In preparing for my medicine interview, I explored every avenue I could think of; keeping up to date with current research, looking into issues in the NHS, reading a book on medical ethics, however, the one thing I completely failed to prepare for was snow! Whilst everyone else was enjoying the snow on that white December weekend, I was walking 3 miles with my suitcase through my hilly village and town to get the train to Oxford, praying that I would get to the station before they were all cancelled! In some ways I actually think this was a blessing in disguise because rather than spending the whole car journey stressing about my interview, I instead turned all my attention to simply getting to Oxford. However, I would still say, make sure you have several contingency plans on getting to your interview! Neither British weather nor public transport are particularly reliable, and so it good to ensure you know what to do if either prove a barrier to you getting to your interview.
Once I made it to Oxford, I had two interviews at Queen’s on my first day, and then two at St Catz on the second. Medicine interviews are quite intense with four interviews within the space of 24 hours. Compared to other medical school interviews, I felt these had much more focus on scientific content (including physics!) and on your personal statement. With MMIs, often the interviewer has not seen your personal statement, whereas at Oxford they were sat with it in front of them!
Especially in my first interview, quite a lot of the discussion was based around my EPQ, so although it may sound obvious, make sure you are prepared to discuss everything you have written about. Another piece of advice would be not to panic if you don’t know the right answer straight away. One of the tutors asked me a question about viruses which took me quite a while to understand and it seemed to dominate a large proportion of the interview. After some guidance from the interviewers, I think I eventually got to the answer they were looking for, which I believe was mainly because I kept talking through all my thinking and then they were able to signpost me down the route to follow.
My final piece of advice would be to prepared to talk about graphs and data. In all of my interviews I was asked to either draw or interpreted a graph/diagram, and although it is impossible to predict what they will be on, it might be useful to look at graphs in your biology textbook or journal articles to practise identifying trends in data.
The best bit about interviews was meeting other candidates though! Everyone at Queen’s was so lovely and supportive, especially the current students who were helping out. We had even had a murder mystery night which was really good fun! My best piece of advice would just be to enjoy the interview experience. Oxford is such a beautiful city, especially in the snow, so make the most of any spare time you have to explore it with other candidates as that definitely helped me to feel more relaxed and stop replaying my first interview over and over again in my head!
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