Oxbridge Medical Interviews
Oxbridge medical interviews tend to be exciting and intimidating in equal measure.
Our aim is to demystify the Oxbridge interview process so you can tackle it in an informed and effective way.
This page answers the following questions about Oxbridge medical interviews:
- Why are Oxbridge interviews so scary?
- What is the reality of Oxbridge interviews?
- What are common questions at Oxbridge interviews?
- How do I answer questions at Oxbridge interviews?
Why Are Oxbridge Medical Interviews So Scary?
For many, the chance to study at Oxford or Cambridge represents the pinnacle of world education. That creates pressure.
Both are exceptional places to study Medicine, and the competition at interview is especially fierce. Again, this can be intimidating for those going through the process.
Then there are the stories of weird and wonderful things that people might get asked. However, tales of being invited to throw bricks through windows are often apocryphal!
What Is The Reality Of Oxbridge Medical Interviews?
Oxbridge tutors we know often refer to the interview as a tutorial experience. So, what is a tutorial? One Oxford tutor told The Medic Portal:
‘It is the ability to see both sides of an argument, think on your feet, explain your views to others, present information and cope with pressure’.
Oxbridge medical interviews are, more often than not, largely a problem solving exercise. You will be asked a variety of questions, including scientific and ethical problems.
What Are Common Questions At Oxbridge Medical Interviews?
There are lots of bizarre examples of Oxbridge interview questions. Some are myths, others are rooted in truth. But while it is notoriously hard to predict exactly what will be asked, the type of questions and the approach to answering them is easier to anticipate.
Frequently, you will be faced with a scenario where you have to apply scientific reasoning to an unfamiliar problem. Here are a few real examples from recent years to get you thinking:
- How do birds survive at high altitude?
- Identify this bone [presents a bone]
- Draw a scientific representation of a balloon flying around the room
The answer to these types of questions is unlikely to be short or immediate. But, hopefully, you will have some ideas which you can talk through and develop.
Remember, the ratio of scientists to doctors who will be interviewing you is skewed towards scientists. You will get a lot less of the ‘why medicine’ type questions.
For more examples of possible Oxbridge questions, try reading our Oxbridge Medicine Interview question and answer guide. You could also try the ‘creativity and imagination’ questions in the interview part of our e-learning section.
How Do I Answer Questions At Oxbridge Interviews?
Bearing in mind the above, you should try to:
- Talk through your ideas
- Outline your thought process
- Take a step-by-step approach
- Initiate discussions
- Prepare for tricky questions
- Avoid shutting down in the face of uncertainty
Ultimately, it is very hard to predict what will come up. However, you should prepare yourself for a problem-solving, tutorial-style interview where you will be taken out of your comfort zone.
The admissions staff at Oxbridge will be looking to see how you think on your feet and cope with tricky problems. Be open, be confident — and try to enjoy the intellectual challenge!