I applied through UCAS to Bristol around mid-September. Bristol was not a too-hard option for entrance of a medical school with no requirement for BMAT/UKCAT, good reputation in teaching and the interview will be held in Malaysia, as compared to my 3 other choices which required much more effort, time and money. The interview contents were a mixture of personal experiences and academic stuffs, not as academically-inclined as Cambridge's.
I got my invitation for interview in Crowne Plaza Hotel, KL one week before the actual day through an email from MABECS. My interview was on 23 February but the interview period usually stretches from March till end of April, so the Malaysia interviews were considered rather early. There wasn't much information regarding the application from the time of submission of the application until the interview invitation.
I was coincidentally in KL that time so I was able to go for the interview but I did not prepare well because I just finished a one-month programme (Yay! SUSOM!) the night before. I briefly went through my personal statement and Bristol's website. It has quite an informative website with youtube videos which are really helpful. And utilise the VIP page they have provided for each applicant well! There are informations in there which potentially can save you during the interview. You can, of course, refer to the information for interviews for other universities too. Don't over-prepare, but be sure have the answers to common questions like why medicine, why bristol, in your head. I went off to bed quite late that night as I only started my preparation at 12am, after a mamak session with friends at SS2. (Yea, I miss those mamak food dearly. No nice mamak in Miri.)
My interview was scheduled at 9.50am so I left my aunt's house at about 8.45am. It is usually a 10-minutes drive from my aunt's house to the venue. Who knows the traffic was so congested that morning! Consequently, I was late for about 5 minutes despite leaving house 1 hour before the actual time! However, I kept calm and acted "steady", walked confidently into the business area on the 1st floor of the hotel in my heels. "You are late," the lady said while I was registering. What to do? I just smiled and she directed me to the waiting area with a few KYUEM students who looked rather...anxious. I introduced myself and chatted with them. Ah, their first interview! (And I still remember mine, more than a year ago, vividly for the fear of some imaginary "man-eating monster" sitting in the room)
Then it was my turn. To be honest, I was in a jolly mood that morning, not really tense, so it wasn't hard for me to put on that smile and to greet the interviewer. He was there with his wife but the wife was just an observer. He was a really friendly guy, a lecturer for first year students in Bristol, who allowed me to answer and talk as long as I like after his questions, instead of cutting in even before I finish my sentence. He asked about my experience in hospital attachments and voluntary work. He also asked about my interest in the latest findings in the medical world. It sort of surprised me but fortunately, I pulled it through with the monoclonal antibody news I've read a while ago, adding in details from what I've learnt from my A Levels Biology. Thank God I still remember those stuffs! I was in a programme for a month, how recent can my news be? (Hehehe... making up excuses only! :p) He was rather impressed with the antibody tale and it linked to production of insulins and then, to the ethics part. Goodness, this part was such a headache. He asked me to tell him about the sugar consumption of Malaysians, obesity and diabetes in general, then the million-dollar question: If you think diabetes is a consequence of the patient's own behaviour, will you treat them? Most diseases are due to the patient's own actions, if we exclude the diabetes patients from our patients list, we might as well treat only those with genetic diseases and that's just absurd. Yes, I would treat them. "But isn't it unfair that these people are using the public's money to treat something due to their own irresponsible actions?" Ah, the NHS controversy! I joked about how most Malaysians pay for their own medical expenses or with insurance (except in gov hospitals, polyclinics and 1Malaysia clinics) but to refrain from treating those who need help is very much against the oath taken by a doctor, so we should treat them no matter how much we disagree personally, with their past actions.
I stumbled a bit in the process but it was still a very pleasurable experience. The whole interview took about 25 minutes. Sounds long but it was actually really short. You will have so much more to discuss about as you go along. And there, my last interview for university application was successfully done. I received an unconditional offer from Bristol on 30 March, about 1 month after the interview. So after the interview, rant for a little while if you want but don't panic or beat yourself out for any stupid thing you've said during the interview, just sit back and relax until you hear from them again.
All the best to all of you going for the interview! :)