Medicine @ St Catherine's, Oxford in 2018

Interview format

4 x 45 min interviews, BMAT

Interview content

Personal statement, puzzle solving

Best preparation

Mock interviews and YouTube videos

Test preparation

Past papers

Final thoughts

Be calm, be nice, try your best and try to have fun!

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: Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
Number of interviews: 4
Time between interviews: Ranges a lot. In one college I waited 4 hours between my interviews but there were things to do with student volunteers plus I had a room to stay in for the night at that college, so the waiting didn't seem too long.
Length of interviews: 45 minutes
Online interview: No

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

Every college has a different style of interviewing, there are usually two interviewers with each one focusing on a particular aspect. The interview will normally start with some general small talk to get you settled in before the more serious questions. Some of the questions I got were to do with my personal statement usually expanding on work experience and motivation to become a doctor. I also had to talk about the books I had read and what I had found interesting about them. A part of the interview will involve solving a puzzle with the help of the interviewer normally on a topic that you are not familiar with. This sounds terrifying but it's something you can approach with your current skills and knowledge and the interviewers will also help you out as well (by asking useful questions that lead you to the answer) and you can always ask them for help with the problem as well. So you may be asked about how you might go about carrying measurements in the body like blood volume. The questions you get will generally stem from the answers you give and on the whole, the interview is quite a chill experience. The interviewers understand that you will be nervous and as long as you try your best you will be fine, crying does not result in being rejected. Many people cry in their interviews and still get offers but remember to stay calm and approach the interview as a learning experience as they are designed to closely mimic the small group Oxbridge teachings. There will be questions you don't know the answers to but just approach them as you would any new material (by asking questions, applying knowledge you already know, using the information you are given, the right answers usually lie within the information you are given anyway) and remember that the point of the interview is not examine what you already know but to establish how well suited you are to small group teaching and if you can engage with this type of learning well.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I did mock interviews with teachers at my school. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos on mock medicine interviews and Oxbridge interviews. Recently, a few mock interview videos that are Oxford medicine specific have been uploaded onto YouTube taking the form of a video interview as will happen in the 2020/2021 application cycle. The mock interview is a true reflection of what to expect in the actual interview and this would be very helpful.

If you took a test, how did you prepare?

Past exam papers, BMAT publishes all of them online, no need to spend any extra money.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

Be calm, be nice, try your best and try to have fun! If you are given overnight accommodation, make the most of it and really explore the college and engage in the activities provided!