Barts and the London Medical School Graduate Programme
Every year, over 1500 applications are received for studying graduate medicine at Barts and the London Medical School. Around 200 prospective medical students are selected to attend for interview. This represents a great achievement, and around 40 of these individuals will be made an offer post-interview.
Interviews at Barts and the London are conducted in a half-day assessment centre format. This format involves tasks such as a group-based task and a panel interview. Prospective medical students have mixed feelings about panel interviews. Many feel they are able to fully sell themselves to the assessors when they are able to speak to them for a longer period of time. However, candidates are unable to move onto a different assessor if they feel like a certain topic or question has not been discussed well. It is important to bear this in mind during the interview, as it is crucial to develop rapport with the selectors early on in the interview.
There are usually one or two assessors at each panel interview, and therefore candidates are assessed by a limited range of staff at Barts and the London interviews. These staff have a range of backgrounds, from healthcare professionals to academics, and will be able to give a thorough assessment of candidates’ suitability to study at the medical school. Once the interviews are completed, scores for this are combined with scores for the group-based task and the applicants with the highest score will receive offers.
On the Day
On arriving and registering on your interview date you will wait in a holding area before being taken to one of two interview areas. Half of the candidates will work on the group-based task whilst the other half will prepare for the panel interview.
For the panel interview, there may be a preliminary task to complete before meeting your assessors. This may involve viewing a video of a doctor-patient interaction and picking out what was done particularly well, in addition to anything you felt was perhaps inappropriate. Notes can be made to take into the panel interview. The first part of the panel interview will involve a discussion of the video you have just watched, with questions around topics you may have made notes on. The second half of the panel interview encompasses more of a general conversation. The list below provides suggestions for topics to think about/revise for your preparation:
• Motivation for going to medical school (particularly as a graduate)
• Why Barts and the London?
• Work experience
• Academic history
• Team-working examples
• Communication skills
• Ethical scenarios
During your preparation, be sure to think of some examples from your extensive work experience. Why did it make you want to become a doctor? Were there any examples of great team work or empathy that you witnessed? In addition, think of some examples of teams you have worked in where you have had to communicate effectively to reach a goal.
As always, it is important to think well about why you have decided to apply to this medical school in particular. With the hours of work experience required by Barts and the London, you can think of some examples from your extensive work experience and combine this with any personal reasons for a more thorough answer.
Some stations may require candidates to have an awareness of newsworthy medical ethical dilemmas. Examples of this in the past include the Charlie Gard case. It is important for candidates to perhaps not have too forceful an opinion for either side of ethical debates, but to present a balanced argument for both sides in order to show that you have considered all points of view.
When it comes to the group-based task, there are some basic principles to follow:
• Don’t say nothing
• Don’t say too much
• Don’t speak over others
• Do listen to others
If these principles are followed and you are able to make an effective contribution to the team effort, you will be doing well on the day.
Examples of previous group-based tasks have involved building a bridge for toy cars across a table with rudimentary materials.
In the run-up to your interview, it is very important to practise mock interviews. Try asking friends or family to act as selectors! You could maybe even enlist some friends and practise taking different roles in a group-based task.
With the right preparation and a calm attitude, the interview can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
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