University of Oxford Medicine Interview Questions

Past Interview Questions & Tips

Oxford Medicine Interview Format

Oxford University utilises a traditional panel interview.  Each candidate typically has two interviews; these are conducted by tutors and clinical tutors from their respective colleges. Oxford uses the following criteria to inform their selection process:

Personal Characteristics
·         Empathy
·         Motivation, commitment and insight into medicine
·         Communication skills
·         Honesty and integrity
·         Ethical awareness
·         Teamwork
·         Capacity for sustained and intense work
·         Alignment of individual values and behaviours with the values of the NHS Constitution

Academic Potential
·         Problem-solving: critical thinking, analytical approach
·         Intellectual curiosity
·         Communication skills compatible with their tutorial format

Oxford Medicine Key Application & Interview Statistics

Overall Success Rate (Total Applicants : Total Spaces)
Overall Success Rate (Total Applicants : Total Spaces)
Percentage of Candidates Interviewed
Percentage Of Candidates Interviewed
Interviewee Success Rate
Interviewee Success Rate

Interview Focal Points​​

  • The main focus of the Oxford Medicine interview is to see how the candidate approaches problems, and especially how they cope with not knowing the answer immediately. This is closely aligned with the Oxford tutorial system and is designed to examine the candidate’s suitability for this style of teaching and learning. For this reason, engaging in discussion, as well as logical thinking, justifying your thoughts and adapting your ideas based on the discussion in the Oxford Medicine interview is highly recommended.
  • The Oxford Medicine course has a heavy focus on research, and aims to produce academic doctors. Hence, they want students who are interested in learning about science beyond the minimal requirements required to be a doctor.
  • Candidates are often provided with an image to discuss – such as an x-ray or a microscopic slide. Whilst knowledge of the contents are not expected, a structured, systematic approach which takes on board the interviewers cues will score well.
  • Candidates may also be given a review article to read for half an hour before their interview, which they then have to answer questions on in the interview itself. In most cases, the main focus here is not on the intricate details of the article but instead on the general themes explored. What is the overall message of the article? What were the authors trying to do and say?
  • Alternatively, interviews may involve reviewing and interpreting a graph or data set.
  • Many Oxford Medicine Interview questions centre on creative problem-solving, with questions including:
    • How much does a mountain weigh?
    • How different would the world be if the wheel wasn’t invented?
  • These questions are designed to test the candidate’s creative and critical thinking skills and how they approach the problem. Can the candidate explain their thought process out loud? Can they guide them through their thoughts, step by step? Can they ask logical questions to reach an answer?

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University of Oxford Medicine Past MMI Stations & Interview Questions

Why Medicine/Oxford?
1.Why do you want to study medicine/be a doctor?
2.Why the University of Oxford?
3.What do you think you could contribute to college life?
Background and Personal Statement:
4.How good were your teachers at school?
5.What keeps you awake at night?

Work Experience:
6.What did you learn from your work experience?

General Questions
7.If you could invite any two people alive or dead to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
8.If you had to choose a new language to learn, which one would it be and how would you go about it?

Attributes of a Good Doctor
9. What makes a good doctor?

Biology and Abstract Biology Questions
​10. When given a drawing of the nerves from the ear to the auditory canal; explain the image shown.
11.How would you poison someone without the police finding out?
12.Why is it a disadvantage for humans to have two legs?
13.Given a skull: what animal is this, describe the teeth and why they are designed as such.
14.Describe what happens when a neuron is excited and an action potential follows.
15.Show what happens to the membrane potential of an animal cell when put in different solutions.
16.How can a specific animal tell the difference between spring and autumn? 
17.How many genes are there in the genome of a rice plant? 
18. Draw a graph of learning against time/stage of life
19. What do you like most about the brain?
20. Can you describe an experiment to differentiate between a normal and multi-resistant strain of bacteria?
21. Why do we have red blood cells?
22. How is a city like a cell?
23. How would you design a better brain?
24. Why don’t we just have one ear in the middle of our face?

Chemistry-Based Questions
25.How many moles of H2O are there in a cup of water?
26.Calculate what volume of wine can be drunk to reach the legal concentration of alcohol in the blood for driving?
General Science-Based Questions
27. How would you simulate altitude in your living room?
28.How would you measure the weight of your own head?
29.If you are in a boat in a lake and throw a stone out of the boat, what happens to the level of the water?
30.Why can you not see many stars when you stand on top of a mountain?  
31.How would you design an experiment to disprove the existence of God?
32.What leaves you drier if it’s raining: running or walking?  

Medicine-Based Questions
33.Why does your heart rate increase when you exercise?
34.What’s the greatest medical innovation this century?
35.How would you determine whether leukaemia patients have contracted the disease because of a nearby nuclear power station?
36.At what point is a person “dead”?
37.If urine was emptied into the small intestine instead of the bladder, what would happen?
38.What does the letter b stand for in b-lymphocyte? 
39.How do prions actually affect the brain?
40.How does the body try to remove or recognise poison?
41.How would you solve the aids crisis in South Africa
42.How would you restrict the spread of an epidemic such as Ebola? 
43. In your opinion, what has been the most significant medical breakthrough in the last 10 years?

44.What do you think of the state of the NHS? What would you do to improve it?

Ethical Dilemmas
45.Should patients be allowed to sell their kidney(s)?
Additional Questions:
46.Why are manholes round?
47.If you were a grapefruit, would you rather be seedless or non-seedless?
48.Draw a cross section of a bicycle wheel. Now draw another one.
49.How would you describe a human to a person from Mars?
50.What is a tree? 
51.How many people believe in evolution in the United States? 
52.What is your opinion on spontaneous human combustion? 

Oxford Medicine Interview Questions and Answers

Why do you want to study Medicine at the University of Oxford?

I am driven to study Medicine at the University of Oxford due to its comprehensive approach that combines a deep understanding of scientific methods with practical clinical medicine. The course’s structure, which encompasses a series of lectures, practicals, and college tutorials, is designed to equip students with the knowledge and understanding essential for clinical medicine. Additionally, the course emphasises the importance of scientific methodology, preparing students for a medical practice landscape that is continuously evolving. This preparation is not just about adapting to changes but also contributing distinctively to the evolution of medical practice. Oxford’s approach to medical education, which focuses on developing a thorough understanding of science and scientific methods, is particularly appealing to me. It aligns with my ambition to excel in a field where medical practice and research are intertwined and rapidly progressing.

What do you know about the Medicine course structure at the University of Oxford?

Oxford’s Medicine course is structured into two main phases: the pre-clinical section and the clinical training. In the first three years, I’ll be introduced to the fundamentals of human biology and the mechanisms underlying diseases, complemented by practical experiences and an introduction to clinical significance. This phase leads to a BA degree in Medical Sciences. For the clinical training, I’ll continue in the Oxford Clinical School, where the focus shifts to immersive clinical experiences. This hands-on approach in various specialties is essential for my development as a well-rounded medical professional.

How does Oxford's Medicine course integrate research into its curriculum?

Research is a significant component of Oxford’s Medicine course, particularly during the Final Honour School of Medical Sciences. This unique phase aims to develop interpretative and critical skills, leading to an Honours BA in Medical Sciences. As a student, I’ll be required to undertake an experimental research project, providing an opportunity to join a world-class research community. This aspect of the course is appealing as it allows me to delve into a specific area of interest, enhancing my understanding of biomedical science and its application in clinical practice.

What are the unique features of Oxford's clinical training?

A standout feature of Oxford’s clinical training is the transition from the pre-clinical phase to hands-on clinical experiences. Starting in the third year,  clinical training is focused on immersive experiences in various medical specialties. This training is crucial for understanding diverse healthcare needs and developing practical skills. However, there is a clear division at Oxford between pre-clinical and clinical, with the award of an undergraduate degree coming before the clinical years proper. The chance to be part of Oxford’s esteemed clinical training, with its emphasis on experiential learning, is a major draw for me, as it is instrumental in shaping competent and versatile medical practitioners.

What opportunities does Oxford offer for global medical experience?

Oxford Medicine’s curriculum is designed not only to provide a deep understanding of medical science and clinical practice but also to prepare students for a global medical landscape. Oxford’s renowned global connections and its research-oriented approach provide ample opportunities for exposure to diverse healthcare systems. Engaging with a global medical community is an important aspect for me, as it broadens my perspective and understanding of medicine in different cultural and socio-economic contexts.

The University of Oxford’s Medicine course, with its blend of rigorous scientific training, clinical excellence, and research opportunities, offers an environment that fosters both academic and professional growth, aligning with my aspirations to contribute meaningfully to the medical field.

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