Making a good impression during an interview is vital to distinguish yourself from other candidates. It is undoubtedly the most critical part of a medical school interview. With 30,000 more students applying to medical school than before, it has never been more important to impress at the interview stage.
You’ve put in all the hard work, got the grades, submitted your personal statement and succeeded in the UCAT test. Now you’ve finally received a medical school interview. This can be daunting, but it should feel exciting too.
In popular universities, only 1 in 10 candidates are selected, and only 1 in 16 international candidates are selected, meaning that interview prep is everything.
Being prepared for a medical interview will give you the confidence to go into your medical school interview, impress your interviewer, and help you articulate your best answers possible rather than fumbling through nerve-driven responses.
Secure your place using our experienced, fully qualified and hand-picked tutors with a proven track record of helping aspiring medical students succeed at the school they want.
This article discusses tips on how to impress your medical school interviewer so you have a higher probability of starting your dream profession journey.
Making a Good First Impression
Your presence is essential when making a positive first impression and introducing yourself in a medical interview. Remember to smile when meeting your interviewer(s), make eye contact, and exude confidence.
Consider your values as a medical professional and what you can bring to the industry. Embody your goals and aspirations as a medical student and create that first impression that tells the interviewer what you’re all about.
The most important thing, above all else, is to be yourself. The interviewers aren’t there to test you; they’re there to draw the best out of you so you can showcase your talent, skills and who you are.
Don’t answer questions like you’re writing a report or personal statement, but be personable, a conversationalist and show genuine interest and passion for the field you’re about to embark into.
Have confidence that you’re the right person for their medical school and know you will make a fantastic medical professional with the proper training.
What Makes a Strong Candidate for Medical School?
Popular Interview Prep
Here are some population interview preparations that previous candidates have used to succeed in their medical school candidacy. Use these tools to practise how you might answer medical-related questions during your interview.
Approach Questions Logically with a Clear Structure
The best way to answer questions is to give examples of when you have experienced what you’re being asked. Before your interview, have a bank of experiences linking to the skills a medical professional might need. Consider skills such as teamwork, working under pressure, leadership etc.
It’s also a great idea to have examples of any relevant work, including volunteer work you have done in the past, that could support your answers during your medical school interview. By using real examples, you are showing the interviewer that you can do more than talk the talk, but you have the drive to make things happen too.
So, start with experiences directly linked to the question, then explain how or why that experience helped you develop the skills needed to become an excellent medical professional.
In addition, ensure you know of all current NHS hot topics in the medical world so you sound knowledgeable and can include these topics in your answers. You can explain to your interviewers how you intend to help solve a problem or improve the health care of your future patients.
Reflect on Your Experiences
Giving examples of your experiences is great, but being reflective is even better.
Letting your interviewer know of any lessons learned during your experiences shows that you can reflect, learn and improve and helps you demonstrate the qualities needed of a medical student.
Picking up on key obstacles you have faced in your professional life and explaining how you have overcome those obstacles tells the interviewer that you’re resilient, which is vital for all doctors and medical professionals.
Reflective practitioners build on their experiences and are constantly learning and eager to improve. During your medical school interview, if you can demonstrate practical examples of how you have grown and intend to use your resilience and determination during your studies and beyond, it will help you to stand out from other candidates and show your interviewer that you’re suitable for the industry.
Research the Medical School in Advance
Your interviewer will likely ask why you have chosen that medical school. It is essential that you thoroughly research the school first so you can give reasons why. Link your reasons to the teaching and learning style that the school and course offer and the school’s content and results.
Research the strengths of the medical school you’re applying for and why those stood out. What makes this university the best place for you, and why you want to be there over all others? That’s what they want to hear.
It’s also good to consider how you could contribute to the broader medical school society. How can you maintain a good work-life balance whilst studying an intense medical course? What are your interests and hobbies that could help you enjoy university life aside from your studies?
Medical Interview Coaching
The Future Medic provide medical interview coaching, helping thousands of aspiring medical students successfully enter the medical schools of their choice.
Here are examples of some of the content covered by our coaching and tutoring:
- Motivation for medicine
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Academic ability
- Lateral thinking/problem-solving
- Work experience
- NHS current topics
- Medical ethics
Going into your interview, you need to clearly understand what the medical profession entails, what the role and responsibilities of a doctor are, good medical practice and the skills required to do the job successfully.
Being fully equipped with the answers to these questions during your medical school interview will show your interviewer that you have done your homework and know exactly what you’re getting yourself in for. This will demonstrate expertise and dedication to the profession and impress your medical school interviewer.
5 Do’s and Don’ts for a Medical School Interview
To summarise everything you have read today to impress your interviewer at a medical school interview, remember these 5 dos and don’ts to be successful and tips on what not to say in a medical interview.
5 Things to Ace a Medical School Interview
Do practice interviews.
Practice makes perfect and can help your answers sound more natural and fluid if you know what to say—research common interview questions to help you give thoughtful answers. Use the tools you have learned in this post and advice from your coach and tutor if you have chosen to use one.
Do make positive first impressions.
You can do this by practising with others. In any situation when you are meeting a new person, either personally or professionally, practise making eye contact, smiling and exuding the confidence and security that a medical professional has.
Do keep a journal.
Using your own experiences in an interview helps boost your credibility. Keeping a journal of all relevant experiences you’ve had in the medical field can help you to remember everything you have achieved. A minor detail in your experience could be the difference in being accepted or rejected for your chosen course.
A journal or notebook will also be handy when answering interview questions or researching for your interview, including medical news stories.
Do be knowledgeable and keep up with current affairs.
Do your research, check medical newsfeeds daily and keep notes. Your interview could ask you questions about what you know about the current medical climate. If they don’t, it will show initiative if you naturally bring them up within your interview answers.
Do research the school.
Show that you aren’t just applying to any and every school! What is unique about their school, and why you’re drawn to studying at the institution you’re interviewing for? With the acceptance rate being what it is, you must demonstrate that you’re committed to the university’s offerings.
5 Things Not to Do to Ace a Medical School Interview
Don’t just wing it.
Preparation is vital, and competition is fierce. Going up against a candidate who has nailed their prep, practised daily and knows the medical industry inside out will blow the gloves off any candidate going in unprepared.
Remember that first impressions count. Before your interview, make sure you calm and compose yourself so you can go into your interview feeling relaxed, ready and confident. This is your one chance to shine. Remember that they have selected you for an interview, so your interviewer already sees some potential.
Don’t rush your answers.
Take your time when answering questions. Stop, take a breath, think about your skills, experience and knowledge, and then respond in a concise and structured manner. Answer easily and confidently, and try to make the interview as natural a conversation as possible. The worst thing you can say is, ‘I don’t know’ if you’re nervous, take a moment to think it over.
During your interview, if you get overwhelmed and stressed because you haven’t got an answer, that’s okay. Keep the commentary going, and as long as you can provide a well-structured conversation demonstrating your skills and experience, that is far better than not answering at all.
Stress can cause you to say things that you don’t mean. Never speak negatively about others or be superficial.
Don’t lose focus.
You know why you’re there, and you know what you what to do. An interview is just part of the process; every medical professional has gone through it. Be sincere in your answers, and remember your prep work during your interview.
For more help and support and to increase your chances of success, contact us at Future Medic, where we can provide interview coaching, help with personal statements and much more.