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Medical School Interview Timeline (UK Specific)

Medical School Interview Timeline (UK Specific)

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.

In this medical school interview timeline, I’m going to lay out when you’re likely to be invited to a medicine interview, how long they run for, how much notice you’ll get, as well as when offers are sent out and a couple of other questions you’ll likely have about the process.

Applying to medical school can be a bit of a daunting undertaking- so I’m hoping that by laying the journey out step-by-step you’ll be able to focus on your application more and have to worry about nerves less.

I can very clearly remember refreshing my UCAS tracker daily, waiting in limbo to see if I’d been invited to interview for any of the medical schools I’d applied to.

It’s the not knowing when you might hear back, whether that be for an invitation to interview or indeed the results of your interview, that can make things seem a lot worse than if you had a definitive date to set your sights on.

Although I can’t give you exact dates (as they change every year and vary between medical schools), I can tell you ballpark ranges that each medical school has traditionally used in the past.

When Are Medicine Interviews Held In The UK?

If you’re applying to medical school this year then you need to know when medicine interviews are held. Whether that be so you can plan your gap year around the dates you need to be in the UK or so you can prepare a revision timetable for interview prep.

The majority of medicine interviews in the UK are held between December and March. Some medical schools do start interviewing applicants as early as November and others will continue interviewing candidates all the way till May. The exact dates a medical school uses does vary from year to year.

In the table below, I’ve compiled the dates traditionally used by each medical school to interview candidates.

I say ‘traditionally’ because the exact dates are always changing- so don’t take any of the ranges as gospel. I gathered the data from medical schools’ websites, online research and by speaking to a few of the universities.

Generally, admissions teams are more than happy to tell you their planned interview dates for the year. So if there’s a date you need to work around or you need exact days, I’d give them a call.

Medical SchoolTraditional Interview Dates
AberdeenDecember – March
Anglia RuskinDecember – January
AstonDecember – March
BartsJanuary – March
BirminghamNovember – February
Brighton And SussexJanuary
BristolNovember – February
BuckinghamNot available
BrunelDecember – March
CambridgeDecember – January
CardiffDecember – January
DundeeDecember – January
Edge HillNot available
EdinburghNot available
ExeterNovember – March
GlasgowDecember – February
Hull YorkDecember – January
Imperial College LondonDecember – March
KeeleDecember – March
Kent And MedwayJanuary
King’s College LondonNovember – May
LancasterJanuary – February
LeedsJanuary – March
LeicesterDecember – March
LiverpoolDecember – February
LincolnDecember – March
ManchesterDecember – February
NewcastleDecember – January
NottinghamDecember – March
OxfordDecember
PlymouthJanuary
Queen’s University BelfastJanuary – March
SheffieldNovember – February
SouthamptonDecember – March
St AndrewsNovember – March
St George’sNovember – February
SunderlandDecember – January
SwanseaMarch
Central LancashireNot available
University College LondonDecember – March
University of East AngliaNovember – February
WarwickDecember
The dates medical schools traditionally hold their interviews

As you can see, most medical schools fall firmly in that December – March range, or very close to it.

A couple of outliers are universities such as Bristol, Exeter and Sheffield that start interviewing candidates from November. At the other end of the spectrum, King’s College London has been known to call applicants in all the way till May.

When Are Medicine Interview Invitations Sent Out?

Once you’ve submitted your application to UCAS, it’s a bit of a waiting game to see if you’re going to be invited to interview by any of the universities you’ve applied to.

Considering most years the UCAS deadline lies in mid-October, how long might you have to wait before there’s a chance of hearing back from one of your medical schools?

Medicine interview invitations are broadly sent out from mid-November all the way till late February/early March. Depending on the medical school, these are often either sent out in batches or on a rolling basis. A late invitation doesn’t necessarily reflect a weaker application.

If you still haven’t heard anything by Christmas, I wouldn’t panic.

Quite a few medical schools actually conduct the majority of their interviews in the new year. Even though your friends may have all had responses from their universities, the ship has in no way sailed for you.

A student checking her UCAS portal for interview invitations

One important factor in when a medical school might get back to you is whether they’re a UCAT or a BMAT university.

Universities that use the BMAT have to wait for applicants’ scores to be released before they can make a decision as to whether they want to invite them to interview.

BMAT scores are traditionally released in late November- so there’s no chance of getting an invite before then!

UCAT universities on the other hand will have had applicants’ scores available since early November.

This gives them a bit of a head start in sorting through which candidates they want to find out more about and which candidates haven’t met their threshold.

How Do Medical Schools Send Interview Invites?

Presuming you’re not going to get a magic letter delivered by owl as per Harry Potter, how do medical schools actually tell students they’ve been selected for interview?

Medical schools will most often notify a candidate that they’ve been invited to interview via an email to the email address linked to their UCAS account. Candidates are also able to track their applications via the UCAS portal, allowing them to see real-time status updates.

Some universities will still send you a letter with details of the interview date (but sadly not by owl). Although, this will be in addition to electronic notification.

You don’t need to worry about your letter getting lost in the post as you’ll always be able to log in to your UCAS account to see your application status.

There’s nothing quite like the nerves you get when you have an email from UCAS saying there’s been an update in your portal. Whenever I’d get one of these it would mean an immediate rushed login (wherever I was) to check what had changed.

It’s always a good idea to regularly check your junk email as well.

These automatically generated emails can sometimes be picked up by your email’s spam filter and a lot of universities set a time limit on how long you have to respond to them.

“You must respond to your interview invitation within two weeks of receiving your invitation by email.”

University of Bristol Medical School

There’d be nothing worse than missing out on an interview because you didn’t see the invitation in your junk email.

How Much Notice Do You Get For Medicine Interviews?

Considering how much work preparing for a medicine interview can take, how much notice are you likely to get that you’re going to be called for interview?

Candidates are generally given two to four weeks’ notice for a medical school interview. Depending on the university, a candidate may receive up to three months’ warning whilst medical schools aim to avoid giving applicants less than one week’s notice.

It really can be a huge range of times between when you get that invite and the day you actually turn up suited and booted for your interview.

It all depends on how a medical school evaluates its applicants.

Do they interview a set number of candidates each year? Do they interview every candidate above a certain UCAT score? Do they gradually work through everyone who applied, inviting people to interview as they go?

A candidate undergoing a medicine interview

A good rule of thumb is that you’ll have at least two weeks’ notice. But don’t discount the possibility of a short-notice turnaround.

“Invitations to interview are issued on a rolling basis throughout the season, with candidates normally being given at least one week’s notice.”

UCL Medical School

Medical schools will try and avoid jumping you with an incredibly short notice interview, but if they have some last-minute dropouts or aren’t on track to meet their intake targets, they may be forced to hurriedly invite more candidates in.

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

The only thing worse than waiting in limbo for a medicine interview is waiting in limbo despite the fact there’s no chance you’re going to get one!

Do medical schools actually tell you if you’re not going to be interviewed?

Medical schools will update an applicant if they are not going to be invited for an interview. This may be for a number of reasons, such as not meeting the course’s academic requirements or the medical school’s UCAT cut-off score, and is normally done via email.

You won’t just be left hanging.

If the worst does happen, and you’re rejected out of hand before an interview, the university will let you know- rather than letting you wait out the winter in hopeful anticipation.

Receiving a rejection is never pleasant but at least it lets you focus your attention elsewhere so that you might actually be able to make a difference.

Whether that be in preparing for another university’s interview process or just on securing the A-level grades needed for medical school.

When Do Medicine Offers Come Out?

If you’ve had your interview, and things seemed to go okay (or even well!), your next step is a highly charged wait in anticipation of receiving an offer. But when are you actually likely to hear back?

Medical schools in the UK generally start sending out offers from March onwards. However, there are a select few universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, that will notify successful applicants as early as January. By Easter, the vast majority of medical school offers will have been sent out.

March onwards seems to be a bit of a default speaking to a lot of the medical schools. However, more broadly, most simply start sending out their offers once they’ve concluded interviewing applicants for the season.

Medical SchoolTraditional Offer Dates
AberdeenMarch – April
Anglia RuskinJanuary onwards
AstonMarch onwards
BartsMarch onwards
BirminghamMarch
Brighton And SussexJanuary – April
BristolMarch onwards
BuckinghamNot available
BrunelNot available
CambridgeJanuary
CardiffJanuary onwards
DundeeJanuary onwards
Edge HillNot available
EdinburghMarch onwards
ExeterMarch onwards
GlasgowMarch onwards
Hull YorkFebruary onwards
Imperial College LondonMarch onwards
KeeleMarch onwards
Kent And MedwayMarch onwards
King’s College LondonMay
LancasterMarch onwards
LeedsMarch onwards
LeicesterMarch onwards
LiverpoolMarch onwards
LincolnMarch – May
ManchesterMarch onwards
NewcastleMarch onwards
NottinghamMarch onwards
OxfordJanuary
PlymouthNot available
Queen’s University BelfastApril onwards
SheffieldMarch onwards
SouthamptonMarch onwards
St AndrewsMarch onwards
St George’sFebruary onwards
SunderlandUntil May
SwanseaUntil May
Central LancashireNot available
University College LondonMarch onwards
University of East AngliaMarch
WarwickJanuary onwards
The dates medical schools traditionally send out offers

If you have an early interview in late November or early December, this can mean you’re going to have to be pretty patient in waiting to see if your performance bagged you a spot at medical school.

Although I gave Oxbridge as an example of early offer distributors above, there are actually seven medical schools that I researched that give out offers from January. In addition to a couple more that start in February and so on.

Just because you haven’t heard back for a while after your interview doesn’t mean they didn’t like you.

It’s likely that you were simply quite early on in their interview schedule so you’re having to wait till everyone else has been interviewed before you can find out if you’ve been successful.

When Do You Hear Back If You’ve Been Rejected?

If things don’t go to plan at interview, or it just really wasn’t your day, when do you hear back if you’ve been rejected?

Medical schools in the UK will generally have notified all unsuccessful candidates by April at the latest. Depending on a university’s application process, a candidate may be told they will not be receiving an offer as little as one week after their interview.

I personally got rejected from some of the medical schools I applied to.

I remember getting a notification through on my phone that my application status had been updated and sitting on my bed to log in to UCAS.

It’s a pretty horrible feeling when despite all the effort you put into your application a medical school doesn’t think you’re good enough.

A dejected student following rejection from medical school

I was lucky enough to get an offer from Leicester Medical School though, so all was not lost.

However, even if you do get four out of four rejections, at least the earlier you find out the earlier you can start planning for the future.

Whether that be working out where you went wrong the first time around so you can take a second shot, or gearing up to accept your backup option.

Once you have the final verdict you can start planning accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Although every university will work to a slightly different timeline, you should now have an idea of when things generally happen in the UK medicine application cycle.

From invites to interviews to offers.

Now you know the timeline though I think a real challenge can be not getting freaked out if your application isn’t sticking to it.

There will always be outliers to the process, so even if everything seems to be happening concerningly slowly for your application, or it doesn’t seem to be progressing at all, sit tight and hopefully things will work out for the best.

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.