Alex | Founder of Medfully
31 Jan 8 min read

Ultimate Guide to Cardiff Medicine Interview | Questions & Tips (2022)


Cardiff Medical School: Overview

Cardiff medical school is one of the two medical universities in Wales and at the same time one of the largest medical schools in the UK. Located in the scenic capital Cardiff, it’s a great place to study medicine, whilst discovering the unique Welsh culture.

Cardiff medical school offers a 5-year MBBCh course, which is based around heavy clinical exposure and early patient contact. Coupled with the opportunity to do full-body dissection in the early years, Cardiff offers a great blend of clinical experience and scientific foundations.


Before Interviews: Overview
🔢 How does Cardiff shortlist candidates for interviews?

Admissions officers at Cardiff use only the GCSE grades and personal statement when selecting candidates for an interview. The UCAT scores or A-level predicted grades haven’t been considered and given much weight in the past at Cardiff.

Grades from your top 9 GCSEs are converted to form a score out of 27: Three points are awarded for a 9/A*, two points for an 8/A and one point for a 7/B. The typical cut-off has ranged from 24-26 depending on the year, meaning it’s pivotal that you have competitive GCSE grades to apply to Cardiff medical school.

If you’ve already done your A-levels, your achieved A-level grades are also taken into account. In that case, your A-level grades are used instead of the 3 worst out of the top 9 GCSE subjects. The same scoring system is used (9/8/A* - 3 points, 7/A - 2 and 6/B - 1 point).


📊 What is the lowest required UCAT score to get an interview at Cardiff?

Historically, Cardiff didn’t put much emphasis on or even considered the UCAT score. Therefore, there is no UCAT cut-off at Cardiff.

However, for 2022 entry, an official document issued by the university outlining the admissions policy states “the UCAT may be used as a part of our selection process”.

Most likely, UCAT is used in borderline cases to roughly gauge academic potential, but still won’t be a significant part of the pre-interview selection.

🗒️ Note: The way the UCAT score is used at Cardiff may change due to the inflation of GCSE and AL grades. For the latest information make sure to check their website or contact the admissions office directly.


📤 When does Cardiff send out interview invitations?

Cardiff typically sends out all interview invitations via email in December. The invitation will include a booking link, where you’ll be able to choose a convenient date from the available ones for your interview.

🚀 TOP TIP: After choosing a date it usually cannot be changed, so make sure you take time to consider your availability before booking.


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

The latest statistics provided by Cardiff are from 2019 and are as follows:

Home students: Out of 2306 students who applied, 1235 were invited to interview. This translates to 54% of all candidates.

International students: Out of 451 international students who applied, 109 were invited to interview. This means that usually around 24% of international candidates are invited to an interview at Cardiff.



Interviews at Cardiff University:
🗓️ Cardiff Medicine Interview dates:

Interviews usually take place in January and February of the application cycle.


💬 What is the interview format at Cardiff?

Cardiff University has always been conducting Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) and continues to do so in the online format. It tends to last around 1.5h and includes 10 stations, with one of them being a rest station (where you get to relax and summon the energy for the stations to come).

There is usually 6 minutes allocated per station and an extra 2 minutes of reading and thinking before the station starts.

Check out this free webinar recording by Cardiff from 2020 for more information about the format of online interviews.


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

Home students: After 1236 interviews, 679 offers were made. This means that 55% of home students typically receive an offer after an interview at Cardiff.

International students: After 109 interviews, 57 offers were made, meaning 52% of all international students interviewed have received an offer.

Whether you’re an international or home student, it, therefore, seems that you have a 50/50 chance that you’ll be given an offer after you’ve been invited to an interview at Cardiff!


👀 What Is Cardiff looking for during interviews?

On their website, Cardiff medical school states they will look for a number of qualities in a candidate during the interview:

  • Good communication
  • Organisation
  • Personable
  • Enthusiastic
  • Dedicated

🚀 TOP TIP: Realise how all these all relate to your personality, rather than academic abilities. Therefore, show them who you actually are as a person! Make sure you are enthusiastic, smile and make your personality shine through as much as possible. Let the interviewers get to know you.


⏳ How long does it take to hear back from Cardiff after an interview?

After a medicine interview at Cardiff, you should get a reply within a few weeks via email and UCAS track.


🧠 Cardiff Medical School Interview Questions:

Cardiff medical school aims to assess a number of qualities that are significant in a clinical environment and bode well for the development of a medical student. Therefore, common interview topics at Cardiff medicine include:

Motivations for Medicine/Cardiff:

  • Why would you like to study at Cardiff?
  • What do your know about our course and why would it suit you?
  • What steps have you taken to ensure you know that medicine is a career for you?
  • Why do you prefer to become a doctor, rather than a researcher?

Ethics:

  • Abortion is legal in the UK in most cases until the 24th week of pregnancy. Argue why abortion should be totally banned.
  • A 19-year old patient comes to your GP practice and discloses they regularly engage in the use of illicit drugs. They ask you not to tell anyone, including the police. What factors should you consider in such a scenario, and who would you inform about the situation?
  • Is it ever justified for a doctor to lie to their patient?
  • What are some ethical challenges you could face as a doctor?

Data interpretation and problem-solving:

  • You have 50ml of a 10% solution of H2SO4. What volume of distilled water do you need to add to create an 8% solution?
  • How would you calculate the number of water molecules in a glass of water?

NHS Hot Topics:

  • What do you understand by the term ageing population, and what challenges does it pose to the NHS?
  • Is tackling childhood obesity more important than obesity in adults?
  • What do you understand by the term dementia? How does it differ from Alzheimer’s disease?
  • What are the pros and cons of mandatory vaccinations for the general public?

Personal Statement Questions:

  • You’ve mentioned in your personal statement that you were able to observe a GP for a few days. What are some of the challenges GPs face? Follow-up: How is being a GP different to being a surgeon?
  • In your personal statement you’ve mentioned you’ve read ‘Do No Harm’ by Henry Marsh and wrote how it showed you the emotional challenges that doctors face. Could you elaborate a bit on that? Follow-up: What are some other challenges that doctors often face in the UK? Follow-up 2: How will you be able to cope with the emotional weight being a doctor carries?

🚀 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 Cardiff in past years. Publishing such information would be against Cardiff’s policy. The above questions are adjusted for the interview style at Cardiff and are meant to give you a broad sense of the questions you may face.


✅ Cardiff Medical School Interviews: 3 Tips

🎓 Know the medical school at Cardiff inside out:

Interviewers at Cardiff are known to ask questions assessing your insight into the university at Cardiff. To prepare for those questions go to their website, read through it carefully and take notes. Talking to current medical students to gain an insiders perspective about Cardiff can also give you a competitive edge.

Make sure you know the course type, structure, societies you’d like to join, names of teaching hospitals and aspects that make studying medicine at Cardiff a unique experience. This will help you build a model answer to questions like “Why would you like to study at Cardiff?” or “How could you contribute to our university?”


🔍 Revise your personal statement:

Chances are, it’s been a while since you’ve written your personal statement. However, you may face some questions about what you’ve mentioned in your interviews.

Therefore, it may be a good idea to go back to it and refresh your memory of it. Highlight all the individual points you’ve made about books you’ve read, work or volunteering experiences or extracurriculars. Make sure you can talk about each of these points fluently.


📖 Leverage the reading time:

In Cardiff MMIs, you are given a convenient 2-minute break before entering the station. Use this time efficiently to read carefully the instructions, internalise them and roughly structure your answer in your head. Gather any examples from your work experience that you may use or articles/books/statistics that you know.

Try not to focus excessively on the details. Make it more like you were trying to write down your answer in bullet points. Admittedly, it’s easier said than done, but you can practise it leading up to your MMI at Cardiff. Whenever you are doing a mock interview, set a timer to 2 minutes before answering.

📈 Want to save yourself some time, stress and money in the process of preparing for interviews at the University of Cardiff? Prepare with Medfully, the best interview preparation tool for self-paced interview preparation.

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