HYMS Medicine Interview Tips
HYMS has one of the more unique interview styles, its format consists of 3 main parts: First part consists of two 10-minute interviews with 2 interviewers in each, in which they assess your personal qualities and your knowledge of issues in medicine. For example, one question you could be asked for these is “How would you explain the increasing prevalence of stress, anxiety and depression amongst teenagers and young adults?” When you approach a question like this you must first realize that the interviewers are not expecting you to be an expert on this topic, because it is such a complex topic that even most experts don’t necessarily have all the answers; They simply want to know what you think about it. So ideally you should start by acknowledging the fact that a question like this is complex and has various aspects to it and there isn’t necessarily a simple answer to it. What you are expected to do next, is to be able to provide a commentary on it based on a logical thinking process and your subjective view. For example, you could say, “One of the biggest changes for the youth of today compared to the youth of more than a decade ago, is the rise of social media.” And you should be able to justify suggesting social media as a potential cause by saying for example, “Young people constantly seeing lavish lifestyles advertised on social media might consciously or even subconsciously be comparing their lives to those shown online which could start leading to feelings of inadequacy due to their skewed perception of normality” Of course, this is a simplistic answer and you might not agree with it yourself, but if you are able to expand on and justify your own perspective rationally, it will leave a good impression on the interviewers. Also, although not necessary, it is always more interesting if you can give anecdotes to back up your answer, it could be a personal anecdote but be wary of violating your own privacy.
The second part of the HYMS interview consists of a scenario in which you must act as you would normally if you were to come up to such a scenario in real life. Typically, here HYMS assesses your empathy and problem resolving skills. The actor might be playing an old lady who was just involved in a car accident and you are to console them. For these sorts of scenarios think of how you would want to be treated if you were in the same situation. Approach the actor and gauge his/her body language to tailor your own body language to, introduce yourself and politely ask some questions to probe what occurred. The actor’s answers usually contain cues that HYMS will want you to pick up on and explore further. For example, the old lady from above might say “The man over there has been very rude to me and shouting at me because of the accident”. HYMS would want you to console the lady and address her concern about the man by providing her with solutions like perhaps offering to communicate with the man for her or offering to call the authorities or family etc. Whichever way you respond, just ensure you involve the actor and try to deescalate the situation. Keep an eye out for the cues as they will be very helpful to resolving the scenario, they are subtle but will usually be talked about with more emphasis and/or a different tone by the actor.
The third part of the HYMS interview is the big 20-minute group exercise, where you and a few other medical interviewees sit around a table and are to come to a solution to a problem presented by the people facilitating the discussion. The point of this exercise is for HYMS to see how prospective medical students would perform in their PBL sessions. While a part of this exercise is to assess the quality of contributions provided by each student to the discussion, an equally important part is to see how the student would work in such a group environment. HYMS wants to see the student be an empathetic peer who listens to and lets other students talk, actively engages in the discussion, and can articulate their ideas in a concise manner. Remember this is not a competition, so do not try and dominate the discussion by flooding it with your own ideas. Make sure you acknowledge other students and their ideas, for example if you notice a student being left out of the discussion and not being given a chance to speak, lend them a platform by asking them about their ideas when given the chance.
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