Many of you probably know that I study at Manchester Medical School. As part of the entrance criteria for Manchester, you have to fill in an additional “non-academic information form” (NAI). This is what will be looked at instead of your personal statement.

When I was writing my NAI form I was completely in the dark with no external guidance to help seeing as there isn’t any internet help out there. So, combining that with the fact that this has been requested a few times I thought I’d attempt to shed some light on to this form!

What is the form?

You probably already know, the form was created in replacement of the personal statement and contains different sections: caring role, hobbies & interests, team working and motivation for Medicine. Each section has its own word limit, but you actually have more space to speak about each thing as it’s broken down into sections. I could go into detail about what to include in each section, but the best explanation you’re going to get for that is the guidance on the uni website, so make sure you have a read.

My top tips!
1. Do not copy and paste from your personal statement

You will have covered the areas mentioned in the NAI in your personal statement, but that doesn’t mean you should simply insert those sections into the form and submit it. Remember, there’s a reason why Manchester do not want to look at the personal statement, namely because they feel it doesn’t provide enough detail into the things that really matter. You should, therefore, take time to choose strong experiences to illustrate your caring nature and team working ability and describe them in detail.

The idea isn’t to list the number of teamworking experiences you had, instead, you must really go into detail, describing and completing a full reflection on your experience. Quality > quantity.

2. Personal reflection is key!

Yes, reflection is important in your PS, but even more so here. You’ve got more characters to write about a single (or 2) experience so you have the ability to fully reflect on them. Make sure you mention what your role was. They’re not looking for overly flamboyant statements of innovating surgeries you observed or medical teams you saw functioning – the important thing is that they want to see what you did. They’re not expecting you to have done anything hugely fancy, don’t forget about all the simple things like simply talking to patients and listening to them which can be considered as “caring”. What did you learn about yourself from these experiences and how can you link it to Medicine?

3. Don’t try and squeeze other irrelevant things in

You might think it’s amazing that you won a national science award, or that you completed course XYZ, and it may have created an impressive paragraph in your personal statement, but that doesn’t mean you should put it in the NAI. Resist the urge to fill up any spare characters you have with irrelevant things like this. The admissions team don’t care about any other things that you’ve done, hence why they haven’t asked about it so don’t try to put it in. Odd sentences like this will not look good, if you have characters to spare, just leave them, you don’t have to fill up every last one!

4. Think about the purpose of each section

The little description of each section under the questions is quite self-explanatory and should really put you on the right track in terms of what to write about. Read it carefully and make sure you answer each part of it. Through your caring experience they want to know that you understand that Medicine is ultimately a caring profession – make sure you mention what learnt through the role and what it taught you about yourself, show you enjoy working with people! Your hobbies and interests: here it’s all about seeing whether you have the right temperament to deal with a pressured medical career, do you have something that allows to you cope with stress well? The Motivation for Medicine section is about how your initial interest and commitment developed – talk through it chronologically. This part is asking Why Medicine? as well Why Manchester?so make sure you address both elements. 50:50 is a good way to go about it.

Ultimately, be genuine and down-to-Earth, talk about the simple things, nothing needs to be extravagant, and like I said earlier self-reflection is so SO key!

Posted by:Life of a Medic

17 replies on “Manchester Non-Academic Information Form| Tips & Advice

  1. Hi!

    I’m currently writing my NAI for 2019 entry and I came across this blog (which I love the aesthetic of, btw). Although I understand the need for quality over quantity–in that reflection is more important than the amount of things you’ve done–I wanted to know if the same applied for hobbies and interests. Would it be better to mention more interests/hobbies with a small blurb on why you pursue them (with an added bonus of it maybe showing you’re good under pressure or something), or focusing on one or two interests/hobbies and providing a deep analyses of them?

    Love the blog and looking forward to more posts!

    – Naomi

    (P.S. I know the NAI is due this Friday which is why I’m a bit panicked)


    1. Hobbies and interests don’t require as much deep reflection as some of the other sections may do, so yeah you can put more in and I probbaly would do so…talking about about just 1 hobby may just sound a little boring, so I’d say mention a few, just a handful of the ones that you’re in to. Hope this helps – don’t worry about it too much, as long as you’ve addressed all parts of the question you’re good to go! 😊


  2. Hi I’m thinking of applying to Manchester and took a gap year to re-do my A-levels. However in this gap year I mainly did international work experience as opposed to volunteering. However I did a lot of volunteering during year 12 and 13. Does it matter when I did the volunteering for my NAI form or is it more about what I learned and the self reflection ?
    Any advice would be really helpful.


    1. Hi,
      It doesn’t really matter when you did your volunteering as long as it was fairly recent (which year 12 and 13 is) and as long as it was a long term thing. For the NAI it is more about self reflection and showing that you had a caring role.
      It’s fine to have just done international work experience in your gap year, you just need to have done something with your time


  3. Hi, I am trying to fill in the NAI form and I am wondering whether a longer term but less recent care experience would be better than a shorter, more recent one? I have 2 which are shorter and 1 which is longer.

    eg. 8 months but a year or two ago vs 2 months but still ongoing


    1. Generally longer term caring experience is preferred, a minimum of 6 months tends to be a good measure as it shows long term commitment. However, that being said it’s not set in stone so it’s a bit up to you as to which experience you found more valuable and can elaborate on more.

      Also, an experience that was a year ago would still be classed as “recent”. If you’re really ensure which to go for, you can actually put both of them down as there is the option to write about 2 caring experiences


  4. Hi 🙂
    This question will probably sound extremely stupid, but when opening the NAI form, I kind of got the feeling that it might be timed. Maybe it’s just me remembering the UCAS PS section… I have tried to look it up, just to make sure, but I can’t really find anything about it. I do realise that it probably means that I am just overly paranoid, but I wanted to ask you if it was actually timed or can I calmly open the form without having to complete it in one sitting.
    Thank you for your answer,


    1. Hey, not a stupid question at all, can totally understand why you’re worrying about that. The form is not timed, so you will be able to come back to it as many times as you want. However, you can’t save the information in it so what I’d recommend is opening up the form, having a look at the questions and typing your answers on a Word document so you can save, character count and re-visit them more easily. Once you’re happy with what you’ve got you can copy it in to the form to submit. Good luck!


      1. Thank you for your answer 🙂 I am sorry for bothering again, but another thought came up… Is it bad if I write about the same experience (First Aid) in the caring role and team working sections as well? I have two things in the caring role part and do have another idea for the team working one, but I feel like First Aid would be a better one there. But I do want to include it in the first section. Would writing about it twice hinder my application?


      2. No not at all, as long as you are drawing on the parts of your First Aid experience relevant to the individual sections it will be fine. It is good to show variety though to show that you did different types of things so having 2 experiences for your “caring role” section would work well for you and is a good idea


  5. Hi, Thanks so much for taking the time to write this blog. I’m applying for 2021 entry and Manchester is probably my top choice. Right now I’m trying to get my head around the UCAS Personal Statement so the NAI Form is a little way in the distance but could you say how many sections there are and what is the character count for each section? Is there an example online of the NAI Form?

    Thanks so much in advance if you get the chance to reply…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi,

      There are 4 sections: Experience in Caring Role, Hobbies and Interests, Team working, Motivation for Medicine. There’s more information on the sections here:

      There aren’t unfortunately any examples online.

      Regarding the word count, I can’t remember exactly but it was around 200 words per section. Nearer the time a link to the form will be added to the website linked above with the word limits.

      Hope this answers your questions – let me know if there’s anything else you want to know! 🙂


  6. Hi great website

    is the NAI used in the interview or is it used just for selection to invite?


  7. Hi,

    You may not be able to reply by the time I have to submit the form but I was wondering if maybe the structure has changed. I want to write about two caring experiences but although I have the option to say I had another caring experience, there’s no option to actually write about the second one. Also, the first caring role is as a healthcare assistant but I started that in September while the second is as a volunteer in the emergency department which I’ve been doing since April. I feel that the HCA role is more valid but I have been doing it for a shorter time. there’s also no option to say how long I’ve been working (apart from saying that I do this weekly). Do I include this information in the 200 words?


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