questions on my personal statement. I knew that these would be important and could help me stand out compared to other applicants, so I was prepared to talk about my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) topic, which had a Healthcare related theme and to elaborate on the skills I had developed as a result, which could be helpful to me as a Pharmacy student.

We then moved onto the calculation part of the interview which I was most dreading. Maths was not my strength, and I had not done it for A level, unlike many other applicants. There were 2 calculation questions, and I did each of them and explained my workings out to the interviewer. The Maths involved was not complex – just addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, along with some unit conversions, however, the context of drug and patient doses, which I had not come across before, meant that I did not do as well as I should.  To cut a long story short, I ended up getting both questions slightly wrong - not a great feeling, mid interview but not the end of the world as it turned out …. I went on to the situational judgement question feeling a bit downhearted. This was based around NHS values (working together for patients, respect and dignity, commitment to quality of care, compassion, improving lives, everyone counts) and aimed at assessing ‘my’ patient-centred approach. I think I must have got on OK here, as I ended up receiving a Bath Pharmacy offer and I was over the moon!


I hope that my story has given you a good insight into why Pharmacy and the University of Bath were the right choices for me and that, understanding how I navigated the interview process – good and bad - might help you prepare for, and feel less nervous about, your Pharmacy interview, too.

Best of luck, Madaleine. 😊

Posted in: Faculty of Science, Undergraduate, Why Bath?

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