Alex | Founder of Medfully
19 Apr 9 min read

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


UCL Medical School: Overview

UCL - three letters that invoke respect and admiration from anyone in the world of medicine or science. As the 7th Medical School in the world, according to the QS 2022 World University Ranking, UCL Medical School can boast their clinical and academic excellence.

But rankings don’t come from anywhere - UCL’s cutting-edge research facilities and links to some of the best teaching hospitals in the UK (UCLH, Royal Free, GOSH) give UCL medical students more opportunities for development than one can handle. However, opportunities at UCL Medical School don’t end in academia - UCL has been long known for its numerous and active societies, out of which over 40 are related to medicine (including the famous RUMS societies).

Studying medicine at UCL goes far beyond getting world-class teaching and varied clinical exposure - it’s also a great place to become a more well-rounded individual, whilst meeting loads of people from all around the globe and exploring the bustling city of London.


Pre-interview Selection:
🔢 How does UCL select for interviews (2023 Entry)?

GCSEs and Predicted Grades: All criteria (GCSEs, predicted grades, personal statement, BMAT) carry equal weight. UCL Medical School takes a holistic approach to choose candidates, taking into account academic records, clinical exposure, engagement in science/medicine/helping out, extracurricular interests and many other elements. Even with average GCSEs or PGs, you can have a chance to be invited to a medicine interview at UCL, as long as you catch up with the other application elements (provided, of course, that your grades meet the minimum entry requirements).

Personal Statement: Although not stated officially by UCL, the personal statement is a fairly important element of the selection process. It gives the UCL admissions officers an insight into who you are beyond your academic abilities - they’ll look for evidence of commitment, passion for medicine and extracurricular interest. UCL seeks candidates who are well-rounded individuals and will make not only excellent clinicians but also great colleagues.

BMAT: UCL does not set a BMAT cut-off score. Instead, the BMAT score is used as a metric of academic performance, alongside other elements of the application.


📊 What is the lowest required BMAT score to get an interview at UCL?

🇬🇧 Home Students: UCL Medical School does not set a BMAT cut-off score when selecting students for medicine interviews and the lowest scores to be given an interview at UCL have not been published. However, for 2022 entry, the average BMAT scores for students invited to an interview at UCL were 5.7, 5.8, 3.4A for sections 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

🌍 International Students: The average BMAT scores for overseas students who have been invited to a medicine interview at UCL are comparable to those for UK students: Average scores for 2022 entry were 5.8, 5.7, 3.4A (sections 1, 2, 3 respectively) for overseas students. After long hours of research, we’ve found some data for 2019 entry, which showed the lowest BMAT score to be invited to a UCL interview was 3.7, 4.4, 2A.

Although UCL is a fairly competitive medical school to get into, thanks to UCL’s holistic selection procedure, even with a below-average BMAT score you can still have a chance to get an interview at UCL, as long as the other components of your application are strong.

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📤 When does UCL send out interview invitations?

UCL sends out interview invitations on a rolling basis from December until March, with at least 2-3 weeks' notice.

🚀 TOP Tip: Check your spam regularly! Emails from large institutions like medical schools can sometimes land in the spam/junk folder. Since you must respond to your UCL Medical School interview invitation within 5 days (otherwise it will be automatically turned down), make sure to check your spam folder whenever you check your email. To be certain that you haven’t missed an email from UCL, you can also check the UCL Applicant Portal regularly.


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

🇬🇧 Home Students: For 2022 entry, 2400 students applied and out of those 685 (29%) have been invited to a medicine interview (although in previous years the number of interviewed students was higher ((in the 900s) it has been brought down due to the inflation of A-level grades).

🌍 International Students: For 2021 entry, 1134 students applied from abroad, and only 65 (6%) have been invited to a UCL medicine interview.


Interviews at University College London (UCL):
💡 How To Prepare for Medicine Interviews at UCL?

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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🗓️ UCL Medicine Interview dates (2023 entry):

Interviews at UCL Medical School will most likely take place between December 2022 and March 2023. International candidates are usually interviewed at the beginning of January.


💬 What’s the interview format at University College London?

Although UCL wanted to switch to MMI interviews the year the pandemic hit, they stayed with standard panel interviews in the last 2 years, without introducing major changes to the pre-covid interview format:

Prior to Covid-19 (2020 entry and before):

  • panel interview
  • 2-3 interviewers (medical staff, academic people, medical students, laypeople)
  • 20-25 minutes long
  • before the interview, all students were given a copy of the BMAT essay, which was sometimes discussed during the UCL medicine interview

Online Interviews (2021/2022 entry):

  • online panel interviews via Zoom
  • 2-3 interviewers
  • 20-25 minutes long
  • BMAT and the personal statement were not discussed during the interview (interviewers had no prior knowledge of the candidate)


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

🇬🇧 Home Students: For 2022 entry, out of 685 UK students interviewed for medicine at UCL, 535 (78%) have received an offer to study medicine at UCL. This shows that once you’ve been invited to a UCL interview, your chances to get in are fairly high! (However, note that only the most excellent students receive an invitation, so the bar is set high).

🌍 International Students: For 2021 entry out of 65 international students interviewed, 34 (52%) have received an offer to study medicine at UCL.


💅 What to do before the interview at University College London Medical School?

  • prepare a formal interview outfit in advance, try it on and see if you feel confident and comfortable in it
  • plan your journey - if you are invited for an in-person interview and have to travel from far away, make sure to arrive in London a day or two in advance so that you can be fresh on the day of your UCL medicine interview
  • increase your confidence and interview knowledge by preparing using Medfully
  • relax - UCL medicine interviews are an opportunity for the admissions team to learn more about you, they aren’t there to eat or bully you


🤵‍♀️ What are the interviewers like at UCL?

If you are expecting a medical school interview at UCL, there is no need to stress out about the interviewers. Interviewers at UCL (like most of the teaching staff there) are known to be friendly, encouraging and friendly. They will smile and nod their heads in agreement if they agree with what you’ve said.

However, don’t take that for granted! Some interviewers (and this doesn’t apply solely to UCL) can be instructed to appear as cold and detached, to make the interview fairer or more challenging. Therefore, if your interviewers aren’t as warm as you’ve expected, it’s likely not your fault, so don’t be dispirited by it.


⏳ How long does it take to hear back from UCL?

UCL Medical School aims to inform everyone about the outcome of their interview within 3-4 weeks of the interview.


🧠 UCL Medicine Interview Questions (2023 Entry):

According to UCL’s official website, during the UCL interview, you’ll be scored for the qualities in bold. Below each of the qualities we’ve chosen several questions that interviewers at UCL Medical School could use for evaluation:

Academic curiosity and interest in healthcare:

  • Why did you choose to apply for medicine and not nursing or a more research-focused degree?
  • What is the most important insight from your work experience?
  • How is the ageing population posing a challenge to the NHS?
  • Has there been a particular person, event or book, which has had the greatest impact on your decision to pursue medical studies?

Motivation for and understanding of a career in medicine:

  • What has been the greatest medical achievement in the last 50 years?
  • What’s the role of empathy in medicine and how can empathy be taught at medical school?
  • What challenges will the NHS face in 20 years that aren’t as significant now?
  • Why are doctors more prone to suffer from depression or commit suicide (compared with most other professions)?

Problem-solving and reasoning ability:

  • 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?
  • 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?

Professional attitudes and values:

  • 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 a professor of cardiovascular surgery for members of your medical school's surgical society on Friday at 6 pm. How would you approach your best friend?
  • What is the Hippocratic oath? What place does it have in modern medicine?
  • How would you approach a friend who is feeling very low, because they didn’t get to medical school?

Teamwork, leadership, resilience and individual strengths:

  • What’s your greatest weakness?
  • How would your friends describe you and why?
  • Tell us about a challenge you recently faced and how you overcame it.
  • Being a doctor is a lot about being a good team member. What do you think makes a good team member, and how do these attributes differ from those of a good team leader?
  • Tell us something more about your role as a school prefect and the things it taught you.

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


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📄 UCL Interview Assessment Form:

Additionally to the sample interview questions above, under this link, you can see a real interview assessment form used by UCL interviewers in the past years (shared by UCL as a response to an FOI request).


✅ UCL Medical School Interviews: 4 Tips

Be Yourself!

“Ah what a generic piece of advice...” “Tell me something I don’t know!” We get it, you’ve heard it many times, but try to embrace the idea. Trying to impress the UCL interview panel or giving rehearsed answers, instead of being yourself, is one of the most common mistakes and it’s the type of a mistake that can cost you an offer. The primary aim of the UCL medicine interview is to learn more about you, so make sure your personality shines through and that your answers are genuine.


Work On Your Body Language:

When preparing for interviews, we tend to focus on improving the content of our answers. However, according to famous studies by Dr Albert Mehrabian, as much as 55% of communication is conveyed through non-verbal aspects! Furthermore, interviewers at UCL will also score you on your non-verbal communication.

Make sure to work on that aspect of your performance when preparing for UCL medicine interviews. Mind your posture (avoid crossing your arms, lead slightly forwards with a straight back), use some, but not too many hand gestures, maintain eye contact (super important, yet rare!) and smile to show how passionate you are! You can read more about interview body language in our comprehensive interview guide.


Don’t Underestimate The Challenges In Medicine:

During the interview, the admissions team at UCL Medical School 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.


Don’t Overlook The Most Basic Questions:

Interviewers at UCL Medical School like to ask some standard questions, like “Why Medicine?”, “Why should we choose you?” or “Why UCL?”. While these are the most predictable questions, many students tend to overlook them and instead focus on the more specific questions.

However, firstly, while these questions may sound simple, answering them convincingly and uniquely can be a challenge. And even if these basic questions are just to break the ice and get you into the interview mood, you should still prepare model answers to them to make a good impression.


👀 What is UCL looking for during the interview?

Watch this brilliant video by Alphie Yip, a UCL medical student, where he interviews the admissions team and fellow UCL students about the UCL interview experience and the selection process.


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