King’s College London Dental School Interview Tips
Congratulations to all applicants who were successful in reaching the interview stage for King’s College London Dental Institute! It is no easy feat and is a testament to the level of hard work and commitment undertaken thus far-the objective of this article is to hopefully share some insight to preparatory measures that can help in strengthening an applicant’s performance at interview stage and best do justice to an already strong application.
Interview Format, Structure and Setup
- There are normally two phases of interviews-allocated primarily based on UCAT score for first phase (commencing November/December) or second phase (commencing February/March). There is normally a cut off score (varies each year based on the median score across all applicants for that year) between each interview phase.
- MMI Multiple Mini Interview Format
Typically four to seven stations or ‘mini’ interviews
A different assessor or interviewer at each station
3-5 minutes per station with 90 second rest intervals between each
Multiple Mini Interview Station Setup from 2018
(Source: King’s College London-https: // www/kcl.ac.uk)
(Source: King’s College London-https: // www/kcl.ac.uk)
- The interview is ordinarily conducted in the Dental Hospital (Guy’s Hospital) on one of the clinical floors where the MMI circuit is set up and each clinical bay is a different station.
(NB: Recent circumstances regarding COVID-19 mean that the interview for 2021 entry may be conducted virtually or online, further information will be supplied to applicants closer to the time of their interview).
- Each station is designed to assess or evaluate a specific skill set such as working through an ethical dilemma, communication, practical skill station (may not necessarily be for manual dexterity or multiple factors may be assessed through a single exercise) etc. The objective of the interview and what will be considered is:
“Communication skills, exploring general social and ethical issues, normally health related. The interviewee’s general suitability for the programme and as a health professional and how the interviewee will contribute to the university as a whole.”
(-King’s College London, Dental Institute, entry requirements)
- Assessors tend to be clinical staff, clinical dental tutors, hygienists or academic staff
- Each station is scored individually and separately from one another-assessors at each station do not confer with one another and have to assign a score immediately upon your completion at any given station for maximum objectivity.
Applicants may be required the following to their interview-it is prudent for applicants to check the pre-interview briefing and guidance to ensure that these requirements are adequately met:
- Pre-Interview Form (detailing work experience or extra-curricular activities)-there may be a station dedicated to a line of questioning about extra-curricular activities and the assessor may choose to refer to this form as a springboard/point of inception for the discussion.
- Portfolio with work experience details, examination certificates etc
- Evidence of manual dexterity, tactile ability
With each station, applicants are encouraged to read the guidance carefully, ask for clarification if unsure rather than making presumptions and consider the relevance of the question, scenario or exercise towards Dentistry.
The latter will often be asked as a follow up question in the station itself or in the succeeding station as an opportunity for the applicant to demonstrate that they understand the significance of certain skills or qualities in a course of this nature, which is often indicative of a more profound sense of awareness.
Example Interview Station
Station Task/Activity- You have 1 minute to review the painting/picture in front of you and then describe it to the assessor
What is the significance of this exercise?
This exercise employs a multitude of different skills from information processing, attention to detail, communication, systematic and structured rational thinking.
How does this relate to Dentistry?
Each of the aforementioned skills need to be enacted routinely as part of a standard patient assessment. For example:
- Information processing- collecting a patient history regarding their complaints or reason for attendance
- Attention to detail- during the dental extra-oral and intra-oral examination to ensure a comprehensive assessment of dental and oral health and disease
- Information processing-assessing and reporting on radiographs with a systematic approach
- Communication- with the patient to report findings, diagnoses and discuss treatment planning; communication with the dental nurse during operative treatment as well communication effectively with other members of the dental, wider dental and wider healthcare team in the event of referrals needing to be made or multi-disciplinary care for the patient.
Practice (Independent, Group-Based, Timed)
It is strongly recommended to practice under timing both independently and with a wide variety of different individuals for the applicant to familiarise themselves with varied communication in general along with how long a 5 minute duration is in terms of continuous talking-it is often longer than one anticipates!
It is also preferable to fill the assigned amount of time at each station (3-5 minutes) rather than stopping prematurely. If this is the case, assessors will normally be trained to ask a second follow up question or prompt to elicit further elaboration from the applicant where warranted.
Effective Use Of Practice Questions
There are a wide variety of question banks and sample questions available to draw from and aid an applicant in guiding their preparation. However, in lieu of rote learning a scripted response, it is usually more effective to practice using a series of 3-5 key points to string together a train of thought when talking, which is more flexible and easier to adapt to the actual question being asked.
In addition, demonstrating active listening and engagement at the time of the interview is of paramount importance and thus, applicants are encouraged to pause and think (perhaps even repeat the question back if that aids in the organisation of thoughts) prior to offering a response.
For further tips, techniques and past practice questions – review the Dentistry Interview Question Bank
Authored by: Pooja Patel BDS, King’s College London Dental Institute (2011-2016)