Oxford - Med School Interview Tips

The Oxford medicine interview is in a traditional interview format, which involves two separate interviews with two tutors of the college. The interview is notoriously difficult and the questions can be strange but below are three tips to settle your nerves and help you do well in your interview…

Preparing for your Oxford medicine interview:

1. Think out loud

The Oxford medicine interview does include difficult science questions which require some thought and consideration. It is important you don’t sit there quietly thinking of the answer and then replying to the interviewer.

Break your answer down into chunks and start from the beginning. For example, one of the questions on the Oxford website asks why heart rate increases with exercise. Go back to basics in terms of concepts and biology. Start by discussing the function of the heart and how muscles work to produce locomotion. In order to this they require oxygen. You can then explore concepts of respiration and cell energy.

It’s important to talk out loud because this way the interviewers can understand your thought process. Demonstrate to them that you are following a logical line of thought and what your answer is based on.

In doing so, you may also receive further prompts or questions from the interviewers and you can build on the answer from this. If you’re not entirely sure of an answer, say so but try to offer an explanation based on concepts your familiar with. Follow that scientific line of thought and you will be scored favourably.

2. Data interpretation

It is highly likely that you will be made to answer questions relating to data interpretation from graphs and charts. In some instances, you may be asked to explain a diagram of a biological or chemical process.

Try to practice data interpretation by reading published science articles/experiments in journals and scientific websites. Be able to describe trends, anomalies and patterns from a graph. Public health websites and data from these is also a very good starting point.

You may be asked to offer explanations as to why a change in the data occurs. A very basic example: a population graph would show a show an increase after the world war “baby boom” and potentially a decrease in population of certain age groups once a war has been declared and is being fought.

You may be faced with a graphical representation of a physiological process and it is therefore important you are familiar with these concepts. A common example is the oxygen/haemoglobin curves and the effects different conditions will have on the direction.

If you have difficulty on the spot just ensure to discuss the minimum and maximum values. The average value, any obvious trends and any anomalies.

3. Keep calm and show your enthusiasm

In the Oxford medicine interview, it’s important you try to let your passion and enthusiasm for science shine through. If you learnt something very interesting during your work experience or came across a concept which fascinated you, let the panel know.  

Get as much practice in with friends as possible. Ask them to question you on science topics that you are not familiar with. In the interview, the interviewers will move on swiftly if they think you know a significant amount about a certain topic.

They will begin discussing a new topic to see how you cope with new knowledge and the application of scientific concepts to a new scenario. Keep calm if topics change, the interviewers will help and prompt you if you have difficulties.

More information regarding the interview and selection criteria which Oxford use can be found here.


Words: Hassan Ahmed


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