With medical school interviews looming you’re probably starting to think about the format of the interview. With up to 950 candidates being invited for an interview per university each year, and only around a third of the places on offer, competition is fierce. If you’re invited for a medical school interview, first of all well done, your applications successfully stood out from the crowd. Secondly, you need to be prepared.
In this post, we talk about whether medical school interviews will be held online in 2023 as well as other helpful tips on preparing for your interview.
Medical School Interviews
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 recruiters to shortlist the best candidates to offer a place in their medicine program.
If your application has stood out to the admissions panel, 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. Since COVID-19, more and more places of work and study are turning to using the internet as a means of communication, and medical school interviews are no different.
You will be told the date, time, location and format of your interview in your ‘invitation to interview’ email or letter and this will include whether you have the option to carry out your interview online.
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 alongside your UCAT and interview, such as the BMAT exam.
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, so appearing and 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 be prepared and use this wisely.
Medical School Interview Format
There are two types of medical school interviews, a panel interview and a multiple mini interview (MMI). The panel interview consists of one candidate and a panel of around 2 or 3 interviewers, which is the traditional method of hosting an interview. The second format type, MMI, is where you’re put through a series of short assessment stations that are timed.
Both types of interviews serve as a way for the admissions panel to decide who is suitable for a place on the medical course at their university. The panel interview consists of a series of questions and a back-and-forth conversation in a traditional way, whereas the MMI interview process assesses the different skills of each candidate to determine suitability.
Both types of interviews can be held online so you will be notified of this if you are invited for either form of interview from your chosen universities.
Preparing for a Medical School Interview
Whether your interview is online or in person, the best thing you can do is prepare for your medical school interview. The most popular format for a medical school interview is the traditional panel interview, but even with multiple mini interviews, you will likely be asked some of the same questions.
Preparation is key when it comes to impressing your interviewer so here we have provided some of our top tips to prepare for your medical school interview.
How to dress
This may seem trivial, but how you dress will form part of the medical interviewer’s opinion of you so you want to make sure you look the part, even for an online interview. How to dress for your interview will of course depend on your character as you want your personality to shine through, but you need to make sure you look professional so your interviewers know you’re taking this opportunity seriously.
A navy blue suit or suit dress is a great, professional, and smart option for a medical school, interview, along with pale, pastel-coloured shirts with smart shoes. Ensure you have neat hair and you don’t over accessories. This isn’t a fashion show so there’s no need to wear your expensive jewelry and watches and wear clothes with a plain or simple pattern so it doesn’t distract your interviewers from the person you are.
How to introduce yourself
Whether your interview is in person or online you will need to introduce yourself and knowing how to introduce yourself properly is key to getting off to a strong start. It is likely that one of the first questions you will be asked or instruction given will be to tell the panel about yourself.
The admissions panel will already be familiar with your personal statement which no doubt you outlined your relevant experience, motivations and goals. Now is your time to elaborate on those points and add a few more things that they don’t already know.
Consider the following points and form a well-put-together statement about yourself:
- Consider your values as a person and how these relate to a profession in medicine
- Your motivations, why you want to practice medicine
- Personality traits, who are you and what makes you different from someone else?
- What drives you and what your passions are, which can be both medical and non-medical?
Remember that every answer you give at your medical school interview doesn’t need to be directly related to medicine, but, always try to explain how the point you’re making makes you suitable for a career in medicine.
For example, your passion could be working as part of a team because you grew up playing a variety of team sports; consider how this relates to you working as part of a team in a medical setting.
Do your research
Before your interview, get a notebook and take notes on current medical initiatives and medical news as you need to keep up with current affairs. It’s like you will be asked to share your knowledge on this at your interview or they will be looking to see if your goals and ambitions relate to anything relevant in healthcare at the moment.
Secondly, looking into the most commonly answered question at a medical school interview. Know that you will probably get questions relating to the following:
- Your experience including times when you have been a leader or been put in a high-pressure situation
- Your suitability for medicine including your skills and personal attributes
- What drives and motivates you and where you see yourself in 5-10 years into your medical career
- Why you have chosen that particular university.
What not to say
Once you are prepared and feeling confident, it’s a good idea to look at what not to say at your medical school interview. One of the main things is to not shrug, stumble, or say ‘I don’t know’ on any of the questions as this comes across as being unprepared and uncaring. Remember to take your time on each question, answer authentically and if you need more time, ask to revisit the question at the end.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Reading good interview answers online isn’t going to help you stand out. Be honest, open, confident and positive, remembering not to talk negatively about other medical professionals.
If you don’t have work experience in the medical industry when asked, don’t simply say that you don’t have any, draw on experiences you do have and the skills you learned that apply to medicine.
The Future Medic: How Can We Help?
At The Future Medic, we want you to succeed and we offer Medicine Interview Coaching to give you a better chance of a successful interview and being offered a place at your chosen medical school.
We have over 14 years of experience in mentoring, public speaking and the medical school admissions process. We have helped thousands of aspiring medical students successfully enter the medical schools of their choice. Book a session with our medicine interview tutors today to secure your bright future in medicine.