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University of Bristol Medicine Interview Common Questions 2023

Here at MasterMedPrep we help students get into medical schools all over the UK. We see a lot of demand for Bristol Medical School and so we have written about some common Bristol Medical School interview questions below.

Below you will find a mixture of past Bristol medicine interview questions and the types of questions that Bristol medical school are known to ask in their interviews. Get in touch if you want any more advice or questions.

If you want to give yourself the best chance at your Bristol Medicine Interview then get in touch with us and book a Bristol Mock Interview with one of our experts today! Or just chat to us if you have questions!

Personal Qualities Questions

1. Tell me about a time you failed. What is resilience? How have you shown this quality?

  • Structure your response well. Use the STARR structure.

  • Define resilience.

  • Talk about a REAL/GENUINE failure.

  • Structure your response well.

  • Reflect on what you learnt. Reflect on why resilience is important in medicine.

2. What does integrity mean? How do you ensure a sense of trust?

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body, conclusion.

  • Structure your response well.

  • Define integrity.

  • Give an example – i.e., a doctor respecting a patient’s confidentiality.

  • Link between trust and integrity.

3. Give me a situation on where you have used teamwork? What makes you a good team member? Why is teamwork important?

  • Structure your response well. Use the STARR structure.

  • Explain how you have demonstrated teamwork.

  • What makes you a good team member? – work hard, approachable, listen well, flexible, communication skills?

  • Why is teamwork important? Delegating tasks, combining expertise, reducing individual workload, increased motivation. Refer to multidisciplinary team.

4. Studying medicine can be intense, so maintain a work-life balance is important. How do you relax and unwind?

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body (2-3 examples worked through), conclusion.

  • Show off your personality! LINK to how you would get involved in these things at Bristol.

  • GOOD – extracurricular activities linked to how to relax/unwind. Methods of maintain stress – i.e., keeping a diary, making lists etc.

  • BAD – simplistic activities (i.e., just saying you watch Netflix!). Do not be overly academic in this station.

5. Medical students are selected from the best and the brightest students around the world. How will you cope with moving from an environment where you were one of the best students to one where everyone has a similar level of ability?

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body, conclusion.

  • GOOD points – it will be a challenge and push you further. Learning opportunity. You can learn from others and develop. Show drive and determination.

  • BAD points – do not be negative.

6. As a doctor you will have to break bad news and deal with things when they go wrong. How do you think you will cope with this emotionally?

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body, conclusion.

  • GOOD points – relate to the patient (empathy), you will not be overly emotional (there is a balance here). LINK to work experience! Talk about the skill of the communication skills that you observed.

Ethics Questions

1. Organ donation in the UK is currently via an opt-in system, whereby by default option is no donation. Discuss opt-in schemes, and other methods to increase donations of organs in the UK. What is an opt-in and opt-out scheme? What are the pros and cons of an opt-out scheme?

  • Use the ethics structure.

  • Introduction – what is an opt in system and what is an opt-out scheme? What is the current law?

  • Main body

  • Arguments for opt-out. 1) More donations. 2) Saves admin costs. 3) Non-maleficence – no harm is caused to the patient if an organ is extracted after death?

  • Arguments against opt-out. 1) Autonomy. 2) Psychological effects – puts pressure on individuals and their families. True altruism cannot be forced on people.

2. You are prime minister for the next 3 minutes. Outline what you would do to change the NHS. Name one specific area you would like to invest a greater proportion of the budget in.

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body, conclusion.

  • The idea is up to you. I personally am a big believer in health promotion for example. I would probably discuss more money in developing obesity services. You could argue anything though – mental health, genetics etc.

  • DO NOT be too controversial. I would avoid anything that involves patients paying for anything as this defeats the principle that the NHS should be ‘free at the point of care’. I would also avoid anything that involves discrimination.

Motivation Questions

1. Why Bristol? What can you bring to our medical school, and what can you improve? How does Bristol compare to your other choices?

  • Be prepared for all variants of this. They may just ask one part of this question or all of it.

  • Must be careful to structure this answer to answer all parts.

  • Why Bristol can still be split up into city, university, and curriculum. I probably would not get too bogged down about the curriculum unless asked specifically.

  • DO NOT talk about generic things -i.e. ‘I like the nightlife.’ ‘I like the teaching’. DO be specific.

  • DO NOT talk about too many things. Better to focus in on less reasons.

  • What can you bring? Skills - hard working, engaging and keen, all-rounder.

  • Improvement – talk about how YOU can improve by going to Bristol.

  • Compared to other universities – do not criticise other choices. Do explain benefits of Bristol and the curriculum.

2. What do you know about the learning methods at Bristol Medical School?

Qualities of a Doctor Questions

1. What are important qualities of a doctor? Please discuss these.

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body (2-3 points explored), conclusion.

  • LINK to your work experience! Reflect on work experience and reflect on why it is important for doctors.

  • If you talk about an important quality link it to your work experience and a time that you have demonstrated this quality.

  • Teamwork (MDT).

  • Leadership (manage the MDT. Show leadership to patients and colleagues).

  • Communication (doctor-patient relationship).

  • Organisation (managing different tasks).

  • Others – empathy, compassion, scientific knowledge, manual dexterity, calmness, organisation and more.

2. What do you know about the NHS values and can you name any?

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body (2-3 points explored), conclusion.

  • LINK to GMC guidelines – “GMC Good Medical Practice”.

  • Pick 2-3 values and explain them properly. DO NOT list lots of values. If you want to you could list more values to show off once you have explored 3 in detail.

  • Some values = patient safety, keeping up to date, free at the point of care.

3. What is more important as a doctor? Being intelligent or having empathy?

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body, conclusion.

  • Give arguments for both sides. Conclude with an opinion and try not to sit completely on the fence!

  • Intelligence – scientific knowledge, social intelligence, constant learning.

  • Empathy – speaking to patients, medicine is holistic.

4. What is the difference between empathy and sympathy?

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body, conclusion.

  • Define both and then give examples. LINK to work experience and REFLECT on how this applies to you and doctors.

  • Empathy = putting yourself in the shoes of others. Understanding how someone feels.

  • Sympathy = feeling sorry for someone. Feeling compassion, sorrow, pity.

Work Experience Questions

1. Why did you do work experience?

  • Opinion question. Introduction, main body (2-3 points explored), conclusion.

  • GOOD points – to learn more about medicine, out of interest, to see different sections of medicine (difference between GP, A&E, surgery, hospital ward etc.)

  • BAD points – “to improve my application”.

  • REFLECT what you learnt and got out of it.

2. What did you do and learn in your work experience? Tell me as much as possible from your placements in with a GP, a consultant, a surgeon, a nurse or another healthcare professional. You can talk about one or multiple.

  • Ensure that you give a detailed response using the STARR structure.

  • Surgery = teamwork (surgeons, nurses, anaesthetics etc.), post-op care (continuity of care), clinics.

  • Hospital = taking a history (unique approach of each doctor), holistic approach, ward rounds.

  • GP = triage (how they prioritise patients), time efficiency (10 min appointments), multi-tasking, referral system.

  • Nurse = day-to-day patient care, procedures (blood taking/blood pressure etc.), social side of medicine (nurse-patient relationship).

Situational Judgment Questions

1. A homeless man comes in with injuries and several needle marks. You found out he is only 16 years old and may have been suffering from neglect. How would you approach this situation?

  • Think about the SPIES structure.

  • Seek more information = find out about the injuries. Were they due to drugs/suicide attempts/fights/other? Is he taking illegal drugs – which ones?

  • Protect patient/public = he is only 16 and suffering from neglect. He needs safeguarding interventions.

  • Initiative = Full series of physical examinations, scans and tests. Approach him in a friendly manner.

  • Escalation = yes. Each hospital/GP has a designated ‘safeguarding lead’ so you would raise this with them. Social services.

  • Support = Refer for homelessness support. Refer for alcohol/drug support if necessary.

Other Stations at Bristol Medical School Interviews

1. Medical procedure vs cookery. What can you tell me about the similarities and differences between these two tasks - cooking a meal as a chef compared to a medical procedure?

  • Structure – introduction, similarities, differences, conclusion.

  • Similarities – manual dexterity, methodological, precision.

  • Differences – creativity, asymmetric information (no customer as such with surgery), communication

2. Here are two images of the lungs. Please take notes on them. What do you notice is different?

  • Take one minute at the start. “I am going to take one minute to study these images.”

  • Describe generally then in more detail.

  • Can delve deeper into interpretation when done describing. Potential for cancer?

Roleplay at Bristol Medicine Interview

Mental health roleplay

  • Common to have someone with a low mood/anxiety.

Managing an emergency in A & E

  • Less likely online.

  • Make sure you use a logical approach.

  • ABC – airways, breathing, circulation.


  • o How would you manage several patients at once?

Bristol often includes stations on hot topics and medical ethics so make sure you are well-prepared for these.
Get in touch if you want expert advice and tuition for Bristol Medical School.



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