Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) Medicine Interview Tips
It is important to start interview preparation early on in the application process so that you have enough time to practise interview questions and research any necessary information. For the RCSI interview, you will probably only be given about 2 weeks notice -- possibly less if you are placed on the waiting list for it -- so it is good practice to start preparation even before you are given an interview offer.
At the very start of the interview, you may be asked “Do you feel nervous/anxious?” While it may feel a little untruthful to just say “No”, it may be good to say a more nuanced variation of it, such as “I am trying not to be” or “I am looking forward to this” or “I prefer to think that I am excited for this interview.” They may seem to be making trivial small talk, but they are trying to test your enthusiasm and confidence, which are both important qualities in a doctor. Try your best to seem relaxed by answering with a smile, taking quiet, deep breaths and avoid fidgeting.
If you have had the opportunity to undertake some research, be it within your course or outside of school, it would be very helpful to You should mention your research in your personal statement as it would make you stand out from the rest of the candidates. You should also try to show your interest in the many opportunities for research that are available in RCSI during the interview. The interviewers are quite interested in any supra curricular academia you have completed and will ask you for more details on your work if you mentioned it in your personal statement. Ensure you have a firm understanding of your work by reading your final research project and revising the content as they may ask very specific questions about the research process.
During the interview, the interviewers will also focus on your extracurricular activities. Amongst my athletic, music and public speaking achievements, they were most interested in my musical accomplishments, particularly my ABRSM examinations, even though I would consider those my least impressive achievements. Do not focus too much on any one aspect of your extracurricular as you want to show that you are a holistic, well-rounded person. However, if they do show particular interest in one aspect, you can choose to focus a little more on that by sharing your personal experiences within your answers to subsequent questions.
If you’re an international student, then showing a deep understanding of the Irish medical system will help bring you a cut above the rest of the candidates. It may also help to research their close relationship with medical schools from across the world, including the American medical schools. You could also show an interest in applying to the US for postgraduate training. RCSI has a significant proportion of American students and it consistently sends them back to the US. They also help them with the USMLE. You may also want to gain a deeper appreciation of the American healthcare system as well as researching the constant debates regarding the most appropriate healthcare structure in the US.
To further illustrate your enthusiasm and interest in the programme, you should read the many different student blogs available on the RCSI websiteThe interviewers will be quite pleasantly surprised if you mention their names or blogs, if it is relevant to their question. At the very end of the interview, they will ask you “Do you have any questions for us?” Unless you have a burning question which you definitely could not find the answer anywhere on the website, you could mention the student blogs in your reply, for example, “Any of the questions I did have I found the answers to within the student blogs available on your website”.