Medical School Interviews
🖥️ Online Interviews for 2021 Entry.
📝Hone your knowledge.
📋 Stand out from the crowd.
🖥️Medical School Interviews to be Conducted Online for 2021 Entry
As a result of the pandemic, medical schools will be conducting their interviews online in 2020 and 2021 for Medicine 2021 entry.
We will update this section with more information as it comes
Personal Statement Tips
Types of Interviews
🪑 Traditional Panel Interview
You will be answering questions given by a panel of professionals such as doctors, nurses, admission tutors and even medical students. This will take around 30 minutes. You are very unlikely to be given a role play scenario, but instead you will need to answer questions, for example, regarding your application (such as personal statement), why you want to be a doctor, the qualities of a doctor, why you picked that medical school and about your work experience. This may even be an opportunity for them to ask you a quirky question, such as ‘name something that you’d like to invent one day’ or ‘what do you think fashion will be like in 20 years?’
💬 Group Interview
This is when you are sat among other interviewees and are given a topic to discuss, while a professional overlooks and marks you on your listening skills, contribution and politeness to other members of the group.
🎭 Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)
MMI’s are characterised by a series of short interview stations, as opposed to one longer (traditional) panel interview. The stations are often between 5-8 minutes long, and there are often between 5-10 stations, though the university will likely inform you of the exact numbers long before the interview. Each station will be testing different personal qualities and skills, and can range from practical tasks, engaging with an actor, or just simple questions and answers.
MMI’s are a unique and somewhat frightening prospect for many medicine applicants. Almost all of these applicants will at some point have to encounter one, especially as they are the format used by the majority of Great British medical schools. Considering how different they are from most other interviews, as well as the likelihood that most applicants will not have much interview experience, many applicants find this process difficult to navigate and will often find themselves underprepared. Here is a summary of our top tips to help you unlock your potential for interview success.
You may be given an ethical question such as ‘which patient will you give this liver to’ or ‘what are your thoughts on genetic editing’? You can also prepare for this by looking at our medical ethics articles on our website. The easiest way to answer these questions is to use the 4 pillars of ethics.
In these scenarios, you are being tested for what you would do and how you would communicate in a real-life scenario. They usually aren’t medically related, and most of the time it is about breaking bad news. For example, ‘you are a flight attendant at an airport and the flight has been cancelled. Tell the passenger’ or ‘talk to this patient who is worried about having her injections’.
These questions are the questions that you are less likely to be able to predict and are the hardest to prepare for. Try not to stress about them and think through the question logically to give an answer. Some examples are ‘how much do you sleep at night and is it enough?’ and ‘do you think you are clever?’
Interviewers may ask you to talk about something you have seen in the news recently. This is quite easy to prepare for – just make sure you keep up to date with the news! You can do this by accessing our news articles on our website.
You may have to answer mathematical questions on the spot or there may be a specific station where you are on your own answering maths questions in a booklet. The maths questions are most likely to be drug calculations.
Reading comprehension exercise
In these scenarios, you may be given an article to read and you are asked questions about it after you finish reading.
General questions about yourself
These are the questions that are the easiest to reverse and have in your own time, but make sure you still sound fluent and not robotic. For example, ‘Tell me about your work experience’ and ‘what are 3 good qualities that would make you a good doctor’
The Experience Bank
🏗️Build your experience bank
An experience bank is essential in order to give you the framework to base your personal statement reflections around. It will help to ensure that your personal statement is as concise as possible. Without a clear strategy or intention, it can be very easy to write waffly answers that just waste the character count as opposed to showing your realistic insight or skills that you have developed.
💱Learning to reflect is a skill
Learning to reflect is an essential skill as a doctor. The greater you are able to build up the habit of using the STARR technique, the better your insights will be. This will not only help you when writing your personal statement, it will also be effective for interviews at your chosen medical schools.
⬇️Download your FREE Experience Bank
Our FREE Experience Bank gives you a framework to help you reflect upon your answers; it is based on the Medical School's COuncil Statement on the core values and attributes needed to study medicine. Check it out!
Medicine Interview Tips
💡 Understand What The Admissions Tutors Want to Hear
The downfall of many great applicants is that they don’t demonstrate the key qualities a medical school wants to see. Understanding what those are and tailoring your answers to hit those key “buzzwords” can help get you in the interviewers good books.
Medical schools care about you knowing the importance of certain qualities, as well as you being able to demonstrate you have these (see point 2). These traits include: teamworking, leadership, honesty, taking responsibility, inquisitiveness, understanding of basic medical ethics, personal reflections, problem solving, respect, resilience and empathy, just to name a few.
You may notice that questions are quite deliberately focussed towards these qualities, and it is your job to make sure you demonstrate that you are the best at that quality, whether that be working in a team, admitting mistakes or being empathetic.
Not all stations require an experience however, some will require you to show a skill at that time. For example, if you are being asked to rank the order of patients in A&E, you should give reasoning for each of your decisions based on your knowledge of medical ethics. Without reasoning, you are not showing off any knowledge or skill, which is what they really want to see.
📝 Revise your Life
This may sound like a strange concept, but under high stress, it can be challenging to remember experiences off the top of your head, possibly leading to some awkwardly quiet stations. Long before your interview day, go through your memory and think of experiences from your life which demonstrate certain things they are looking for (some are listed above).
Apply these scenarios to general questions, such as “give an example of when you have worked in a team”, “tell me about a time you made a mistake… how did you rectify this?” etc.
Don’t rely on rehearsed speeches, just use some bullet points, because if the MMI station decides to ask slightly different questions, you can think about what they are looking for, and proceed to answer the question, showing off your understanding and experience where relevant.
Doctors have to be able to rush into an emergency scenario at any hour of the day, and be able to make a call on what needs to happen. Doctors must be confident that the choices they make are the best for the patients, and cannot be indecisive, however they must also be able to take on criticism, and acknowledge when they are wrong. Because of this, medical schools are very interested in people who are confident. This is a balance applicants can find it difficult to balance up; modest not arrogant, but confident and not shy. Interviewers can test this by making counter arguments against something you have said.
It is your job to demonstrate that you acknowledge their point, and have decided to either keep or change your original decision, giving reasons and explanations for why. Often there is no correct answer, and they are testing how you think and respond to conflicting points of view. In addition, speaking confidently, sitting straight and making a good first impression through being confident can go a long way.
🖥️ Be Familiar With What Will Happen
Universities will usually detail the format of the interview, in terms of how many stations and how long each station lasts. It is important to know this, so you can practise fitting general answers into a certain time. This will also help with nerves on the day, as you are familiar with the process, meaning there are less things you need to worry about on the day.
🌳 Be Resilient
Writing a good introduction and conclusion is vital in achieving personal statement success. They are arguably the most important paragraphs in your Medical school application. Your introduction is your chance to make a good first impression on the admissions panel. Until now, they have only received your grades/UCAT/BMAT score, so it is a chance for them to get to know you on a personal level and demonstrate to them why you want to be a doctor and believe that you have the necessary skills and qualities to achieve this.
📚 Be Knowledgeable
Medical schools want students who are interested and eager to go into the vocation that is Medicine. Being a doctor is not all fun, it is stressful, emotionally and physically difficult, and it can wear you down. (That is not to say it isn’t the best job in the world, there are many amazing rewards that balance this out).
Being aware of some of the key aspects of the role of a doctor and knowing what you are getting yourself in for is extremely important. This includes: Understanding recent news stories in the medical world, knowing about the NHS constitution and how it is run, a good knowledge of your a-levels and how that knowledge may apply to medicine (e.g. insulin and diabetes, kidneys and how damage might affect osmolarity in the body etc.).
Publish an article on a topic of your choice here, which can show your dedication and interest to the field of medicine. These can be really good ways to show the interviewer that you love medicine, you are eager to start and will make a brilliant doctor.
🎤 Practise, Practise, Practise
As the saying goes, practise makes perfect, and this is equally true for interviews. Once you have done what was outlined in point 2, try it out!
Ask parents/carers, siblings, friends, teachers, other medicine applicants and medical students to ask you questions, and practise answering - even practise asking yourself questions, and think about what points you would bring up. The more you do it the better you’ll get at saying all the relevant information, and providing an answer that impresses your interviewer. Alternatively you can practise these skills in our interview tutoring.
☁️Forget About It
The best thing to do after your interview is note down any thing you think you need to improve on for interviews at any other universities, then forget the experience. It can sometimes take months to hear back, and fretting for that long will affect your studies and mental health, which really isn’t going to help anyone.
🔥 Believe in Yourself!
Just to be offered an interview is something to be proud of, and shows you have already impressed people with your application, take that in your stride! The interviewers are there to find the best of the best, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to blow them away.