Birmingham Medical School Interview Tips
Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists
A common method that the University of Birmingham use to assess your knowledge of the medical school as well as your communication skills are through a role play where they may ask you to talk to a medical student who is studying at Birmingham already. This may seem like an odd roleplay question, but it really is an opportunity for you to showcase your conversation skills as well as your knowledge of the university in one.
Here are some features of the course that you should mention:
- Birmingham has an integrated course structure and expect students to learn ‘in a variety of forms: lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals, bedside demonstrations, clinical experience and a small component of problem-based learning (PBL).’ If asked why Birmingham, always include why this course style is suitable for you – for example, you enjoy being able to have a varied teaching approach and early clinical exposure to put things into practice of what you are learning.
- Next, have a look at whether they are prosection or dissection-based anatomy learning. Birmingham is strictly prosection – include why this might benefit you! For example, you benefit from being able to have a clear and focused approach to learning anatomy as the specimens have been dissected by experts to ensure that the specific, important parts of the specimen are shown.
- A good thing to mention is if the course includes any research projects or the opportunity to intercalate a BSc to ensure that you showcase your academic interest. Have a look on their website : https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/medical-school/intercalated-bmedsc.aspx and see if any of the intercalated courses really interest you – they may be related to any of your A Level subjects you take or an EPQ essay you have written therefore it would be great to mention if any of the intercalated degrees Birmingham offer intrigue you!
- Lastly, don’t be afraid to talk about the social aspect of the University of Birmingham and if you have been to the campus on an Open Day, mention how much you enjoyed it! Birmingham offers a great variety of societies and events so make sure to say which ones you would like to join if you were accepted.
Birmingham is known to include at least 2 calculation stations in their interviews as basic mathematical skills are key for life as a medical student and doctor. Don’t get too worried about this though – the maths will not be as high as A Level standard but more suited to around GCSE level. There will be some drug calculations so do try to practice some before your interview so that you are familiar with the quick calculations you may have to do as you are given the same amount of time as all your other MMI stations which is around 6-7 minutes. Be aware that the score you get contributes to your overall interview score.
Reflection and Scenario Stations
Medical schools are increasingly focusing on the importance of holistic care, Birmingham included. The best way to tackle this question is to talk about a scenario you have seen when you were on your work experience or volunteering. Examples could include:
- Doctors adapting to their patients when they seem anxious or nervous to reassure them about a potential treatment or procedure.
- Maintaining eye level for all patients, including children so that they do not feel intimidated or scared, eliminating the once ‘paternalistic’ nature of medicine.
To really improve your answer in this type of work experience reflection questions, include how you have been able to implement things you have learnt from your work experience in your own day-to-day life. For example, you may have seen excellent delegation skills within an MDT on your work experience which could have inspired you to implement similar measures in your role as captain in the football team! There are many examples you could include, so ensure you always reflect and try to include these in your various roles in school/clubs.
Before any medical school interview, you should be fully prepared with knowledge about current medical topics and debates, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Birmingham often includes this station in their MMIs so ensure that you are able to have logical and coherent arguments for and against the topic they give you. Even if you are not and expert in that particular field, they will be looking for a clear flow and structure to your answer.
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