For your medical school interview, you will only have a short time to give a good impression, so appearing and conducting yourself professionally, whilst showing your aptitude and passion for medicine is vital for you to get the result you want. Preparation is key to any interview and one of the questions you will be asked is what your weaknesses are and how you intend to address them.
For many students, this is a difficult question to answer so in this post we provide you with example answers that you could give as well as other information about how to ace your medical school interview.
Medical school interview
Medical school interviews are the next stage of the medical school admissions process, following the personal statement as part of the application stage and the UCAT test. It is a process for recruiters to shortlist the best candidates to offer a place in their Medicine programme.
You will be invited to the university campus, where you will meet some of the staff who work in the medicine department. In some cases, your medical school interview may take place online. You will be told the date, time, location and format of your interview in your invitation to interview letter or email.
Medical school interviews are usually held between November and March, to join the Medicine programme the following September. Some universities, such as the University of Oxford, may ask you to take additional tests, such as the BMAT, alongside your UCAT and interview.
During the interview, the interviewers will ask you a series of questions to assess your capability for medicine. As well as your motivation for studying the course and how it relates to your future ambitions. Knowing your goal as a medical student is paramount for impressing your interview panel.
Common medical school interview questions
When preparing for your interview, one of the best things you can do is invest time into looking at the most common questions so you know what you are likely to be asked. This way, you can prepare perfect answers and know exactly what you’re going to say so you appear confident and sure of yourself to impress your interviewer.
Here are some of the most common interview questions for a medical school interview.
- Why medicine and not another similar profession in dentistry or as a pharmacist?
- Why do you want to study medicine at our university?
- What do you hope to achieve with a medical degree?
- How prepared are you for the challenges of being a doctor?
- What skills do you have that make you suited to being a doctor?
- How do you cope with a high-pressure environment?
- Tell me about a time when you showed empathy.
- What will you do if you don’t get into medical school this year?
- Describe a recent challenge and how you faced it.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
And the one you really want to find out more about, what are your weaknesses and what do you intend to do about them?
You will also be given the opportunity to ask questions at the end of your interview. Instead of staring the panel blankly in the face it’s best you have some questions to ask prepared before your interview, to make a good impression.
A good weakness for a medical school interview
So how can you prepare for such a question? You don’t want to sell yourself out a prepare a big list of things you need to work on, but you also don’t want to say that you don’t have any weaknesses. The best way to answer this is to take some time to really evaluate yourself critically to show that you really know yourself.
The most important thing isn’t what you consider your weakness to be but how you explain what you intend to do about it to improve. For example, if you say that you often have lots of ideas, but you are reluctant to share them with others in fear of criticism, you will elaborate on that to say that you intend to put yourself forward more during your medical degree and make your voice heard when you have an idea.
Another weakness to share could be that you have always feared public speaking and that you know this could be necessary as part of the course and that you are tackling the problem by getting some coaching and intent to work on this during your time at university.
Consider your weaknesses and be honest. Only list 1 weakness unless they ask otherwise and make sure you can elaborate on your weakness and say what you are doing to improve. Your interviewers are looking to find out if you can be critical of yourself and if you have the ability to grow.
Introducing yourself in your interview
Introducing yourself in your interview is just as important as the interview questions you answer as it forms the very first impression to your interview panel. When you walk into the room the panel will likely ask you to tell them about yourself. Some people find it difficult to talk about themself so it’s important to have something prepared.
You need to find the right balance between self-promotion and knowledge sharing, which is quite a complex process. The reality is that the level of information you need to share will be different in every situation and in the case of a medical school interview you want to share who you are in relation to what’s important for the medical profession.
Here are some points to consider when preparing your speech to tell the panel about yourself.
- Your background. This should cover a broad overview of where you are from, family influences and what makes you unique.
- Your values. Your own values play a big part in the success you will have within the medical industry. Your values indicate what kind of medical professional you would be and how you will interact with others. It also showcases what specialism you may take as your career progresses.
- Your motivations. Studying for any medical degree is a timely task that requires lots of hard work and dedication. The interviewer wants to know that you are taking part for the right reasons and that you have a strong enough drive to persevere even when things may be challenging.
- Your personality traits. Gaining an idea of how self-aware you are shows that you can be critical. Alongside your own application materials, you will likely be asked to provide character statements from others. When you introduce yourself, your personality should shine through and mirror what others will say about you.
- Your passion. This could be anything from a hobby you have to volunteer work. The answer doesn’t need to be medical-related and should give the interviewer further insight into you as a person and a prospective student.
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So, what is a good weakness for a medical school interview? Well, the main thing to think about is to make sure you know yourself and to think critically. It doesn’t really matter what weakness you share but how you are dealing with it and how you will make sure you improve on it.