Oxford University offers an extremely prestigious (and competitive) medical course, taking first place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings consistently for the past 9 years. As such, achieving an interview for the medical school is highly commendable!

Structure of Oxford Medicine Interviews


The unique style of teaching, with a large emphasis on tutorials and essay writing, is reflected through the medical school interviews. If shortlisted, you will be invited to interview at two colleges.

In most instances, one of these colleges will be the college you chose in your application and the second will be allocated at random. It is important to note that interviewers will not be told what your college of choice was, nor factors outside of your personal statement (i.e. your UCAT score), so do your best to not reveal it to them!

The structure of the interviews may vary slightly between colleges, however, the general format follows a panel interview, lasting between 20 to 45 minutes. Within these panel interviews the structure is more similar to an MMI interview, with each interview having at least 2 academics and one practicing clinical interviewer posing questions and various scenarios to you.

The interviews are likely to steer towards more scientific content due to the ratio of academics to doctors on the panel, so be prepared to answer more science-based questions. Similar to other medical school interviews, the questions are framed to see how you think, so try not to worry too much if you feel you cannot give a final answer to a question!

Although the interview format may differ slightly between colleges, the selection criteria are constant. This criteria places an emphasis on both academic and non-academic (with a focus on your suitability for medicine) qualities, so come prepared with some examples of both!

More information about the Oxford medical course itself can be found here.

How To Prepare for Oxford Medicine Interviews

First of all, it is important to remember that the interview is designed to be challenging. Interviewers want to make you think on your feet and test your limits academically. Often, questions may have no definite answer, or if they do, the interviewers will not expect you to be able to get to the final answer!

Instead, they are much more interested in seeing your thought process behind each question. There are a number of ways in which you can prepare for the interview (instead of memorising obscure scientific facts to answer the questions!) These include: 

1)    Researching the interview process

Explore the official Oxford University Medical School website, ensuring you know as much about the course as possible, including any intercalation options that particularly interest you. 

2)    Understanding the criteria

Understanding the selection criteria and brainstorming some examples of how you have demonstrated each of the characteristics included in the criteria in preparation for the interviews.

3)    Practicing with mock interviews

The best way to prepare is to practice, practice, practice! Seek out opportunities to participate in mock interviews to gain confidence and refine your responses. We offer many different forms of interview prep to help you turn your interview into an offer. 

What Questions Could I Be Asked?

It is notoriously hard to predict exactly what questions you may be asked in your interviews. The questions are generally categorised into academic questions assessing your scientific knowledge and problem-solving skills, ethical and situation questions evaluating your critical thinking and ethical decision-making abilities, as well as personal questions assessing your motivations, empathy, and skills required to be a doctor. 

Oxford medicine interviews often begin with an introductory question, like ‘Why Oxford?’ or ‘Why Medicine?’ before jumping into the more challenging questions. 

Read on to discover some styles of academic, ethical and personal questions you could be faced with. 

Academic Questions

  1.     What is antibiotic resistance? How might it impact healthcare in the future? 
  2.     Describe this MRI, what do you think it is showing? 
  3.     Compare and contrast this CT image and MRI from the same patient. 
  4.     How would you go about calculating the moles of water in a lake? 
  5.     What is gene modification? Is it the future of healthcare? 
  6.     Tell me about a recent scientific advancement and what its implications may be for healthcare in the future. 

Ethical Questions

  1.     How might you deliver the news to a patient that they have received a terminal diagnosis of cancer? 
  2.     How would you reassure a patient who is worried about their biopsy results? 
  3.     What are the ethical implications of animal testing for a new heart failure drug? 
  4.     How would you respond to a patient requesting euthanasia? 

Personal Questions

  1.     What do you think is the most important quality needed to be a doctor, and why?
  2.     Describe how you saw a doctor handle a difficult situation well during your work experience. 
  3.     Outside of academics, what are your extracurricular hobbies and what have you learnt from them / what qualities have you developed from participation in your extracurricular interests?
  4.     Describe a situation in which you had to pass on some bad news. What did you do to try and improve the situation? 
  5.     Tell me about a time when you worked in a team. Was it more successful than working alone, and if so, why was that?  

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How Should I Answer Oxford Questions

Some of the questions you face in your interviews are likely to be academically challenging. Don’t worry if you have no idea what the answer is, the interviewers would be surprised if you did! Instead, think out loud, starting with the basics of everything you know to do with that topic and then link them together to begin to establish a cohesive answer.

Importantly, you don’t have to stick to your initial workings out of an answer if you can see that it is leading you in the incorrect direction. Instead, explain why this initial route you were taking to answer the question may be wrong and offer another solution instead. Remember, the examiners aren’t there to trick you! They are more interested in your approach to challenging questions. 

Tips For Oxford Medicine Interviews

Explore our top tips for acing your interviews and converting those interviews into offers!

  •  Stay calm and confident: Remaining calm and confident can help you to think clearly and formulate better answers to the examiners’ questions.  
  • Actively listen to your interviewers: Show your interviewers you are actively listening and are engaged in their interview through effective body language.  
  • Always provide examples where you can: Evidence each of your answers with examples from your life to try to get as many of those selection criteria points as possible. 
  • Ethical considerations: Read up on some recent medical ethical dilemmas before your interview. You are bound to be asked about recent developments, and you may decide to go down the ethical route as opposed to the more academic route. 
  • Reflect on your experience: Throughout your preparations for medical school, you will have been reflecting on your experiences, whether that be during your work experience, volunteering or any other medical experiences you may have. Bring this into your interviews to show your deep understanding of the medical profession and the highs, and lows, that come with it. 
  • Read about the course: Make sure you know the nuances of the Oxford medicine course, including course structure and any intercalation options that have stood out to you. 
  • Personal statement: Ensure you know your personal statement inside out! You are guaranteed to be asked at least one question about your personal statement. These should be relatively easy marks so don’t lose them by forgetting to check what you have written!






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