If you’re considering applying for a medical course then you need to be prepared to attend an interview as part of the application process.
As you’ll already know, the application process for Medicine is highly competitive and your interview will be a deciding factor for the admissions tutors when deciding whether to give you a place or not.
However, don’t panic. Figures show that between 40-60% of applicants that are asked to interview are then offered a place at medical school.
Interviews for medical schools are usually carried out from November to April, although it’s important to check with each medical school you apply to as they all run their own application schedules.
Medical schools carry out interviews to find out more about you than just the information you put on your application form. If you’re going to have a successful career in Medicine it’s important that you have more than academic ability.
Each medical school has a different format for their interviews but there are a number of common formats that you can research to help you prepare.
The most common is a three person panel semi-structured interview. Usually you’ll be interviewed by one member of the faculty, one student/junior doctor, and another member of the medical staff.
Expect to be asked questions about your personal statement, your work experience, what inspired you to want a medical career, and some general medical questions perhaps about medical cases that have recently been in the news.
Not all interviews will be the same, and some medical schools won’t look at your personal statement, so clarify this with each medical school so you can properly prepare for your interview.
Increasingly common as an interview format are a series of “mini interviews” at different stations. At each station you’ll find an interviewer(s) that will focus on a specific topic or scenario.
Essentially this is just a traditional panel interview split into different parts, so don’t panic that your preparation will need to be drastically different. However, if you can find out some of the topics or scenarios ahead of time it could help you prepare.
Another alternative is an ethics based interview so it’s important to research the principles of medical ethics to give your answers a structure.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to prepare for your medical school interview. It could be the difference between you being successful and the medical school choosing someone else.
Reread your personal statement thoroughly and think about how you could expand on any interesting points you made into. For example, your work experience, interest in a medical career, and future career plans are all topics you could be asked about.
It’s also important to have a good knowledge of current medical science and any medical cases that have recently been in the news. Read good quality newspapers and medical journals to keep your knowledge up to date.
Finally, try not to over-prepare. As much as you want to know exactly what to say, don’t be tempted to memorise answers. Interviewers don’t want to see you simply repeating something you’ve read online, they want to see spontaneity and independent thinking.
Obviously each medical school will have its own set of questions, but you can expect to be asked about a range of topics including your background and motivation, your knowledge of the medical school you’re applying to, the depth of your interest in medicine, and your interpersonal skills.
Common interview questions for a medical course include: