Dentistry panel interviews can feel intimidating, but you should do well if you’re prepared. This guide explains how Dentistry panel interviews work and what you can do to stand out.

Which Dental Schools Typically Use Panel Interviews?

  • Bristol University
  • Barts (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Dundee University
  • Newcastle University
  • Sheffield University

Panel Interviews For 2022 Entry

Due to Covid restrictions, many Dental Schools conducted online interviews for 2021 entry, and some might do the same for 2022 entry. For example, Barts, Dundee and Sheffield are saying that their Dentistry panel interviews will be held online for 2022 entry. 

It’s also possible that some Dental Schools who normally use MMIs could switch to an online panel interview format instead. So even if you think you’ll only be doing Dentistry MMIs, it’s worth familiarising yourself with panel interviews as well!

Please check your chosen university’s website, or contact them, for the most up-to-date information.

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What Is A Panel Interview?

Panel interviews are question-focused, rather than task-based. You’ll be asked questions by a panel of interviewers.

Depending on the university, a panel interview can last anywhere from around 15/20 minutes to 40 minutes.

This type of interview is more like a conversation between you and the panel. In comparison to MMIs, you’ll have a longer time to elaborate on your thoughts and establish a rapport with your interviewers.

What Are Dental Schools Looking For?

At a Dentistry panel interview, your interviewers will likely want to ask you about areas including:

  • Your motivation to study Dentistry
  • What you know about their Dental School and why you particularly want to study there
  • Your understanding of Dentistry as a career
  • What you learned from your work experience
  • Your ability to problem solve
  • Your knowledge of Dentistry/healthcare hot topics
  • How you might approach some hypothetical situations
  • Your understanding of ethics in Dentistry
  • Your ability to empathise 
  • Manual dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Manual dexterity involves being able to use your hands/fingers to complete tasks with a high level of precision.

You might be asked by some Dental Schools to complete a task before your interview to demonstrate your manual dexterity skills, e.g. Bristol University has previously asked candidates to prepare a matchbox. Or you might be asked to tell the interviewers about your manual dexterity skills and how you have made an effort to develop them, e.g. by starting a new hobby like knitting, painting or model making.

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How Can I Stand Out At Panel Interviews?

It’s a good idea to practise answering common panel interview questions as part of your preparation. However, when you’re at the interview, make sure you speak in a way that doesn’t seem rehearsed or robotic. Interviewers will be able to tell if you’re simply regurgitating answers that you’ve prepared in advance, instead of talking spontaneously. Remember it’s supposed to feel like a conversation! 

See our traditional/panel interview guide for more tips.

How Can I Prepare For Panel Interviews?

  • Look at common questions you could be asked
  • Get to know Dentistry/healthcare hot topics and practise discussing them
  • Keep up to date with Dentistry and healthcare-related news 
  • Be able to talk confidently and concisely about yourself your motivation to study Dentistry, your strengths and weaknesses, etc
  • Make sure you have some knowledge of the Dental School and can explain why you want to study there
  • Don’t just talk about what you did during your work experience – reflect on what you learned from it! 
  • Understand ethics in Dentistry and how different ethical scenarios could be approached
  • Familiarise yourself with General Dental Council (GDC) standards and guidelines
  • Research common dental conditions so that you have some basic knowledge of them
  • Book some time with a Dentistry tutor for personalised help and guidance 
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