Birmingham Medical School Interview Guide

Miss Giulia Bankov • Jan. 31, 2019 

Giulia is a graduate medical student at the University of Glasgow. She previously studied Neuroscience at King's College London and completed her Cognitive Neurobiology and Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Amsterdam 

Studying medicine at the University of Birmingham will offer you a first-class opportunity to develop the necessary skills to become a healthcare professional in the country’s largest healthcare region with the help of state-of-the-art facilities. If you are interested in the programme and plan to apply to a Birmingham medicine interview, we have compiled some important information regarding the process and gathered our best tips on how to successfully prepare for the task. 


1. About your Birmingham Medicine interview

The Birmingham medical school interview is in the format of multiple mini interviews (MMI), composed of 7 stations and each lasting 6 minutes. The stations will evaluate the following skills and abilities:

  • Motivation for medicine
  • Communication skills
  • Empathy
  • Self-insight
  • Ethical reasoning
  • Data interpretation
  • Ability to evaluate information

The interview aims to assess your suitability for the medical profession outside of your academic performance and adheres to the values set out by the NHS, which include respect, compassion, resilience and commitment to quality of care.

You will have 2 minutes to prepare for each station and will be examined by one assessor at each station. Interviews start the end of November and go on till the end of February and approximately 1200 students are invited for an interview.

2. About the course

Teaching style

During your first and second years of the course, you will be largely taught the structure and function of the human body in appropriately structured modules, complementing this with knowledge of how each system is affected by disease and how those are treated and managed. In your third year, you will further develop your clinical and communication skills and build up-on your knowledge of common pathologies and their diagnosis and treatment. In your final two years, you will begin with your clinical attachments, which are meant to give you detailed experience in the various medical and surgical specialties and will help consolidate the accumulated knowledge so far, preparing you for your career as a foundation doctor.


Clinical work

By studying at Birmingham medical school, you will get early clinical exposure, with ten days a year in your first two years spent in the community with GPs and patients.

In year 3, you will be based in a Teaching Hospital Trust, where you will practice taking clinical history and examining patients, as well as work on your clinical skills. As previously discussed, years 4 and 5 are when clinical placements begin, and those include General Practice, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cardiology, Neurology, ENT, Psychiatry, Oncology, among others.

Anatomy teaching

Anatomy is generally taught in small group sessions and includes a substantial experience of prosection. Birmingham medical school also makes use of anatomage tables in its anatomy teachings to aid students in their learning.

3. theMSAG tips to prepare for this style of interview

Keep current with medical issues in the news and media

A good way to prepare for the MMI interview is to keep up to date with current issues and discuss those with your friends and family. While it is important to have knowledge and understanding of current issues affecting our healthcare system, it is also crucial that you are able to form an opinion on them and be able to argue that at your interview. After you have read enough on topics that you consider important and currently relevant, try and develop an opinion together with an argumentation of why the issue is important to take into account and what your stance on it is. 

Discussing the topic with other people will also allow you to familiarise yourself with different points of view and to appreciate the depth and complexity of the topic in question. If you set up a role play, in which your friend can play the examiner and ask you questions on the topic that you want to discuss, and you answer as if you were in the interview, that could further strengthen your answer and prepare you for the real interview day.


Recall examples of empathy and compassion

This is a big thing that interviewers will be looking for, as one of the stations at the interview will be devoted to particularly to looking for empathy in their candidates. Think back of examples, ideally from any past work experience that you have done, where you had practice empathy, what the situation was, how you handled it and what you learned from the experience. Consider also the strategies that staff employ to handle difficult situations that you might have noted while you were at placement, what they taught you and not only how those contributed to the benefits obtained from caring for people, but also how they helped you develop your sense of empathy better for your future medical career.

Demonstrate self-insight and motivation for the career

Arguing why you want to study medicine and why you are suitable for the course is an inseparable part of every personal statement, but at Birmingham medical school, you also need to be prepared to discuss this at your interview, as this is one of the MMI stations you will be examined on. Be able to rationalise your reasons as to why medicine is the career choice for you and think of how you can demonstrate that you have explored the necessary qualities of a successful doctor and what experience you have that has helped you develop those. If caring for people and working for teams are crucial characteristics of what makes a great doctor, think of how you can show that you are a compassionate individual and a team player, based on past experiences that you have had.

If you want to argue that resilience is a unique part of a medical career, have a think of how one trains themselves to be more resilient and what actions you can take throughout medical school and later on to cultivate this skill. There is no right or wrong answer as to why you want to go into medicine and your answer shouldn’t come as if out of a question bank, but rather needs to be personal to you and you need to be able to show that you have put thought into it and it resonates with your own values and understanding of the profession. You can also have a look at BMA’s Life as a doctor for tips of what makes a great healthcare professional.

4. Interview advice from a Birmingham Medical Student

“Be prepared to be an independent learner and to be open to all aspects of medicine and research and teaching as these are part of the curriculum. Work experience in healthcare settings is very useful, and more importantly how you reflect on your experiences there.” 

We hope you found this information useful when preparing for your Birmingham medical school interview. Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions at Good luck at your interview!

Disclaimer: This blog post was written and checked with the Birmingham medical school website in the 3rd week of January. Please note that the information below may change and you are advised to confirm before applying or attending your interview.