St Andrews Medicine Interview Insight & Tips
Before Your Interview
After sending out my application at the end of September, I received a response at the start of November, just over a month later. St Andrews usually email 3-4 weeks before you interview and interview until February, so don’t lose hope, they could email you as late as the start of February and you will still get an offer once the interview goes well! They will present a date to you that your interview is on. The email will be very detailed and explain everything you need to know, you will need to reply to this using the reference and UCAS ID to identify yourself and confirm your attendance.
During Your Interview
After registration (bring ID!), you will wait in the comfortable waiting room with your family member until you are called into a briefing room with applicants only. Family can stay in the waiting room. After the brief, you start your interview!
The actual interview is an MMI, formed of six stations and the five other applicants you are with will rotate around these six stations; usually there are two groups of six, so there will be 11 applicants with you. You will be faced with 6 different adjacent rooms, each with a clinician/lecturer inside and a task for you (some may also have an additional person who will be an actor as part of your task).
Each station is 5-8 minutes long and a bell sounds at the start and end of each station, then you will move into the next interview room.
They will change the specific tasks in the stations each year but look for the same general qualities:
- Decision making e.g. You have £1,000,000 and you need to decide which one charity you will give the money to from a list.
- Communication e.g. You will speak (or play a game) with care home resident/dyslexic individual
- Work experience; Why is work experience important; what did you learn from your own work experience, What qualities are important in a doctor.
- Attention to detail and reflection e.g. You will make a lego model from instructions given then have two minutes to reflect on what went well and how you could have made it better
- Breaking bad news e.g. You will tell a patient some sad news about a relative
Nearly all the stations at St Andrews are more intuitive and require improvisation so make sure you are good at talking unprepared! This MMI format tests your ability to communicate to others, articulate your ideas well and think on your feet to come to a conclusion. The best way to prepare for these is to do as many mock interviews/MMIs as you can from your teachers or from free courses, because improvisation is key. Preparing your usual answers is also useful, as one of the stations will ask you about either your motivation for medicine or work experience. Try not to sound too monotonous when recounting prepared answers from memory, as the interviewers will know this!
After Your Interview
After or before your interview you will have the chance to go on a tour with students. Make sure to do this as it is your chance to talk to some medical students who will explain to you what your first 3/4 years will consist of. They will take you on a tour of the new medical buildings and labs and tell you about how St Andrews are one of the three or four universities in the country to allow dissections by students themselves as opposed to pro-sections!
If you are staying the night in Edinburgh, make sure to check out the city!
It will likely be from late February until early May before you receive a response from St Andrews regarding your application. Whatever happens, getting an interview at St Andrews is quite hard to do, so well done for getting this far!
To attempt a range of past interview questions used at St Andrews (as well as their model answers) subscribe to the Online MMI Question Bank.
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