Preparing for an Oxford Medicine Interview
Medicine interviews at Oxford can seem incredibly daunting – but don’t panic! Your interviewers aren’t there to try to catch you out – they simply want to understand how you think. To get a better idea of the kinds of questions you may be asked at an Oxford Medicine Interview, see our Oxbridge Interview Questions page.
Don’t be afraid to show the panel how you think by vocalising your thought process and asking questions if you don’t understand – your interviewers want to see you do well!
This page will provide you with top tips on preparing for an Oxford Medicine Interview. Good luck!
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Oxford Medicine Interview: Top 10 Tips
1. Think out loud
In an Oxford Medicine Interview, the interviewers are most interested in the thought process you employ in solving a question, rather than the end result. Instead of giving the interviewers a direct answer, try to guide them through how you got the answer. Your thoughts don’t even have to be particularly well organised – you could even start answering a question by saying “I wonder if..”. At an Oxford Medicine Interview, your interviewers will be most interested in how you solve problems, and the way you approach questions you’re unsure of.
2. It’s not about what you did, but what you gained from it
Many people like to talk about how they went off to a countless number of exotic countries to shadow consultants, but it’s not really about how much work experience you did. In fact, it probably doesn’t even matter where you did the work experience – all that matters are the key principles behind it. Quality over quantity! Did you manage time successfully? What did you see/do that could be applicable to the practise of medicine? Rather than reeling of a list of hospital placements, be ready to talk about what you learned from your work experience.
3. Prepare for pictures
At an Oxford Medicine Interview, many interviewers like to give you a picture – such as one of an x-ray or a microscopic slide. The most important thing to do here is start off with the basics and then suggest ideas based on this. Ask yourself whether the image contains things in a particular shape, orientation or colour.
4. Be prepared to do some reading
Some of the colleges conduct Oxford Medicine Interviews slightly differently to others. Some may give you a review article to read for half an hour before your interview, which you then have to answer questions on in the interview itself. The key thing to remember here is not to focus on the little details – try to get a sense of the bigger picture. What is the overall message of the article? What were the authors trying to do and say? A good way to practice this may be to become familiar with reading medical news articles and explaining them in your own words – so that when interview season comes, you’ll be used to talking about your reading.
5. Ask questions
If you think you haven’t understood the question properly, don’t be afraid to ask the interviewers to restate the question. Don’t be afraid to have a drink of water – the interviewers don’t put water there to test you! They’re trying to gauge whether you’re suitable for the tutorial system – and tutorials are more discussions than anything else, so feel free to let your thoughts roam and don’t be afraid of asking questions. Think of your Oxford Medicine Interview as a conversation.
6. Don’t be misled by others
There is no point in listening to what the other candidates have to say about their Oxford Medicine Interview. By the very nature of these interviews, no two interviews will be the same – they’re different depending on the answers that the student gives.
7. You’re supposed to find it challenging
The Oxford Medicine Interview is probably the most difficult interview you’ll ever face. It’s important to keep things in perspective. Many feel as if their interviews went great yet didn’t get an offer, many feel it went terrible and get an offer – you’re often your own worst critic when it comes to judging performance, so don’t feel bad if you come out of an interview feeling slightly flustered!
8. Interpreting graphs
Pre-clinical medicine is full of graphs and charts. You may be given one in an interview and asked to interpret it. The key thing to remember is to start from the basics – what are on the different axes? What type of graph is it? What type of data does it show? Once you’ve got a good idea of these things, you’ll find answering questions much easier.
9. Get creative
Many Oxford Medicine Interview questions centre on creative problem-solving, such as ‘How much does a mountain weigh?’ or ‘How different would the world be if the wheel wasn’t invented?’. These questions are designed to test your creative and critical thinking – so don’t panic. Your interviewers don’t expect you to know the answer straight away; they’re more interested in the way you approach the problem. Can you explain your thought process out loud? Can you guide them through your thoughts, step by step? Can you ask logical questions to reach an answer?
10. Make sure you know where to be and when
Depending on the college you’re at, you may be asked to attend a short ‘briefing’ before the interview itself with other candidates. It’s incredibly important that you do turn up to these as they usually contain valuable information about the format/content of the upcoming interviews and it’s always best to turn up on time so that you’re not sheepishly walking in ten minutes late! Interviews are generally divided into two days – one set of interviews on day one and the other on day two. Check in advance where your day two interviews are being held and get there with plenty of time to spare.