Medicine @ Merton, Oxford in 2017

Interview format

5x interviews (20-30 mins each), in one day

Interview content

Interview 1: stressful; Interview 2: virus discussion and graph analysis; Interviews 3-5: structured questions, including ion channels and diabetes; graphs and images

Best preparation

Practise talking through questions aloud in your room

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Don't stress about 1 bad interview / question.

Remember this advice isn't official. There is no guarantee it will reflect your experience because university applications can change between years. Check the official Cambridge and Oxford websites for more accurate information on this year's application format and the required tests.

Also, someone else's experience may not reflect your own. Most interviews are more like conversations than tests and like, any conversation, they are quite interactive.

Interview Format

Test taken: BMAT

Number of interviews: 5

Skype interview: No

All 5 interviews in 1 day

Length of interviews: 20-30 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

My first interview was quite stressful, I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t have a clue what the interviewer was talking about. The interview was ended 10 minutes early and I thought I was 100% going to be rejected.

My second interview was exhilarating. The interviewer asked me to pick a topic of interest, which we then chatted about casually for 20 minutes (viruses, specifically HIV). He asked me questions on current affairs surrounding viruses, new drugs, international policies etc to really delve into each aspect of the issue beyond the pure science. The last 10 minutes were spent analysing a diagram and graph in tandem.

My next 3 interviews were shorter and more structured. The first was about ion channels, with lots of leading questions to encourage me. The second was filled with a variety of more eccentric questions. The final interview was a discussion of diabetes and then analysing graphs and images.

How did you prepare?

I did all of the practice papers. I found that subtracting 2 points from my score at home gave me a general sense of how I might do under exam pressure.

I looked online for advice, and spoke to people at open days about what to expect. I did have a mock interview, however this did not reflect the Oxford style at all. Read about what interests you, practise talking through questions out loud alone in your room. This made me comfortable with thinking out loud.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

Looking back, what advice would you give to your past self?

Pause to gather your thoughts before speaking, and remember that they are looking for an intelligent train of thought, not just a correct answer. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter if you get the answer right; it’s just how you got there.

Don’t stress too much- one bad interview is not the end of the world. I feel like it’s so important to be able to move on from one bad interview or answer to a question! It doesn’t mean that they are going to disregard all other good interviews - interviewers know how nervous you are and won’t judge too harshly.