University College Dublin (UCD) School of Medicine Interview Tips
Parents or other relatives who are medical professionals
At the beginning of the interview, they may directly ask if your parents or relatives are medical. Either way, the key thing is to show that your particular status is an advantage to you as a potential medical student: if you have parents who are medical professionals, state that you have been able to experience the busy personal lives of doctors first hand. It may then be a good idea to cite some personal anecdotes to reinforce this fact, such as having to see your relatives occasionally miss family gatherings to go to attend emergencies or having to study late at night in their free time to pass professional exams. On the other hand, if your parents are not medical, emphasise that it has given you the freedom to explore many other careers and not feel obliged to become a medical professional. If you are asked to comment on your understanding of a doctor’s personal life, you can share some of observations you have made while on attachment or volunteering. You could also discuss some medial autobiographies, such as Trust me I’m a Junior Doctor by Max Pemberton, Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby, Admissions by Henry Marsh, This is going to hurt by Adam Kay or In Shock by Rana Awdish.
Science of Medicine
UCD tends to focus a lot more on work experience than other universities might. During your interview, try to focus on reflecting on very specific events that occurred while on placement. Be sure to go over the notes you have made while on placement so you can bring in relevant examples when necessary to make your response more memorable. The interviewers may also ask you about the science behind any disease you may mention, so make sure that you research and form a deep understanding of the disease profile of the patients you had seen while on placement.
Benefits of an Irish education
You may be asked during the interview to consider why you want to go to Ireland specifically. You may wish to talk about their unique patient demographics, the greater range of hospital settings for learning or the lower patient-doctor ratio which would give your senior doctors more time to teach you during the clinical years.
The latest research by UCD
Keep up to date with the latest Irish specific news, as well as the ethical and professional argumentation behind certain policy changes. This could include “SlainteCare”, the recent call by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) to develop women-centred healthcare, including universal, free contraception and access to the full range of abortion services and protection for women against domestic violence. If the news articles are specific to UCD, that would be even better! You can also find the latest news concerning their faculty members or latest research breakthroughs on the UCD website.
If you live outside of Ireland, UCD may offer you an online interview over Skype. The day before the interview, you may want to perform a practise Skype call with a friend who lives far away to test the quality of your audio and video. You should also test the quality in different parts of your home (or wherever you plan on having the interview) to minimise the risk of interference. While not central to your interview performance, it is good to minimise distractions to the interviewer so they can focus on listening to your answers.