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Interviews for Dental School

All UK dental schools invite shortlisted candidates to an interview. Preparing effectively is essential.

Preparing for your interview

Getting into dental school can be very competitive. Preparing for your interview can help to calm your nerves and put your best self forward.

Types of dental school interview

Dental schools use different kinds of interviews to evaluate candidates. During your application process, you may encounter one or all of types of interview.

They want evidence that:

  • you are able to make quick, rational decisions
  • you can explain clearly under pressure
  • you understand of the issues surrounding a career in dentistry.

The main types of interview for dental school are:

Interviews at Newcastle University School of Dental Sciences

Interviews for dentistry at Newcastle University follow the format of a panel interview. The interview lasts approximately 20 minutes and is led by two selectors.

During the interview selectors will consider if you have the aptitude, motivation and personal qualities to succeed as a dental student and future dental professional.

At interview applicants are assessed on:

  • preparation and motivation for dental school
  • effective learning skills
  • team working
  • personal qualities
  • resilience
  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • empathy, integrity and professionalism

Additional information on the interview process can be found in the School of Dental Sciences Admissions Policy (PDF).

Interviews at other dental schools

The British Dental Association (BDA) lists the UK's dental schools. Many institutions will offer advice on their own interview process. Sometimes this is very in depth, but others give little detail. We’ve listed information below but make sure you check the institution’s website for specific details.

Manual dexterity

Manual dexterity may be tested at interview. Dentists need to be able to skilfully carry out complex tasks using coordinated hand movements.

To assess manual dexterity dental schools might ask you to:

  • complete a task which demonstrates manual dexterity, for example, threading a needle
  • reflect on a time when you have demonstrated manual dexterity
  • bring an example of your manual dexterity with you at interview

Develop your manual dexterity by practising hobbies which need precise and coordinated hand movements. These may be a musical instrument, needlework and model making.

See Medic Portal’s article on how to show manual dexterity in your dental school application for more advice.

Advice and typical questions

Preparation tips

  • Review your personal statement so you feel comfortable discussing it
  • Reflect - what did you do or observe during your work experience or shadowing experience?
  • Think about the most interesting, unexpected, worst and best things that you observed. What did you learn from them? Have you applied anything you've learned
  • Find out what you can about the format. Research possible questions and think about how you would answer them.

Remember interviews can be conducted by a range of professionals, from actors to teaching staff, not only dentists.

Avoid using very technical terms as you may have more clinical knowledge that those assessing you.

  • Be aware of your body language and non-verbal communication
  • Plan your journey to the interview
  • Decide what you are going to wear. Some dental schools have guidance about how formally they expect you to dress for interview on their websites.

Typical questions

The following resources give more advice on the interview process and typical questions:

For more advice see Interviews and Assessment Centres.

Tips for answering ethical questions

  • There is not a right answer
  • Use evidence or explanation to back up your answers
  • Explain your thought processes
  • Don’t assume prior knowledge on the interviewers’ part – not all interviewers will be dentists
  • Show awareness and recognition of different viewpoints
  • Don’t ‘sit on the fence’ – have an opinion
  • Take a common sense approach

Resources to help with your interview research

Practice interviews

If you have an interview date in place, we may be able to offer an interview coaching session with a careers consultant.

To arrange this go to MyCareer and arrange a bookable Information appointment to speak to an information adviser. They will help you prepare for your interview. They can book your interview coaching session.

We run interview workshops and employers on campus frequently run skills sessions for students, including sessions on interview techniques.

The Careers Service has rooms available for current students and registered graduates who need to take part in a telephone, Skype or video interview, subject to availability.

Rooms in King’s Gate are available Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 17:00 only. If you require a room, please call into the Careers Service, Level 1, King’s Gate to arrange or contact us, providing as much detail as possible.