Southampton Medicine Interview Guide

The University of Southampton is one of the UK’s leading medical schools and has an international reputation for its clinical research. With only 210 medical admissions, it is no surprise that places at Southampton are extremely competitive. Therefore, it is very important that you prepare for their medical interview. But how do you actually prepare for it? What do you need to know? 

Here to answer all your questions, this is your simple guide to the Southampton Medical School interview!


1. About your Southampton Medical School interview

Southampton Medical School’s interview process has 2 parts - an individual panel interview and a group task. These are conducted between December and March. 
The 20-minute group-task is a discussion between eight applicants on a chosen topic. It takes place in front of two interviewers and students will be given 5-minutes of preparation time prior to the task. Additionally, applicants undergo a 20-minute panel interview. This is predominantly based on aspects of the candidate’s personal statement. The interview panel consists of lecturers, doctors, teachers or admissions staff.
Applicants must be able to show that they:
  • are self-motivated and resilient
  • have reflected on experiences (such as work experiences or personal experiences, both in and outside health care settings)
  • can communicate effectively
  • are able to interact successfully with others
  • can demonstrate an understanding of the values of the NHS values

Each applicant’s interview performance is reviewed alongside their UCAT score and offers are made accordingly.


2. About your course

A common medical school interview question is “Why do you want to study at this University?”. Medical schools want to offer places to students that have researched their universities in detail. This question highlights your motivation and desire to continue their course till the very end.

The course overview

Southampton’s medical course is a five-year, full-time undergraduate programme. Medical students are based at one of the UK’s leading teaching hospitals, University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust. They gain practical experience from Year 1 in a variety of clinical settings in the community and hospitals. 

Research:There are many opportunities for students to engage with research via the student-run INSPIRE programme. This research project undertaken in Year 3 will lead students to achieve the award of BMedSci (Honours) 

Intercalated Masters: a limited number of students will be able to gain an intercalated master’s degree in Medical Science. This degree will take place between years 3 and 4, extending the medical course by one year.

The course structure

  • Year 1 and Year 2: Students learn about the major body systems and how they work both in health and disease. They also undertake student selected units in medical humanities and public.
  • Year 3: Students undertake a research project from a wide variety of disciplines. They also attend clinical placements in hospitals and local GPs.
  • Year 4: Students experience a range of clinical specialities in hospitals and community settings. Clinical modules include Psychiatry and Child Health
  • Year 5: Final year students reinforce their learning in the core specialities of Medicine, Surgery and Primary Care. They will also have the opportunity to choose a student selected unit in a clinical area.


3. theMSAG tips to prepare for this style of interview

Learn about the NHS constitution

Southampton interview questions have a strong focus on the NHS constitution. Interviewers are looking for applicants who can embrace NHS key values. Therefore, students should show where they have demonstrated these values. You can make your answers stand out by reflecting and linking your answers back to medicine. For example, you could give an example of where you’ve shown compassion and then reflect on why compassion is an important quality as a doctor. By reflecting on your experiences, you show maturity and insight into medicine.

Think about your approach for the group task

The group task interview involves eight students discussing a topic. This activity is not assessing your knowledge but is testing your ability to work in a team. If possible try to allocate appropriate roles to everyone in the group, such as a team leader, a scribe, a timekeeper etc. In this way, each candidate will be involved. 

It is important that you help facilitate the discussion, instead of dominating it. Therefore, encourage everyone to voice their opinions and give others the opportunities to speak. You could even refer back to important points made by another candidate. Interacting effectively with your peers will not only highlight your communication skills but also shows that you are team player.


Reflect on your healthcare experiences

The Southampton interview panel will ask questions regarding your healthcare experiences. This includes hospital/GP work experiences, volunteering in care homes, observing other healthcare professions such as pharmacists and your own personal experience as a patient. It is important that when you're talking about your experience, you can actually reflect on what you've observed, instead of listing a variety of procedures. Reflecting means thinking about a situation in detail. Try asking yourself these questions: "what did you learn?", "why is this important?","how will this make you a better medical student/doctor in the future?". 

You can practice these types of questions at theMSAG Interview Course, where you will be interviewed by current medical students and doctors. During the course, we will go through interview techniques and practice MMI stations. For the MMI circuit, we will tailor each station to your selected universities and personal statement. You will also be given a Go-Pro on the day, so you can record footage of your answer and the feedback. 

Consider your motivations for doing medicine

It is important to have strong motivation to do medicine as a common interview question at Southampton is "why do you want to do medicine?". When answering this question, you need to show your passion for the subject and your resilience for the career i.e. what steps have you taken to realise that medicine is the right path for you? and why are you the best candidate for this position? 

When overwhelmed with nerves, many candidates become timid and even forget to smile. This will deter from your motivation and reasoning for doing medicine. Remember to answer the question confidently as this will help to facilitate a good rapport with the panel. So, before the interview take a few deep breaths, remember your motivation for doing medicine and smile!

4. Interview advice from a current Southampton medical student

“In the Southampton panel interview, the interviewers often ask a few common questions such as “why do you want to study medicine”. They also ask questions related to your work experience or personal statement. Having pre-prepared answers to these questions will really help you in your interview. However, it is important to note that everyone will have a different experience and no two interviews will be the same so do not be put off by other people’s interview – simply do your best!”

We hope that this post has been useful in your interview preparation. Don't hesitate to send us any questions or comments by email at Good luck for your interview! 

Disclaimer: All the information below was verified via the university website in the second week of December 2018. Please note that the course and interview structure is subject to change and we advise that you confirm with the University before attending.