UCL Medicine Interview Questions
Past Interview Questions & Tips
UCL Medicine Interview Format (Historically)
All candidates upon arriving at the interview are given a tour and introductory lecture, from a faculty member (usually an admissions tutor).
UCL employs a traditional interview format which takes approximately 15 minutes with two sections, the first on your personal statement and the second on your BMAT essay. The interview panel consists of three people; in most cases this will be an academic, a clinician (usually a general practitioner or hospital doctor) and a non-clinical or lay-person (sometimes this may be a current student). During your interview, two of these individuals will ask questions, while the third observes and write notes. All three interviewers provide a score, contributing to the outcome.
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Before the Interview
- After your BMAT exam, write down a summary of the main points from your essay. You will be asked about these in your interview.
- Know what you’re being assessed on. UCL has a set mark scheme in which they evaluate and score all interviewees. In order to be assessed on the mentioned criteria (eg. Teamwork), it is likely that that you will be asked a question related to each of the domains.
- Be able to articulate why you want to study at UCL. This is often one of the first questions asked. Ensure your answer extends beyond “I want to study medicine” or “because I want to help people”. It must set you apart from the other candidates and should mention features which are unique to UCL. These features could be the integrated teaching style that the university adopts or the benefits of being able to complete modules at certain teaching hospitals such as Royal Free. The variety of student-selected components (SSCs) which UCL offers (e.g. languages and specialities) or the opportunity to complete an intercalated BSc and develop skills outside of medicine are also worth mentioning. With these aspects, you should be aware of the options available in these courses and have something in mind that you would like to pursue.
- Expect the unexpected; eg. ‘Can you tell me about the history of UCL?’ – this is a recent favourite amongst UCL interviewers.
- Have a basic understanding of the future challenges facing the NHS, e.g. ageing population/the role of primary care and expect to be asked about these issues.
- Regularly read and re-read your personal statement so that you know it thoroughly. Consider areas on which the interviewers could ask you to elaborate.
- Read the NHS Constitution, the General Medical Council’s publication Good Medical Practice and be aware of the core values of the NHS.
- On the day of the interview, you will be provided with a copy of your BMAT essay – annotate it carefully, line by line, as you will be asked to justify and reflect on it, during the interview.
Optimise Your Interview Performance
Learn the best interview strategies and practice with past interview questions & model answers.
UCL Medicine Past MMI Stations & Interview Questions
General/Personal Statement Questions: The use of stories/ personal experiences are often a more powerful way of demonstrating character traits, than listing off as many as you can think of. Also, talk about areas in medicine which interest you. Especially those that could be developed at the university as UCL has a strong academic background and broad scope for research. Discuss your relevant work experience, e.g. shadowing doctors, clinical and voluntary work. The interviewers may base their ethical questions on some aspect of the work experience that you have completed. Therefore, careful consideration of your answer is essential as one question will often lead to another based on that same experience. Talk about extra-curricular achievements/interests outside of medicine as this shows a well-rounded individual.
Recent questions have included the following:
- Why do you want to study medicine?
- Tell me what you learned from your work experience
- How would you handle the stresses of being a doctor?
- What are the most significant aspects of communication?
- What did you learn from your work experience/tell me more about it
- What did you learn from your voluntary work/tell me more about it
- Tell me about your research project
Model answers as well as additional practice questions can be found in the Online Question Bank.
Discussing your BMAT Essay: You may be asked to briefly summarise your BMAT essay. Ensure you approach this question wisely as this can dictate the nature of subsequent questions.
- Expect questions such as “why did you write that point?”, “what’s the reason you wrote this?”Alternatively, “what would you improve?” You must be able to demonstrate that you can justify and reflect on your decisions.
- Avoid criticising your work as this gives the interviewers fuel to discredit you. Instead, focus on additional points that you could mention or develop further.
Science/Medicine Questions: Ensure that you keep up to date with this as you need to be aware of these issues and how they are likely to affect the NHS. Interviewers will rate you on both your verbal and non-verbal skills so; ensure that your answers are expressed coherently and clearly, with confident body language. Recent questions have included the following:
- What are the issues surrounding the NHS?
- What difficulties and stresses are posed for GPs?
- What recent medical news have you recently come across?
- If you were made in charge of the NHS budget, where would you allocate your funds?
- Recently there has been a rise in the cases of measles. Do you know why?
- What sort of diseases mentioned alongside stem cell research?
- What body system does cystic fibrosis affect the most?
- What method can be used for gene therapy?
Ethical Scenarios: It is common for an ethical scenario to be included in the UCL interview. Ensure that you read the BlackStone Tutors ‘2 Sorts, 2 Sides’ approach to ethical scenarios, in order to manage these questions effectively. Recent ethical scenarios have included the following:
- Your patient’s family members request that you do not tell him of his new cancers diagnosis. What actions would you take in this scenario?
- If you made a small mistake during an operation, would you tell the patient? You do not believe that your mistake will have any clinical impact on the patient or his recovery.
Spontaneous Questions: Unexpected or abstract questions sometimes come up. For instance, “if you had the opportunity to host a dinner party with three people, who would you invite?” or “what popular science novels or articles have you read recently?” These questions are designed to test your ability to think on the spot and give a well constructed, logical answer.
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