Throughout the world entry to medical studies at universities is one of the most competitive choices. For example, in the UK fewer than 10% of applicants (who have achieved the minimum entry standards) are successful. In 2014 only 8% were accepted.
Data for Australia is similar, see for example University of Adelaide
In the USA final acceptance rates are over 30% but this is for post-graduate and the (presumably large) attrition rate from leaving secondary school until graduating is excluded from the data:
Medical School Acceptance Rates (2009–11)
MCAT 24-26, GPA 3.20-3.39 12,3%
MCAT 27-29, GPA 3.20-3.39 24,5%
MCAT 27-29, GPA 3.40-3.59 35.9%
All schools require students to have at least two weeks work experience, preferably in medicine.
Most UK medical schools now also require applicants to sit additional entrance tests such as the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) (required by 26 universities) and the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) (required by 5 universities).
The UCAS personal statement gives applicants the opportunity to write about why they are suitable for medicine. Personal statements are reviewed by university admission boards and applicants scoring highly in tests and with a good personal statement will be called to interview.
Interviews for medicine differ between individual universities. The majority of medical school interview applicants using either a Traditional interview or the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) formats. Oxford and Cambridge medical schools have their own distinct way of interviewing with focus on science questions and other medical schools also use group tasks to assess applicants.
The traditional medical interview consists of 2–4 interviewers sat across a table from the candidate. Interviewers take turns to ask the candidate set questions and rate their responses on a Likert scale. Interviews last between 15–30 minutes. Questions cover a range of desirable criteria that future doctors should possess.
Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI)
Developed at McMaster University Medical School in Canada in 2004, the MMI format assesses candidates as they cycle through a selection of 'mini' interview stations similar to the medical school OSCE. 1-2 interviewers assess candidates at each station and each station is focused on a skill desirable in a doctor. Criteria assessed at individual stations may include:
• Reasons for application to study medicine
• Influence of work experience
• Contribution to school and society
• Academic ability and intellect
• Knowledge of the course and medical careers
• Descriptive skills
• Communication skills
• Initiative and coping under pressure
• Reasoning and problem-solving skills
• Teamwork skills
This list informs the curriculum themes contained in the pre-med hospital experience 16+ course.
Students wishing to succeed must therefore be able to demonstrate their suitability to study medicine through:
- excellent academic results
- outstanding performance in admission exams such as United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
- a compelling personal statement
- relevant work experience and
- the ability to navigate a penetrating interview process
"This hospital work experience provides solid evidence of your personal attributes and skills and will also help you to perform better in your interviews..."