Medical School Interview: How Do I Prepare For A Medicine Interview
Structure of the Interview
The majority of UK medical schools now run their interviews in an MMI format. The MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) is a structured and objective interview style, loosely based on the concept of OSCEs (objective structured clinical examinations) that are a staple of testing at medical schools. You should expect to rotate through a variety of stations - normally around 8 to 10 - and spend around five minutes at each station. Each station will have different assessors, and will look for a different attribute, ability or example of your experience. For example, a typical MMI first station might probe your motivation into medicine, while the second will be a role play in which you must show your ability to be an empathic communicator - through another six stations, with the final one being an ethics question.
Certain universities - currently UCL, Oxford and Cambridge - still rely on a traditional interview style. These panel interviews are normally considered ‘semi-structured panel interviews,’ which means that there are some questions all candidates are asked, on which discussions are based, whilst other parts of the discussion will follow a different route depending on the answers that the candidate gives and the thoughts and feelings of the assessor. A panel interview of this nature might take from 20 minutes to 45.
In an MMI, you should expect to be interviewed by a mixture of practising clinicians, lecturers, nurses and allied health professionals, medical students and even patients. In a semi-structured interview it is more likely that the panel will consist of a clinician and lecturer, or a group of three made up of a clinician, lecturer and another member of academic staff.
Note that depending on the year universities may change their approach, hence it is vital to check the specific universities website rather than accepting previously published information.
Structure of Preparation & When to Begin
You should begin your preparation as soon as you have finished writing your personal statement - and view your personal statement as preparation itself. Likewise, all relevant experience that you gain, volunteering that you do, or activities that could be applied to Medicine should be considered as part of your preparation - reflect on them as you do them and note them down, to keep what you have learnt fresh.
Remember that some universities will call the first set of students in for interviews as early as November, meaning that you should be on top of your preparation well in advance of handing in your personal statement if you have applied to one of them.
Your preparation should cover each facet of what is expected of a medical student - which can be seen in GMC guidance, as well as the duties of a doctor. You should thoroughly understand the role of the GMC, and look into guidance from the Medical Schools Council as well.
You should be aware of both current hot topics and the general knowledge required of a medical student, all of which can be found in our resources. You should spend additional time reflecting on your work experience and applying your learnings to create solid foundations for each of the most common questions that you will face.
Avoid scripting answers entirely, as this will seem robotic at the interview - but make sure that each interview question will prompt a series of well-considered thoughts and experiences.
Make sure that you practice role plays, and try to have both practice interviews and role plays with a range of people - not just people that you feel comfortable with already.
You should thoroughly research the universities that you are applying to, and ensure that you understand their course. Whether or not they offer an intercalated degree, the amount to which you might benefit from early patient contact, and how integrated their course is are all common differentiators - but you will find even more detail if you can speak to previous students.
10 Most Common Medicine Interview Questions
- Why do you want to study Medicine?
- Why have you chosen this medical school?
- What will you do if you don’t get into medical school this year?
- Why do you want to be a doctor rather than another type of healthcare professional?
- Tell me about the importance of team-working to Medicine.
- Define empathy and explain its role in Medicine.
- Tell me about the GMC and its role in Medicine.
- Tell me about patient-centred care.
- Tell me about a time when you faced an ethical problem and how you dealt with it.
- Tell me what the most interesting aspect of your work experience was.