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Cambridge and Oxford

There are usually 2 interviews [often 3 for Cambridge] which take place at the individual colleges and last about 30 min. Additional written tasks may be given. It is customary to stay overnight at the college and have the interviews on different days.

One interview is usually quite science based with 2 interviewers with questions to do with your subject syllabus that test your ability to make deductions and think aloud in a clear logical fashion and summarise your answer. You score most marks from your working out rather than the answer. Your interviewer will often try to guide you as you answer so make the most of their hints. Interviewers are looking for students who have insight into basic concepts. They may be teaching you in small groups for a number of years and want to make sure that you are a likeable enthusiastic student.

The other interview may be more typical of other medical schools with questions about your Personal Statement and books and articles you mentioned

[more information in my book – Medical School Interviews The Knowledge [P101/102]

what Cambridge say they are looking for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kujK0W-K0qc#t=60
They are famous for ‘out of the box’ challenging questions such as:
Why don’t most herbivores have green fur?
What percentage of the world’s water is in a cow?
Why are there so few large predators?
They are not looking for an answer necessarily, what they are looking for is seeing how you respond to these tricky questions-whether you are able to think logically and how you use the information given to you by the interviewers
Make sure your A level/equivalent knowledge is up to scratch

Why Cambridge/Oxford?

Amongst the top 5 Universities in the world with top research institutions and an amazing history of Nobel prize winners and other alumni.

They are both beautiful University cities. You have small tutor groups and some well endowed colleges give grants for travel and trips abroad.  The college system means that you socialise with students doing other courses to a greater extent than in other medical schools.

Oxford is a bigger town than Cambridge. Oxford class sizes are smaller but Cambridge offers more places to study medicine.

Learning is mainly lecture based and there is not much patient contact in the pre-clinical years.

University of East Anglia

Each interview lasts approximately 50 minutes. Candidates will be invited to take part in an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) style interview, also known as a Multiple Mini Interview. When candidates enter the interview section, they will find a series of booths, known as ‘stations’. There will be seven stations to circulate through, spending approximately 5 minutes at each station. There is one interviewer at each station. You will have a couple of minutes before each station when you are given a piece of paper with the question relating the next station. It is important to make use of this time and start planning your answer. There will be 6/7 other applicants rotating round the stations with you.

 One scenario is usually an empathy scenario which may involve role play for example;

One of your tutorial group has not attended any of the teaching sessions for a week. Members of the group have tried to make contact on the phone but have not been able to get through. There is no reply to text messages that you have sent. You decide to call round to your friend’s flat (I’ll name this friend ‘Sam’) where you find them staring at a blank television screen.
What are you going to do? 

  An ethical scenario is usually given remember it important to give a balanced answer mentioning all view points and arguments.

There is usually a station regarding the course and why you may be suited or not to the UEA curriculum

Why you rather than others interviewed should be chosen.

Competence based questions relating to subjects such as your leadership skills/team working abilities

Questions on work experience and motivation for medicine.

Questions testing candidates on their knowledge of the pros and cons of medicine.

Questions on extra curricular activities and evidence of caring and commitment to community.

Questions relating to topical issues.

The interview comprises of seven individual stations, each with a different interviewer. Each interviewer also gives an “Overall Impression” score. The Overall Impression score is averaged over the seven interviewers and the mean score is added to the other station scores as an 8th Station. Each station score is out of 12.

The advantage of MMIs is that you are scored separately for each station so that if one interviewer does not like you are say something silly at one station you have the possibility to make it up on the others. Remember as  soon as one station is over forget it and start thinking about the next [you will be handed a piece of paper relating to the next station.] Timing is important – don’t waffle on and then run out of time so that you don’t get the major points across. [see my book Medical School Interviews All You Need To Know The Knowledge P94-101 re MMIs]


They take pride in their staff: student ratio being 13:9 so maybe mention that. Each student has a Personal tutor, a PBL tutor and a GP tutor.

Modern medical school with modern facilities. The campus is supposed to be a fantastic, set in acres of Parkland with a large lake. Although some people love the Modern architecture such as the SainsburyBuilding designed by Norman Foster other dislike the concrete buildings. The beautiful Norfolk broads are adjacent  and NorfolkResearchPark and NorfolkHospital are set next to the University.

The sports park has just been refurbished and has a gymnastics centre  ‘You’d be crazy not to take advantage of the sports facilities at UEA’  The Sports park is a huge multi million pound complex which includes a huge sports hall, outdoor athletic track, tennis courts, hockey pitches, 4G 7-a-side football pitches, an Olympic swimming pool, gym, climbing wall and dance and martial arts studios. Prices are fairly good for students to hire any of the facilities. Sports clubs run at UEA include American Football, Athletics, Golf, Climbing, Kayak, Rugby, Netball, Squash, Sailing and Badminton. If intense sport isn’t your thing then there’s cheerleading, Tai Chi, Yoga and Riding.’

‘With over 150 clubs and societies to join, the biggest indoor sports centre in Britain, all the amenities you could need on campus, excellent accommodation, a consistently high quality of teaching across all schools, and a huge range of courses, we think UEA offers an amazing student experience.’

It was voted no 1 in the NSS student satisfaction survey 2011!

Entertainment and Area

The city of Norwich contains some lovely historical buildings including NorwichCastle and Norwich Cathedral. There is an ancient market place, and the two shopping malls provide most things you could possibly need. This is before you even make it on to the high street!

As for entertainment, the Norwich Theatre Royal is a great place to see comedians, performances, and pantomimes..

Meanwhile, there is a great selection of music venues ranging from the Norwich Arts Centre to the Waterfront and on-site UEA LCR.

The LCR events on Tuesday nights, fancy dress Tuesday is reasonably priced at £3.50 and normal Saturday nights at £4.50; however tickets can sell out very quickly and often gig tickets are all sold out by the beginning of the term.

A well established student run Facebook group entitled ‘The spare LCR ticket group’ provides reselling of sold out club night and gigs tickets between students; the union encourages prices at face value or very little above.

The campus is centred around the main square, a wonderful space for initiations and lazing about on a summers day on the steps, and according to legend, the campus was designed so that no one building is more than 5 minutes from another. Unfortunately this is no longer the case due to expansion and new residences, but it remains compact and practical, located in a wonderful environment, overlooking the Norfolk Broads.

The Course

The University writes ‘We offer a PBL (Problem Based Learning) integrated curriculum supported by a comprehensive programme of lectures and seminars, with early and regular patient centred teaching in both primary and secondary care starting in week two of the course’

 The course is much more practical than most medical schools. UEA will expect you to know about the advantages and disadvantages of PBL and why it would suit you. There is a lot of patient contact from the start and your learning is much more relevant although you may feel you at times lack the basic science grounding.

Barts and The London[Queen Mary’s]

Those applying for the 5 year course are likely to have a panel interview with 2 interviewers one of whom is likely to be medical. Last year candidates were given a newspaper cutting about a problem which raised ethical issues a week or so before the interview and were asked to discuss this at the start of the interview. Other commonly asked questions are about work experience, community work, team working, Personal Statement, the NHS and medical issues in the news.

Why Barts and The London [Queen Mary’s]?
Queen Mary’s School of Medicine formed when the Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital and The London Hospital Medical College merged in 1995. Both schools are steeped in history and are proud of their reputation for educating some of the world’s most famous acclaimed doctors in the world. Eg Parkinson who described Parkinson’s disease a neurological disorder and John Hunter a famous surgeon.

Most of the teaching in the first two years takes place at Whitechapel, just behind the Royal London Hospital with the main Queen Mary campus situated in Mile End and St Bart’s Hospital in London. It is a cheaper part of London; accommodation does not cost as much as other areas and is very close to central London. The student accommodation is new and very nice and Queen Mary’s is the only university in London to have a proper student campus with accommodation and facilities on site. Students at Barts & The London will experience the hustle and bustle of London and will appreciate the wide range of patients they will encounter from studying in such a cosmopolitan and diverse city. Lots of immigrants therefore the chance to see diseases associated with immigrant populations such as TB, HIV. It covers many areas of deprivation [see inequalities section].

A massive £1 billion redevelopment project is currently under way in Barts & The London trust, with the rebuilding of the Royal London set to turn it into western Europe’s biggest hospital when it opens at full capacity in 2015 – so an exciting
time to be studying here.

Barts offers a problem-based learning (PBL) course, where basic lectures on patients and specialities are given and followed up by teaching on the wards in a patient-focussed manner. Students are expected to learn through curiosity, self-learning and motivation which can be a highly rewarding experience.

Rag week is awesome – always raises more money than other medical schools with lots of activities. Lots of student clubs. Tell them what you are interested in.

Why london, what will you see in london?
PBL questions
Other standard questions, nothing new really


Warwick/Bart’s Graduate Entry Interview Procedure 

Warwick takes postgraduate students. There are two selection centres; one at Warwick and a joint selection procedure with Bart’s. The format of the interview seems to be the same in both centres.

There are 3 main sections:

A written paper which is usually not science or medicine related. It is supposed to test your ability to reflect, manage and prioritise. For example one article in the past was about a student liaison committee and tasks that had to be carried out. You had to decide which task should be done when and discuss why.

A group task to show team working skills [remember doctors work in teams]. It has involved ball bearings in the past. Remember to smile, try and make yourself useful, involve others who are quiet etc and try and avoid arguing. One person watches you and how you interact and scores you.

A one to one interview with a consultant. This has included a video of a doctor –patient consultation with questions on how the doctor did. Did he communicate well? What went right, what went wrong and what could have been improved.

Other questions are usually the standard interview questions.

Why Warwick?

Warwick University is a prestigious well know research based university. Students study in a self  contained campus with shops and restaurants. The campus is surrounded by lakes, woods and landscaped gardens.

Warwick only takes postgraduate students – so the course is tailored for you. And it has the largest postgraduate intake of any medical school by far. The Medical School is fully equipped with the latest technology, including smart-boards, clever boards, plasma screens and touch screens.

It is situated in Coventry which has all the facilities of a city. It is ethnically diverse which means that you are able to see a wide range of diseases from other countries.

It is an integrated course.



Imperial Interviews

Imperial expect you have achieved at least a score of 4.3 in each of sections 1 and 2, coupled with a score of 2.5 and grade C in section 3 of the BMAT. The grade offers asked are AAAb This rules out a lot of candidates so if you get an interview you have a 75% chance of an offer [compared with 1 in 7 at St Georges] so your chances are pretty high. Imperial says they mark according to the following criteria.

What they look for in an interview

    • Motivation to study medicine
    • Realistic approach to medicine as a career
    • Capacity to deal with stress
    • Evidence of working as a leader
    • Evidence of teamwork
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Potential contribution to MedicalSchool life
  • Communication skills
  • Maturity of character
  • Anxiety during interview

The criteria above are ranked Strong | Moderate | Weak .

Examples of past  Imperial questions are given below

 Concerning motivation and realistic approach to medicine as a career:

  • What have you done to find out about medicine as a career/Who have you talked to about doing medicine and what did you learn from them?
  • What do you think you might like best about medicine as a career?
  • What do you feel are likely to be the worst things about being a doctor?
  • When you visited a hospital, what did you see that set you thinking about the difficult aspects of a medical career?
  • What skills do you have that would make you a good doctor?
  • What do you feel makes a good doctor?
  • What difference did your work experience make to you?
  • What do you do to relax?
  • How do you cope in situations where there is not enough time to finish a task?
  • We all know exams are stressful. How did you manage when you were taking your GCSEs?
  • What do you do when you have 3 or 4 things to do that are all urgent?
  • Have you dealt with a difficult situation?
  • I see you are captain of a team. What duties does that involve?
  • How do you feel about sharing work with others?
  • How do you balance work and all your outside activities?
  • I see you play sport/do the Duke of Ed/play in the orchestra (or similar) – why is this important to you?
  • I see you were Director/Manager in your Young Enterprise company. How did you go about performing this role?
  • Which activities do you think you would like to do?

Response to stress:

Evidence of working both as a leader and team member; ability to multi task:

Contribution to Medical School life:

Interviews are panel interviews with 2-3 members of staff and sometimes an Imperial Medical Student. They will have your Personal Statement and will have read it.  The Imperial Medical School interviews have traditionally not had a strict mark scheme. Interviews therefore tend to be free flowing, with one question often leading to the next. You are more easily able to influence these sorts of interviews. Be prepared if you raise a point to widen the debate.  In this way you can take the lead on what you get asked.

You are likely to be asked the traditional questions regarding your reasons and motivation to study medicine. You need to be able to prove your enthusiasm by being able to discuss questions relating to your work experience with insight and knowledge. You should know about the NHS and medical advances and current health topics in the news.

Competence based questions – team working skills/ leadership skills/ what are your strengths/weaknesses/how do you deal with stress/conflict/manage your time are, as in other interviews common favourites. You need to have examples that prove you have these skills.

Be able to talk well about everything you mentioned in your Personal Statement. It is common to have an ethical scenario.

The medical student on the panel usually asks the candidate what they would contribute to life at Imperial so it is important to know about student life and to have looked at what clubs may appeal.

All prospective applicants are given the opportunity to arrive early and be given a tour of the medical school and the college prior to their interview (12pm). This is not compulsory, although candidates are commonly asked if they did attend the tour.

The Course

The course is more ‘traditional’   than many medical schools. Teaching in the first two years is focused on the scientific basis of medicine with study focussing on a systems-based format, moving towards integrated disease and including clinical aspects later on. It also includes communication skills, medical ethics and law. Teaching comprises lectures, clinical demonstrations, tutorials, dissection, computer workshops, laboratory practical and clinical skills classes, independent study, and some problem-based learning but not as much as in other Medical Schools. However there are visits to patients even in the first term to maintain interest and develop patient interview skills.

In Summary

 Years 1 and 2: focus on three core elements: the scientific basis of medicine; doctor and patient; and clinical experience.

Year 3: three 10-week clinical attachments with a programme of live lectures and e-learning and a programme introducing clinical specialties.

Year 4: working towards the BSc – undertaking a series of modules and a supervised research project or a specialist course giving you an opportunity to delve deeply into a subject that catches your interest.

Year 5: a dedicated pathology course followed by six clinical specialities.

Year 6: a range of clinical attachments and lecture courses designed to prepare you for your first job as a doctor, specialised study modules and private study periods.

GEP Interviews

Again you need a high UKCAT score, with a high cut off in each section with excludes a lot of students.

The interviews are similar to the above format. There are usually 3 interviewers on the panel two doctors, a person from admin and a medical student. They usually ask lots of questions about your Personal Statement and competence based questions such as leadership skills, how you deal with stress. In the past they have given candidates a sheet with 4 questions which include an ethical scenario, a clinical scenario and questions to test your general knowledge of health care issues.

 Why Imperial

The School is ranked second in the UK and third in the world in the 2012 Times Higher Education World University Rankings It is especially known for its heart and lung transplant surgery skills led by Sir Magdi Yacoub, rheumatology treatments by Sir Marc Feldmann, and recent robot-assisted surgery techniques by world leading surgeon Lord Darzi. The School was formed in 1997 through the merger of several historic medical schools such as St Mary’s Paddington [where Sir Alexander Flemming discovered Penicillin, Westminster Medical School and Charing Cross].

The Medical School is situated in London a vibrant exciting city. The Kensington campus is next to the Natural History museum and Hyde Park in one of the most beautiful [and expensive] parts of London. London has a large ethnic mix and a large immigrant community and it is possible to see a wide variety of illnesses and diseases such as TB, HIV, sickle cell anaemia.

The School of Medicine has its own complete union. Imperial College School of Medicine Students’ Union is a subsidiary part of Imperial College Union, and medical and BSc students are members of both. As such, they may join any of the 300 ICU clubs and societies and take up positions of responsibility in them. However, over 40 of these clubs and societies are under the direct jurisdiction of ICSMSU. Further, the medical students’ union also owns the Reynolds building at the Charing Cross Hospital campus, as medical students live or spend more time around that area than the South Kensington campus. The Reynolds Bar represents the heart and soul of ICSM, and regularly plays host to themed parties or “Bops”.