Birmingham Dentistry Interview Tips
The dental school interview can often feel like a very stressful process. With the majority of dental school interviews nowadays being ‘stations’ there is pressure to impress quickly as one only has a few minutes per station. This article will look at the different interview stations in general, with a few examples from Birmingham in the last few years, and some strategies on how to do well.
Firstly, the topics at the different stations are incredibly varied, so even a good candidate will do better in some stations compared to others. The trick is to treat each station individually, once you finish at a station, forget about it, move on, and focus on the next one.
The key is not about having all the answers to the problems – it’s how you approach the problem, how you speak to the patient, empathy and good communication.
Birmingham Dentistry Interview Past Station Types:
- Role Play Station: These stations are quite straight forward- you are given a real life situation that you will encounter when you are a dentist and the assessment is how you deal with the situation. Some examples of previous cases include:
Having to rebook an appointment for a difficult patient, who is not happy at having their appointment rearranged last minute
Dealing with an anxious patient who is very dental phobic about treatment, and you as the dentist having to explain the treatment
It is important to use a structured approach in these stations such as the BlackStone Tutors 6 Stages of MMI Role Play
Although this may sound obvious, just imagine the actor is a real-life patient, and think logically, if you were in their shoes how would you want someone to deal with your problem.
- Presentation Station: You may have to prepare a short presentation on children’s oral health or e-cigarettes. Similarly, this is not about the information you know about the topic, it’s about presentation skills, coming across as keen, showing you care about people looking after their health.
- Academic/Data Analysis Station: These are more logical. An example would be looking at a graph, and having to describe the correlation, talking about cause/ effect etc
- Professionalism: You may be asked ‘What is professionalism?’ or how does one demonstrate it?’ Always think about applying this to being a dentist, what professional attributes are needed and why.
- Empathy: Another generalised station on what empathy is and how you may need to display empathy as a dentist. A good tip is not to over think this, just think about a couple of scenarios where a dentist would need to show empathy. For example, a nervous patient, dental phobia, when a patient confides in you etc
- Manual dexterity: This is incredibly important and we have created a number of dedicated articles on this topic. Examples of past stations have included for example, carving a tooth out of wax with a scalpel.
- Non-Dentistry Specific Stations: There have been some stations in the past which have little to do with dentistry. For example, one year there was a station asking you if you were stuck on a dessert island, who would you pick to join you? This kind of station is designed to throw you off and see how you think on your feet. Again, they are looking at how you think, your people skills. Its best to come across as honest rather than trying to give them the answers you think they want to hear.
- Communication Station: While the Role Plays may assess your verbal communication, this station would look at your non-verbal communication skills. This may be having to do a task without speaking. This may be applicable in a situation for example with a very young patient where your body language is crucial.
Remember this interview is not like an exam- they are not testing whether you have the knowledge or not- this is because university is there to teach you. Rather, they are looking to assess how you think, your approach, how to deal with certain situations. This is important in dentistry. it’s not as simple as whenever patient presents with A, you should do B, and memorising these solutions. There are not always hard and fast rules on how to address a patient’s problem. You need to be able to cater treatment specific to the patient. This requires application of knowledge, empathy, lateral thinking. These are all attributes that universities will be looking at when interviewing. If you have received an interview, then you will most likely have the grades to be for a place at dental school, but text book knowledge is such a small aspect of dentistry- what’s equally important is having the correct approach, the right people skills and a level head.
For further tips, techniques and past practice questions – review the Dentistry Interview Question Bank