How Difficult Are Medical School Interviews? (Real Data)

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.

If you want to become a doctor, then you probably want to know how difficult medical school interviews are.

That’s because your interview is going to be the final hurdle between you and that sweet sweet med school offer.

A consensus of opinion is that medical school interviews are indeed difficult. However, the challenge that they pose can be mitigated through thorough preparation. As an average across medical schools in the UK, approximately 60% of candidates that are interviewed will go on to receive an offer.

Despite in no way being a walk in the park, you are totally capable of succeeding in a medical school interview.

By using some of the statistics in this article tactically, you can increase your chances even further.

What Percentage Of Applicants Interviewed Get Offers?

One way of assessing how difficult medical school interviews are is to look at the stats.

I’ve compiled some recent data to show what percentage of applicants interviewed by the different medical schools go on to get an offer.

Medical SchoolNumber of InterviewsNumber of OffersPercentage
Aberdeen66717426%
Anglia Ruskin60034858%
Aston36326372%
Barts113683473%
Birmingham124892374%
Brighton & Sussex74437550%
Bristol128065051%
Buckinghamunknownunknownunknown
Cambridgeunknown306unknown
Cardiff76728437%
Dundee55235464%
UEA93746049%
Edge Hillunknownunknownunknown
Edinburgh60246978%
Exeter85159069%
Glasgow86856966%
Hull York82553064%
Imperial126373358%
Keele68641260%
Kent & Medwayunknownunknownunknown
King’s College89173983%
Lancaster52528654%
Leeds105639437%
Leicester117382871%
Liverpool1928104654%
Manchester155797963%
Newcastle93667973%
Nottingham123854744%
Oxford42517040%
Plymouth89144750%
Queen’s Belfast79243555%
Sheffield114477067%
Southampton89750256%
St Andrews35628881%
St George’s71235350%
UCL106370967%
Central Lancashire70731244%
Sunderland29127494%

A point to note is that this data comes from undergraduate courses, so doesn’t apply to graduate entry medicine.

Compiling all the data we have available Iā€™ve also calculated some averages:

  • Average number of applicants interviewed = 881.5
  • Average number of offers given out = 521
  • Average percentage of applicants interviewed that get an offer = 59%

So on average, over half of people interviewed by a medical school will be given an offer!

If you’re currently preparing for a medicine interview I think that’s a really reassuring number.

Although the hard work isn’t over yet, you know the odds are in your favour!

What’s The Easiest Medical School Interview?

If you’re trying to maximise your chances of getting into medical school, it would be natural to try and figure out which universities have the easiest interview process.

Looking at our table, we can say statistically that the University of Sunderland gives the highest proportion of interviewed candidates offers.

They gave 94% of people who came to their interview an offer!

It is however important to note that these figures may not be entirely representative.

The University of Sunderland only opened its doors to its first cohort of medical students in September 2019!

So this may go some way to explaining this incredibly high acceptance ratio.

An excited student receives an invitation to interview for medical school

Ignoring the University of Sunderland then, the next highest percentage in our table comes from King’s College London.

83% of applicants that were interviewed by King’s College went on to receive an offer.

Now I’m in no way saying that getting into medicine at King’s College is easy.

It’s certainly not easy to even get an interview in the first place! In addition to the fact that I’m sure everyone who was interviewed was incredibly well prepared.

But what we can say is it has the second-highest percentage of offers given out to interviewed candidates.

If you’re interested, I’ve actually written a second article on how hard it is to actually get an interview in the first place!

What’s The Hardest Medical School Interview?

If you’re one for a challenge, then you may be interested in what the hardest medical school interview might be.

In terms of pure numbers, the interview at the University of Aberdeen gives you the slimmest chances of getting an offer.

A paltry 26% of interviewed candidates met the mark to get an offer.

And that can’t be put down to Aberdeen interviewing droves of candidates either- by giving out 667 interviews they actually sit slightly below the average of 882.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that this purely statistical approach won’t necessarily give us an accurate picture of what the hardest medicine interview is.

For example, a medical school that is more selective in giving out interviews will artificially increase the percentage of successful candidates at their interviews.

Anecdotally, we know this to be the case when it comes to both Oxford and Cambridge medical schools.

Oxford actually gave 40% of its interviewed applicants offers while we don’t even have the numbers for Cambridge to make a comparison!

There are plenty of horror stories about the weird and wonderful questions that people have been asked at Oxbridge interviews- so much so that I think it would be fair to say they’d certainly be in the running for the hardest medical school interview.

Is An MMI Or Traditional Interview More Difficult?

As you may know, your medical school interview will generally either be an MMI or a more traditional panel interview.

Which begs the question which is more difficult?

Now, this is not an easy question to answer as I think it essentially comes down to what your personal strengths are.

One person’s nightmare of having to act out a scenario in an MMI could be another person’s time to shine! (I’m most definitely a member of the first camp…)

A medicine applicant in an MMI station

On the flip side, you might dread the idea of having to try and impress four different interviewers at once in a traditional interview!

You may much prefer just focussing on one task with one interviewer examining you at each of an MMI’s stations.

I think the best way of finding out which you’re more naturally aligned to is to do some mock interviews.

Sit down with some friends or family and try and recreate roughly what each would be like.

Generally people have a preference for which they favour so it can be good to figure this out before selecting which medical schools you want to apply to.

You can also learn more about the two interview styles here, in my article on the ‘MMI Vs Panel Interview.’

Final Thoughts

You’d be a brave person to just rock up to a medical school interview and hope for the best..!

Medicine interviews are not easy and take a lot of hard work to prepare for, let alone get in the first place.

However, the statistics available to us can be reassuring if you’re feeling stressed about an upcoming interview.

Just remember, on average you’re more likely to get an offer than not. But sadly nothing is guaranteed.

Use the data to help inform your application process but don’t rely on the numbers- because as we’ve covered there are plenty of confounding factors that can influence that all-important percentage figure.

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.