You never know what questions will come up in your medical school interview.
This article shows the general types of medical interview questions you might face and some interview styles used by medical schools.
Types of interview question
The following list breaks down the various types of difference medical school interview questions, and gives some examples of questions that have been asked in the past.
Generic Background Medical Interview Questions
These are largely icebreaker questions, designed to begin the interview and put you at ease:
- “Why would you make a good doctor?”
- “Tell us about yourself”
These ask about why you decided this course was for you, and test how serious you are about the subject:
- “Why medicine, and not nursing or some other health related profession?”
- “Why do you want to study here?”
Get an insiders experience of an Cambridge or Oxford interview from these past successful candidates >>>
Competencies and Reflective Learning
Here you are asked about what you are good at, and what you can improve on:
- “How will you handle the stress of work?”
- “Tell us about a team activity you organised. What went badly? What could have been improved?”
Depth of Interest
This type of question is geared towards specific areas of knowledge, to see what research you have personally done:
- “Can you tell me about a significant recent advance in Medicine?”
- “Do you read any publications?”
Ethical Debates and Current Affairs
Here interviewers will ask for your opinion on controversial matters, based in ethical dilemmas, or current news events:
- “What is your opinion on euthanasia?”
- “Should someone who has smoked for the past 20 years be entitled to free healthcare?”
Clinical Scenarios Medical Interview Questions
Once again, these questions will introduce controversial scenarios, but in the setting of a doctor at work in a hospital:
- “You have one liver available for transplant, and two patients with equal medical need. One is an ex-alcoholic mother with two young children; the other is a 13 year old with an inborn liver abnormality. How would you decide to whom it should be given?”
- Is it ethical to prescribe contraceptive medication to someone who is under the legal age to have sexual intercourse?”
These questions test your understanding of empathy, to see if you can treat a patient with care and kindness:
- “How do you respond to seeing a beggar on a street?”
- “How would you tell a patient that they are terminally ill?”
Creative, Innovative, and Imaginative Questions
These questions are usually fairly random and non-medical in nature, designed to test your ability to think outside the box:
- “If you had six months free and unlimited funding, what would you do?”
- “How many uses can you think of for a phone charger?”
Some general tips
From the list above you can see that not everything can be revised for in advance. However, there are certainly some medical interview questions that you should be ready to answer, and will need to have done some research for.
- Make sure you know about the university you are applying for in particular, as you may be asked why you applied THERE specifically
- Read up on the debates surrounding the NHS
- Read up on medical ethics
- Keep up with the news
- Do some research into an area of medicine that interests you, and be ready to talk about it!
As well as having an idea about the types of medical interview questions you might be asked, you should also be ready for the various setting you may be tested in. These vary from university to university – some medical schools include a group activity in the interview process, where you are tested alongside 7 or so other applicants at the same time.
Some medical schools do a series of several ‘micro-interviews’. These are multiple mini interviews, or MMIs. You will have a series of rapid sessions in a large hall with many applicants and many interviewers each at separate desks. The University of Manchester use the MMI interview style. Think of it like the speed-dating equivalent of medicine interviews! Most schools primarily use the standard individual interview process with one or two interviewers per interviewee, but you should be prepared for the different approaches taken across the UK