University of Nottingham Medicine Interview Tips
Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists
Congrats! You got an interview at the University of Nottingham: now, what?
Nottingham is one of the many universities that uses MMIs (multiple mini interviews), so the good news is prepping for Nottingham will overlap with the other interview offers you will hopefully get. Also, as daunting as this can sound, Nottingham MMIs are ‘clean slate’: this means that it doesn’t matter if you just scraped an interview, your UCAT was a bit below average or your GCSEs were not all A*s, because you’ll be starting fresh in the selection process with your interview performance.
On the day, you’ll be greeted in the medical school, registered and allocated to your interview group. Make yourself comfortable, relax, chat to the people around you; the student ambassadors will be there to talk you through every step of the way and prevent you from getting lost in Queen’s Medical Centre.
You and seven other aspiring medical students will then be rotating across 8 stations, each assessing a different skill crucial to start training as a doctor. There will be one person marking in each station and sometimes someone else will be there as well, usually as an actor. The subjects of the stations change every year, but they usually revolve around communication skills, situational judgement, medical ethics, empathy and your motivation to study Medicine. Rather than testing you on scientific knowledge, they want to find out if you’d be a right fit to the course, its style of teaching and the medical profession in general.
Tip 1: Don’t stop practising!
Yes, you will be in an unfamiliar situation in every station. No, you can’t just improvise, or at least I wouldn’t recommend it. The more you practice with your tutor/your friends/your parents, the more tricks you’ll have up your sleeves to face a challenging conversation. To attempt a range of past MMI questions used in Nottingham MMI Interviews (as well as their model answers) subscribe to the Online MMI Question Bank.
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Tip 2: Know the course inside out!
You want to show them that you want your place in the medical school and you’ve given plenty of thought to your university choice. Nottingham has an “early years” pre-clinical phase, a BMedSci phase (in your third year you’ll write your dissertation) and finally the clinical years (split into three clinical phases). Be ready to debate if this is the most appropriate way of teaching medicine – in a slightly biased way, obviously. Don’t forget anatomy teaching! UoN offers full-body dissection and is very proud of it. Think about whether this is better than prosection or computer-assisted anatomy learning and be ready to back it up!
Tip 3: Don’t give up easily
Interviews are meant to test you, so don’t be surprised if the station is making you think or act in a challenging way. When actors are there, you will often have to interact with them, and this is not always going to be a straightforward conversation. If the “character” is not opening up easily, use your communication skills to work your way around it and keep trying! They’re testing not only how well you can communicate with someone who is struggling but how resilient and confident you are in your strategies and skills.
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Tip 4: If you ‘mess up’ a station, it’s fine
Everyone will have at least one station that didn’t go as they planned and that’s okay! At Nottingham, every station is marked individually, if you ‘mess up’ one of them it will have no effect on the others unless you let it. So, when you get out of a challenging station, take some deep breaths and leave it behind you; chances are many other candidates found it challenging, too.
Tip 5: Know your buzzwords
I’m not saying just pop them in when they’re not relevant, but the marker will have a checklist and will be looking for some important concepts that you should bring up if they fit in that topic. I’m talking about the four pillars of medical ethics (“Autonomy”, “Beneficence”, “Non-maleficence” and “Justice”), “confidentiality”, “holistic approach”, “empathy”, etc.
Tip 6: UoN loves ethics and situational judgement
Be ready to be asked what the most appropriate course of action in a healthcare-based situation is, because they like it so much we still get these questions in pre-clinical exams. Revise your UCAT SJT material and remember that as long as you talk your way through the best options step-by-step, you’ll score well. Don’t be afraid of giving both sides of an argument when debating which option is the best! They want to see if you have critical thinking skills, they don’t just want a snap answer.
Ultimately, Nottingham is no different from many other MMIs, and with a few tweaks like course-specific preparation you’ll do great, as long as you stay calm and give it your best shot. To attempt a range of past MMI questions used in Nottingham MMI Interviews (as well as their model answers) subscribe to the Online MMI Question Bank.