What’s the best overall strategy for preparing for your medical school interview? Here’s a breakdown!
1. Research is half the battle!
This means making sure you fully and correctly understand the type, format, and duration of the interview each of the medical schools you’ve applied to will conduct. Some common questions to ask:
Is it MMI? Is it a panel interview? Is there a group task element? Is there breaking bad news? Is it a traditional interview?
This will give you a solid base to start preparing for your interview. Most medical schools have a lot of useful information on their website about admissions policies, interview formats, previous years’ performances etc. They also send you extra information when you are invited to the interview. We have an extensive guide which covers in great detail how each medical school structures their interviews! This is a good starting place; however, you will need to put in more work.
One of the most frequently asked question themes is ‘why X medical school’. Prepare for this inevitable question to come up (in one way or another), and genuinely ask yourself why you can imagine yourself studying and living there. Ask yourself why you like the course structure, why you like the city, and why you’d flourish and be successful there.
Prepare effectively so you walk into your medical school Interview filled with confidence.
Our tutors are interviewers themselves, so signing up with us means you’re getting coaching directly from the source. You’ll be faced with the toughest interview questions to ensure you smash that interview!
2. Don’t fail to plan
Make a digital list or keep a notebook – either way, you need to come up with a system of what you will cover and what you have already covered.
The three sections you should aim to cover are:
- Latest medicine-related news
- “Common questions”
- Ethics and controversial topics
The ‘Medical News Today’ website is great for keeping up to date, and the information is laid out in an easy-to-understand manner. You don’t need specialist knowledge to get a grasp of things and such knowledge is always helpful to talk about in the interview. Other alternatives are New Scientist and the BMJ Student Journal.
Another essential document to read is the General Medical Council’s ‘Good Medical Practice’ and they also have a few other publications that are available for free on their website. You don’t have to read these documents cover to cover, but should at least skim over the main sections and look at the key points that are highlighted. It will give you a really good understanding of professionalism and the attitudes the universities expect you to adopt in medical school…
The reason we mentioned the list is because it’s good organisation to have everything in one place, and it stops you from becoming overwhelmed. It doesn’t need to be jam-packed with content, but having a range of different ideas at your disposal will be advantageous for interviews because you are more likely to have a relevant and unique point to make about a question that they’ve already asked 400 other people!
An example to think about would be ‘why do doctors make mistakes?’
An average answer might be along the lines of ‘because doctors are human, and we can all make mistakes’. However, broader reading would reveal to a student that there have been new employment contracts where the NHS staff have had increased working hours, with many junior doctors having long day shifts followed by long night shifts with few breaks in between.
3. Practice makes perfect
This final tip is crucial. It is important for you to get comfortable talking about yourself, your accomplishments and your strengths & weaknesses.
If you have access to something that is very similar to actual medical school interviews, then that is brilliant, but if you don’t, don’t worry. If you’d like to practice in mock interview conditions with doctors who are medical school interviewers, why not check out our interview coaching options
A general strategy is to write down broad topic areas and related questions (to you, your personal statement) and then ask friends and family to randomly ask you questions without you knowing which ones they’d ask. That way, you can speak naturally, without sounding scripted or cringe-worthy. Reflect on the things you’ve done so that you can talk about how and why they will make you someone who can be successful doing medicine and becoming a doctor.
One barrier that most students find difficult is talking about themselves highly, as this can be ‘weird’ or ‘boastful’. We understand that initially, it can be strange to talk about yourself or answer questions in a way that makes you sound as intelligent and ‘doctor-like’ as possible. But, just remind yourself that they need to know what you’re like and how brilliant of a doctor you’re going to make!
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