How Hard Is It To Get A Medical School Interview? (Real Data)

Updated on: December 3, 2023
Photo of author
Written By Dr Ollie

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

To get into medical school you’re going to need to get an interview. But how hard is it to actually get a medical school interview?

Speaking from my experience, there was certainly a lot of blood sweat and tears that went into my application.

Getting an interview for medical school is a challenge for even the brightest students. Medical schools in the UK interview approximately 1 in 2 applicants, with students being allowed to apply to up to four medical schools per application cycle.

I’ve got to say, I’m not sure anyone who’s actually been through the medical school application process will try and tell you it’s easy..!

But that in no way means you won’t get through though!

In this guide I’ve looked at some of the statistics that you can use to give yourself the best chance of being invited to interview.

What Percentage Of Medicine Applicants Are Offered An Interview?

I’ve gone through all the data to calculate the percentage of applicants that are invited to interview for each medical school.

The average percentage of applicants that are invited to interview is approximately 50% across all medical schools. This proportion ranges from less than a quarter for Oxford Medical School applicants to over four-fifths for the University of East Anglia. Despite annual fluctuations, the overall trends remain steady.

As a point to note, this data set is only for undergraduate courses- not postgraduate.

Medical SchoolNumber of ApplicantsNumber of InterviewsPercentage
Aberdeen176966738%
Anglia Ruskin118560051%
Aston106636334%
Barts1748113665%
Birmingham2827124844%
Brighton & Sussex153374449%
Bristol2945128043%
Buckingham500 (estimate)250 (estimate)50%
Cambridge1817unknownunknown
Cardiff312076725%
Dundee148655237%
UEA115593781%
Edge Hillunknownunknownunknown
Edinburgh216360228%
Exeter210585140%
Glasgow193286845%
Hull York135082561%
Imperial3365126338%
Keele182568638%
Kent & Medwayunknownunknownunknown
King’s College288189131%
Lancaster98652553%
Leeds2486105642%
Leicester2065117357%
Liverpool2788192869%
Manchester2469155763%
Newcastle194893648%
Nottingham1686123873%
Oxford176642524%
Plymouth123889172%
Queen’s Belfast101979278%
Sheffield1726114466%
Southampton149189760%
St Andrews65235654%
St George’s135871252%
UCL3064106335%
Central Lancashire163470743%
Sunderland38629175%

Compiling all the data we have available I’ve also calculated some averages:

  • Average number of applicants per medical school = 1820
  • Average number of applicants interviewed = 864
  • Average percentage of applicants interviewed = 47%

Therefore, you have approximately a 1 in 2 chance of being invited to an interview if you apply to medical school.

What’s The Easiest Medical School To Get An Interview For?

Looking through the data in our table we can figure out statistically what the easiest medical school to get an interview for is.

The easiest medical school to get an interview for is the University of East Anglia. In 2020 UEA interviewed 81% of all applicants, far above the average of approximately 50% for other medical schools. The total number of interviews held was 937, slightly above an average of roughly 850.

You could argue there’s slightly more to this story however.

The medical school that gave out the greatest number of interviews was the University of Liverpool.

They interviewed over double the number of applicants other medical schools do on average.

A medical school that doesn’t require the UCAT could also be seen as a much easier way of getting an interview.

Computers at a UCAT test centre

That’s because you don’t have to sit an entrance exam to have your application assessed and potentially selected.

In which case, you might consider the University of Buckingham.

Although I couldn’t find exact statistics on their application and interview ratios, they likely compare very favourably to the other medical schools that don’t require entrance exams.

How Many Medicine Interviews Do People Usually Get?

I took a poll of over 150 people asking them how many medicine interviews they received.

And the results really were quite surprising!

On average, an applicant can expect to receive 2.5 interviews in a medicine application cycle. Approximately 12% of medical school applicants will not get any interviews while 30% will be interviewed by all four of the medical schools they applied to.

Here’s exactly how the data panned out:

Number of InterviewsPercentage
012%
115%
219%
324%
430%

I honestly did not think that the majority of people would get four interviews.

Now to be fair this is a majority only by a slim margin.

  • The mean number of interviews applicants received was 2.5
  • The median was 3 interviews
  • The mode was 4

What this data tells us is that the distribution of ‘number of interviews’ is actually relatively even.

It is more likely that people get more interviews but there isn’t any standout number nor a sudden drop off in percentage at any point.

Do Medical Schools Tell You If You Don’t Get An Interview?

It can be a horrible feeling sat at home checking your UCAS portal to see if any of the medical schools have got back to you.

I remember I’d check it everyday after school hoping something had changed!

Medical schools will tell you if you’ve not been selected for interview. This is usually done through the UCAS portal as an update to your application status. Feedback may also be provided as to why you didn’t get an interview- such as having a too low UCAT score.

Receiving a rejection in any situation is never pleasant.

A young man who’s received a rejection from medical school

However, that does mean if you haven’t heard anything back from the medical schools you’ve applied to then you’re still in the running!

They will get back to you at some point, for good or for bad, so it’s just a bit of a waiting game until then…

To find out your chances of hearing positive news, you might want to check out this second article on how difficult medical school interviews actually are.

Do All Medical Schools Interview Applicants?

Can you get into medical school without having to sit an interview?

It’s a natural question to have after you learn about how gruelling medical school interviews can be!

There are currently no UK universities that routinely offer applicants a place at medical school before undergoing some form of interview. There are however foreign medical schools that may offer places to UK applicants without an interview.

Sadly gone are the days when universities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Queens University Belfast and Southampton used to hand out offers without interviewing candidates first!

However, if you really do want to avoid a face-to-face grilling then you may have to look at applying abroad…

Final Thoughts

Setting out to get an interview for medical school isn’t something to be taken lightly.

However, I’m confident you’re more than capable of getting one if you put your mind to it.

Use statistics to help inform your application but at the end of the day whether or not you get an interview is down to you as an applicant, not a mathematical probability.

If you’re determined to get into medical school then that’s what’s going to shine through on your application and make you stand out from the crowd.

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.