Medicine @ The Queen's, Oxford in 2017

Interview format

4x 15 min interviews

Interview content

Interview 1: ethical ideas; Interview 2: future of medicine; Interview 3: personal experience, interests; Interview 4: science (diagrams)

Best preparation

Practice papers; (medical) news; read example essays; reviewed science

Advice in hindsight


Final thoughts

Re-read personal statement and thought about possible questions on it; arranged practice interview. Focus on what interests you; don't worry about learning lots of info; try to relax!

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: 4

Skype interview: No

Interview spread: 2, about 2 hours apart, at one college; then 2, also about 2 hours apart, at another college

Length of interviews: less than 20 minutes each

What happened in your interview? How did you feel?

Each interview was slightly different, but were all based on chatting about questions, and never arriving to a definite answer.

At the first college, I had one interview which focused more on ethical ideas, being given a scenario at a GPs and talking through the issues with the examiners, as well as asking a little about my experiences with work experience and school.

In the second interview I was asked to imagine and think about several hypothetical questions about the future of medicine and genetics.

In all of my interviews I was at some point shown a graph or picture and asked to explain, to my knowledge, a little about it. These were then discussed with the interviewers, and they gave me extra information and if that would change my thoughts. At first it was a bit nerve wracking, but the style of the interviewers was much more chatty than I'd expected.

At the second college, I also had two interviews.

The first asked me questions about my personal statement, and my experience at school, and was more focused on personality, and we talked about my hobbies and interests more than in other interviews.

The second was more science based, as in they gave me diagrams and asked me questions about these. They also allowed me to steer the conversation a bit more, asking questions about what interested me most in medicine, and about the books or articles I'd read recently. All the questions in all interviews were really open, there weren't any right or wrong answers, and it was mainly about my opinions and first impressions. A lot of the time they'd pick up on something I'd said and then ask me another question about that, and it kind of flowed pretty naturally from one topic to another.

How did you prepare?

I took practice BMAT papers that I found online, as well as keeping up with newspapers and current medical news to help with the essay section.

I also read example essays, and reviewed some physics, chemistry and biology that I'd done in school.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

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

I re-read my personal statement the night before, and thought about questions that they could ask about my work experience and stuff like that. I'd read a couple of books that I'd mentioned in my personal statement, so I recapped them in my head and what I'd found interesting about them. I prepared much more for the BMAT than the interview, but I did ask one of my teachers to do a 'practice interview', which, although it was pretty different to my actual interviews, helped with the pre interview nerves!

I think the best advice I've got for people about to have an interview or to apply is to focus on what interests you. If you find something interesting, so will your interviewers, and they're really looking for enthusiasm for the subject among other things. I didn't expect the interviewers to be as relaxed and chatty as they were, but I'd say, apart from the serious nervousness, its actually pretty fun. Some of the questions I got asked were interesting to think about, and talk about to people who know a lot about them. So try to relax, don't go crazy trying to learn loads of information, and try to enjoy yourself!