What to expect at your medical school interview (Part 1)

 

Congratulations!  You have been invited to attend a medical school interview. Don’t panic, this is not as daunting as it sounds! This is all part of the process and something that you can prepare for to demonstrate your suitability to undertake a medical course at university. Indeed, many former students say the interview was more like a chat than a formal procedure, with the tutor aiming to put them at ease and create a relaxed atmosphere.

 
 

 

Formats differ depending on the medical schools

The precise format of the interview will vary depending on the medical school. You will most likely be provided with instructions as to how to prepare for the day, the number of people at the interview and any other activities. Sometimes it is just one interviewer, other times you may be in front of a panel or with a selection of people over short time slots. An interview may be only 10-15 minutes long, or it could last an hour. Some medical schools ask you to read a particular medical article before the interview that will be discussed on the day. Therefore, it may be useful to visit the school’s website and familiarise yourself with their own ethos so that you can be an informed participant during your interview.

Key areas

In general, the interviewer will want to know the following things about you:

·       Your formal academic background (they may not have your UCAS application in front of them, or they may like to hear this from you)

·       What made you want to become a doctor

·       What work experience you have undertaken and what you have learnt from this

·       What do you think a medical career involves and your commitment to embarking on this path

·       What your interests are and what hobbies you take part in

·       What experiences you have, for example a gap year or charity work, that has developed you as an individual

·       Whether you are active in following the latest developments in the medical and health related news

Personal Characteristics

During the interview, they will be paying attention to your interpersonal skills, sometimes called non-verbal communication. This will give them some indication as to how you might act with fellow students, tutors, medical professionals and patients. Other attributes they will be looking for include:

·       An inquiring mind

·       An interest in, and genuine concern for, people

·       A rational and reasoned approach

·       Assertive but non-judgemental

·       An open mind

·       Ability to work under pressure

·       A dedication to hard work

·       Perseverance to your chosen profession

A day to look forward to!

On the day of your interview, remember to dress professionally and act in a friendly manner. Leave plenty of time to travel to the interview location, especially if it is a place you are not familiar with. Be confident when you walk into the room, smile and shake everyone’s hand. Finally, don’t rush to answer the questions, and don’t worry if you don’t answer everything! The interviewer is not there to ‘catch you out’, but her or she is there to explore with you your skills, abilities and aptitude to undertake a medical degree.