Alex | Founder of Medfully
13 Apr 9 min read

Ultimate Guide to Birmingham Medicine Interview (2022) - Questions & Tips


Birmingham Medical School: Overview

Located in the vibrant midland city of Birmingham, the University of Birmingham Medical School is a fantastic place to study medicine. And the location is just one of many of Birmingham’s assets.

Hundreds of actively working societies and clubs, varied nightlife, Birmingham’s modern campus, cutting-edge research facilities and high student satisfaction all contribute to Birmingham being a great time to study and develop, whilst having a lot of fun.


Pre-interview Selection:
🔢 How does Birmingham select students for interviews (2023 entry)?

GCSEs (45%): Obtained GCSE grades in Maths, English, Biology and Chemistry and 2 extra subjects are scored. These grades are converted into a score using the following system: 8 or 9 = 4 points, 7/A = 2 points, 6/B = 1 point, 5 or below = 0 points. Then, that score is scaled to a maximum of 4.5.

A-level Predicted Grades: Birmingham medical school does not use predicted grades when shortlisting students for interviews, beyond checking if they’ve met the standard entry requirements.

Personal Statement: Not scored, but for your application to be considered, your personal statement must be related to medicine and “offer evidence of commitment to medicine”.

UCAT (35%): Your UCAT score will be converted to a score from 0 to 3.5 (max), based on the decile you fall into. For instance, the top 10% of students who applied for medicine at Birmingham in a given year will get a maximum of 3.5 points, 2nd 10% from the top will get 3.11, 3rd 10% from the top 2.72 and so on. The higher your score, the higher your chances. Birmingham medical school does not consider the SJT score.

Contextual (20%): If you’ve attended one of the schools listed in Birmingham’s contextual schools' list, you’ll receive a score from this element, which will be given 20% weighting.

➗ Calculate Your Chances: Birmingham has come up with a very resourceful calculator tool, which can help you determine your likelihood of receiving an interview invitation at Birmingham Medical School and thus apply strategically. For the 2021 entry, the total score cut off was 7.0, but that may vary from year to year.

🌍 International Students: The selection process for international students applying for medicine at Birmingham slightly differs. GCSE scores are not a part of the selection process beyond checking if you’ve met the minimum entry requirements. Instead, all students are ranked according to their UCAT scores. For more details on the selection process check this link to Birmingham’s official website.


📊 What is the lowest required UCAT score to get an interview at Birmingham Medical School?

🇬🇧 Home Students: Cut off score based on the performance of students who applied to Birmingham in a given year. For 2020 entry, the UCAT cut off at Birmingham was 2830 for non-contextual applications, and 2260 for contextual candidates.

🌍 International Students: For international students, a cut-off score from the cognitive skills test section is calculated each year. For 2020 entry, the threshold score for an interview at Birmingham was 2640.

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📤 When does Birmingham send out interview invitations?

Usually, Birmingham starts sending out interview invitations in early December until the end of January or until all places have been filled.


👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 How many candidates get interviewed for Medicine at Birmingham?

🇬🇧 Home Students: For 2022 entry, 2850 students applied from the UK, and out of those 1122 were interviewed (40%). Each year Birmingham aims to interview around 1,100 top students who applied.

🌍 International Students: For 2022 entry, out of 604 international students who applied for medicine at Birmingham, 69 (11%) were interviewed. Places for international students at Birmingham Medical School are capped at 28, which is why the competition is much more intense.


💡 How To Prepare for Medicine Interviews at Birmigham?

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:

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Interviews at Birmingham Medical School:
🗓️ Birmingham Medicine Interview dates:

Medicine interviews at Birmingham are most likely to take place between January 2023 and February 2023 (for 2023 entry).

Unsuccessful applicants will hear back from Birmingham only once all interviews are completed (most likely in March 2023).


💬 What’s the interview format at Birmingham Medical School?

It is still unknown if Birmigham will conduct medical school interviews online or in-person for 2023 entry. Make sure to check Birmingham’s website regularly for latest updates.

2021 and 2022 entry:

For 2021 and 2022 entry, Birmingham conducted online MMI interviews. Unlike most MMIs, these were short (20-30 minutes in total) and were comprised of just 2, 6-minute stations (plus 2 minutes downtime before and after each station). One of the stations was a role play and the other assessed your insight into medicine. An online, 10-minute maths test was also a part of the Birmingham medicine interview, but it was usually held on a different day than the MMI

Pre-Covid (2020 entry and before):

Before the pandemic started, medicine interviews at Birmingham were typical MMIs, comprised of 7, 6-minute stations, which included role plays and calculation tasks. You can find more detailed information about the content of the interview here.


🏆 How likely is it I’ll be given an offer after an interview at Birmingham?

🇬🇧 Home Students: For 2022 entry, 1122 interviews finally resulted in 800 offers, so over 70% of those who received the invitation for an interview have received an offer to study medicine at Birmingham!

🌍 International Students: For 2022 entry, 68 interviews finally resulted in 56 offers, so over 80% of international students who received the invitation for an interview have received an offer to study medicine at Birmingham! Once you get the interview invitation from Birmingham, your chances of getting in are very high.


💅 What to do before the interview at Birmingham Medical School?

  • read the interview invitation email very carefully, make sure you note down where and when the interview is happening and what you need for the interview
  • find and bring your ID to the interview
  • increase your confidence and interview knowledge by preparing using Medfully
  • prepare a formal interview outfit in advance, try it on and see if you feel confident and comfortable in it (you can read more about the interview dress code here)
  • plan your journey - if you are invited for an in-person interview and have to travel from far away, make sure to arrive in Birmingham a day or two in advance so that you can be fresh on the day of your Birmingham medicine interview


⏳ How long it takes to hear back from Birmingham?

Birmingham usually replies to candidates once all interviews are completed, which is late February / March of the application cycle.


🧠 Birmingham Medicine Interview Questions:

Personal & Ethical Challenges

  • A 14-year old boy is rushed into A&E after a car crash. The patient is unconscious and has sustained huge blood loss as a result of the accident. Together with your team, you decide the boy requires an urgent blood transfusion. As you are about to take the boy into the OR, his parents arrive and forbid you to carry on with the blood transfusion on religious grounds. How would you proceed, and what factors should you consider?
  • Imagine you are the head of the surgical department in a hospital. There are two patients, A and B, both requiring an urgent liver transplant, but there is only one viable liver. Patient A is a 32-year old social activist, with a drug abuse history. Patient B is a 78-year old woman, who takes care of 3 children, whose parents died in a car accident. How would you allocate the liver and why?
  • Approximately 13% of the NHS budget is spent in the last 12 months of patients’ lives and with the ageing population that number is likely to grow in upcoming years. Do you think physician-assisted suicide should be legalised in the UK to reduce the spending on elderly care?

Role Play

  • You are playing basketball in front of your house with a friend. You wanted to pass the ball to them, but they made a dodge and it hit your neighbour's new car instead. As you approach the car you see that the ball caused one of the windows to shatter. You don't know your neighbour very well but heard rumours about him being grumpy and rude. Break the news to your neighbour.
  • You are a 3rd-year medical student. Together with a group of your classmates you've been working on a presentation on the impact of different calcium sources on hip fractures in older adults. As you prepare the setup you realise you forgot to save your part of the presentation. In turn, your group's presentation is incomplete. Approach your group leader and discuss the issue with them.
  • One of your best friends is hosting her 18th birthday party on Friday evening. It's Thursday evening now. As you advise her on the outfit for tomorrow you realise you are responsible for interviewing with a professor of cardiovascular surgery for members of your medical school's surgical society on Friday at 6 pm. Tell your best friend that you won't be able to attend their party tomorrow.

Motivations For Medicine

  • In your personal statement you’ve mentioned that the rapport between doctors and patients really appeals to you and motivates you to pursure medicine. However, as an ICU nurse, I can assure you that the relarionship between nurses and their patients is even stronger, as we get to spend much more time with patients than doctors do. Why did you choose to apply for medicine and not nursing?
  • What would you do if you didn’t get in this year?
  • Has anyone tried to dissuade you from medicine? If yes, why did you decide to go for it anyways?

Reflection:

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why would you make for a good doctor?
  • What challenges do medical students typically face and how are you planning to overcome them?

Data Analysis:

  • Registering with a free account at medfully.co.uk will give you access to our guide on data-analysis questions (Interview Guide → Miscalleanous → Data Analysis).

Calculations:

  • A patient weighing 72kg requires a 75mg dose of Ibunapratosan via an IV drip. You have a 0.1L bag with an Ibunapratosan concentration of 5mg/mL. What volume of fluid from the bag should you give to the patient?
  • You went to a local pharmacy to purchase a few drugs for your ill husband. You had to get 3 350ml bottles of syrup, which costs £0.30 per 100ml and 2 packs of pain medication tablets, each containing 3 leaves for £2.50 per leaf. How much did you pay?

🚀 TOP Tip: Have a hard time answering any of the above questions? You’ll find insider tactics to tackle all of the above questions and formulate convincing and structured answers at Medfully - The Best Medicine Interview Preparation Resource.

Please note that these aren’t questions that have been asked at Birmingham in past years. Publishing such information would be against Birmingham’s policy. The above questions are adjusted for the interview style at Birmingham and are meant to give you a broad sense of the questions you may face. You can find more details about the content of Birmingham medicine interview on their official website.

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✅ Birmingham Medical School Interviews: 4 Tips

Don’t Understate The Challenges In Medicine

During the interview, the admissions team at Birmingham will want to see that you have a realistic understanding of what it means to be a doctor. In your answers, make sure to include and appreciate the less glamorous side of medicine too; the physical and emotional day-to-day challenges, long training etc.

At the same time, show that you are not only aware of the challenges, but are keen to apply yourself to them and are resilient enough to persevere.


Train Your Mental Maths:

An MMI station assessing your mathematical abilities has always been a part of the Birmingham medicine MMI. Although the stations are meant to be at “GCSE level and below”, the interview stress or clinical relevance of the questions won’t work in your favour. Therefore, it’s best if you dedicate some time to refresh your mathematical knowledge and do a few exercises, until you feel like such calculations aren’t a challenge to you.

You can find a couple of sample calculation questions in our interview question list, but the UCAT quantitative reasoning questions are also a good practise resource.


Prepare For A Role Play:

Role-plays are practically guaranteed to come up in your medicine interview at Birmingham. Role play stations are some of the most challenging MMI stations, as they require you not only to demonstrate knowledge and insight but also skills and qualities. Not only that, most students find role plays hardest to prepare for.

Make sure you dedicate time to practising role-plays with your friends and family until you get comfortable and confident performing them. Spending a few pounds on a couple sessions with a private tutor, just dedicated to practising role plays, may make a significant difference to your confidence and role-playing abilities.


Know the GMC’s Good Medical Practise Guidelines Inside Out

The NHS Constitution and GMC’s Good Medical Practice are not only a great insight into doctors’ work in the NHS but are also among advised pre-interview reading by Birmingham.

The NHS Constitution outlines what the patients and staff working in the NHS can expect from the NHS and what the NHS expects in return.

GMC’s Good Medical Practice sets out guidelines for doctors working in the NHS and will help you understand what it means to be a “good doctor”. These documents aren’t the easiest reads, but they may come in handy for your interviews. Reading them carefully and analytically will certainly help you with answering questions around medical ethics and role play’s at Birmingham and beyond.


🤞 Good luck with preparing for the Birmingham Medicine interview! Fingers crossed!

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