So you’ve made it through the UCAT and have submitted your personal statement – if all goes well, you might be invited to an interview! Though it seems daunting, the interview is a great opportunity to showcase your best qualities and is the final hurdle between you and a medical school offer. It’s important to know what to expect on the day of the interview to help you to prepare adequately.
What are the different types of interviews?
There are two main types of medical school interviews – Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) and Panel Interviews. Each medical school will interview candidates using either MMIs or panel interviews.
Multiple Mini Interviews
MMIs are the most common type of interview. They are divided into many different ‘stations’, each of which will assess a different quality. Each station will last for no more than 10 minutes. The number of stations varies between medical schools, but most will have around 8-10.
Examples of common MMI stations include:
- Role play
- Motivation and Insight into Medicine
- Medical Ethics
- Insight into the NHS
- Communication skills
- Data interpretation and calculation
- Personal attributes
Which medical schools use MMI-style interviews?
Below is a list of universities which use MMIs:
- University of Aberdeen
- Anglia Ruskin University
- Aston University
- University of Birmingham
- Brighton and Sussex Medical School
- University of Bristol
- University of Buckingham
- Cardiff University
- University of Dundee
- University of East Anglia
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Exeter
- Hull York Medical School
- Keele University
- King’s College London
- Lancaster University
- University of Leeds
- University of Liverpool
- University of Manchester
- Newcastle University
- University of Nottingham
- Plymouth University
- Queen’s University Belfast
- University of Sheffield
- University of St Andrews
- St George’s, University of London
- University of Sunderland
- University of Central Lancashire
How has COVID-19 affected MMIs?
In the 2020-21 academic year, all MMIs were carried out online, using video calling platforms. Most universities will continue to host online MMIs in the 2021-22 academic year, with the exception of the University of Bristol and the University of East Anglia.
Online MMIs follow the same format as traditional MMIs, but there may be fewer stations. The structure and format of the MMIs will differ between universities.
Top tips for MMI preparation
- Practise the common questions! Ask your friends and family to test you on some of the commonest interview questions, but make sure you don’t sound too rehearsed.
- Practise under timed conditions – most stations will last a maximum of 10 minutes, so make sure you leave enough time to answer all of the questions fully. Aim for roughly a minute per question.
- Keep up to date with the latest news in healthcare. Try and read health-related articles and issues facing the NHS. Try and look at examples beyond the scope of COVID too!
- Research the medical school – make sure you know the course structure and think about what attracts you to that particular medical school. You might also find interview tips online for specific universities.
Panel interviews are the more traditional type of interview. A single ‘panel’ of staff from the medical school will ask you all the questions, as opposed to MMIs where you may have eight to ten different interviewers. The format varies between universities, but you may expect around two to five members on each panel.
Panel interviews are less structured than MMIs, but you can expect to talk about similar themes to the MMI stations. The content of panel interviews varies between universities; some medical schools will test your scientific knowledge, while others focus more on your personal attributes. You may also be asked about your personal statement, so make sure you know it well!
Unlike MMIs, panel interviews will look at your overall performance as a candidate and will not award individual scores for answers. Don’t worry if you make a mistake – the most important thing is establishing a good rapport with the interviewer!
Which medical schools use panel interviews?
Below is a list of universities that use panel interviews:
- University of Cambridge
- University of Glasgow
- Imperial College London
- University of Oxford
- Queen Mary University of London
- University College London
How has COVID-19 affected panel interviews?
As with MMIs, panel interviews are likely to be held online this year. The same principles apply to online interviews – try and familiarise yourself with the platform used to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible.
Top tips for panel interviews
- Look over your personal statement! Interviewers may be given a copy of your personal statement, so make sure you know it well. For example, make sure you’ve read a book if you’ve put it down, and try and do wider reading around any topics you’ve mentioned.
- Research the medical school – try to understand the course structure and think about why you would be suited to this style. Although candidates aren’t allowed to disclose interview questions, you may find information online on what that medical school looks for in an interview.
- Establish a good rapport with the panel! This is especially important for panel interviews since they are more subjective than MMIs. Interviewers will give you an offer based on their overall impression of you, rather than scores for individual answers. Even in a virtual setting, make sure you introduce yourself and answer questions confidently, without being arrogant.
When can I expect to hear from medical schools?
Interview offers are usually sent between November and February, and the bulk of medical school interviews happen between December and March.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back straight away – due to the number of applications, some universities may process candidates in several batches. This might mean that some people receive interview offers earlier than others, even if they had applied to the same university.
The outcome of the interview may be sent to candidates within two to three weeks of the interview date, but this will vary between medical schools. Some medical schools will only give out offers at the end of the testing cycle, in March. All candidates applying to Oxbridge will find out if they are successful on 11th January 2022.
If you want to find out more information on the University of Cambridge, make sure to take a look at our ‘Applying to Medicine at the University of Cambridge’ blog article!
Additionally, if you would like to join the inner circle, where you can get regular 1-ON-1 guidance to help you get into your first choice medical school, you can apply here. Alternatively, you may want to consider our medical school interview course. We hope this guide was helpful and good luck in your interview.
By Maria Skaria