Published on September 11, 2023

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Oxford Medical School Guide

Overview of the University of Oxford Medical School

The University of Oxford, founded in 1936, divides into two stages. The first is a three-year preclinical stage (BA Honours Degree). A three-year clinical stage follows this. The Oxford medical school is smaller than most, creating a close-knit environment.

Oxford does not offer a foundation year course but does have a graduate-entry course.

Academic Entry Requirements for Oxford Medical School

A LevelA*AA  Might require Chemistry and one of Biology, Physics or Mathematics. Requirements vary from college to college.  
Advanced Highers
AA (taken in the same academic year, in Chemistry, and one from Biology, Physics or Mathematics). Also Highers: AAAAA (taken in the same academic year)
AA (taken in the same academic year, in Chemistry, and one from Biology, Physics, or Mathematics) plus Highers: AAAAA (taken in the same academic year)
IB39 points. Must score 766 at Higher Level, including Chemistry and at least one from Biology, Physics, and Mathematics.   
Academic Requirements for Oxford Medical School

Graduate Entry Medicine at the University of Oxford

This is a 4-year course accelerated course. However, this is not offered at every college so double-check online.

The requirements:

  • At least a 2.1 or above
  • A levels of at least AAB with an A or A* in Chemistry
  • BMAT Exam

UCAT or BMAT for Oxford Medical School?

All applicants must take the BMAT exam. Oxford uses BMAT scores along with GCSEs to decide which applicants to interview so a good BMAT score is essential. Typically 5 is regarded as an average score, 6 as a good score, and 7 as an excellent score. Therefore, 6’s in Section 1 and Section 2 are competitive when making an application.

Oxford places more emphasis on sections 1 and 2 which each contribute 40% to an applicant’s score. Consequently, section 3 accounts for 20% of the BMAT score Oxford uses to rank applicants. The average BMAT scores of 2020 interviewees were around 5.5 for Section 1, 6.0 for Section 2, and 3.5 for Section 3.

The UCAT is not considered by Oxford for 2024 entry.

N.B. The BMAT exam is changing as of 2024/5, so keep an eye out for news with updates on this.

Places for Home and International Students at Oxford Medical School

The intake is 155 students. There is a limit of 14 international students across the undergraduate and graduate medicine programmes at Oxford.

The University of Oxford Fees for Medicine

The fees for Oxford Medical School are £9,250 for home students, whilst the cost for international students is £43,670 in pre-clinical years and £57,690 in clinical years.

Life as a Student at Oxford Medical School

Overall, the first two years of preclinical studies are quite intense. During the week your schedule will consist of lectures and practicals from 9 am-5 pm. Often small group teaching sessions (tutorials) take place in the evening. Tutorials are especially used to go over essays, practical questions, or other general queries that you have. The rest of the evening is free time to do what you decide. This could be spending time with friends, taking part in societies, or doing some work.

All students intercalate in third year during which the number of contact hours is often reduced significantly. This means you have more time for independent study and more free time generally. This is a good time to get involved with other parts of the university outside of your course.

Years four to six are much more like a 9-5 job where you will be in hospitals/GP practices for teaching and shadowing. However, it is then on you to decide how you utlilise the time outside of this.

Oxford Medical School University Ranking

The Complete University Guide ranks Oxford 2nd out of all the medical schools in the UK. However, The Times ranks Oxford 1st out of all Medical Schools worldwide. For another perspective, The Guardian ranks Oxford as the 6th medical school in the UK.

It is important to remember that university rankings are subjective and based on differing criteria. Whilst rankings can be a factor in deciding which medical schools to apply to, a holistic approach is essential. Consider which universities you would thrive in the most using a range of criteria.

Teaching Style at Oxford Medical School

The University of Oxford uses a traditional teaching style and the course is 6 years long. This involves splitting the teaching into pre-clinical and clinical. Firstly, students learn the biomedical sciences that underpin Medicine in years 1 and 2. Secondly, students complete an intercalated degree in their third year. Finally, students enter the clinical school from years 4 to 6. During this time, students gain hands-on medical skills in various medical settings.

There are pros and cons to this system therefore it is important to consider what you want from a medical course and what best suits your learning style.

Small group teaching is a large part of the teaching at Oxford. This involves 3-4 students and one academic. During these sessions, you may go over essays, practical questions and discuss the topics that are being taught at the time. This ensures that one receives academic support tailored to their individual needs.

Another key part of the first two years is essay writing. Although this may not initially make sense, the ethos behind this is promoting a broader understanding of topics and drawing links between them. Whilst this can be difficult at the start, with the number of practice essays you will be writing, you develop the necessary skills pretty quickly. It is definitely not something to worry about as it will be brand new for all the students on the course.

Full body dissection is not offered at Oxford, however, prosections are used.

The Clinical Part of the Course (4-6) is done in Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, local primary care physicians and University academic staff.

Oxford Medical School Interviews

Oxford interviews 23% of applicants and 8% are successful. They use a combination of BMAT scores and an average of GCSEs to decide who to invite to interview.

The interviews tend to be scientific in nature and test one’s ability to cope with the teaching style employed in the first two years of pre-clinical studies. The interviewers will often start with a concept covered at A-Level and gradually add layers of complexity to the given topic.

Applicants selected will typically interview at two separate colleges over a period of 2 days. Oxford provides accommodation during this time for those who need it. The number of interviews and their format varies between colleges. Generally, at least two academics and one clinician will interview an applicant at each college.

Here are some examples of questions you may face in an Oxford medical interview:

Why are you suited to the teaching style at Oxford?

Oxford uses a traditional teaching style, with the course split into pre-clinical and clinical years. A distinct teaching method at Oxford is the tutorial: small-group teaching with an academic or clinician, encouraging discussion and personal academic support. Ensure that you have read about and understand these styles of teaching, and think about what skills and qualities you have that will suit you to this teaching style. Think not only about what you can bring to the university, but also what you feel the university can bring to your academic journey.

Tell me about a disease you’ve been learning about during your A-Level studies.

Oxford medical interviews tend to have a scientific focus, with emphasis placed both on your ability to talk about topics you have already studied and topics that may be unfamiliar to you. For example if you decided to talk about diabetes in response to this question, the interviewer may give you some information regarding disease management and ask for your thoughts. Practising reading about topics that you are unfamiliar with will help you get used to analysing new information scientifically. Ensure that you have a strong grasp on topics that you’ve covered during your A-Level studies while preparing for this interview, to make sure that you have a good grounding in the basic science you may be expected to cover.

Anything Else Useful

The intercalated year at Oxford has to be in the biomedical sciences with students choosing two options from a choice of 11.

The myth that Oxbridge students don’t have time to socialise is definitely false. Whilst work is demanding, there are clubs and societies within your college and also at the level of the University. This means there is lots to get involved with, no matter what level of experience you are at! Additionally, the college environment means it is especially easy to make and spend time with friends.

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