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Birmingham University Medicine Interview Questions (2023 entry)

About Birmingham Medical School

Birmingham Medical School, part of the University of Birmingham is a well-respected medical school situated in the city of Birmingham that joined the main university in 1900. It is affiliated with Good Hope, Heartlands, Solihull and Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals as well as the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. As a hub of innovative medical research, students of Birmingham Medical School has a high student satisfaction rate due to their early engagement with outstanding community based learning and the opportunity to learn from staff that shape the future of medical education.

It is ranked 10th by The Times Higher Education Table in 2023 in the UK and 68th in the world by the Times Higher Education Table in 2022.

The course takes a systems-based approach which then in turn encompasses various scientific and medical themes. The programme is split into three phases over 5 years: Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2 are systems teaching based with patient content from as early as week 2 to build up communication skills and confidence with talking to patients); Phase 2 (Year 3 is made up of clinical teaching based through a series of placements to further develop clinical skills as well as a continuation of theoretical teaching) and Phase 3 (Years 4 and 5 are taught as a series of long placements in community and clinical placements to better hone the skills students will need as an FY1 junior doctor).

There is also the opportunity to intercalate for a year if good standard in examinations throughout the degree is obtained. This provides the opportunity to study a chosen subject in-depth and leads to the award of a bachelor’s degree. You can choose to work on a laboratory-based or community-based project which lends the opportunity to learn how to interpret and analyse medical research data and contribute to the development of evidence-based clinical practice.

Birmingham Medical School Interview Information

😊 How does Birmingham select candidates for interviews?

GCSEs/GCE A Level:

AAA at A level, including Biology/Human Biology and Chemistry (or predicted at least AAA) and these three subjects should normally be taken during the last year of school and grades should be achieved at first sitting

General Studies, Critical Thinking and EPQ and not accepted as a third A level, neither is if you are a non-speaker of English, an A level in your original language of instruction.

Other accepted qualifications include:

  • Scottish Highers, Advanced Highers

  • Irish Leaving Certificate

  • International Baccalaureate

  • Cambridge Pre U

  • And others

You just need to meet the entry requirements which can be found on their website

Having higher grades won’t give you a competitive edge!

Personal Statement: This is not used for shortlisting applicants but may be used during the interview.

BMAT: Must be sat the year of application. The BMAT is scored out of 37 (section 1 out of 9, section 2 out of 18 and 5 marks for each element of section 3)

Applicants that score lower than the following are not considered:

- Section 1 – score of 3 or higher

- Section 2 – score of 6 or higher

- Section 3 – score of 2.5 C or higher

The total cut-off for each year of admissions varies, please check the last year for the most up-to-date information.

🧬 What is the interview format?

In person Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) made up of six or seven 8-minute stations – each includes 2 minutes of reading time.

📆 When will you get interview invitations?

December to January (varies from year to year).

👩‍💼 When are the interviews usually held?

Between January and February, interviews will continue until all the places are filled and you may not hear back until all places have been filled which can be as late as March

📝 What are the main topics I will be asked at the interview?

- Motivation and reality of a career in medicine

- Initiative, resilience and maturity

- Teamwork

- Organisation and problem-solving abilities

- Contribution to university in life

- Communication skills

- Personal statement

- Morals and core values of the NHS

☑️ How will my interview be marked?

There are no right or wrong answers, the interviewers are looking for an overall understanding of the main topics that they expect you to know about before attending medical school such as the realities of a career in medicine and to make sure that you are a good fit for their medical school and for a future prospective career in medicine. You are being assessed for your thinking and also the ability to exhibit the qualities mentioned above that they are looking for.

🏠What stations will come up?

- Critical thinking – a topic related to healthcare (interview style)

- Commitment and insight into medicine – work experience and reflections (interview style)

- Dealing with personal and ethical challenges – using a provided scenario (interview style)

- Data interpretation – non previous clinical knowledge required, interpret and draw conclusions (interview style)

- Interaction in a healthcare setting – communication skills (roleplay style)

- Interaction in a social setting – communication skills and confidence in meeting new people (roleplay style)

- Calculation station – simple maths calculations set at GCSE maths level or below, those studying A level maths are not necessarily at an advantage (computer-based station)

🌎 How will the interview be different if I am an international applicant?

There will be 2 MMI stations which will include one roleplay station and one other station from the list above. There will also be a separate computer-based calculations assessment similar to the above on a separate date.

🏠How many applicants are there per interview (Home)?

1.7 applicants per interview

🌎 How many applicants are there per interview (International)?

3 applicants per interview

  • The role players at the Birmingham Medicine interview are usually actors or members of faculty so it will be useful to practise with friends as this will be close to the actual experience.

  • Try and think about things specific to you which you could bring up at the interview when asked about your qualities.

  • Go over recent news events, NHS hot topics, and updates within the NHS

  • Also know some for and against arguments for controversial topics. Have a short think before getting into your response, as this will help you organise your thoughts and prevent waffling.

  • Give multiple examples to illustrate your points. Make sure you include your personal experience in your answers, for example, work experience and remember to use the STARR technique.

  • If unsure about the question, it is better to ask the interviewer to rephrase it as they are there to help you and it gives you some time to keep thinking of an answer

Check out our Medicine Interview Course!

Example Interview Questions

🔥 Motivation Interview Questions

  • What have you done to find out about medicine as a career/ Who have you talked to about doing medicine and what did you learn from them?

  • What inspired you to apply for medical school?

  • What do you think you might like best about medicine as a career?

  • What do you feel are likely to be the worst things about being a doctor?

  • What would you do if you don't get into medical school this year?

  • What contribution would you make to university life?

⚖️Medical Ethics Interview Questions

  • A 10 year old girl and a 67 year old recovered alcoholic have just been diagnosed liver failure. Only one person can receive a liver transplant. Who would you give it to and why?

🤯Values and Skills Interview Questions

  • What qualities will make you a good doctor?

  • We all know exams are stressful. How did you manage when you were taking your GCSEs?

  • What do you do when you have 3 or 4 things to do that are all urgent?

  • What do you do to relax?

  • How do you cope in situations where there is not enough time to finish a task?

  • Have you dealt with a difficult situation?

  • Could you tell me about a time you led a team in a stressful/difficult situation? How did you deal with this?

  • Which of your extracurricular activities did you learn the most from and why?

  • I see you play sports/do Duke of Edinburgh/play in the orchestra (or similar)- why is this important?

  • How do you balance work and all your outside activities?

  • I see you were the treasurer of your school's charities' committee. How did you go about performing this role?

  • What is your greatest strength?

  • How do you deal with conflict?

📰 NHS Interview Questions

  • Discuss the benefits of offering vaccinations to the general public

  • If you were Secretary of State for Health, what changes would you make?

  • How should doctors tackle the problem of understaffing on a national level?

🏨 Teamwork Interview Questions

  • Give an example of a time you’ve worked in a team and what did you learn from this?

  • What are the qualities of a good team member?

  • I see you are captain of a team. What duties does that involve?

  • How do you feel about sharing work with others?

🎭 Roleplay Interview Questions

  • Tell your coach that you have to cut down your training sessions due to your upcoming exams right before a big game.

🏥 Work Experience Interview Questions

  • What was the most important thing you learned from work experience?

  • When you visited a hospital what did you see that caused you to think about the challenging aspects of a medical career?

  • Tell me about a patient who interested you whom you met during your work experience

  • Tell me about an unexpected scenario you encountered during work experience - how did you navigate it?

🏛️ Ethics Interview Questions

  • If the parents of your patient (who is a child) denied treatment of radiotherapy for that child, what would you do to convince them otherwise?

  • In a scenario, where your schedule is fully packed, and yet you need to see more patients, what would you do?

  • Can a doctor withhold information about a patient who has broken the law?

  • How do capacity and competence affect a patient's ability to make decisions on their own behalf?

  • With the current organ shortage in the UK, should we legalise the sale of organs?

  • Is human cloning acceptable under any circumstances?

  • If you had £1,000,000,000 to spend, how would you use it to better the NHS as it stands today?

Imperial College Medical School is one of the largest schools in the country. The programmes are delivered at four main campuses in West London, giving students a unique opportunity to live and study in one of the UK's most exclusive postcodes. The course is delivered through a blend of traditional and innovative teaching methods which involves workshops, problem-based learning and lectures. Anatomy is now taught using prosections rather than dissections. There is a strong sense of camaraderie, world-class facilities and a diverse social life. There is a compulsory BSc in fourth year. You also get to graduate at the Royal Albert Hall!

Birmingham offers patient contact through biweekly GP placements during preclinical years to help apply textbook knowledge to a real-life setting. During clinical years, many students will complete rotations at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is nearby to the Medical School. This course is unique as it aligns anatomy teaching with visits to the prosectorium. Birmingham Medical School also offers an elective placement in Year 4 which can be undertaken in any area of the world. There are opportunities for an intercalated degree in a related field between years of study.

The University of Birmingham has a large and diverse student population. There are excellent facilities, including the fitness centre and outdoor fields, libraries, cafes, restaurants and bars. In the first year, students often choose to live in the Vale Village which is a great hub for new students to make friends and meet people. Several city buses are available to transport people between different areas of campus and accommodation to the city centre in under ten minutes. Furthermore, the university has its own train station to facilitate transport. Although Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK, students can benefit from trains that travel to the capital, London, in approximately an hour and a half.

Birmingham’s MedSoc has a huge number of members and is a very active society. There are a range of charities that they support, sports teams specifically for medical students, and societies based on medical specialities which provide further insight into specialities you may be interested in through talks and events. These clubs all host many educational sessions, as well as opportunities to socialise and familiarise yourself with peers. MedSoc has fun and unique activities during freshers, around the holidays, and special events including med ball which is a highlight of the year!

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