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“The admissions procedure at Aberdeen involves the detailed assessment and scoring of a range of aspects of an application, including academic attainment/predictions (30%), UKCAT (20%), and then subsequent interview performance (50%).

The interview format has changed to a MMI format  Five candidates are interviewed simultaneously. They rotate around 5 separate stations. Each station lasts 7 minutes and candidates will be scored against criteria. Each station will cover one subject and communication and interpersonal skills will also be noted.

Commitment to Medicine

Knowledge of core qualities required of a doctor


The usual questions such as ‘why you want to study medicine,’ ‘tell me about yourself’ and ‘what did you learn from work experience’ are asked.

They want to see that you have:

Researched to confirm your ideas

Discussed your options with career advisers

Got a feel for life as a doctor

Attempted to experience the work of a doctor (the day to day involvement)

Attempted to research the training involved for a career in medicine (both at university and after qualifying)

Understood of the level of commitment required (the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of being a doctor)

With regards to wanting to be a doctor.

With regards to the Core Qualities of a doctor, they want to see:

Good communication skills

Evidence of concern for the welfare of others

Demonstration of being trustworthy and honest

With regards to teamwork you need to:

Show you are an all-rounder: doctors lives are busy and challenging but time management is very important:

Demonstrate you are able to work in teams, and are able to assume different roles within the team:

The MMI experience will last approximately 1 hour for each candidate.

How will answers be scored? (From Aberdeen website)

The student will be scored in several areas including:

Ability to express ideas freely and coherently

  • ·How well they use their existing knowledge to formulate answers to unknown areas

Their ability to follow a reasoned argument and to formulate an opinion

The degree to which they are prepared for questions

Their ability to discuss different aspects (advantages & disadvantages) of a problem / situation

  • ·The degree of motivation, commitment, reflection and sensitivity demonstrated

Each station will also independently score communication and interpersonal skills.


MMI Examples

Candidates were asked to imagine that they were a first year medical student and at the end of the year had found out they had failed a very important exam.  The re-sit was in 2 weeks time and would establish whether you could continue with the course.    You are also captain (and one of the top scorers) of the basketball team, with a very important match coming up that requires daily training sessions.  On top of that, candidates were informed that they had just received a text from a friend that they haven’t seen for a while asking if they wanted to go out ‘to party!’

Candidates had 2 minutes to consider this situation and think of possible questions that might arise and how they would go about answering them.  They then enter the station and will be ‘interviewed’ for 7 minutes.


Why Aberdeen?

Aberdeen is an ancient university, well respected with a great sense of history. It has over 11,000 students studying many subjects. The MedicalSchool is over 500 years old but offers a modern degree programme which was revamped in 2009 and uses an integrated systems based approach

It has a state of the art fully equipped teaching and learning centre – The Suttie Centre. There is the chance to learn in both urban and rural environments such as the Shetlands and the Isle of Skye.

St Andrews
The interview itself is a formal though friendly process and lasts 20 minutes. The interview panel comprises two (occasionally three) interviewers. About half of the interviewers are practising clinicians. Interviews will take place in individual rooms. The interview is not a test of your academic knowledge. The purpose of the interview is rather to assess your potential as a medical practitioner and to provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to think critically and with insight on a range of topics related to a career in medicine.
Candidates will ordinarily be given an opportunity to ask questions regarding the University and the Medical programme that is on offer.
The interviewers appreciate that some candidates will be nervous and will of course make allowances for this. The interview panel, in addition to forming an overall impression of the student, will be assessing in particular the following areas:
• Ability to communicate.
Communication skills are essential to the practice of almost all aspects of medicine. We expect candidates to be able to express their ideas clearly and coherently and to be able to follow a reasoned argument. Just before your interview you will be asked to read a short article on a medically related topic. This will only take about 10 minutes. The interview panel will then ask you questions about the article. They will be assessing your comprehension and ability to summarise as well as communication skills.
• The St Andrews course.
The panel will expect the candidate to have a general understanding of our course – details of which can be obtained from our website. In particular, we expect candidates to be aware of the way in which we deliver the Medical programme and to have an opinion on its appeal to them, its advantages and limitations.
• Previous experience.
The interview panel will be interested in how you have prepared yourself for entering into a medical career. They will be keen to know what you have gained from work experience in a medical or ‘caring’ environment or indeed some other environment that you feel has been relevant in preparing you for a career in medicine.
After interviews applicants are ranked on the basis of all four areas of assessment; academic performance, personal statement and reference, UKCAT score and interview score.
Each of the four areas of assessment is given a different weighting;
• Academic performance: 50%
• UKCAT: 15%
• Personal statement and reference: 15%
Interview: 20%
Offers are then made from the top of the ranking in relation to the number of places available.

Why St Andrews?
Students entering Medicine at St Andrews have the opportunity to graduate after three years at St Andrews with a BSc Honours degree in Medicine before moving on to one of the Partner Medical Schools to complete their training as a doctor and graduate with an MB ChB.
Top in ‘student satisfaction’ survey
The School of Medicine has been rated very highly in the UK ‘student satisfaction’ ratings, in top place for 2 of the last 3 years. This is judged on course quality, staff and teaching facilities.
Medicine housed in a new £45m School of Medicine and the Sciences
Since 2010 the School of Medicine has been housed in a new £45m School of Medicine and the Sciences and is one of the first UK Medical Schools whose research facilities are fully integrated with the other sciences and key university disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology and psychology. This facility offers an important new dimension to medical research and the training of new doctors.
A highly supportive educational environment
The small size of the School (around 170 in each year group) allows staff to get to know students individually and this encourages a friendly atmosphere. A tutor will be concerned with your personal welfare and academic development as we aim to provide a supportive environment in which you can thrive.
Diverse range of students from all around the world
At St Andrews we welcome students from all around the world and in Medicine we value the diverse influences such students can bring to the cohort entering each year.
Formal partnerships with highly prestigious Medical Schools in Scotland, England and Canada
The system-based approach to teaching was very logical and allowed a combination of traditional and new teaching methods to be incorporated. The Medical School, being smaller than most others, allows this accessibility and personal teaching that otherwise may not be possible … The town’s social scene is also excellent. The lack of night clubs is more than made up with by the many pubs, bars, and numerous societies and sports clubs.” St Andrews is a really beautiful and unique place to live and study in, what other medical school is surrounded by so much history right beside the sea?!”
St Andrews is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English-speaking world, founded in 1413. St Andrews is currently ranked as the fifth best university in the UK according to most recent university league tables, St Andrews has a diverse student body and cosmopolitan character due to its over 30% intake of international students from well over 100 countries, with 15% of the current student body coming from North America.[9] Throughout its more recent history, St Andrews has maintained strong links with leading academic institutions in the United Kingdom including the Oxbridge and also the top research schools from United States and Canada, including McGill, Harvard, MIT and Princeton to name a few.

St Andrews Medical School uses little PBL

Famous alumni:

 Alan MacDiarmid, Nobel prize winner in Chemistry

 Sir James Black, Nobel prize winner in Medicine

 Walter Haworth, Nobel prize winner in Chemistry
 Sir Chris Hoy, World, Olympic and Commonwealth Cycling Champion
1865–1868: John Stuart Mill, English philosopher and political economist
1922–1925: Rudyard Kipling, Nobel Prize winner,

Bristol Medical School interviews

Bristol has a new MMI format this year. This will last about an hour. They say they will examine the usual subjects such as motivation, work experience, extra curricular activities, ethics but also manual dexterity. Last year candidates were scored on the following:

1.  Why they wish to study medicine and attributes

2    Ability to communicate in a reasoned, reflective and articulate manner,

3    Self confidence and enthusiasm

4.   Evidence of work/life balance and extramural activities.

5.   Awareness of current developments in medicine

6.   Ability to develop coherent stance on a topical subject and to recognise a counter point [ethical scenario question]

7   Informed about University and course

8   Informed about career

9    Overall impression

Interviewers are also asked to rank the candidate against those interviewed in this session [from 1-11]

Generally those interviewed say that they tend to get asked a lot about their Personal Statement, current medical issues [read my blog], problems of being a doctor, extra curricular activities and so on.

It is important to be aware that that Bristol continues to interview until late March early April so you may not hear until quite late. There is a video on youtube of an old format panel Bristol interview.


The Course

The course is divided into three phases: in phase one, you meet patients and learn general principles underlying behavioural and basic medical science

Phase two is system based where you learn about body systems. The course is not PBL

You are taught in lectures, practicals and small-group tutorials. Anatomy teaching takes place using prosected, cadaveric material; dissection is optional. In later years, you learn in clinical attachments. Periods of elective study and student selected components allow you to explore areas of personal interest. Mixed-format examinations determine progression to the next year.

Phase three you begin clinical training with attachments at various hospitals. Between years two and three, you may intercalate in a medical science or humanities subject.

Why Bristol

Bristol is a member of The Russell Group of top British Universities. Internationally QS World University rating ranked Bristol 30th in the world.

Bristol is the largest city in south west England over a thousand years old with a great history and culturally rich.  It is big enough to provide all the shops and facilities you need.  Bristol is popular as a student destination. It has benefited from National Lottery funding and other grants to finance major regeneration projects and the city has many harbour side bars, restaurants, museums and art galleries. The thriving local economy means high prices and generally expensive accommodation. The rates are, however, fairly relative to other cities in the south of England. Bristol is on the whole welcoming to students.

Bristol University is supposed to have the largest Student Union building in the UK . There is a thriving medical society with many sporting and  volunteering and other clubs. Performances are put on regularly  Look them up on http://galenicals.org.uk/