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Interviews

Interviews will be held online.

About the interview

The pre-interview screening process operated by the admissions team and academic panel for shortlisting will already have ensured that all candidates called to interview appear to have sufficient academic potential. The purpose of the interview is to take a wider view of the applicant.

The interview itself is a formal, though friendly, process. The majority of the interviewers are drawn from both the University and clinical environments and all have undergone specific training for interviewing applicants including issues relating to equality and diversity. In addition, we also draw on the expertise of patient/lay representatives, current Physician Associate Studies students and simulated patients.

We appreciate that some candidates will be nervous, so we ensure that interviews are conducted in as relaxed an environment as possible. However, applicants must be able to handle the stresses of their chosen career, and some elements of the interview will be necessarily challenging and/or stressful.

The interview is not a test of your academic knowledge. The aim of the interview is to determine if a candidate satisfies our non-academic criteria in terms of the values and behaviours expected of a Physician Associate Studies student.

We will also encourage you to talk naturally about yourself, your studies and your experiences, to demonstrate that you have the interpersonal skills to be able to communicate effectively and show that you are a well-rounded individual.

For more information on the values and behavioural standards required, please see the GMC documentation on Good Medical Practice and the values enshrined in the NHS constitution.

Here are some examples of areas that could be tested in your interview.

Ability to communicate

Communication skills are essential to the practice of almost all aspects of medicine and healthcare. We expect candidates to be able to express their ideas clearly and coherently and to be able to follow a reasoned argument.

Candidates who give spontaneous yet well-thought-out answers to questions are more likely to impress the interviewers than those who give obviously rehearsed and 'coached' responses.

Why do you want to be a physician associate?

This is an obvious but vital question. It is also the question to which candidates most frequently reply with a coached and practised answer.

We will seek specific evidence of the experiences that have influenced your decision to undertake the Physician Associate Studies course.

Previous caring experience

Your experiences in a caring role will be of great interest. These need not be in a traditional mainstream medical environment, and many of our 2021/22 candidates will not have face-to-face work experience.

The interview is an opportunity for candidates to relate not only the facts and details of their experiences, but also their emotional responses to them and what they have gained from them.

Matters of a medical interest

Candidates will not be expected to have detailed medical knowledge, but the interviewers will expect you to have an informed layperson's view on contemporary aspects of medicine, particularly those of current media interest.

Ethical and other issues

Ethical issues may be raised by the interviewers to assess your ability to coherently summarise the issues at stake.

There are often no right answers in an ethical debate, and our interviewers will not be looking for a specific viewpoint.

You will not be asked questions about your gender identity, sexuality, marital or parental status, race, religion or social background, although you may use some of your personal experiences to inform discussions if you wish.

You will be expected to be tolerant, accepting and understanding of others.

Interview format

The interview process will adopt a five-station multiple mini interview (MMI) format, with each station being marked by a separate interviewer.

The interview in each station will be seven minutes long and there will be an approximately two-minute gap between stations. You will not be provided with information in advance and there is no reading or writing component to any of our online interview stations.

The station where you start will be allocated at random, and you will then pass round in order from station to station until you have completed them all.

Interview preparation

We are often asked questions about how candidates can best prepare for an interview. We offer the following advice.

Please be yourself. You should speak naturally and conversationally. Do not feel the need to be excessively formal unless required by the interview station scenario.

You should go into an interview having considered the information given above, but please don't fall into the trap of instantly listing all your work experience or trying to think of innovative ways of working the names of each of the principles of medical ethics into your answer.

Have a series of pointers in your mind, but remember not to over-rehearse. Our interview style at Manchester is conversational, and we're not looking for a monologue.

Take a look at the interview preparation resources available on the Medical Schools Council website and the interview preparation tool.

We do not endorse or recommend any providers of commercial interview preparation courses, and there is no evidence that such courses are in any way useful.

Interview dates

Interviews will likely be held between February and July in the year before the February intake for which you are applying. You will not be offered a place at Manchester without an interview.

All interviewees will be sent detailed information which explains the interview procedure and format of the interview process.