Medicine Interviews

The best place to start is Oxford's official information on preparing for interviews. But after you've looked there, read on to hear some students talk about their Medicine interviews.

Mixture of academic and ethics questions. Some examples: Should a man in chronic pain be able to use cannabis to relieve it? Are humans still evolving? Compare how V=IR describes the flow of electricity to the factors that affect blood flow. I was asked to calculate the concentration of a solution given a number of grams of a substance and a volume of water. I had one where I was given some imaging which showed the stages of the cell cycle. Another was a microscopy slide and I had to describe what I could see. The one slightly off the wall question I got was 'you are in a boat on a lake. You have a bowling ball, which you drop into the water. Does the level of water in the lake go up or down?'

The interviewers were nice and did not expect immediate, or indeed any, answers, and walked you through the questions when you were stuck. I had three interviews at Merton and two at Keble. I stayed at Merton and the whole process was pretty fun.

Alec, Merton, student from 2008

I know the interview experience can be daunting in general, especially with the scary stories you often hear, but it was actually not that bad for me. I was interviewed at Exeter and Pembroke, and at both colleges, the interviews were designed to see if I would fit in well with the tutorial teaching format of Oxford. At Exeter especially, it seemed almost like a discussion of the topics that they asked about. There were challenging questions, designed to take you out of your comfort zone into areas you'd never have learnt about before, but whenever I hit a roadblock, the interviewers tried to guide me through to get to an answer. It was designed to see how I would deal with unseen situations, to try and figure out how I think and tackle problems.

Kritica, Exeter, student from 2013
Movin Abeywickrema

The student helpers were so welcoming and willing to answer questions, no matter how trivial. It was great fun to hang out and watch films with other applicants in the Junior Common Room. In the interviews, the tutors were really understanding about giving me time to think about questions.

Movin, Lincoln, student from 2013
Philip Baker

In my first interview was asked to design experiments that could be used to test hypotheses, to figure out how the human brain calculates depth of vision and to discuss in great detail a specific aspect of medicine which interests me. I felt stretched to the limit of my knowledge for the entire interview and was mentally exhausted by the end, however, it was strangely enjoyable because each question made me think "why haven't I thought about that before, it seems so obvious?!"

In my second interview I was asked about epidemiology of HIV in South Africa, nervous transmission of impulses through the body, and designed an experiment to test the speed of reflex action. I stated everything I knew that could help me answer the question (however little I did actually know) and then made decisions using that knowledge until I reached a conclusion.

In my third interview, I was asked about my reasons to apply to Oxford and why I wanted to be a doctor. The scientific questions were about the effect on the blood's ability to clot if one clothing factor increased in concentration and medical conditions the person may suffer as a result and how changes to their medication would affect the ability to clot. I was absolutely roasted by the interviewers for the first part but managed to keep calm for the rest of the questions.

The fourth and final interview contained no scientific questions but Instead presented a series of ethical dilemmas which I had to evaluate and make a decision on. I tried to stick to my own "code of ethics" when making decisions even when the situation was changed. I spilt a glass of water on one of the interviewers so thought I'd said goodbye to my Oxford Dream.

How you feel the interviews went is actually a very poor judgement of how you did!

Philip, Brasenose, student from 2015
Molly Nichols

You are often asked questions the tutors know you cannot answer. They want to see how you attempt to answer the questions and how you think. They want to see you using what you know to work out something you don't. I was asked many physics-centred questions. What is the length of this rope? What is its tensile strength? Why is it harder to balance on a bike coming to a stop than one travelling at a steady speed? I was also asked ethical questions about organ donation and the cost of life.

Molly, Queen's, student from 2014

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