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Applying to study Medicine at Oxbridge can create a lot of pressure, and many people find the Medicine interview process daunting. But if you focus on yourself and your interview preparation, there’s no reason to be overwhelmed.

This guide to Oxbridge interviews will familiarise you with what to expect and how to prepare for the day.

Are Oxbridge Interviews Different?

The Oxbridge interview is designed to reflect a tutorial or ‘supervision’ that students at both universities experience on a regular basis.

The interviewers will ask challenging questions that are designed to see how well you adapt to different scenarios – and you’ll be expected to talk the interviewers through your thought process as you make an attempt to establish an answer.

The majority of other Medical School interviews use the MMI format. A handful still use traditional interviews, but the format is very different from Oxbridge.

Is There A Difference Between Oxford and Cambridge?

Both Universities share a statement about their interviews, describing the same process at each. Since you can only apply to Oxford or Cambridge, you’ll only have to face one Oxbridge interview – but the preparation is the same for either institution.

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What Should I Expect?

During your Oxbridge interview, you may be asked why you’ve applied to study Medicine at Oxbridge as an ice-breaker.

Once you’ve warmed up, you should expect to be asked more scientific questions than Medicine ones. That’s because the ratio of scientists to doctors who will be interviewing you could be skewed towards scientists.

Like other Medicine interviews, the questions are asked to see how you think – they don’t expect you to have the correct answer or to have memorised obscure scientific facts.

For this reason, you should expect to be surprised by the questions you’re asked. Oxbridge interviewers want you to be challenged and have to think on your feet, as that is the way they will test your potential.

What Oxbridge Questions Could I Be Asked?

You’ve probably heard the rumours of bizarre questions that have been asked during Oxbridge interviews – but many of these are a myth!

It is notoriously hard to predict exactly what questions you will be asked, but the type of questions and the approach you can take to answering them well is much easier to anticipate. You will often find you are faced with a scenario, during your Oxbridge medical interview, where you need to apply scientific reasoning to an unfamiliar problem.

We have a number of Oxbridge Medicine questions in our Interview Question Bank that you can revise and practice for free.

Example Oxbridge questions:

  • How do birds survive at high altitude?
  • Identify this bone (bone is presented to the candidate)
  • Draw a scientific representation of a balloon flying around the room
  • What’s a disease? Name a disease
  • How would you reassure a patient who was scared of getting cancer from a CT scan?

How Should I Answer Oxbridge Questions?

The best way to answer Oxbridge interview questions is calmly and strategically. Think beyond GCSE and A-Level knowledge and have the confidence to verbally work and talk through problems as you come up with an answer.

During your interview, you should:

  • Outline your thought process methodically, taking a step-by-step approach
  • Be prepared for further, and more challenging, questions to come from the interviewers
  • Do your best to avoid shutting down in the face of uncertainty

If you’re still not sure after giving the question some thought, tell the interviewers so but say it is a topic you would love to research in greater depth in the future. This will show that you are serious about pursuing a Medical degree and that you are eager to learn.

What Are Oxbridge Interviewers Looking For?

The main thing Oxbridge interviewers are looking for in candidates is a genuine enthusiasm for the course as well as a desire and commitment to become a Doctor.

Oxbridge Medicine applicants should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a good ability to solve problems
  • Handle unfamiliar questions and scenarios confidently
  • Tackle problems they might not necessarily know the answer to

Oxbridge-specific Interview Tips

  • Prepare to be shown an image - like an x-ray, graph, or chart - and have to answer questions relating to it.
  • Practice answering creative questions. Verbalise your thought process, guide the panel through step-by-step
  • Revise your A-Level subject knowledge, because you may be asked about things you should already have learned
  • Supplement your knowledge with extra reading, as you may need to show you have additional knowledge
  • Remember that it's supposed to be hard! The questions are designed to make you uncomfortable and put you under pressure
  • Focus on yourself. Don't worry about what others say - you've got this!
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