Medicine Interview: Top 10 Tips
With interview season approaching today’s blog is written by an experienced medical school interviewer and author of our Get Me Into Medical School: The Ultimate Guide book. Below Alexander Logan breaks down his top 10 tips for doing well in the interview.
The first step to practising for your medical school interview is to make sure that you know how you will be interviewed by each of your chosen medical schools. This is best done by looking at our UK Medical Schools Guide page on this website and consulting the quick look table or by following the links to individual medical schools. You may also wish to read the corresponding chapter of Get Me Into Medical School: The Ultimate Guide for more insider tips on how to prepare for interview.
Once you know the format, how the interview is marked and what domains will be tested you can then focus on preparing.
Top 10 Tips
Practise, Practise, Practise
Practising in a formal environment is the best way to get used to the interview process and find deficits in your answers.
Structure Your Answers
Structuring your answers into 3-4 headlines will make it easy for interviewers to follow and prevent you from wasting time with waffle.
Limit Your Answers to 2-3 Minutes
Stopping yourself from talking when nervous can be extremely difficult however interviewers are likely to lose concentration after around 3 minutes of hearing you talk. Most structured points can be given within 2-3 minutes leaving time for further questions.
Use Your Personal Statement
Interviewers may not have access to or may not have read your personal statement. Make sure that you talk about all the best points that you have written down and do not assume that the interviewers have read it. Your personal statement should be structured to say why you want to do medicine, what work experience you have done and what you do outside of work; these are also three of the most commonly asked questions!
Show Your Working
For tough ethical or decision-making questions be sure to talk through what you are thinking. There is often no right or wrong answer rather the interviewers want to see you logically discussing both sides of the argument or problem.
Be Positive and Sell, Sell, Sell
Interviewers want to hear how great you are and it is important that you are not bashful or reserved when telling them about your achievements and why they should choose you. Turn everything into a positive and don’t undersell yourself.
Talking about generic things like ‘I saw a patient having blood taken’ or ‘I have leadership skills’ will not score you as many points as using personal experiences and reflecting on what you learned.
Don’t Give An Overview
Outlining how you are going to answer a question or explaining your framework is unnecessary and risky. One particularly awkward moment occurred when an interview candidate confidently stated there were three reasons he wanted to be a medic only for him to be unable to recall the third!
Read The Instructions
MMI stations will often provide you with written information either before or upon approaching the station. Traditional interviews may also provide you with a written scenario to discuss. Whatever the situation remain calm and read the instructions or scenario carefully. Try to mentally highlight the important points and understand what they want you to do.
Answer The Question
This might seem silly but it is amazing how often candidates do not give a direct answer or go off-topic. Make sure you understand what has been asked and avoid giving a long-winded introduction.
Get Me Into Medical School!: The Ultimate Guide is written by Alexander Logan, a medical school interviewer and is available now from Amazon.