Newcastle Medicine Interview Tips
Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists
Medicine at Newcastle University
So you’ve decided to apply for Medicine at Newcastle University? You have the necessary grades and UCAT score? Great! Receiving an invitation for interview is a great achievement and the interview, although nerve-wracking, is a great opportunity to show off how well you have prepared for the assessment.
In general, candidates have a nearly one in four chance of attaining a place at Newcastle University once they get to this stage. Interviews at Newcastle come in two formats depending on your home base. For ‘Home/EU’ students, the interview is structured in a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format. There are seven stations in this format:
• Integrity (honesty and probity)
• Empathy and self-awareness
• Motivation and commitment to be a doctor
• Compatibility with the MBBS programme
• Teamwork (including leadership)
• Personal organisation
• Persistence and resilience
Each of these stations lasts for around seven minutes. In addition, there is a two-minute icebreaker question to start the MMI off at the first station.
For ‘international’ students, the interview takes the form of a panel interview, normally with two selectors present. This interview usually takes place over Skype, although may take place in Newcastle if the student wishes to travel to visit the university at the same time. Selectors for these interviews encompass a range of backgrounds, both medical and nonmedical.
For example, different stations may involve interactions with a hospital consultant, research professor, and even an actor at a role-play station. They receive special training in order to ensure prospective medical students have the best possible experience at interview.
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Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)
Prospective medical students tend to have a love-hate relationship with the MMI process. Many feel they are unable to fully sell themselves when they are assessed by so many different selectors in such short periods of time. However, some prefer this aspect of the MMI as it allows applicants to move onto each station with a fresh start if the previous station has gone poorly. It is important to bear this in mind during the interview, as it is crucial to develop rapport with the selectors each time you enter a new station. Each set of selectors has no idea how you have performed in the other stations.
As there can be several selectors at each station, candidates are often assessed by more than seven staff members at Newcastle interviews. These staff have a range of backgrounds as mentioned previously and will be able to give a more thorough assessment than a smaller panel interview.
When you arrive for your Newcastle interview, you will first register before being directed to a holding room with other candidates. Once it reaches the time for your MMI to take place, you will be taken through to the interview room. Within this room, there will be seven numbered stations shielded from each other. Outside each station there will be an information sheet explaining the scenario of each upcoming station. Candidates usually have a minute or two to prepare themselves and read instructions before entering each station.
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Stations can take several formats. For example, some may start with a standard question, such as ‘why do you want to be a doctor?’. Selectors will then guide the conversation depending on the candidate’s answer. Other stations may involve a role-play. Examples of a role play may include candidates having to play the role of a GP receptionist when a patient comes in to make a complaint or playing the role of a GP carrying out a consultation with a deaf or blind patient.
These can be challenging but also good fun!
Time management is a key aspect of MMIs. Whilst you may have half an hour or more to cover all relevant topics in panel interviews, all points that candidates want to put across in MMI stations must be achieved in seven minutes. This requires effective preparation for your MMI.
Preparing for the MMI is very similar to preparing for a standard panel interview. As Newcastle University have provided a list of examinable topics, it is key to gear your revision around these topics. For example, many prospective students will prepare answers for why they want to be a doctor or examples of great teamwork and leadership. This is of course important, but it is crucial not to leave out examples showing off other assets like integrity or empathy. In the runup to your interview, it is very important to practise mock interviews. Try asking friends or family to act as selectors!
To attempt a range of past MMI questions used in Newcastle MMI Interviews (as well as their model answers) subscribe to the Online MMI Question Bank.
With the right preparation and a calm attitude, you will sail through the interview! Try and enjoy the experience.
(Elliot Noble, Graduate Entry Medical Student, Newcastle University)