How to Prepare for a Medicine Interview

Attending an interview is the final stage of the medical application process. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already proven your potential to be an outstanding medical student with your admissions test result, personal statement and predicted grades.

Your performance in your Medicine interview is the final factor used to help universities decide whether or not to offer you a place on your chosen course. That may sound like a lot of pressure, but with the right guidance and expert support, you’ll be well-equipped to succeed in this final stage.

Our medical admissions experts have put together this guide to the different types of medical interviews (Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) and traditional panel interviews) and how to best prepare for each. The Profs’ Head of Consulting, Joseph Robbins, also shares his insider knowledge on the process based on over five years of advising medical students.

Don’t forget to check out our guide to the medical application process and our article on how to pursue a career in medicine.

How do you get offered a medical interview?

If you haven’t yet received an interview, there’s a range of requirements you’ll need to meet when you’re applying for Medicine. These include:

Meeting the grade requirements.

The A level grades (or equivalent) required for entry differ depending on the university and Medicine course you’re applying to. Meeting these entry requirements is a crucial part of your application and will play a big role in you being offered an interview. Some universities also look at your GCSE subjects and grades (or equivalent) to narrow down suitable candidates, such as Oxford and Cambridge.

Scoring highly enough in your admissions test.

Undergraduate medical schools require applicants to take either the UCAT as part of the application process. Your score on this test will be taken into consideration when deciding who will be offered an interview and a place at the university.

Please note that the BMAT is being discontinued, hence all universities (for 2025 admission onwards) require the UCAT. 

Building a strong academic profile.

Though meeting the grade and admissions test requirements is paramount to receiving an interview, building a strong academic profile is also important. You can build your academic profile by undertaking work experience, engaging in relevant extracurricular activities, and reading about your subject outside the confines of your course syllabus.

Writing a quality personal statement.

Your personal statement is your first chance to tell universities why you’d make a great medical professional. It should include the skills and qualities that would make you a great doctor, work experience you’ve undertaken and what you’ve learnt from it, and your motivation to study Medicine.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.

There’s a lot to think about before you reach the interview stage. Thankfully, the Profs’ medical admissions tutors can help you with all elements of your application. Reach out to our experienced consultancy team for support.

What is the Medicine interview?

Before you begin preparing for your Medicine interview, it’s important to know which type of interview you’ll be faced with. There are two main types of interviews used by UK medical schools: MMIs (Multiple Mini Interviews) and traditional panel interviews. Here’s an overview of what each interview involves:

Which types of interviews do medical schools use?

MMIs:

Most medical schools use MMIs (Multiple Mini Interviews). This type of interview involves being put through several short assessments – also referred to as ‘stations’ – usually lasting 10 minutes or less. Most MMIs will include around 10 stations and take around 2 hours in total to complete.

Before each mini interview, you’ll be presented with a scenario and given some time to prepare an answer. You will either be asked a question by an interviewer or have to engage in a role-play scenario with an actor whilst an interviewer watches. MMI stations are designed to assess your soft skills, medical knowledge, and ability to work in unfamiliar and high-pressure situations, so require plenty of expert preparation.

Traditional panel interviews:

Traditional interviews may be more familiar to you as they follow a more standard interview format, but they still require plenty of preparation. In a traditional medical interview, a panel of medical professionals will ask you questions about why you want to study Medicine, any work experience you have, your understanding of medical school, and your commitment to the subject area.

They’ll also likely ask you subject-based questions around Human Biology and science more generally. Unlike an MMI, much of the information the interviewers use to ask questions and spark discussions will be drawn from your personal statement and the information provided in your UCAS application.

Which interview does each medical school use?

Once you understand each type of interview and what it entails, it’s important to know which of these interviews you’ll be facing so that you can prepare accordingly. If you’re applying to multiple medical schools, there’s a chance you’ll have to prepare for both an MMI and a traditional panel interview.
The table below shows which universities use each of these two main interview types.

MMIsTraditional panel interviews
  • Aberdeen
  • Aston
  • Brighton and Sussex
  • Buckingham
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Hull York
  • Keele
  • King’s College London
  • Lancaster
  • Leicester 
  • Newcastle
  • Nottingham
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • St George’s 
  • UCL
  • UCLan
  • Anglia Ruskin
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Brunel
  • Edge Hill
  • Exeter
  • Imperial College London
  • Kent & Medway
  • Sheffield
  • Leeds
  • Manchester
  • Norwich
  • Plymouth
  • St Andrews
  • Sunderland
  • Dundee
  • Warwick
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • Queen Mary University
  • Glasgow University
  • Swansea University
  • Southampton University

Note that Southampton University uses a dual interview format (also referred to as a Selection Day), which combines a traditional panel interview with an additional group task. Always check with your chosen university directly if you’re unsure which format your interview will follow.

How to prepare for a medical school interview

The goal of all medical school interviews is to determine your suitability for a place on your chosen course and ultimately decide whether you have the skill set to fulfil a successful career in Medicine. However, the two types of interviews are quite different and require tailored preparation for the best chance of success.

The Profs’ medical admissions experts have shared their top tips for preparing for an MMI and a traditional panel interview. If you want to put these tips into action, get in touch with our team today.

8 tips for preparing for an MMI

MMIs involve a sequence of short scenarios and questions. You’ll be given a short amount of time to prepare for each station before it begins, but it’s important that you know what to expect before the day. Though you can’t predict the specific questions in advance, there is plenty of preparation you can do to maximise your chances of success.

1. Be aware of the MMI stations at your university

Your MMI interview will involve multiple stations and a range of questions and scenarios, none of which you can predict. However, there are some types of questions and topics that come up time and again.

Researching these will allow you to familiarise yourself with the format and identify what your interviewers are looking for beforehand.

Our medical admissions consultants have years of first-hand experience with the MMI process and can advise on what to prepare for. Get in touch to begin tutoring with an expert.

Joe’s tip: There are many situations you could encounter during an MMI and it’s best to prepare for as many as you can. Some of the most common MMI stations include:

  • Role play: Involves acting out a pretend scenario with an actor pretending to be a patient or friend. This station may be designed to assess your empathy or professional judgement.
  • Prioritisation: You’ll be presented with a scenario and asked to prioritise a number of things within that scenario. This station tests your ability to cope under pressure and think rationally.
  • Giving instructions: This station involves explaining what and how to do something without actually doing it. You might be asked to do something like give directions using a map. The task is designed to assess your communication skills.
  • Calculation and data interpretation: Involves you understanding some data and being able to make calculations, analyse, and interpret the information.
  • PBL (problem-based learning): You’ll experience a short problem-based learning lesson along with a group of other interviewees. This station tests your ability to work as part of a team and your problem-solving skills.

2. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses for each MMI station

MMIs are designed to mimic the kind of high-pressure, time-sensitive situations you might find yourself in as a medical professional, but on a much smaller scale. Your interviewers will be looking for a range of soft skills in the tasks they present you with, including confidence, clear communication, patience, empathy, and the ability to prioritise and make decisions.

It’s important that you know what your strengths and weaknesses are ahead of an MMI to ensure that you can develop and refine the soft skills that are required to succeed. Practising with an expert is a great way to identify what you need to work on and apply these soft skills to new situations.

3. Read up on ethics in Medicine

Medical ethics is a key area that you will likely be asked about in an MMI. Ethics are important when it comes to managing relationships with patients and making difficult decisions as a doctor. Make sure you have read about key ethical concepts in Medicine and what it takes to be a good doctor ahead of your interview.

Joe’s tip: There are some topics that come up in both traditional panel interviews and MMIs, and ethics is one of them. The other areas that can be covered in both types of interview include:

  • Your communication, prioritisation and organisational skills
  • News and current affairs in the medical industry
  • Your ability to interpret data

4. Look at the clinical OSCE exams that medical students have to sit

A great tip for preparing for an MMI is to research clinical OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Examination). These are exams that are sat by medical students and designed to test their performance, knowledge and soft skills. Many MMI stations are based on these exams, so looking at the questions and structure is a great way to prepare.

5. Keep up to date with news in the medical community

Your interviewers are primarily looking to see if you would make a great medical student and an outstanding medical professional. Part of this assessment is to ensure that successful applicants are genuinely passionate and tuned in to the medical industry.

Ahead of your MMI, make sure that you keep up to date with news in the medical community, especially updates about the NHS and health policy. This will allow you to keep up with discussions and debates you may be asked about in your MMI and offer valuable insights. Some resources that will help you do that include the New Scientist and the BMJ.

6. Get hands-on work experience

Getting real-life work experience is the best way to see how doctors actually deal with problems in their working lives. You’ll then be able to apply these approaches to similar situations you may face in your MMI.

Gaining work experience in a medical setting or for a charity is also a great way to build your soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving and empathy, before your medical interview. Your application of these skills is a key area you will be assessed on in your MMI.

7. Act out interviews in the mirror

It may seem silly, but acting out interviews with yourself in the mirror is a great way to prepare for an MMI. Practice speaking calmly and maintaining eye contact. These tricks will help you appear more confident in your interview, which is an attribute your assessors will be looking for.

8. Get real-life experience of MMIs before the day

Lots of schools only provide practice for traditional interviews in preparation for medical school. Even if your school does offer MMI training, they won’t necessarily offer enough depth or expertise to really help you reach your greatest potential.

Getting advice from an MMI from an expert, with first-hand experience of the process, will be invaluable to your preparation. The Profs’ interview tutors have years of experience helping students get into medical school and can provide this specialist preparation.

5 tips for preparing for a traditional panel interview

Traditional panel interviews will be more familiar to you as they usually follow a typical question-answer format. You won’t know the specific questions you’ll be asked in advance, but there is plenty of preparation you can do to maximise your chances of success.

1. Research common interview questions

There are common questions and topics that crop up time and again in traditional panel interviews. For example, unlike in an MMI, you will almost certainly be asked questions relating to your UCAS application and academic experience. You should also always be prepared for the ‘standard’ questions in traditional interviews, such as: ‘Why this university?’, ‘Why medicine?’ and ‘Tell us about this point in your personal statement’.

2. Know your personal statement inside out

Unlike MMIs, in which assessors aren’t primarily concerned with your UCAS application, traditional panel interviews are very much focused on the skills, qualities, and work experience you have outlined in your statement. At least one of your interviewers will have read your personal statement and will very likely ask questions relating specifically to it.

Ahead of your interview, make sure that you know exactly what you’ve written in your personal statement. If you’ve included specific topics you’re interested in, you can use these to prepare jumping off points that steer the conversation in a direction that shows you in your best light in your interview.

Joe’s tip: If you’ve mentioned a reading on a specific topic in your personal statement, make sure you have read it before the interview! The fastest way to a rejection is to be caught lying on your statement.

3. Practise answering questions using the STARR technique

Traditional panel interviews often involve answering questions that require you to give an example. For these types of questions, the STARR technique can help you structure your answers in an effective way that ensures everything of value is included.
The STARR technique stands for:

  • Situation: Briefly outline the example.
  • Task: What was involved?
  • Action: How you approached and performed the task.
  • Result: What was the outcome or achievement?
  • Reflection: What did you learn and how will you apply it?

The Profs’ interview training tutors have a wealth of experience advising students on interview techniques and practising the STARR technique in particular.

4. Act out interviews in the mirror or with friends and family

It may seem silly, but acting out interviews with yourself in the mirror or with friends and family is a great way to prepare for a traditional panel interview. Practice speaking calmly and maintaining eye contact with multiple people. These tricks will help you appear more confident in your interview, which is something your assessors will be looking for.

5. Get real-life interview experience before the day

Most school students haven’t got much (if any) experience of attending a formal interview. Even if you have some interview experience, a panel interview for a Medicine degree is quite different to other types of interview, such as a job interview.

It’s therefore important to get real-life experience of a traditional medical interview from an expert with first-hand experience of the process. The Profs’ experienced interview tutors can provide you with training as well as helping you to revise common questions you may be faced with on the day, which will be invaluable to your preparation.

Get in touch with us today to access one-to-one support from our experienced medical admissions team.

FAQs

Which universities require interviews for Medicine?

All UK universities require shortlisted applicants to attend an interview for Medicine and related medical degrees. Most universities use one of two interview types: MMIs or traditional panel interviews. Make sure you check with the university directly if you’re unsure which interview format they use so that you can prepare accordingly.

What are interviewers looking for in a medical school interview?

In a medical school interview, interviewers are looking at the suitability of students for the course they’re applying for and for a future career in the medical profession. They will not only be looking for a strong academic record and in-depth industry and subject knowledge, but also the soft skills required in a medical career, such as empathy, decision-making, patience, and communication.

How is an MMI assessed?

Each MMI station is graded on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best possible score. Your overall score will be used in combination with the other elements of your application to determine whether or not to offer you a place on your chosen medical course.