Checklist - Preparing for a medical school interview in the UK

by Giulia Bankov February 04, 2020 4 min read

Whether you’re a final year student finishing your A levels, graduating from university or taking a gap year, medical school interview season is a stressful period for everyone. Juggling between preparing for frequently asked interview questions and arranging the logistics surrounding the associated travel to your medical school of choice can be a challenging task. In the field of medicine you will encounter plenty of stressful and nerve-racking situations, but this does not have to be one of them. All you need is some guidance and good organisational skills. You’re in luck, though, as we have ticked off the first box for you and have prepared a comprehensive medical school interview checklist for you! So make sure to read and follow it and you will be ready to ace your big day.

Immediately after receiving an invitation

Save the date and make travel arrangements


The first thing you want to think about once you have received an invitation to attend an interview is to save the date. Unless you have outstanding reason to request a change in interview date, make sure you are available that day and do not commit to any other plans. If that is the case, however, make sure you contact the medical school’s admissions office at the absolute earliest convenience to enquire about a change in date. There is usually some room for this, but you would save everyone involved a lot of trouble making sure you have dealt with this promptly. The next thing you want to do immediately, should your interview be taking place away from home, is to arrange your travel and accommodation plans.

Typically you are given at least 2 weeks’ notice, which is fairly little when it comes to booking transport, so make sure you avoid disappointment and stress by ensuring your transportation and stay has been taken care of early. If you’re traveling far, it is highly advisable to consider finding a place to stay the night before - this will help avoid any cancellations or delays on the roads, which could prove detrimental to your interview, especially if you have been given a morning slot.

Collect documents and contact the school


Typically you are not expected to bring anything special with yourself to your interview, apart from a copy of your passport, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you read all communication sent to you by the admissions team and outline any documents they might be expecting you to bring and/or any other requirements they have asked you to cover. More often than not, this can be dealt with in a matter of hours, but taking care of this early on ensures no last minute stress.

If there are still outstanding issues, it would be a good idea to get in touch with the med school promptly for them to clarify and answer questions you might have. Lastly, make sure all your contact details, such as phone number and email address are up to date, should the medical school need to make any further contact.


Find out the structure of interview and start your prep


Hopefully you would have been able to deal with all points above within a day or two of receiving an invitation and have checked most of the logistic hurdle off. This would leave you the advantage of having sufficient time until the date of your interview to prepare. The first thing you want to do is find out whether it would take the form of a panel interview or it would be an MMI format. This is typically specified in the email you will have received by the medical school.

Make sure you go on to do your own research as well afterwards and try to find as much as possible about the school and their interview and application process, should you not have done so already. While there are no set question banks to help you practice, medical schools’ webpages sometimes give an overview of the type of questions they ask or the qualities they are looking for in prospective medical students, so make sure you have familiarised yourself with those.

Lastly, set up a mock interview with a friend or a relative and try to make it as realistic as possible - this is the best practice you can get! If you want further help with your interview prep, you can also reach out to us for tailored one-on-one interview tutoring.

The night before the interview

Make a plan for the day and relax


Make sure all last minute arrangements have been dealt with at least the night before. That includes looking up any final commute to the interview location, laying out your interview outfit and packing a bag with everything you might need for the big day. Once you have done all of this, make sure you engage in a relaxing activity and try to put the interview out of your mind.

Last minute cramming will not benefit you substantially and can only harm you by putting even more stress on you. So make sure you spend the evening doing something you enjoy, whether that’s watching a movie, taking a bath or spending it with family. This will charge you positively and will hopefully boost your confidence even more. But before that...

Get a good night’s sleep

This would have been a cliche, had it not been so true. Whatever you do, make sure you have gotten a good night’s sleep before your interview, so you’re feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. No amount of last minute prep will give your demeanor the amount of confidence and relaxation you will need to walk into that room - but some good sleep will, so make the wise choice. 

We hope this checklist will be useful in your preparation for the interview. If you need any further help or have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us Good luck!

Additional resources for your interview preparation: