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  • Writer's pictureMax Godsiff

GUIDE: The University of Exeter Medical School Interview Explained 2023

Whether you’ve just received your interview offer or are just looking to see which medical schools you want to apply to, being informed is crucial. The better informed you are the better prepared you will be come the day of your interview. Master Med Prep have guides for general interview tips as well as individually tailored interview coaching.

Exeter Medical School Entry Requirements and Interview Selection Criteria

Applicants must be predicted AAA for A level and take Biology and Chemistry. Applicants are then ranked by combining their UCAT decile (25% of ranking) and their predicted grades (75%). The scoring cutoff will be decided once all applications have been received.

Exeter Medical School Interview Structure

Exeter medical school use a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) interview format. This breaks the interview into smaller stations, with each station having a new interviewer. The interview is focused on assessing the “Non-cognitive qualities” of the applicants. The way this is done varies from year to year, but they aim to assess key qualities such as; empathy, communication skills, candidate's understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, and motivation to study medicine.

Exeter Medical School Suggested Question Categories


Empathy is essential for any doctor or healthcare professional and is difficult to assess. Questions that assess it will look at a candidate's work experience and personal experiences. Whether you are asked about your own use of empathy, or observing someone else’s, being specific is key. Be specific about what you empathized with, and on how this helped you to better help the person in this scenario. After reflecting on how empathy affects the outcome reflecting back to medicine, this shows your understanding of the role of a doctor.

“Tell me about how empathy helped you on your work experience”

Communication skills

Communication skills are key qualities for doctors, so questions relating to them are nearly guaranteed. This doesn’t have to be from a clinical scenario, just choose the best example you can think of. Be specific as to what the communication techniques were, like the tone of voice or choice of language or non-verbal cues. Then be specific about how this improved the outcome. This shows a deeper awareness and understanding. Finally, if you have the chance, describe a time you used these skills. This shows a willingness and ability to learn and develop.

“Tell me about a time you observed communication skills defusing a difficult situation”

Strengths and weaknesses

“What is your greatest weakness”

This is a classic question and one that should be approached with caution. It’s tempting to give an apprentice style answer like “I’m a perfectionist” but this comes across as disingenuous and offers no scope for reflection. On the other hand giving a glaring weakness will not paint you in a good light. Try to be honest with your answer but spend your time focusing on how you deal with this weakness and have improved it.

Motivation to Study medicine

“When did you decide to study medicine?”

This is a common question but one with many pitfalls. It’s important to come across as passionate, but still being realistic. Using personal experiences in healthcare can risk coming across as idealistic or not well thought out. To counter this talk about personal experiences briefly then focus on your other experiences at school and extracurriculars that guided you. Often you will be challenged and asked why not an alternative career, so be ready for answers for careers such as nursing, dentistry, pharmacy or research-based careers. These MUST NOT disparage these other careers.

Exeter Medical School Interview Top Tips

Be prepared for questions such as “Why Exeter.” Medical schools want students fully invested in their way of teaching. Exeter has several campuses and you will move between them and then between hospitals in your clinical years. This can offer a varied and broader experience of medicine. Exeter also offer early clinical experience and a cased based teaching approach.

While preparing for interviews is crucial to succeeding in them don’t fall into the trap of overpreparing. Overly polished answers can lose any sense of individuality and come across sounding scripted and disingenuous. Interviewers will see hundreds of applicants every year and will be able to see right through these kind of answers. Instead focus on specific personal qualities, ethical principles and NHS values; then aim to have valid experiences and reflections for each of them.

Our interview tips can give you a great start point and we have detailed breakdowns of ethical principles.

To further strengthen your application book interview tutoring with us to make your application the strongest it can be.

To test yourself in a simulation of the real thing, book a 1-1 Exeter Medical School mock interview with us today. We have built this using the information published by the university online.


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