So you’ve done the UKCAT/BMAT/GAMSAT and you’ve sent your UCAS form off…
The next barrier ready to cripple you into a nervous wreak is…
The interview will essentially make or break your application and decide whether or not you get into medical school or not…
No pressure then…
So first let’s talk about Traditional interviews. The vast majority of medical schools use there.
What are traditional interviews?
Traditional interviews usually involve you and 1+ interviewers who are there to ask you questions about why you want to study medicine. You will get a range of questions from the obvious “Why medicine?” to something more obscure “If you were a fruit what would you be?” (I’m joking before you start panicking and try to memorize fruit…)
Obvious questions to think of are…
Why do you want to be a Doctor? (Maybe even “Why not nursing?”)
When have you shown that you can work in a team?
Have you ever shown leadership?
Tell me about a time that you have shown empathy?
What did you learn on your work experience?
Tell me about a time you’ve used effective communication?
What do you like to do for fun?
Why *insert medical school here*?
So grab a notebook and start brainstorming idea’s on how you would answer these questions it will help you collect your thoughts and come up with a coherent answer where you don’t tell someone you “Like working with dead people…”
MMI – Multi mini interviews
These interviews are done at various universities (Birmingham, KCL GPEP, St Georges GPEP etc) and involve you having to essentially sit many mini interviews.
As an example… I went a MMI and we had 8 stations of 5 minutes each (this is different at each university). Therefore, we had 5 minutes with each interviewer talking about a certain topic. Be it work experience, teamwork, why medicine, why not nursing etc… See above questions
It’s essentially a traditional interview on speed… And puts you under a bit of pressure, however the nice thing is that if you royally fuck up on one station (like I did…) and then you can then go into the next station with a fresh start. There is no bias from interviewers because you have so many of them!
Do I need to prepare? and How can I prepare?
Yes, you will need to prepare for an interview…
The best way i prepared was by talking with a friend about the sorts of answers I might give for an interview and I used that as an opportunity to just get comfortable and know WHY I want to study medicine and why I am the best candidate to do so.
Mock interviews are a great way to practice. Ask your teachers and/or Friends to see if they will give you a mock interview. Many schools put their students through mock interviews to give you an idea of what it will be like.
Build your confidence, speak to other people about why you want to do medicine and have a confident answer.
I found by having examples in my head for situations where I have worked in a team, communicated effectively, emphasised well and shown leadership skills, allowed me to pull them out at a moments notice in an interview
Here is a great guide to what the interviews are like at other medical schools Click me
What do I wear?
For the interview you need to wear “clinical dress”… Think what you see Doctor’s wear and copy. The obvious choice is to wear a suit or work dress.
Do NOT wear jeans or ‘Funny T-Shirts’ or a Funny tie… Because ‘A’ you will look like a dick
and ‘B’… you are there to impress them and show that you deserve a place and that you can be professional. Because at the end of the day they need to be able to see that you can make a good Doctor.
To hand shake or not to hand shake… That is the question
So here are some basic tips for interview etiquette…
1. Hand shake, always hand shake… It is a formal greeting and a good hand shake can lead to you feeling confident and also the interviewers seeing you as confident. Just don’t go all Hulk on them..
2. Eye contact!!! Not scary staring like a pervert eye contact, but look your interviewers in the eye when they are asking you a question or you are answering.
3. Speak with confidence… Don’t mumble or speak too fast. Speak loudly and with your head up. Practice in the mirror, with your friends, with your cat…
4. Don’t fiddle/fidget… People come out with horror stories about how in their interview they have a glass of water and they spill it from nerves. Your best bet is not to touch it! And keep your hands in a neutral position on your lap. As a chronic fidget-er this technique works well for me…
5. Most importantly, be yourself! I know it’s hard but try and enjoy the interview, show off your personality… It will get you a lot further than a weeks work experience. So what if you’re a little bit weird/quirky/different, that’s usually what will get you remembered!
And just remember…