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This year Birmingham are organising interviews in a MMI format;

The Interview

From those who apply, approximately 1150 candidates are invited to come for interview. This selection is based on the information provided on the UCAS application. Interviews take place between November and March.

Interviews are organised in a multiple mini-interview format. You will participate in six separate, short interviews, lasting 6mins each. This will allow you to start afresh at each mini-interview. A range of your personal attributes relevant to studying medicine will be assessed by means of different tasks. Interview stations are designed to assess aspects such as: motivation for medicine; communication; self-insight; ethical reasoning; data interpretation; ability to evaluate information and identify relevant aspects.

The six stations will be:

Data Interpretation:

This station will assess your ability to:

1. Interpret a graph. The type of graph will be one that relates directly to healthcare practice.

2. Explain a numerical concept in simple, jargon-free language, as you will need to be able to explain such concepts to patients who may not have the same level of education as you.

3. Undertake basic arithmetic without a calculator, which is an essential skill for a doctor to avoid making serious mistakes.


Motivation and Insight into Medicine:

You will be asked to discuss specific aspects of your work experience; in particular, those experiences that allowed you to observe the management of patients by professional healthcare workers. Within this remit, the type of experience is not important but we will expect you to have gained good insight into professional behaviour and have discovered what qualities are important for good and effective patient management.

Dealing with personal and ethical challenges:

Through thinking about your own experiences and an ethical problem, you have the opportunity to demonstrate personal qualities important for coping in a demanding career.

Interactive Task:

The interactive task station gives you a chance to show how comfortable and confident you are meeting a new person, and having a short conversation with them; a conversation that will cover issues of substance.

You’ll be provided with a brief paragraph to explain the context of the conversation, and then how it runs is up to you. The station is primarily about communication.

One of the core qualities of a good doctor is the ability to communicate well, often with people that s/he has not met before. Also of course when you start university you will need to interact with lots of new peers and staff, so this station focuses on some of the qualities you need for those situations.

This station is not about testing knowledge, so you can’t ‘revise’ for it. The qualities that the task measures includes things like listening, questioning, engaging and responding appropriately to what another person says.

Debate Task:

You will be presented with a short introduction to a topic relevant to health care. You will be expected to identify the issues that are of particular relevance to this topic and, through discussion of these, highlight why this topic is subject to debate. You should also present your arguments for possible courses of action.


This station provides candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to consider and communicate about ethical issues in a balanced manner. Students are not expected to have any prior clinical knowledge and scenarios used to stimulate discussion will include all of the relevant information necessary in order to make a decision.

Students will be assessed on their ability to: analyze the question set with reference to the rights of patients; communicate their ideas, and formulate arguments and counter-arguments in an ethically justifiable manner.

Outcome of interview:

The decision whether an offer is made is based primarily on the interview performance data. We will not re-review academic information in making the decision unless absolutely necessary (e.g. if there are a number of applicants on the same interview score). The scores for each station are used to calculate an average score (simple arithmetic mean), which is used to rank all applicants. We expect to make about 750 offers and these applicants will be identified according to the rank order (the precise overall score is not relevant). We expect to set a minimum performance standard for each station (which will be well below the threshold for the average score). If this is not met than an offer may not be made even if the overall score is above threshold.

Preparation for interview and indeed for study on a medicine programme is aided by engaging in frequent discussions with friends and family about medical issues appearing in the news and media. You should also use your time on work experience effectively by gaining insight into the demands placed on staff, the problems they encounter and the strategies that they employ to handle difficult situations as well as the benefits they obtain from caring for people and working in teams. Again, opportunities to engage in discussion of these issues must be taken.

Why Birmingham?
Birmingham Medical School is one of the largest and oldest Medical Schools – it takes 320 British students a year. The national student survey showed an impressive 91% satisfaction rate. There is patient involvement even in the first year with community attachments in General Practice from the start. Birmingham is a vibrant multi cultural city with good opportunities to see a variety of diseases such as TB and HIV. There are many cultural opportunities such as theatres and living costs are cheaper compared with London.

Birmingham has a modular systems based programme with patient contact from year one. There is a small amount of PBL but teaching takes place in a variety of styles from lecture-based, seminars, tutorials, laboratory work, clinical practice and bedside demonstrations. Role plays are frequently used [OSCEs]. – check by reading the prospectus

Liverpool interviews consists of a 15 min -30 min panel interview with two people drawn from academic university staff, GPs and local NHS trusts. You will be tested on your knowledge of medicine, ethics, team work and the Liverpool course. You will probably be asked about your Personal Statement. They will often ask about recent ethical issues in the news so KNOW ABOUT THE LIVERPOOL CARE PATHWAY [see my recent blogs]
Medical students get to live on a University campus [quite rare] which is only ½ a mile away from the city centre. Liverpool is a lively, friendly and inexpensive city to live, work and study in – and was awarded the European City of Culture in 2008.
Liverpool medical school was the first in the UK to adopt a PBL approach to the curriculum this has been improved and the course now has a spiral structure [keep on adding knowledge throughout the years]. There is less emphasis on PBL but early clinical [patient] contact has been retained.
The main teaching hospital , the Old Liverpool Royal Infirmary has had £72m invested in it and has state of the art facilities for research


Cardiff holds panel interviews consisting of about 3 interviewers. One person is medically qualified and there may be one medical student who usually does not ask any questions. Usual questions on work experience and Personal Statement are common as are those testing your motivation and knowledge of medical matters.
It is worth knowing that there are slight differences between the Welsh NHS and English NHS – [the Welsh are a little more left wing] there is less privatisation and things such as prescription charges do not exist – prescriptions are free

Why Cardiff?
The course is systems based, mainly traditional with only a little PBL but Cardiff are undertaking a major review – so check.

Cardiff University is one of the Russell Group of Universities and has strong research departments and great facilities. It is one of the largest medical schools in the UK and is rated among the top 10 medical schools in the UK and top 100 world wide.

The Brecon Beacons National Park is a 30 min drive away and there are beautiful beaches nearby. The city has great transport links –M4 , rail and Cardiff International Airport. As the capital of Wales it has many facilities such as theatres and the National Stadium but is small, compact and inexpensive

‘’Cardiff offers a compelling student
experience: Russell Group research
credentials, the full gamut of
traditional undergraduate degree
courses and relatively affordable
living with hot and cold running
nightlife on tap.”
Sunday Times University Guide