Published on September 12, 2023

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University of Bristol Medical School Guide

Overview of the University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is a red-brick Russel Group research university in Bristol, south-west England. The Medical school (1833) preceded the founding of the University (1876). The university consists of six academic faculties subdivided into various schools and departments. It offers a medical course with a foundation year but does not offer a graduate entry course.

Academic Entry Requirements for Bristol Medical School

A level AAA including Chemistry and either Biology, Physics, Mathematics, or Further Mathematics.
Graduate applicants must have obtained a 2:1 in their degree as well as ABB at A-Level. Moreover, their A-Levels should include an A in Chemistry and and a B in either Biology, Physics, Mathematics, or Further Mathematics.
Contextual offer of ABB with A in Chemistry and B in one of Biology, Physics, or Mathematics
Scottish HighersAAAAB
Scottish AdvancedAA
Subjects required: Chemistry and one of Biology, Physics or Maths
IB36 points
6, 6 at HL Chemistry and one other required subject Subjects Required: Higher Level Chemistry and one of either Biology, Physics, or Maths
Academic Entry Requirements for Bristol Medical School


All applicants must sit the UCAT exam. Bristol uses scores to decide who to invite to interview. In 2022, the UCAT threshold was 2870 for home applicants and 2910 for overseas applicants.

Places for Home and International Students at Bristol Medical School

270 students are accepted per year with around 20 international students. There is an 8% success ratio, making Bristol a very competitive medical school.

Life as a Bristol Medical Student

In the first year, a typical day would include a mix of lectures/practicals and anatomy lab from 9-5. As well as this, there is clinical exposure relatively early on with GP visits every other week and day shifts in the hospital every term.

University of Bristol Medical School Ranking

The Guardian ranks Bristol as the 12th medical school in the UK. However, The Complete University Guide ranks Bristol as the 6th medical school in the UK.

It’s important to keep in mind that university rankings are subjective and based on differing criteria. Rankings may be a factor in deciding which medical schools to apply to. It is more important however to ensure a holistic approach in your decision-making process. You should be primarily considering universities that you believe you would thrive in the most.

University of Bristol Medical School Fees

For home students, the cost is £9,250 per year. The cost for international students is £39,700 per year and does not change throughout medical school. This is in contrast to some universities which have lower fees for pre-clinical years and higher fees for clinical years.

Teaching Style at Bristol Medical School

The Medicine course at Bristol is 5 years and they use an integrated teaching style. The first two years are designed to help with the basics of medical sciences. This is taught using a mix of case-based learning, lectures, and anatomy demonstrations. From Year 3 to Year 5 most time is spent on clinical placement including hospital and primary care. This teaching starts with case-based learning and then moves onto a systems-based approach.

There is an option to intercalate in a BSc or MSc after the third year in a range of topics.

Bristol Medicine Interview

Bristol uses the MMI style of interview. Post-Covid this has been done on Zoom and consists of a 30-minute long interview. There are four assessors and each one will ask you a question with responses being individually marked.

Some example questions for Bristol Medical School are below, with a brief answer guide underneath each.

What qualities have you demonstrated that make you a good candidate for medicine?

This question is examining two things: your understanding of the qualities of a doctor and your ability to demonstrate them. The GMC’s Good Medical Practice and Outcomes for Graduates outline the key qualities and values required in a doctor; these are worth reading before your interview. When describing how you’ve demonstrated these qualities, make sure that you’re reflecting on these experiences and what made you successful.

Tell me about an issue affecting the NHS

An up-to-date understanding of the issues affecting the NHS is hugely important when preparing for your interview. Reading up on key issues affecting the NHS such as health inequalities, industrial action, and the ongoing fallout post COVID-19 will stand you in good stead to tackle this type of question. Ensure that you discuss why your chosen issue is having a significant impact on the NHS and any action that is being taken to address this issue.

Tell me about a time you failed

Failure is a normal part of life and is something everyone experiences at some point. Failure provides opportunities to learn and adapt; this question is examining how you’ve reflected on your failure. Make sure to explain what happened, how you reflected on this experience, and what lessons you take with you going forward.

How should a doctor handle a patient who is shouting at them?

Scenario-based questions are common in MMI formats. When answering this question, it is important to demonstrate empathy for both the doctor and the patient. Think about both sides of this scenario: the doctor likely does not deserve to be treated in this way, but the patient’s concerns and distress also needs addressing. Always ask for more context if possible – it may not be given, but you may find this useful if it is.

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