Understanding how to prepare for Medical School interviews is the most important place to start.
The way you structure your answers in your Medicine interview is crucial. This is because it prevents you from rambling and ensures you cover key points.
We recommend using the STARR acronym:
For example: Tell me about a time when you have successfully demonstrated leadership skills?
Situation: I was captain of my school’s football team.
Task: To lead the team to the best of my abilities, ensuring we operated well as a team and achieved our objective: winning the cup.
Action: I made sure that I remained approachable and delegated tasks effectively, such as organising travel to away matches and leading our pre-match warm ups. I adapted my communication to get the best out of people from a variety of age groups. My school teacher commended me for this.
Result: At the end of the year, we won the cup and achieved one of the most successful set of results in our school’s recent history.
Reflection: In the team, I developed my approach to making decisions under pressure and learned how to communicate with different personalities. Having carried out a wide range of work experience, I have seen how critical leadership and teamwork is in Medicine. I look forward to developing my skills further in this area.
You need to showcase your qualities but don’t want to come across as arrogant. In practice, this can be tricky.
For example, you might get asked what your best trait is. You can answer this question in your Medicine interview without sounding arrogant by citing what other people have said about you.
During my last work experience placement, my supervising consultant commented on what he called my ‘outstanding communication skills’ and reported back that some of his patients had said I made them feel comfortable on the ward. I therefore think communication skills are one of my strongest attributes.
Wherever possible, use personal examples to back up your answers in your Medicine interview. This will:
We urge all aspiring medics to read the General Medical Council’s Ethical guidance for Doctors.
After reading it, you should have a clear understanding of the role of a Doctor and can start speaking a little more like one in your Medicine interview.
For example: The role of multi-disciplinary teams in Medicine is central to patient care.
Key terms like this will help you stand out, as long as you can back them up. Acknowledging the growing importance of a Doctor’s roles as a teacher would also demonstrate insight.
When you’re under pressure, you may struggle to answer a question. Make sure you listen carefully to each question and take a second to think before giving your answer.
A clever approach is to incorporate the question into your answer. By doing this at the start of your reply, you’ll show that you have listened and it will remind you to address all of the key points.
When deciding what to wear to your Medical School interview, remember that you need to make a good impression. The best tip we’ve heard on this topic came from an Admissions Tutor, who said “dress in the way you would like to see your Doctor dressed”.
Tips for dressing for your interview:
Every scenario is designed to make you think. You should never commit yourself to a definitive answer immediately. If the first word out of your mouth is a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’, does it really look like you’ve weighed up the debate properly?
A better course of action is to discuss the arguments for and against, before coming up with a balanced conclusion that appreciates the nuances of the scenario.
The four pillars of medical ethics are useful for considering different sides of a scenario:
Although you shouldn’t prepare scripted answers for your Medical School interview, practice really helps and should make you feel ready to tackle any questions.
Practise with friends, family, teachers — and you might want to book a mock interview to get some expert feedback.
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