Medicine interviews for the BM5 course (standard entry to Medicine) at Southampton University usually take place on specified selection days in December and February. The dates for interviews have not yet been confirmed for 2023 entry.
To shortlist candidates for interview, all applications are first checked to ensure that they meet the minimum eligibility and academic criteria (e.g. being over 18 years old when beginning the course, 7 GCSEs at a Grade 6 or above in Mathematics, English Language, Biology and Chemistry or Combined Sciences).
Those who pass this minimum requirement are then ranked based on UCAT score alone. Those with the highest rankings based on this will be invited to interview.
There are usually around 1,400 applications for the 261 places to study Medicine.
Southampton normally sends interview invitations for the BM5 (standard entry) course via email in November and January.
Southampton University uses selection days, where candidates face a panel interview as well as a group discussion. Selection days will be in-person for 2023 entry.
Following this, a group discussion task is held, which usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes. This is designed to test your ability to work well as a team.
International applicants should also be prepared to attend an interview.
At Southampton University, the following topics are covered in Medicine interview questions:
Sample questions might include:
Prepare for the group task
The Southampton Medicine group interview involves approx eight candidates sitting around a table discussing a certain topic, while being watched by two interviewers. The topics usually involve discussing something you probably have very little knowledge about.
The interviewers aren’t there to assess your knowledge on the topic. They’re observing your capacity to work as a team with other people you don’t know or necessarily get along with. They want to see that you have the values of a potential NHS Doctor (respectful of others, good listener, teamwork) through how you interact with everyone at that table.
Make sure you demonstrate that you possess these abilities. For example, if you notice someone being a little quiet, encourage them to join in, introduce yourself or ask everyone their name. If someone disagrees with you, do not take it personally. Try to understand and show that you respect their opinion.
Don’t forget to speak up – but don’t dominate the discussion
Similar to the first point, do not get intimidated by everyone else and say nothing at all in your Southampton Medicine interview. During my group discussion, I completely froze and struggled to speak up and contribute anything to the team! Everyone else had spoken and the candidate sitting next to me would interrupt and speak over everyone else. Towards the end, another candidate turned to me and said, “hey, you haven’t had a chance to speak yet, what do you think?” which scored him lots of points (again, encourage the quiet ones to talk) and I ended up just recycling what everyone else had said because all of the good points had been taken.
However, at the end of the discussion, everyone gets two minutes to reflect on how it went and I mentioned how difficult it was to speak up with such strong characters in the room and how I wished I had said more and not been intimidated – the interviewers completely understand these situations.
If you show them that you’ve learnt from the experience and can say what you would change next time, they will score you much higher than if you pretend things went fine and do not acknowledge what went wrong. So, if things do not go to plan, it’s okay as long as you can recognise that and tell them how you could improve next time.
The person who spoke over everyone else did not get an offer. So, also make sure you aren’t that person. If you do catch yourself interrupting/talking over people, simply apologise and ask them to carry on. This demonstrates maturity and self-awareness, showing you are in fact a team player and not just a dominating character.
Make sure you research Southampton well
The Southampton medical interview also involves a traditional interview with two interviewers. One of the most popular questions is “Why have you chosen Southampton?” and you must have an answer. Is it because you like that it’s a spiral-based curriculum with an integrated teaching style? Is it because you are very interested in research and know that third-year students undertake a research project and have the option of intercalating?
Whatever the answer is, make sure you know at least something about Southampton because the interviewers will know if you’re winging it.
Before your interview, try to practise your answers to the most popular questions such as ‘Why this university?’, ‘What motivates you?’, ‘Who inspires you and why?’ and ‘Tell us an example of how you dealt with a negative situation?’ On the day, your mind may go completely blank, but if you have had a couple of practices, it’ll be easier when you’re put on the spot!
See here for more tips on how to do well at your Southampton Medicine interview.
The decision of an offer will be based on performance at interview alone. The score required to secure an offer will depend on the number of interviews held and the performance of the other candidates in that year.
Southampton generally starts to make offers in December. Offers continue to be given out until around March.
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