What To Bring To A Medical School Interview (Essential Checklist)

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.

One aspect of preparing for a medicine interview that’s often overlooked is planning what you’re going to bring to the interview on the day itself.

The interview process can be daunting and you’ll no doubt be revising common medicine interview questions, facts about the medical school and running through imaginary role-play scenarios in your mind right up until the moment you step through the door for the real thing.

This is exactly why it’s important to have a checklist to make sure you don’t forget to bring any key items to your interview.

This article will run you through exactly what you need to pack for the big day so that you can stay focussed on thinking about what you’re going to say rather than what goes in your suitcase.

Essential Items To Bring

These are the items that it would be an absolute disaster to forget to bring to your medical school interview.

For these items in particular, I’d double and triple check you’ve got them before leaving home!

If you make sure you step out the door with these core items you can be confident that you will at least be allowed into your medicine interview…

Interview Confirmation And Directions

I’d definitely make sure you have a copy of your interview invitation and basic directions to where you need to go for the interview.

You can either print these out or have them saved on your phone.

If your interview is being held on a university campus, I’d have a careful read of the instructions on how to get there.

King’s College Campus, University of Cambridge

Campus universities can be sprawling and quite hard to navigate with no road names or definite landmarks!

A word to the wise is to also make sure you double-check the date, time, and location of your interview to avoid any confusion on the day.

Identification Documents

For every medical school interview, you will need to bring some form of identification.

Your interview invitation will normally specify exactly what’s required- but generally, a passport or UK driver’s licence will suffice.

Just make sure that your identification is up-to-date (not expired!) and matches the name on your application.

Academic Certificates

Quite a few universities ask you to bring your academic certificates to your medicine interview so that they can double-check your qualifications in person.

They’ll normally ask for all your GCSE certificates as well as A-levels (if you have them) and any degree certificates you’ve achieved.

Depending on the university’s requirements, you can also bring a copy of your CV or resume to provide additional information about your experiences and achievements.

Personal Electronics

I’m sure you rarely step out of the house without your phone but under the stress of interview day it can always be worth double-checking you’ve got everything.

I’d bring your phone, charger, power pack and potentially even a tablet if you’ve got one for some last-minute preparation.

However, make sure to switch off your phone or put it on silent during the interview to avoid any distractions for either you or the interviewers.

Preparation Materials

The bulk of your hard work preparing for a medicine interview will be done in the days and weeks leading up to your interview date.

However, there’s definitely something to be said for a quick last-minute cram of those topics that you want to have at the very top of your mind.

If you bring some of these preparation materials, you can have a quick skim of your revision notes the night before, on the journey to your interview or even while you’re waiting to be called in.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is one of the most important documents to bring to your medical school interview. After all, it’s a reflection of who you are, your achievements, and your aspirations.

You’ll have submitted it way back in October but you may be about to sit down for an interview up to 6 months after this date.

Considering your interviewers will likely have a copy in front of them, it’s worth bringing a copy to refresh yourself on what you talked about so that you’re ready to field any questions they might have.

Notes And Research On The University

Prior to your medical school interview, it’s essential to research the university you’re interviewing for and take notes on key information such as the school’s mission statement, values and research opportunities.

What To Bring To A Medical School Interview Pixel Image

This information will help you to tailor your answers to the specific medical school you’re interviewing with.

It will also demonstrate to the interviewers that you’ve actually gone away and done your homework- setting you apart from the majority of other candidates.

Questions You Want To Ask

There’s nothing worse than being put on the spot at the end of an interview when you’re asked “So do you have any questions for us?”

The easy way to avoid a prolonged, awkward pause at this moment is to prepare some questions for the interview panel ahead of time!

By coming up with some thoughtful, meaningful questions that demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the university, you’ll make your last impression a positive one.

Revision Notes

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a few general revision notes to your medical school interview- as long as you don’t actually take them in with you!

These notes could include key information on medical ethics, current events in healthcare, or any other relevant topics that you want a last-minute refresher on.

I personally remember bringing a few notes with key dates and events regarding specific medical news articles I’d recently read so that they’d be fresh in my mind if asked.

Packing Checklist

Now that we’ve covered the essentials and preparation materials, it’s important not to forget more of your ‘standard’ packing list.

This includes things like your clothes, toiletries and accessories.

None of it’s groundbreaking stuff but your interview day will undoubtedly run a lot smoother if you’ve not had to shower with hand soap at your hotel because you forgot to pack body wash!

Your Interview Outfit

Your interview outfit has got to be your number one priority when it comes to packing clothes for a trip to a university you’ve applied to.

There’d be nothing worse than realising you’ve forgotten dark socks, a belt or a tie that you need to complete your interview outfit.

A young man sat in a medicine panel interview
A young man in his medical school interview

With important things like this, I normally try and run through in my mind, from head to toe, everything I’m planning on wearing on the day- minimising the risk I forget something important.

Toiletries

If you’re staying overnight at a hotel or B&B before your interview then you’ll need to bring toiletries.

A handy little addition to your normal toiletry set can be to bring a small travel toothbrush.

This can let you do your teeth just before you go in for your interview- leaving you confident there’s nothing stuck between your teeth and your breath is fresh.

Shoes And Accessories

Shoes are of course a vital part of your interview outfit that you shouldn’t forget. I’d also recommend bringing a few plasters in case a pair of new shoes start rubbing in places you hadn’t anticipated- which will let you focus on the interview at hand rather than your painful feet.

Accessories can include a watch, jewellery or a handbag.

Depending on what your journey to the interview is going to look like, you might also want to bring a bit of shoe polish and a brush to give them a spruce in the morning.

Earplugs

If you’re going to be staying in a hotel or B&B prior to your interview, earplugs can be an absolute life-saver if you’re not a particularly heavy sleeper.

You never know who you’ll have as neighbours, what will be going on on the road outside or what sort of traffic levels will pass by in the night.

Anything you can do to secure a good night’s sleep before your interview will definitely do you favours come the morning.

Optional Items

Finally, I thought I’d touch on some optional items you might want to bring. These are by no means essential but can be some nice-to-haves depending on your preferences.

Portfolio Or Folder

Depending on where you are in your career, you may want to bring a portfolio or folder of your work to your medicine interview.

Whether you do or not also depends on what your interview invitation says you’re allowed to bring into the interview.

If you’re a direct school leaver you likely won’t have much to put into a portfolio, but if you’re applying to medicine slightly later in life you may have other academic achievements, awards or published research that could all be valuable to showcase to your interviewers.

Breath Mints

Breath mints can almost just give you that subconscious confidence boost that you’re dressed smartly, are well-prepared and smell good.

I personally chose to bring a bit of chewing gum with me when travelling to my medicine interviews to serve the same purpose.

Travel Iron

If you are packing for an overnight trip, and you have space in your bag, you may want to pack a travel iron to give your shirt or trousers a quick iron once you arrive at your accommodation.

Most hotels will have an iron accessible for guests but I’ve found these can be of varying quality. Especially well-used irons can even leave black marks on your clothes from bits of burn stuck on the iron- not what you want for your new white interview shirt.

Lint Roller

A lint roller is the little sticky roller you can use to get bits of fluff off smart clothes, such as a suit or a skirt.

It’s by no means essential but can just give your outfit that extra 1% if it’s completely lint-free and you’re looking sharp.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for a medical school interview can be intimidating but ensuring that you have the necessary items will make the whole process a lot smoother.

This checklist should help take the guesswork out of packing for your interview so that you can focus on more important matters at hand.

As long as you bring the essentials to your medical school interview you’ll be good to go and can focus on portraying why you as a candidate deserve that offer.

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.