So you’ve submitted your UCAS application, and you’re notified that you’ve been invited to interview at one of the medical schools you’ve applied to… Congratulations! But how on earth do you go about preparing for it?!
Hi I’m Cat, one of the fourth year medical students here at The University of Nottingham!
As for any interview, the first thing you need to do is review your application and do your research about the medical school and the university. Be prepared to talk about what’s in your personal statement: such as what you’ve learned from any work experience you’ve done, books or journal articles if you’ve referred specifically to them, and any hobbies you may have mentioned (how do they make you a better candidate?). Make sure you can justify why you’ve applied to that particular medical school (Was it the integrated curriculum? Full body dissection? The opportunity to study abroad?) and why you want to study in that city. Know what you can bring to university life by having an idea of whether there are particular societies or sports you want to get involved with whilst at university. It’s also helpful to make sure that you’re up to date with current science and health news, as ‘hot topics’ may be brought up at interview. These could be anything ranging from new treatments, issues facing future healthcare such as antibiotic resistance and the ageing population, or more political such as potential changes to junior doctors’ contracts.
The interview format used by medical schools has changed significantly over the past few years, moving away from traditional panel interviews to Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs). MMIs consist of up to 8 different stations, and one of these will be a role-playing exercise. Generally there will also be stations that involve hypothetical clinical and ethical scenarios (though clinical knowledge is not necessary), which you will discuss with the interviewer. The details of individual medical schools’ MMIs are not disclosed in order to keep the process fair, so the best way to prepare is to compose a strategy to tackle the different types of station rather than focus on specific questions. One key difference between panel interviews and MMIs that you need to take into account is that each station is timed, so make sure you practise under timed conditions.
If you do find yourself being interviewed at a medical school that uses a panel interview as it’s a preferred method of interviewing, then be prepared for about half an hour of questioning on your personal statement, questions such as “why have you chosen to do Medicine rather than [insert other healthcare profession here]?”, an ethical scenario or two, and a little bit about why you’ve applied to that particular medical school.
Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what to expect of any upcoming interviews, and all that remains to be said is: GOOD LUCK!