Preparing for your medical school interview can feel wildly overwhelming. Between the UCAT and all the preparation for your interview, you will find yourself quite busy.
1. Prepare for Common Questions. Ask your Own Questions.
A hugely important part of your interview, no matter what type of interview it is will be the questions that you are asked and the questions that you ask your interviewers.
This will demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the medical field and show your genuine interest and desire to learn about medicine.
2. Understand in Advance What Questions you Will be Asked and Have Answers Prepared.
When researching your specific university look into what types of questions they prefer to ask of their candidates. This will help you to prepare more fully for the interview.
If you feel you are not good at answering questions on the spot, this research will help you be able to practice.
3. Know the Medical School you are applying to.
One of the best ways to prepare for your medical school interview is to know as much as you can about the medical school that could be relevant to your interview. This means finding out what type of interview you will likely have and therefore being able to prepare much more specifically.
This should not be too difficult. Most medical schools have all of their information on their website. You will also be sent more details about your interview by your potential university before you go in.
It is essential to know what type of interview you are going to have. Is it a traditional interview like at Oxford and Cambridge? Is it an MMI interview? Is it a panel interview? Will you be expected to participate in group tasks?
Multiple Mini Interviews are very different to traditional interview techniques. In an MMI interview, you will put through various assessments with different people. In some, you may simply have to answer a question asked of you by your interviewer. You could be doing role-play scenarios with actors as an interviewer watches.
You will be given around 10 MMI tasks or less, each one usually lasts for around 10 minutes and the whole process should take less than 2 hours.
Traditional Panel Interviews
How long your panel interview takes will depend on your medical school but they usually run for about 20-40 minutes.
In panel interviews, there are so many differently qualified people who could be interviewing you. GPs, nurses, junior doctors, lecturers, admissions tutors or even current medical students. All of these people will of course be linked to the university where you are attending the interview.
In a panel interview, you will not be asked to complete tasks or demonstrate role-play like in an MMI. Instead, panel interviews are much more question-based. A good interview will flow more like a conversation between you and the panellists rather than a list of questions.
You will have much more time to think about your answers in a more traditional interview as you do not have time restrictions in quite the same way.
Knowing roughly what type of questions you may be asked will help you immensely in preparing for your medical school interview. By simply looking on your universities website and finding information on the topics they will want to cover you will be able to prepare for the questions they ask you much more efficiently.
4. Know the GMC.
The General Medical Council (GMC) describes itself as follows;
‘We help to protect patients and improve medical education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and doctors. We support them in achieving and exceeding those standards, and take action when they are not met.’
Knowing the standard and being up to date with the GMC is massively important. They can teach you everything else at medical school, but at least a basic understanding of the GMC is necessary for your interview.
5. Know your Motivation for Medicine.
Why did you choose medicine?
This is a very important question to be able to answer in your interview. Try not to sound superficial when you answer this question. Be as genuine and as earnest, as you can, the best way to answer this question is with sincerity. What is your goal as a medical student?
Why did you Choose this School?
You may also be asked why you have chosen the specific medical school that you are interviewing for. Again the best way to answer this question is just to be honest. Is it in a good location for you? What did you find in your research about this university that particularly interested you? Did you read about a teaching style you thought would suit you well? Mention it all. A little flattery never hurts anyone but do not be disingenuous.
6. Perfect Interview Etiquette.
Your first impression will be important. Introducing yourself will play a part in this. The impact you leave on the interviewers after you leave and what they think of you as a person as well as what they think of your knowledge is going to factor into their decision.
Research suggests that people make their first impression of you within the first 27 seconds of meeting you. So be punctual or your 27 seconds will be an empty interview room that you aren’t in yet. This is not a good first impression.
Dress smartly. Part of a good first impression is what you wear. If you show up looking like you don’t care the interviewers will not see you as a good candidate or their medical school. That being said what you wear is not everything.
The way you present yourself will also be important. Be polite and show genuine interest in the conversation and those who are interviewing you. Be mindful of subjects you should not mention in your interview.
7. Be Able to Reference your Personal Statement and Other Elements of your Application.
Make sure you know exactly what you have put in your personal statement. There could be nothing more mortifying than your interviewer asking you a question about some volunteering or work placement you have had, and you having nothing more than a blank look on your face.
This will immediately give you away.
The interviewer will want to know what they can about your personal experiences as this separates you from others with similar levels of knowledge to you.
8. If you Have a Panel, Speak to Everyone.
If you are in a panel interview you should do your utmost to impress each and every one of them. This will put you in good standing. The more people associated with the medical school that think you’re a great candidate the better.
9. Practice Makes Perfect.
Before your interview, one of your best bets could be to practice interviewing. Get some questions together that would be similar to that of your interview and sit down with some and have them ask you the questions. This is even better if you have somebody else that can help with your list of questions. This way you will really have to practice being asked questions on the spot.
If you know your interview is going to be online it never hurts to double-check- or even triple-check- that you understand the technology you need to before the time of your interview.
If you are not sure of anything before your interview practice, practice, practice.
10. Invest in Professional Medical Application Tutoring.
Here at The Future Medic, we offer our Medicine Mentoring Programme. This programme is designed specifically to help potential future medical students work through the application process in a much smoother way than if they had to figure it out alone.
There are so many benefits of our coaching services that include:
- An increase in self-confidence.
- A 97% average success rate with our previous users.
- Guidance from a fully qualified UK doctor.
- Help from a specialist in medical education.
- 100,000 hours of UCAT tutoring experience.