The Top Tips to Survive your Medicine Interview
Preparing for a medicine interview can be an intimidating prospect, but ultimately the interviewers are just looking to see that you are going into medicine for the right reasons. In this article, we’ll break down the medicine interview, discussing top tips to help you feel prepared going into them.
Know your interview format
Be aware that different universities have different medicine interview formats. All of these have very different setups and are going to be looking for different skills. Each university will list on their website about what medicine interview format they use. The table below discusses the main interview styles at different universities.
|What the interview will involve|
‘Standard’/ ‘traditional’/ ‘semi-structured’
Questions on why you want to do medicine, your work experiences, ethical questions etc
|Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI)|| |
Involves different stations where you are asked to act as a doctor or medical student in a clinical situation
|Scientific (Oxbridge)|| |
Places a greater emphasis on scientific questions, based on A-level content but designed to stretch you beyond this. May include some ‘standard’ medicine interview questions as well
Relate everything to your experiences
At a standard medicine interview, you are likely to be asked a great deal about why you want to study medicine, what the challenges in medicine are and examples of different skills you have seen doctors display. For all these questions, relating your answers to experiences that you have had is a good way to show that you have reflected on things you have seen and that your thoughts about medicine are based on evidence.
Relating this to events occurring during your work experience or other volunteering is always very relevant in a medicine interview. Think about skills or important concepts that you saw in the hospital or GP environment, such as teamwork between members of the multi-disciplinary team and empathy by clinicians during particularly emotional consultations. Use these experiences to tell the interviewers what you have learned about medicine as a career.
The interview is not just about showing that you are keen about being a future doctor – the interviewers also want to see that you have a realistic overview of medicine. This means understanding not only the rewarding aspects of the career but also the challenges. Reflect on those that you have seen in your work experiences and be ready to justify why you still want to do medicine.
Know your personal statement
The interviewers have free reign to ask you about anything in your personal statement in the medicine interview. Any concepts that you have mentioned, such as pathology you saw on work experience or books that you have read should be things you are very familiar with. If you have mentioned books or articles, know them in enough detail to summarise the main concepts you have learned.
When preparing for your medicine interview, try practising discussing talking about things you have mentioned in your personal statement, such as your work experience, with family and teachers in mock interviews – being comfortable with these topics is the best way to prepare for talking about them in the medicine interview setting.
Read around the subject
A good way to show interest in medicine is to keep up to date with changes in the medical field and the NHS. Read the news regularly to stay in touch with challenges that the NHS is facing. You could be asked about an advance or piece of research that you have read in the scientific world as well – sources like the New Scientist are useful places to read.
For more information on pre-interview preparation read the basics in interviewing for medicine.
Enthusiasm and confidence cannot be underestimated in the medicine interview. Walking in with a smile and being able to engage all the interviewers with eye contact makes a huge difference. Remember that medicine is an interpersonal career, so make an effort to show that you enjoy interacting with people.
5 things to know about a medicine interview
1) You won’t be grilled on your personal statement
If you are asked about your personal statement, it will be probably as an opening question to get you started on familiar ground. Make sure you know your personal statement well, obviously don’t put anything false on there, and have things that you’re happy talking about. The interviewers will use this to start the conversation flowing and get you at ease before then getting into more academic questions.
2) It’s a medicine interview, not a science test
They are going to be interested in how well you understand the theory of your subject, and how they can introduce you to new areas and see how you approach a problem, and how you can use information they then give you to process and understand it. The medicine interview is designed to gather information on you they can’t access on paper.
3) Don’t rush, talk it through
The reason universities offering medicine interview applicants is because they know they’re starting a long academic relationship with you, and they want to see if you are the kind of person they can work with constructively. When you’re trying to give an answer, and especially if you’re not sure of it, try to talk through your thought process out loud. They are trying to assess how well they can teach you and they’ll get nothing if you stew there in silence occasionally giving answers.
4) Personal experience will make your answers shine
When giving an answer, it’s really valuable to show you are reflecting on your personal experiences. Thoughtful answers which are informed with your personal experiences will show that you have learnt and grown from them. Responses where you are clearly bringing your knowledge from outside the curriculum will show that you are thinking actively about medical issues and not depending on your A-Level syllabus or rehearsed answers.
5) Answer the question!
Don’t give a long, rambly response only to reach the end and realise you haven’t answered the question. This ties into our point about not rushing but ensure that you think carefully before answering. Rehearsing is sometimes a downfall. Rehearsing answers is understandable in terms of addressing your nerves, but it won’t do you any favours in the long run because interviewers can recognise rehearsal and it doesn’t teach them anything about how you really learn.
Good preparation and reflection on your experiences are key for a medicine interview but remember that enthusiasm and how you engage the interviewers are equally important in demonstrating that you would enjoy interacting with patients as a doctor.
Last Minute Medicine Interview Prep!
It’s the last week before your interview and, let us guess, you’re trying to cram in as much information as possible? Here’s what you should really be doing the week before your interview. We’ve given our top tips to prepare yourself before the day and ensure that you’re confident walking into the interview room.
Get Interview-Ready with UniAdmissions
UniAdmissions are able to help you with your medicine interview preparation with our expert interview coaching created specifically for you. Whether you need to build your confidence, practice the interview itself or go over the top tips that will make your interview run smoothly, there’s a course waiting for you. With the medical interview tuition, you will receive guidance from medical experts on the types of questions that will be asked and how best to answer them. That, along with access to our essential interview guide, will help you be successful in your medicine interview.