Medicine Interview Tips
Whilst your preparation will be specific for each university and their style of interviewing, there are certain overall tips that should be noted by interviewees at any university. Here are our top five.
Research the University
Whilst obvious, this is arguably one of the most important ways that you can differentiate yourself from other applicants. Understand the type of interview that you will sit (MMI or semi-structured panel) and if there are any other elements like a presentation or group task. You should then research the course thoroughly, and formulate answers on why it appeals to you. Do they offer an intercalated degree? Is there a greater or lesser emphasis on group learning? Are there particular hospitals or specialties that are renowned? Additionally, look into the university itself. What do the university, and the city that it is in, pride itself on? You would do well to consider the attributes or experiences that you have and what these could bring to the university.
Try to speak to current or previous students to get an insight into the university beyond what is offered on the website or prospectus.
Look into the General Medical Council and Medical Schools Council
You should thoroughly investigate the resources that both of these public bodies offer. The GMC offers highly useful ethical guidance broken down into different chapters, presented in a manner that is easily digestible. These will give you the basics to answer professionalism questions or ethical role plays. The Medical Schools Council provides detailed information on the admissions process, from application through to personal statement to interviews. Additionally, they provide a Statement on the core values and attributes needed to study medicine, found here. This guidance breaks down in granular detail exactly the qualities that you need to study Medicine in the UK. It is mapped to align with the GMC’s Good Medical Practice document, as well as the core values in the NHS Constitution.
Stay on Top of your Learnings
Whilst preparing for Medical School, you will necessarily undertake a broad range of work experience, as well as building up various skills and attributes. It can be difficult to keep on top of everything, and to gradually formulate these experiences into cohesive thoughts - and eventually into answers at interview. Therefore, you may find it useful to keep a notebook (be it physical or virtual) in which you write your reflections from work experience, from school, from extracurricular activities, and from other sources that you keep track of, like journals or newspapers. Try to build up your notebook with useful reflections, articles and links so that it becomes a personal guide to acing the medical school interview.
You don’t need to write everything in the book - instead, think of its contents as the differentiator between you and another student - something to set you apart.
Practice Ethical Questions
Ethical questions are tough to answer for many students simply because there is no ‘correct’ answer per se. The ‘correct’ answer is merely one that considers both sides of the debate. As such, you should practise answering these questions. Discuss each side in depth, before you come to any form of conclusion. When concluding, acknowledge the difficulties inherent in coming to an answer, and do not frame your answer as definitive. Consider the four pillars of medical ethics (autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice) when answering and try to make reference to them as much as is suitable.
When interviewing at a medical school, you are not interviewing for a standard course. You are interviewing to train as a doctor. As such, the interviewer is not just looking for a good student, but a future professional. You should do your utmost to fit this mold. Start by dressing professionally - like you would if you were on work experience. Try to strike a balance between looking smart and wearing something that you are still comfortable in. Make sure that you arrive on time, and have time to mentally prepare beforehand. During your interview proper, you should bear in mind your body language and style of answering questions. Try to sit in a neutral position, without your arms crossed. Smile at your interviewer and engage with them; show that you are listening to what they are saying.
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