Dentistry 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?

The following universities typically use the panel interview format for Dentistry candidates:

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

Panel Interviews For 2023 Entry

Last year, most panel interviews were held online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

For 2023 entry, some universities will continue to conduct their panel interviews online, but some will return to in-person interviews. When you receive an invitation to interview, make sure you check the details carefully.

If your panel interview for Dentistry is going to be online, you can find out more in our guide to online interviews.


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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.

Common Panel Interview Questions

Some common Dentistry panel interview questions include:

  • Why do you want to study Dentistry?
  • What do you know about our Dental School and why do you want to study here?
  • What appeals to you about Dentistry?
  • What are some of the challenges that come with being a Dentist?
  • What were some key things you learned about Dentistry from your work experience?
  • How do you cope with stressful situations?
  • How would you break bad news to someone?
  • Questions that test your knowledge of Dentistry/healthcare hot topics
  • Questions that assess our understanding of ethics in Dentistry
  • Questions that explore your ability to empathise

You can find more Dentistry interview questions with model answers here.

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 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 interview 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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