Medicine interview prep in the UK is essential for anyone applying to medical school in England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland. UK medical schools are competitive, and their med school interviews can be a challenge. For the most part, you can expect to walk into an MMI type interview and cover a wide variety of question types. You should also expect to be asked some tough or weird med school interview questions, particularly about healthcare issues in the UK. In this blog, we’ll cover what medicine interview in the UK are like, how professional interview prep can help, and what types of interviews and medical school interview questions you might encounter.
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Medicine interviews in the UK
The medicine interview is a key part of being accepted to a UK medical program, and it can be tough to make a good impression. Medicine is one of the most competitive programs in the UK, and every year thousands of international students apply to medical schools in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Any medical school program in the UK will require applicants to go through the medical interview, and they may also ask you to submit the results of your UCAT, which is required by most schools in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
It's critical to prepare for your medical school interview ahead of time with the right strategies and have a thorough understanding of the interview process for med schools in the UK. You can expect to hear back from medical schools for interviews in the UK in mid-October, with interviews continuing until March. Typically, you’ll receive an invitation 2 weeks before your interview, but it’s advisable to start preparing before then.
How long you should prepare for a medical school interview might depend on how much time you have, but we recommend starting as early as possible. If you’re applying to med school as an international student, it’s especially important to give yourself extra time to prepare. You may also want to learn how to schedule your medical school interviews to smooth some of the stress from this process and strategize your interview schedule, if you can.
Below we’ll look at some of the interview formats used by medical schools in the UK, interview etiquette and questions you can expect during your interview, and how professional interview prep can further help you.
Interested in taking a look at an infographic that highlights some key points covered in this blog? Check it out:
How professional interview prep can help
Your medical school interview preparation tactics and strategies can be greatly improved by seeking some professional interview prep help. Professional feedback and guidance can polish your interview skills and in the room performance so you make the best possible impression when applying to med school in the UK.
A good place to look for this advice would be a medical school admissions consultant or a medical school advisor.
Whether you’re an international or domestic student, this can make the difference in getting accepted to the school of your choice, especially considering the competitive acceptance rates at UK medical schools. Med schools in the UK remain a popular choice for international students, especially, and acceptance rates can be lower than 10%.
Professional interview prep services can include guidance on what to expect during the interview process, the type of questions you may be asked and strategies on how to answer them. Interview prep services also sometimes provide mock med school interviews with feedback and advice on your answers and interview comportment.
UK medicine interview formats
Medical schools in the UK use two primary interview formats: the traditional panel interview and the multiple mini interview. It is very rare that a school will use a different type of interview format, and you can usually find out which type your chosen school uses on their website.
Before you interview, research the program or programs you’ve applied to and check out which interview formats they use, when interviews are usually held and if they list the interview questions you’ll be asked. Forward preparation is one of the best tools you can use to make sure you know exactly what to expect on the day of your interview. This tactic will also allow you to start preparing for your admissions interview earlier, taking off some of the pressure.
Want to better understand how MMIs work? This video is for you:
Med schools in the UK are also extremely likely to ask you questions on hot topics and current events related to healthcare in the UK. Below we’ll look at some common interview questions and sample questions to practice with.
UK medicine interview questions you need to know
UK medicine interviews can involve a variety of questions, including both the common med school interview questions you would expect and some specific to UK healthcare issues. The types of common questions you can expect to be asked can be broken down into questions on your personal background and motivations, your interest and knowledge of medicine, ethical or policy questions, and questions on the current state and issues in UK healthcare.
Some examples of questions about your personal background, history and experiences might include:
Examples of questions designed to test your knowledge or interest in medicine might be:
- What medical publications do you enjoy reading?
- Are there any recent developments in medicine you’ve heard about recently?
- How is the NHS implementing AI technology?
Questions about the current state of UK healthcare will be asked to gauge your knowledge and understanding of the NHS and how you would approach the problems it's currently facing. For example, questions might center on some of these topics:
Do you have questions ready for your interviewers in case they ask if you have any? Here are 22 examples so you can be ready:
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but knowing the NHS stance on these topics, and the various arguments and cases surrounding these topics, will strengthen your answers to any ethical questions. Ethical questions will be presented as a dilemma, where you must choose a course of action and explain your reasoning. Using these topics as support for your arguments will show you can use analytic and critical thinking and apply said thinking to a hypothetical scenario. Knowledge of these cases and subjects will also demonstrate that you’ve done your research on health care in the UK and you understand the current medical landscape in the country where you hope to study medicine.
Reading and practicing answers for sample questions on some current UK hot topics will help expand your knowledge of the problems facing the NHS and the UK population. Researching and preparing answers for these types of questions will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the many sides of these healthcare issues and that you can think critically, empathetically and thoroughly on these cases.
Sample questions on UK hot topics that you might face could include:
- What are your thoughts on the Junior Doctors contract dispute?
- Organ donation in the UK goes by an opt-out system, where the default decision is not to donate. Discuss the opt-out system and other ways organ donation in the UK could be increased.
- What are some of the issues the UK faces with an aging population?
- Do you think there are situations where euthanasia or doctor-assisted death should be allowed?
- What effects do you think Brexit will have on the NHS?
- What do you know about the Dr. Bawa Garba case?
- Should vaccines be made compulsory for med students, doctors and nurses?
- How would you combat the current mental health crisis?
UK interview etiquette
Interview etiquette in the UK is almost identical to the etiquette expected in the US and other western countries. But if you’re an international student and unfamiliar with western interview etiquette, it’s a great idea to brush up on some quick tips before heading to your interview. It’s also best to practice your interview performance ahead of time, and for this a mock med school interview works perfectly.
For those wanting to brush up on interview etiquette, here’s a quick list of tips:
Be on time
There’s a saying that being 15 minutes early is on time, being on time is late. For med school interviews, avoid showing up late, as it disrespects your interviewer and their time. Also don’t show up too early, since it puts pressure on your interviewer. Arriving 15 minutes early to your interview is perfect since it allows you to take a few minutes to decompress and it gives your interviewer a few minutes to prepare themselves, too.
Practice your handshake
A handshake is the customary greeting during an interview, and most interviewers will agree that few people have mastered the art of the handshake. Ask a friend to mock interview you and give you feedback on your handshake. Too firm and aggressive is off-putting, but too weak or limp-wristed doesn’t send the right message. Remember to smile and look at whoever you shake hands with, have a firm but relaxed grip and don’t hang on too long.
It’s easy to get distracted in an interview when you’re nervous, so try to minimize anything that can pull your attention away. Turn off your phone, avoid wearing any jewelry, accessories or clothing which jangles. Practice keeping your focus on the interviewer and avoid looking around the room too much. It’s also good to know what to wear to your medical school interview, so wear something that is both professional and comfortable for you, wear clothes that fit you properly and practice wearing them before your interview.
Stressed about your interview day outfit? Let us help you figure it out now so you can focus on the main prep steps:
Be courteous and polite
Courteousness will go a long way. From remembering your interviewer’s name to keeping your answers succinct and to the point so your interview doesn’t run long. These marks of professionalism and politeness will be appreciated and remembered by your interviewer. The idea is to make the best impression you can in the short time you have.
Note your body language
Body language is a huge aspect of your interview performance, and its often overlooked since we don’t tend to analyze our own posture, eye movement and gestures that often. Mock interviews are a good time to get feedback on these items, so you can learn if you fidget too much, cross your arms, stare too long or slouch in your chair. Practice good posture, eye contact and body language until it feels natural and comfortable to you.
What to do after your UK med school interviews
After your interview is complete, you might wonder when you’ll hear back about your admission. It may take only a few weeks, or the school may not get back to you until UK med school interview season is over in March. Since interview season is held from September to March, you may be in for a wait, so be patient.
The day after your interview, it’s advisable to send a thank you letter for your med school interview. This is a common practice in the UK and it’s a nice gesture to your interviewers for taking the time to interview you.
Medicine interview prep for UK medical schools typically follows a similar process as med schools in the US and Canada. UK med schools can be highly competitive, though, so professional interview prep for this process is highly recommended, particularly if you’re an international student. Being as prepared as you can be for the rigorous medical interview process, and especially for the tough hot topic questions UK med school admissions boards will ask of you is essential.
1. Are UK med schools competitive?
Yes. Med schools in the UK can be highly competitive, and thousands of international and domestic students apply each year. Popular choices like the University of Bristol and Imperial College London have some of the most competitive acceptance rates, at 9.5% and 8.4% respectively.
2. Do all UK med schools use interviews?
Yes. Most med schools in the UK, and the top med schools, all use interviews during the application process.
3. What kind of interview formats do UK med schools use?
UK med schools primarily use multiple mini interviews, but some may also use traditional or panel interview formats.
4. What type of questions do UK med schools ask in interviews?
Applicants can expect to be asked some common med school interview questions, including questions on your personal background and interests but also ethical questions and questions about the UK’s current health care issues.
5. Does professional interview prep help with UK med schools?
Yes. Professional interview prep can help you prepare for your interview at UK med schools with mock interviews, practice questions and by providing feedback on your interview performance so you can polish it before you walk into the interview room.
6. Do I need to know about hot topics in UK health care for my interview?
Yes. Med schools in the UK are very likely to ask questions that test your knowledge and understanding of the complex issues being faced by the UK’s National Health Service. It’s recommended to research these topics ahead of time.
7. How should I prepare for a UK med school interview?
The best way to prepare is to give yourself plenty of time, prepare your answers in advance, practice using mock med school interviews and do your research on both the school you’re interviewing at and the current hot topics in UK health care.
8. Are med school interviews in the UK different from the US?
Not really. Med schools in the UK typically use similar interview formats and ask many of the same common questions as med schools in the US. The biggest difference is that med schools in the UK will almost definitely ask questions about the UK health care system.
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