Edinburgh Medical School is one of the most prestigious and competitive medical schools in the United Kingdom. Located in the picturesque city of Edinburgh, it is home to over 2200 students since 1726 when the school was established.
In 2021 it was ranked number 1 in the UK by the Guardian University Guide and produced several notable alumni including Joseph Lister, famous for the development of anti-septic techniques, and Robert Edwards awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Edinburgh offers a 6-year MBChB programme, taught with problem-based learning (PBL) approach. The medical school is linked to a number of excellent hospitals, such as the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary or the Western General Hospital.
Admissions officers at Edinburgh medical school use a combination of GCSE grades, A-level/IB predicted scores, the UCAT and separately the SJT score. Each of the components is given a specific weight and translated into points:
The personal statement is not considered when selecting candidates for interviews, but a few questions about it can be asked during the assessment day.
Edinburgh is one of the most competitive medical schools in the UK, which is why only applicants with scores in the 1st and 2nd decile are interviewed.
The average UCAT score for those invited to interview in 2021 was 2818 for Scottish/UK students and 2930 for international students.
Edinburgh doesn’t have a cut-off score for the UCAT, and people with a score as low as 2500 were interviewed last year. Note, however, that Edinburgh puts a large emphasis on the SJT, so a Band 1 may increase your chances of receiving an offer more than an extra 50 or even 100 points.
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Edinburgh medical school sends interview invitations on a rolling basis from November until the end of January.
Interviews at Edinburgh run until the end of February, but that can change from year to year depending on the number of candidates interviewed.
Once you’ve received an interview invitation you can choose from available dates, of which there will be plenty.
Interviews at Edinburgh are called an assessment half-day, which may sound like a large, scary event. But don’t worry, it’s just a formal name Edinburgh uses when referring to interviews.
The assessment half-day lasts approx. 3 hours. This includes a 40-minute MMI, a 30-minute group task (scroll down to read more about the group task) and the rest of the time is dedicated to logistics and presentations by the admissions officers about Edinburgh and the medical school.
The MMI itself consists of 3 stations, with each lasting around 12 minutes. But no need to stress out - you won’t be asked to talk for 12 minutes straight. Each station will likely involve 3-5 questions centred around the same topic (such as motivations for medicine, ethics or teamwork).
A unique element of interviews at Edinburgh is the so-called group task. There, you’ll have to work in a team with a few other candidates for 25 minutes to prepare a 5-minute presentation. Throughout the cooperation, you’ll be observed and assessed in terms of your team working abilities, engagement and communication by a few admissions officers.
Edinburgh has stuck with the group task even when interviews were moved online in the last two years. According to students who participated in the assessment day, the online group task went smoothly without major technical difficulties and even when any arose the interviewers were understanding and happy to offer help.
Edinburgh MS doesn’t invite as many candidates to interviews as most other medical schools, which is bad news if you’ve just applied, but fantastic news if you’ve received an interview invitation already.
Out of 3260 applications in 2021, only 762 students were interviewed, which amounts to 23% of all the applicants.
However, this means that the interview process itself isn’t as selective as the pre-interview assessment. Out of 762 candidates interviewed in 2021, 527 received offers.
This means you have as much as 70% chance of getting in, once you receive an interview invitation!
At Edinburgh, post-interview decisions aren’t made on a rolling basis, but only after all candidates get interviewed. Hence, all interviewed candidates hear back usually sometime in March.
Preparing for medical school interviews requires more than just reading an article or doing a mock interview. It requires intentionality, structure and commitment. Luckily, with Medfully it is simpler and more efficient than ever:
According to the official website of the Edinburgh School of Medicine, the interviews “will be based on the core attributes required of medical doctors, outlined in the document from the Medical Schools’ council”.
If you are applying to Edinburgh, it’s, therefore, a good idea to read through the document (which you can find here) to get a grasp of what will be expected of you.
Motivation for medicine:
Please note that these aren’t questions that have been asked at Edinburgh in past years. Publishing such information would be against the policy at Edinburgh Medical School. The above questions are adjusted for the interview style at Edinburgh and are meant to give you a broad sense of the questions you may face.
Be prepared for follow-up questions:
Stations at Edinburgh MMI tend to last around 12 minutes, meaning you can expect around 3-5 questions per station. Some of the questions may be based on your answer and some may be pre-determined.
Exercise your team working skills
The group task is an inseparable part of the assessment day at Edinburgh. Therefore, you want to make sure you know how to work efficiently in a team to score maximum points.
Read up on good practices when working in a group and keep those in the back of your head during the group task. Seek opportunities to put the knowledge to play; volunteer to create a group presentation at school or join a few sessions of a team-sport.
Become best friends with the four pillars of medical ethics
Beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy and justice - the four pillars of medical ethics, which serve as a helpful framework do dissect almost any ethical interview question. Make sure you can’t only recite the definitions of each of the pillars, but that you genuinely understand what each of the pillars means and can apply it to a scenario.
The best way to gain a good understanding is by trying to apply them to an interview question. Try to approach the scenario from each of the ethical perspectives one by one. The more practice the better!
Want to save yourself some time, stress and money in the process of preparing for interviews at the Edinburgh Medical School? Prepare with Medfully, the best interview preparation tool for self-paced interview preparation.
🤞 Good luck with preparing for the Edinburgh Medicine interview! Fingers crossed!