Have you applied to study Medicine at university? Do you have a medical school interview coming up?
If this is so, massive well done to you- this is a huge milestone, and you are a step closer to becoming a medical student.
You are probably busy doing lots of preparation for your medical school interview, to convince those admissions teams why you belong on their Medicine course.
Have you ever wondered, what should you not say in a medical interview?
In this article, we will outline our best tips to help you ace your interviews, which we hope you find useful.
What is a medical school interview?
A medical school interview is the next stage of the medical school admissions process, following the Personal Statement and the UCAT test. It is a process for university admissions teams to shortlist the best candidates to offer a place on 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’ email or letter.
Medical school interviews are usually held between November and March, to join the Medicine programme the following September. Some universities such as Oxford may ask you to take additional tests in addition to your interview.
During your interview, the interviewers will ask you a series of questions, to assess your capability for Medicine, your motivation for studying the course, and how it relates to your future ambitions.
You will have a short time to give a good impression. Therefore, conducting yourself professionally, whilst showing your aptitude and passion for medicine, is vital for you to get the result you want.
You will have the opportunity to ask any questions at the end of the interview, so use this wisely.
What Should You Not Say in a Medical Interview?
As you already know, Medicine is a field which is notoriously competitive to get into. For instance, in the 2022/2023 admissions cycle, the medical school at St George’s, University of London, had only 165 places up for grabs for home students, but there were over 2259 applicants.
Hence, the interview stage is a valuable opportunity for you to showcase your skills, passion and ambition, to earn a prized spot on the Medicine course.
So, what should you not say in a medical interview?
- Don’t say “I don’t know”.
With every question you are asked, always give it your best shot, using the knowledge and critical skills you already have.
Never shrug your shoulders and say, “I don’t know”, as this signals to the interviewers that you can’t be bothered to use your initiative to come up with an answer.
If you become nervous, there is nothing wrong with taking a moment to think about what you are going to say, or politely asking the interviewer to repeat the question.
- Don’t draw blank when it comes to general healthcare questions.
Your interviewers could quiz you on a variety of healthcare concepts that are integral to practicing as a doctor, for instance:
- What is the role of a GP?
- What are the founding principles of the NHS?
- What issues come with an ageing population?
- Describe your understanding of antibiotic resistance.
- How does politics influence healthcare?
- Should healthcare be privatised?
- Have there been any public health campaigns that have stood out to you?
- What is your view on euthanasia?
These are all topics which you should revise, to constantly expand your knowledge of the healthcare industry in general.
You should be reading books and articles and listening to podcasts to stay informed on healthcare news and trends.
- Avoid speaking negatively about others
During your medical school interview, you must never, ever show any disrespect to any other people or groups.
For instance, don’t look down on dentists, vets, nurses, or any other healthcare workers.
Avoid showing harsh criticism to someone, something, or an institution. For example, don’t go on a long rant about the state of the NHS.
Remember to be professional, courteous and respectful at all times. Communicate your points clearly, without causing any offence with your words.
- Don’t be superficial
When the interviewers ask you why you wish to study Medicine, don’t say:
- “Because of the money.”
- “Because I want people to respect me.”
- “Because it’s better than being a dentist/nurse/vet/pharmacist.”
Make sure your motivation to become a doctor is more sincere and genuine than simply the prospect of earning a high salary and prestige.
- Don’t talk about other universities if it’s not relevant
During your interview, the admissions team will be very intrigued to know why you have applied to study Medicine at their university.
When they ask you, ‘what is about our Medicine course at this university that attracts you?’, this is your chance to show off your enthusiasm for this medical school.
Make sure you have researched the university and their Medicine programme thoroughly, so you are familiar with how the degree programme works and what is expected of medical students.
Don’t just say “I only applied here because I didn’t get in to Oxford.” This is a major red flag for interviewers, as they will only offer places to applicants who genuinely want to study at their university.’
Your answers need to be specific to the medical school you are interviewing with.
Pick out aspects of their curriculum and explain why they excite you. What is it about these modules that appeal to you, and how do they relate to your career ambitions?
Is there a clinical placement attached to the Medicine course that you feel will be valuable for your learning?
Are there any lecturers at this medical school whose research interests align to yours?
Does the university have any clubs or societies which you are hoping to get involved with?
- Don’t tell the interviewers that you have no work experience
Every medical school will want to see examples of relevant work experience, especially in patient-facing areas.
Before you send off your UCAS application, make sure you have spent some time shadowing a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or healthcare worker.
It also looks excellent on your medical school application if you have:
- Volunteered at a healthcare charity such as Cancer Research.
- Completed a placement in a healthcare setting.
- Worked with vulnerable adults at a care home or food bank.
- Volunteered abroad, to help on a charity project at a hospital, clinic, in a poverty-stricken community, or after a natural disaster.
- Occupied a leadership position (for example, in a group project).
Discuss your work experience and reflect on what you have learned. What insights did you gain?
Did anything surprise you? How did your placement motivate you further to study Medicine?
Where can I get help with medical school interview preparation?
We offer an Interview Coaching package here at The Future Medic.
Starting from only £100, our Interview Coaching package offers advice and guidance from our expert tutors. All of our tutors are fully qualified British doctors, specialists in medical education and interviewers at their respective medical schools. This level of tutoring is not guaranteed by any competitors.
You will have access to Interview Online Courses and personalised 1-to-1 lessons with a highly qualified tutor.
You will get to work on topics such as:
- Motivation for Medicine
- Interpersonal skills
- Academic ability
- Lateral thinking
- Work experience
- NHS & Hot Topics
- Medical ethics
- GMC/ Good Medical Practice
Choose from between 1 to 20 hours of coaching, to prepare for a medical school interview and set you up for the best chances of success.
At The Future Medic, we have helped thousands of aspiring medical students successfully enter the medical schools of their choice.
Click here to book our Interview Coaching package or learn more about this service.
Read similar content about medical school interviews
To learn more about medical school interviews, click here to read our blog articles on:
- What Questions Are Asked In Medical Interview?
- How Do You Introduce Yourself in a Medical Interview?
- What Are 10 Good Interview Questions and Answers for Medical School Interviews?
- MMI interviews – what are they looking for?
- How do I Prepare for an MMI Interview?
- Dos and Donts of Medical Interview
- How to Prepare for Oxford Medicine Interview – Medical Interview UK 2023
- Medical School Interview Tutoring
About The Future Medic
We are a team of experienced GPs. We understand the challenges and pressures of applying to medical school- whether you are a home student in the UK or an international student.
That is why we coach students on every aspect of the medical school application process.
With our services, we have helped thousands of students successfully enter the medical schools of their dreams.
For a full list of our services, visit our website here.
We provide Medicine Interview Tutoring services, Personal Statement Coaching, and UCAT coaching.
Register for a place on our 2022/2023 Mentorship Programme here.
Read more articles on our blog here.
We hope this article has answered the question, ‘what should you not say in a Medical Interview?’