Bristol Medicine Interview Tips
Tips, Techniques & Essential Information
Applicants move around seven MMI stations, each taking six minutes (one minute reading time, five minutes for completing the task).
“Common Things Are Common”
Doctors often preach that “common things are common” with regards to clinical conditions seen in hospital, and the same phrase applies to Bristol’s MMI interview questions. As a medical student who successfully interviewed at the university I actually enjoyed my MMI, as I felt that my interview preparation had paid off. With half of the stations being typical interview questions I had rehearsed many times I felt confident, and the calm demeanour that resulted no doubt let my personality and genuine enthusiasm for medicine shine through. I remember thinking that as long as I communicated what I had prepared, this interview would go well. My main fear was sounding robotic, however I managed this by giving my points in a different order to that I had rehearsed. You can predict that station themes will include motivation for medicine and work experience, self-insight, ethics, a visual task and a role play station.
Motivation for Medicine and Self-insight
Preparation is therefore key for a successful Bristol interview, particularly for those questions relating to motivation for medicine and self-insight. Create a bullet point list of ideas answering each of the below questions, and practice communicating your answers coherently in mock interviews. Bear in mind that most of your competition will also be prepared to answer these common questions confidently. As a result, you need to utilise your personal examples of how you have demonstrated a particular skill, as well as specific situations you witnessed during work experience, and reflect extensively on these in order to stand out. You might want to talk about the lesser known roles of doctors, such as educators in public health, or link your points to the NHS Values and Principles. Use what you have learnt but also how you’ve applied that knowledge or skill to new situations. You should aim not only to be prepared to answer the question, but also to demonstrate deeper insight than your competition.
Why do you want to become a doctor?
How do you define teamwork? How can you demonstrate it in a medical scenario?
Tell us why you would make a good doctor.
Why do you want to study Medicine at Bristol?
How do you cope with stress?
Describe a situation where you have shown resilience. Why is resilience important in healthcare?
Past ethical stations at Bristol have included topics such as resource allocation and informed consent. Although the exact nature of this station is harder to predict, an ability to think logically and apply the pillars of medical ethics, as well as consent, capacity and confidentiality, are key to success. Think through the more common ethical scenarios, such as those given below, and work out how best to communicate different view-points:
- You are a junior doctor in charge of looking after an elderly lady. She is showing signs of confusion and is refusing a life-saving operation. How would you proceed?
- Four people are awaiting a liver transplant, however only one liver is currently available. How would you decide who to allocate the liver to?
Bristol like abstract yet logical thinking, and as such they sometimes present interviewees with pictures to compare. These are fun stations so relax, remain clam, and think logically. It’s important that you think out loud at this sort of station, as the interviewer will be assessing both your problem solving and communication skills. Alternatively, they may ask you to analyse a picture, and this station may require a written answer instead. Some examples are shown below:
- Examine these two pictures. One shows a gardener, and the other shows a surgeon. Compare their roles.
- Examine these two pictures. One shows two pilots holding a checklist, and the other shows surgeons in an operating theatre. Compare their roles.
- Examine these two pictures, each showing eyes. Make clear medical notes comparing the two eyes.
Show an understanding of the integrative nature of the course in your answers.
At Bristol you will train together with nursing, pharmacy and physiotherapy students in an inter-professional environment. Show enthusiasm for this is a unique learning opportunity and make parallels to working in multi-disciplinary teams in the hospital.
Bristol emphasise that medicine is an art as well as a science.
To demonstrate that you share this mantra, include both biomedical and psychosocial perspectives when answering questions about work experience, and when given scenarios to think through.
Overall, practising clear, personal answers to common questions is the highest yield preparation you can do before your Bristol MMI. This will not only allow you to succeed at those stations but will enable you to face the less predictable stations in a calmer, more confident mindset.
(Author - Catherine Graham, Medical Student)
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