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Can You Get Into Medical School Without An Interview?

Can You Get Into Medical School Without An Interview?

Updated on: December 3, 2023
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Written By Dr Ollie

Every article is fact-checked by a medical professional. However, inaccuracies may still persist.

Considering how stressful medical school applications can be, being able to secure an offer without having to undergo an interview could be an absolute lifesaver.

It is possible to get into medical school without an interview. Many medical schools in Ireland do not interview home or EU applicants and there are also a number of EU universities that don’t interview candidates. However, all UK medical schools require applicants to undergo a formal interview.

I personally had no idea what awaited me when I first applied to medical school.

I knew that I might have to go through interviews, but I genuinely didn’t know what they’d look like or how to revise for them.

I also had no idea that there are certain universities that don’t actually interview medicine applicants at all!

In this article, I’m going to explore how different medical schools interview their candidates– and what others do instead. I’ll also touch on why interviews are such an important part of the application process.

Do You Have To Do An Interview For Medicine?

The short answer is: it depends. Different universities in the UK have different requirements. For example, let’s look at universities in Ireland compared to the rest of the UK.

Home/EU Applicants

At this moment in time, all UK non-Irish universities interview their medical school applicants, whether they are home or international applicants.

In contrast, many medical schools in Ireland do not interview home or EU applicants. Instead, applicants are assessed based on their scores in the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination (LCE) or equivalent, and the Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT)..

The HPAT test is an aptitude test; it’s similar to the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) used in the rest of the UK.

Points are accumulated based on the LCE and HPAT scores; applicants over a minimum number of points are considered for medical school admissions.

Queen’s University Belfast is actually an exception to this as it does interview its medical school applicants.

International Applicants

For now, all universities in the UK interview applicants from outside the UK and EU. This includes Irish universities. However, these applicants do not need to sit the HPAT as part of the admissions process.

Friends preparing for a medicine interview together

The medical schools normally look at the applicants’ leaving grades and UCAT scores, in addition to interviewing the shortlisted candidates. Applicants may also be required to provide proof of English proficiency.

Can You Get Into Medical School Without An Interview Abroad?

Most overseas medical schools (the USA, China, and the Philippines, for example) interview their applicants, but a few don’t. However, remember that medical degrees from certain countries are not recognised worldwide, so please do your research before applying to them!

I looked at several countries and have listed a few that have medical schools that do not appear to interview their applicants:

India

No interviews are involved, but the MBBS application process is anything but easy! Admission to medical school is determined by a national entrance exam called National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET). It is a multiple-choice exam with questions on Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Romania

I found several universities in Romania that do not seem to require interviews or entrance exams. They do however require A levels (or equivalent) in Biology and Chemistry as a minimum, as well as proof of English language proficiency.

Belarus

I found one university in Belarus called Gomel State Medical University that only considers applicants’ leaving grades from secondary school or equivalent. Several other Belarusian universities do require interviews, however.

Which Medical Schools In The UK Had No Interview In The Past?

Although most UK universities now interview their medical school applicants, this wasn’t always the case.

Southampton University, Queen’s University Belfast, and Edinburgh University used to not require interviews for their applicants.

In fact, the latter did not include interviews in its medical school admissions process till 2020; it now interviews shortlisted applicants in assessment half-days.

Additionally, as mentioned before, many other Irish medical schools have not interviewed their UK and EU applicants for a long time.

Why Do Medical Schools Interview Applicants?

Medical schools interview applicants for the same reason companies interview their candidates- to ensure that the person is right for the job.

If you want to become a doctor, you need interpersonal skills that can be difficult to show without an interview. Medical schools are usually looking for applicants that are motivated, caring, curious, and empathetic individuals.

There have also been studies that show applicants who score higher in medical school interviews seem to perform better later on as clinicians. Being academically gifted alone does not necessarily mean that one would become a successful doctor.

The ability to perform under pressure can also be apparent in an interview. An important part of being a good doctor is being able to do your job safely and keep your cool in stressful situations!

Interviewers are normally very aware of how stressful this process can be for applicants. They are genuinely trying to get to know you better as a person, rather than trying to catch you out!

How Do Medical Schools Interview Their Applicants?

Universities traditionally had panel interviews- this is where a few people interview you at the same time. These people may be clinicians, lecturers, or even current medical students.

However, an increasing number of medical schools are employing Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs).

These comprise of several different stations where you might be doing anything from pretending to break bad news to an actor to teaching someone how to tie a shoelace without any props!

The interviewers assess you based on a range of criteria from your professionalism to scientific knowledge to interpersonal skills.

Certain universities even have a mixture of both panel interviews and MMI!

I personally thought I’d perform best in a panel interview- which is why I mostly applied to universities that used this interview technique.

However, when it came to it, my offer actually came from Leicester which interviewed me using an MMI.

Final Thoughts

If you dread the thought of interviews, have no fear! Lots of people (me included) struggle with anxiety and stress over being interviewed so you’re not alone.

Interviews are a standard process in many medical school admissions. If it is something you wish to avoid entirely, do check out the countries I mentioned above.

It’s important to remember, however, that you can practise your interview skills and improve them with time. You won’t have to limit yourself to certain universities if you work on improving this and I have complete confidence that you can succeed at this.

About the author
After studying medicine at the University of Leicester, Dr Ollie now works as a junior doctor in London. His interests include medical education and expedition medicine, as well as having a strong belief in the importance of widening access to medicine.