UCL tend to take your application as a whole to short list candidates for interview. As said previously, your BMAT score helps them priority rank you. However getting the best marks in the BMAT will not guarantee you interview if your personal statement, reference, AS grades, predictions etc. are poor.
Interviews occur from early December until late March. They will keep interviewing until they have given out all the offers they can.
Some candidates, who get interviews in early December, will have been called up because UCL loved their overall application. These invites will get sent before BMAT results are published! If you get one of these, give yourself a pat on the back.
If you are in school, UCL will tend not to give you January interviews as this is when Jan exams occur and they use this time to interview graduates. However it is not unheard of for the odd school applicant to have a January interview.
Just a note:
On my interview day, there were around 20 being interviewed in the morning session (there are around 2-4 panels interviewing in parallel). There was such a broad range of GCSE grades, BMAT results and A2 subjects - it became instantly clear that people had been called up for interview based on individual merits of their overall application. Some people had way above average BMATs whereas others had even lower than average BMATs. So not all hope is lost if your BMAT misses the average mark - so long as it is not too low across the board.
If you get summoned for interview at UCL, well done! This means there is a place for you, they want to give it to you but you have to first justify them giving it. All interviews for UCL Medical School are non-competitive. You are only competing against yourself. Unlike Oxford/Cambridge where there might be 30 of you competing for 10 spaces, at UCL you are only called up if there is a place on the course for you.
What is means is that you CAN talk and you CAN be friendly to all your fellow applicants in the interview waiting room
There is good chance you’ll be future coursemates together!
Relevance of grades, BMAT, academia after being shortlisted:
Once you are shortlisted for interview. UCL are satisfied with your academic ability and your grades, BMAT score etc. WILL NOT BE TAKEN INTO FURTHER ACCOUNT. Once you are called up for interview, you and every other applicant there are on a level playing field and have an equal shot at a place regardless of previous merits.
It is solely your interview performance that seals the deal:
Once you are at interview stage, the only thing that will get you a place will be your individual performance. As said, grades and other merits are not considered after being shortlisted. Now its time for you to deliver in person!
You will have a panel of 3 interviewing you. They can range from clinical lecturers, pre-clinical lecturers, medical students, local teachers, members of the public, doctors, researchers, patients from hospitals, medical school admin staff… literally anyone!
Only two of the interviewers will engage in conversation with you. The third will be watching your body language and reactions.
Interviews last approximately twenty minutes and they tend to get through around 5-8 questions depending on your answers and other points of discussion.
YOU WILL NOT BE ASKED ANY SCIENCE QUESTIONS IN INTERVIEW. Unless of course you decided to be a smartarse and wrote about a condition “I have particular interest in” in your personal statement
Though that’s your fault for putting yourself in a hole there – as they will then pick you up on that to validate it, should they be in a mood.
UCL Medicine interviews vary greatly. From what I’ve found, they do a fantastic job of tailoring it to your personal statement very closely. So more than likely, your interview will be nothing like that of others. My sole tip would be to learn your PS very well and be ready to elaborate on or justify anything you’ve written about.
Before your interview (when you go into the waiting room), you will get given a photocopy of your BMAT essay to look at. Don’t worry about this. They only want to see how you defend yourself, communicate a logical argument and see if you can reflect upon what you’ve done. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT SCORE YOU GOT. In your interview you’ll just pretty much get asked things like “why did you choose this question?” “what would you change, if anything?” “what did you mean by this?”. Sometimes, they will challenge you and say “but surely this is wrong?..” You either stand your ground and justify your statement or weigh up both sides of the argument and then conclude that it is wrong.
Here are just my reflections and recollections of my interview. I had a panel of 3, two men and a woman. I first got asked about my work experience and then my views on political issues. I later got asked about challenges I faced as a senior prefect and how I overcame them. Funnily enough, I got asked NOTHING on my BMAT essay! I came out of my interview thinking it was a disaster as I had got asked nothing argumentative or worth debating. Nor did I get asked anything generic like "why UCL/Medicine?" "what are your hobbies?" "why not nursing?". However I do know of applicants who did get asked such questions.
Funnily enough, despite all my doubts, I got an offer in the end!