Medicine at University of Birmingham Medical School & Interview Questions 2023
Overview of The University of Birmingham Medical School
Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, offers a fantastic array of diverse culture, history and modern development. The University of Birmingham Medicine is actually located just outside of the city centre, but most students (medical and non-medical) live in this area. Birmingham University Medical School became part of the University of Birmingham in 1900. Birmingham is also home to some of the UK's leading hospitals, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital right next door, offering outstanding placement opportunities to many of our students.
Course Structure at the University of Birmingham Medicine
Years 1 and 2
During your first two years of Medicine Birmingham course you will learn about the structure and function of the human body. All medical students can expect plenty of patient contact, but in Birmingham you’ll start this from as early as week 2 to quickly build up your skills and confidence when communicating with patients. In each year you will spend eight days in the community with GPs and patients, linking biological and behavioural theoretical learning to clinical situations with real patients. You will visit GP surgeries throughout your studies at a mix of inner city, suburban and some rural settings to gain maximum exposure to a range of patients and conditions.
From your third year onwards, most of your teaching will take place in our partner Teaching Hospital Trusts. Teaching in hospitals and general practices will ensure students receive excellent training in each speciality. You will further develop your basic clinical skills in taking a good clinical history and examining patients, as well as studying the communication skills needed to deliver effective consultations.
Years 4 and 5
During your final two years at Birmingham Medical School on the course you will undertake clinical attachments in a wide range of specialities as well as a composite attachment in emergency medicine, intensive care, general hospital medicine and surgery will prepare you for the range of problems that you will encounter as a Foundation Doctor. Many of our students choose to undertake their elective abroad to experience a healthcare system in a different cultural context.
University of Birmingham Medicine Entry Requirements
7 GCSEs are needed as a minimum
The required subjects are:
English Language at grade 6/B or higher
English Literature is not required but is one of the identified subjects that we will score
Mathematics at grade 6/B or higher
Biology and Chemistry or dual award science at grade 6/B or higher
A*AA (Increased for 2024 entry, Birmingham's standard A-Level offer).
Applicants must have a prediction of minimum AAA
Must include Chemistry & Biology.
Higher level: 7,6,6 from Chemistry and Biology and one other approved subject
Standard level: The subjects must include English and Mathematics if not offered at the higher level (Maths Studies is acceptable). - Minimum of 32 points must be attained
Birmingham University Medicine Admissions Tests
How Does Birmingham Medical School Look At The UCAT?
Birmingham UCAT Cut Off 2023 for 2024 Entry
For 2023 entry, the UCAT Cut Off Score was 2670.
Used in combination with academics (see Birmingham Application Score Calculator). Candidates are split into deciles and allocated a score based on that. The top decile requires approximately 2950 in the UCAT (See UCAT Deciles for more information)
No Birmingham UCAT cut-off score.
Ranking for the interview is by application score:
GCSEs = 45%
UCAT = 40%
Contextual = 15%
Birmingham Score Cutoffs (2023 Entry)
GCSE Score: 3.75 (Non-WP), 3.00 (WP)
Total Application Score: 8.125 (Non-WP) 8.067 (WP)
Median GCSE Score: 4.5 (Non-WP), 4.5 (WP)
🚩 SJT contributes to the interview score.
👉🏼 LOWEST UCAT Score INVITED TO INTERVIEW at Birmingham [use with caution]
2023 Entry: 2670 (standard), 2500 (contextual), 2960 (International)
2022 Entry: 2700
2021 Entry: 2690
👉🏼 MEDIAN UCAT Score INVITED TO INTERVIEW at Birmingham:
2023 Entry: 3000 (standard), 2770 (contextual)
2022 Entry: 2670
2021 Entry: 2720
2020 Entry 2650
👉🏼 AVERAGE UCAT Score INVITED TO INTERVIEW at Birmingham:
2022 entry: 2811
2021 entry: 2822
👉🏼 AVERAGE UCAT Score GIVEN AN OFFER at Birmingham [Home]:
2022 entry: 2831
2021 entry: 2843
👉🏼 AVERAGE UCAT Score GIVEN AN OFFER at Birmingham [International]:
2022 entry: 2952
2021 entry: 2955
Birmingham Medical School Selection Process 2023
We will apply the following selection process to all standard applicants:
Applications will receive an overall score, which is the sum of weighted scores for each of three components: academic, UCAT and contextual
The inclusion of a contextual element to the score replaces our previous method of assigning 20% of interview places to contextual applicants
The weighting will be: 45% academic, 40% UCAT and 15% contextual.
We will not score your personal statement, but you must offer evidence of commitment to medicine (see 'Preparing to Apply')
Scoring an application
An application score is generated from GCSE and UCAT results as well as a contextual element as follows:
Each application will receive a score for academic achievement based on results in seven GCSE (or equivalent) subjects. The subjects that will be scored are: English (both English Language and English Literature), Mathematics (or one, but not both, of Methods in Mathematics and Applications of Mathematics), Biology and Chemistry (or dual award science), plus two additional GCSEs in any subject. We will not exempt anyone from requiring a score for all identified subjects.
For the subjects specified above a minimum of grade B/6 must be offered and the scores allocated to the different grades are as follows:
8 or 9/A* = 4
7/A = 2
6/B = 1
For each of the two unspecified subjects, a score of 2 will be allocated when an 8 or 9/A*grade has been obtained. Lower grades will not receive a score.
The total GCSE score will be scaled to a maximum of 4.5.
Because we rank applicants according to a total score, we cannot define a GCSE grade profile that will be acceptable.
There is no minimum UCAT cut-off score. Your total UCAT score from the four subtests (i.e. excluding the band result for the Situational Judgment Test, SJT), will be ranked among those for all applicants. The scores will be segregated into deciles and we will allocate our own score to each decile. For example, the top 10% of applicants’ scores will be in the top decile and will receive a maximum score of 4.0 in our process [this changes every year depending on the deciles].
The band score for the Situational Judgment Test (SJT) component of UCAT will be used at the interview stage.
For 2022 entry: >8.0/10 for an interview for non-WP participants, minimum UCAT score of 2850 and minimum GCSE score of 4.0
Applicants must have attended a contextual school or have been in receipt of free school meals (FSM) during their secondary education to receive a score for this element.
Consideration of contextual information is not new but from 2020/21 we have incorporated the contextual element into the algorithm used to score all applicants, instead of setting aside interview places for contextual applicants. We also incorporate POLAR4 data into our process.
We describe elsewhere the mechanism we use for identifying a contextual school and an explanation of POLAR4 (see ‘Entry Requirements MBChB (5 year)’).
If you studied at a school that meets our contextual criteria for GCSEs and/or A Levels, you will receive a score for the contextual element. Applicants from state (non-independent) schools in Wales will receive a contextual score. Please contact your school provider or search for your school on gov.uk for more information.
You can retrieve your POLAR4 quintile from the Office for Students website: OFS Postcode Lookup.
Selection for interview is determined by ranking applicants according to the total application score (combination of GCSE, UCAT and contextual scores, with a maximum of 10). We expect to interview over 1,100 standard applicants.
If this ranking does not allow us to identify an exact cut-off, we will rank applicants with the same score according to their UCAT results (focusing primarily on the score for Verbal Reasoning).
🏆 Birmingham Admissions Statistics (2022-2023)
Standard Entry: 900 Applications, 299 Interviews, 254 Offers
Graduate Entry: 130 Applications, 30 Interviews, 20 Offers
Contextual: 989 Applications, 517 Interviews, 365 Offers
Widening Participation: 280 Applications, 229 Interviews, 142 Offers
Number of places (2023 entry): Home – 372; International – 28
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Birmingham Graduate Entry Medicine Requirements
Intercalated Programmes within Medicine Degree: Birmingham If you attain a good standard in examinations you may wish to take advantage of the excellent breadth of internationally competitive research within the University of Birmingham Medical School through an in-depth study of chosen topics for one year, leading to the award of a Bachelor’s degree. You then return to complete the MBChB programme.
Applications : Place
Application Statistics (Home)
Application Statistics (International)
Applications : Interview
International Student Tuition Fee
The international student fee per year is £30330 (Preclinical)
Work Experience - University of Birmingham Medical School
To study at The University of Birmingham Medical School you will need to have a minimum 2 weeks work experience
Personal Statement for Birmingham Medicine
The personal statement at Birmingham is not scored, but it is expected that the personal statement shows commitment to studying medicine.
Does This Medical School Have A Gateway or Foundation Year?
University of Birmingham Medicine Interview Questions 2023
In Person (home students, confirmed for 2024 entry), Online (for internationals, 2024 entry)
6 or 7 stations
Each station 6 minutes long + 2 minutes reading time = 8 mins in total
Interviewers will be a mix of academic staff, clinical staff, professional staff, senior medical students +- an observer
Birmingham Medicine Interview Dates 2022 for 2023 entry:
Invitations sent in December 2022 - January 2023
Interview Dates - January 2023 - February 2023
Results - by mid-March 2023
A tour of the university will also be given on the same day
🎓 Birmingham Medicine Interview Questions & Topics 2023
Critical thinking (interview) - you will be presented with a healthcare topic that you are not expected to know about. You must identify relevant issues and present a balanced argument for both sides, before suggesting an appropriate course of action.
Commitment and insight into medicine (interview) - You will be asked to discuss specific aspects of your work experience and your reflections on this, especially where you have provided care or support to a vulnerable individual. They will focus on insights gained from this work experience and from watching other healthcare professionals (not necessarily doctors)
Dealing with personal and ethical challenges (interview) - You will be provided with a scenario relating to potential challenges faced by staff working in healthcare. You have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the personal qualities important for coping in a demanding career and also provide an assessment of your own capabilities in dealing with this challenge.
Data interpretation (interview)
You will be provided with a clinically relevant data set and asked to interpret this and then draw conclusions that are appropriate to the scenario. You are not expected to have prior clinical knowledge in order to do this. Thinking about how you might communicate information to a patient or their carer in an accurate but accessible manner is an important element of this task. You must keep your answer jargon-free.
Interaction in a healthcare setting station (role-play) - Your skills in communication are important throughout the interview process, but in this station, you will be engaging with one of the professional role-players used for training and assessing healthcare students. You are expected to interact with the role player as if the situation is real. The role player will be assuming a specified role. Your skills in establishing an effective rapport whilst dealing effectively with the challenges that will be presented to you will be assessed.
Interaction in a Social Setting station (role-play) - This role-play station gives you a chance to show how comfortable and confident you are meeting a new person and having a short conversation covering issues of substance, as well as giving appropriate advice relevant to the scenario. In the role play, you will be interacting with a university student. You’ll be provided with a brief paragraph to explain the context of the conversation, and then how it runs depends on how you respond to the student prompts.
Calculation station (computer-based stations) - You will be asked to undertake simple mathematical calculations involving data that has clinical relevance. The mathematical skills that are being tested are at or below the GCSE level, and those taking A-level Mathematics are not necessarily at an advantage. The sophistication of each task is to recognise which piece or pieces of data need to be manipulated at a particular stage and to determine the precise logical and mathematical approach that needs to be applied. There will be a number of stages in the calculations, and establishing the order in which these are performed is important, too.
💯 Birmingham (UOB) Medical Interview Questions Scoring 2023
Offers will be based on interview performance data & the SJT result from UCAT.
The maximum score for each MMI station and the SJT component will be the same (i.e. all stations and the SJT component are equally weighted). The following scoring system will be applied to the SJT result:
Band 1 = Maximum score
Band 2 = 2/3 of maximum
Band 3 = 1/3 of maximum
Band 4 = 0
It may be possible to fail the overall interview by not meeting a minimum standard on just one of the stations. This minimum standard is usually set well below the average score.
Offers are based on interview performance and SJT score only, not academic merit. Academic factors are no longer looked at once a candidate has reached the interview stage (unless they are borderline with another student).
❓ Birmingham Medical Interview Past, Recent & Likely Questions 2023
Motivation to study medicine
What did you learn from your work experience?
What qualities of a doctor did you see from your work experience?
What do you know about the Birmingham Medicine course? How is it taught?
Why do you think you will be well suited to this course?
Why medicine and not dentistry or nursing?
Tell us about your volunteering
What are your hobbies?
What are the negatives of a career in medicine?
Have you ever made a mistake? What did you learn from it?
Why should patients trust you?
What are your best qualities?
How do you manage stress?
Can you provide us with an example of a time when you demonstrated resilience?
Give us an example of a time when you demonstrated teamwork.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
How would your friends describe you?
Tell us about an article that you have recently read.
Should doctors always tell the truth?
NHS & Local Area
What is the CQC?
What changes would you make to the NHS if you could?
How would you improve the local A&E department?
What are the NHS values and why are they important?
What is it like to be a doctor?
How do you deal with overpopulation?
What do you know about the local area here in Birmingham?
What are the main challenges that face the NHS?
How has COVID changed the way the NHS operates?
What do you think are going to be the long-term consequences of COVID on the NHS?
How does the healthcare system differ here compared to other areas in the UK?
Understanding of the four ethical principles
Understanding of the GMC’s good medical practice
NHS Hot Topics - sugar tax, nitrous oxide, NHS service pricing, organ donation, obesity, smoking
What is the debate surrounding euthanasia, should it be legalised?
Who would you give this organ to? [Prioritisation]
If you notice that a colleague has turned up to work drunk, what would you do?
Who can you escalate concerns to within a hospital?
What do you think about the change to opt-out organ donation?
How would you speak to a student who thinks that smokers should not be treated on the NHS?
MMI Specific Stations
Role play: breaking bad news
Role play: explain to someone how to draw this picture
Role play: substance abuse
Data interpretation: draw this graph, what do you think about this graph? Talk us through your interpretation of this piece of data
🗣️ Birmingham Medicine Interview Tips 2023
Practice Maths - given that there is always a calculation station in the Birmingham interview, it is paramount that you brush up on your data interpretation and graph reading. These are easy marks to get, so it is inexcusable not to do well here.
Have examples ready to use: many of the questions asked at Birmingham are example-based, ie, they require you to draw on certain examples from your personal life, medical work experience and medical volunteering to help make key points that the selectors are looking for. As such, it is paramount that you spend time learning about these examples and thinking about different scenarios that you can use at the interview. It is helpful if these scenarios are malleable and can be applied to a number of different questions e.g. being a football captain, deputy head girl or playing in the school orchestra.
Personal Attributes - Birmingham is very likely to ask you about personal attributes during the MMI interview. As such it is paramount that you go through and learn these. Check out our 200+ interview question and answer guide for dealing with such interview questions.
Know the doctor training pathway: this is a common question that comes up at Birmingham, fortunately, we have a guide to the NHS and the doctor’s training pathway in 2023 here.
Read the MMI instructions carefully - you get enough time to read the instructions provided before the MMI station. Make sure that you don’t miss anything from this. Try and plan how you will structure your answer thereafter in the reading time that you get. Therefore it is really important that you practice MMI questions and ensure that you think about your structure for as many questions as possible before your interview.
MMI Stations - remember that each MMI station at Birmingham is independent of the other. Therefore it is paramount that you try to treat them as such, if you have a bad station, try to forget about it and reset for the next station, this gives you the best chance of scoring well overall. Read our ultimate guide to preparing for medicine MMIs here.
Know the Birmingham Course - we would always recommend doing this for every university that you plan to apply to. It is paramount that you know about the different topics covered each year. How does this differ from other universities? What is their policy on intercalation? Have you any idea about what you would plan to intercalate in at Birmingham?
Know the local area - Birmingham is a diverse region of England, with a number of local factors and diseases that differentiate the Birmingham region from the rest of England. Ensure that you research both communicable and non-communicable diseases in the area. How might this impact healthcare provision in the area?
Reflect Well - the Birmingham Medicine selectors love reflection, make sure that you are good at not just stating what you have learnt, but also how this helped and what you benefitted from, and what you will carry forward about this at medical school and in clinical medicine. This is especially true when reflecting on your medical work experience during the medicine interview.
Practice Role Plays: Role plays are unique to medicine MMI interviews as they do not tend to occur in panel interviews. The only way to ace these stations is to practice! There are so many different medicine role-play scenarios that can come up, such as breaking bad news in the medicine interview, it is paramount that you read about tips for answering role-play scenarios. You might want to also consider practising this with a medicine interview tutor, or booking a 1-1 online mock interview.
Don’t over-rehearse - this is a common theme amongst interview students and is very obvious to a trained examiner. As such, we would recommend focusing on the structure of your answer, and then naturally letting it flow when speaking to the answers, concentrating on the delivery of your interview answers. Read about our top tips for medicine interviews here. If you are struggling with this, consider booking sessions with an expert medicine interview tutor.
Learn about the non-academic societies at Birmingham - this is really important and might augment your Why Medicine question as well as help you formulate an answer to how you will contribute to life at Birmingham University. Spend time on their website, or looking at their instagram for ideas about societies that you could think about joining.
Learn Medical Ethics & NHS Hot Topics - it is extremely likely that you will be asked about medical ethics at a medicine interview at Birmingham, so there is no excuse not to brush up on your knowledge on these topics, especially the four pillars of medical ethics. Learn how to provide a balanced argument on this. Check out some of our free articles on NHS Hot Topics here. It is good if you have an opinion on them, as long as you present a balanced and well-reasoned argument, ultimately, which side you choose does not matter, but is helpful to have. Check out our bank of 200+ medicine interview questions.
Learn the NHS Core Values - This can be drawn into different answers about personal qualities or qualities of a doctor, which has formed a feature of stations in the past, and a good understanding of these core values will help you stand out against others. It is important to know about the NHS in general for your medical interviews - read our article here on this.
Good Medical Practice - Birmingham also puts emphasis on knowing the values and qualities of a good doctor, which can be found in this document and are likely to come up at the interview in the MMI stations. This is universal to many universities, and something that we always recommend students cover during their medicine interview preparation.
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