In the highly competitive field of veterinary school applications, securing an interview is already an accomplishment. To approach the interviews confidently and increase your chances of receiving an offer, preparation is key! Our guide outlines common veterinary medicine interview questions, as well as strategies to deliver optimal answers. 

Question 1: Why Do You Want To Study Veterinary Medicine?

This question will almost inevitably come up in any veterinary medicine interview, so make sure you feel confident answering it! 

The best answers show that the candidate has an understanding of what a career in veterinary medicine entails, including the profession’s benefits and drawbacks. You may choose to evidence this with examples from your work experience, or recent news articles relating to this topic. 

As well as this, it is advisable to mention some of your characteristics that you think lend themselves towards the study of veterinary medicine, whether that be empathy, communication or leadership skills. 

Be prepared for interviewers to ask follow-up questions such as ‘Why do you want to study veterinary medicine at this particular university?’, or ‘Why veterinary medicine as opposed to medicine itself?’. Ensure you have read up on the unique features of the universities you are applying to in order to answer these questions effectively. 

Common mistakes

  • Try to avoid any cliché answers without any evidence, such as ‘I’ve always loved animals.’ Try to be more realistic about your answers. 
  • Do not mention financial outcomes associated with veterinary practice. This does not show a commitment to the profession, but more to the financial outcomes the profession may lend itself to!

Question 2: What Attributes Are Essential For Good Veterinary Practice?

Another one of common questions that you should expect! There are several attributes that are essential for excelling in veterinary practice. These include: 

Communication Skills: Effective communication with pet owners, colleagues, and other professionals is essential in order to convey information clearly, ensuring optimal patient care and building trust. 

Problem-Solving Skills: Veterinary practice often involves diagnosing complex medical issues and devising treatment plans for animals that you cannot communicate with!

Ethical Integrity: Upholding ethical standards and prioritising the welfare of animals is crucial for veterinary practice. 

Empathy: Understanding the emotional bond between animals and their owners allows vets to provide holistic care, addressing both the physical and emotional needs of the owners of the pet and the pet itself!

And many more!

Common mistakes

  • It is tempting, especially in the stressful environment of an interview, to just list off as many qualities as you can remember that are essential for veterinary practice. A much better way to answer this question is to evidence each of your answers with where you have seen this implemented, through work experience opportunities for example. 

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Question 3: What Did You Learn From Your Work Experience?

This is where taking reflective notes following any work experience placements you undertake is essential. 

You can approach this question in two ways: Either show how your work experience disproved any misconceptions you had about the veterinary profession or structure your answer more reflectively, with any skills, qualities or scientific knowledge you learnt or reinforced during your work experience placements. 

You may decide to mention a few of the career paths following veterinary medicine studies that you came across. 

Common mistakes

  • Often students feel that they must list every work experience placement they’ve been on. In most cases, this is not necessary. Focussing in detail on one or two aspects you noticed or learnt that you feel are important is much more beneficial. 

Question 4: Do You Believe That Euthanasia Should Be Allowed?

This is an example of an ethical question you may be posed. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, instead, the reasoning behind your answers is of much greater importance. 

Try to jot down a couple of ethical questions you may be asked and create a mind map of each side of the argument. Even debating the questions with your peers will help you to map out how best to answer these questions. 

For example, you may argue that it is only fair to put an animal out of its pain through euthanasia, however, why do we not apply the same principles to humans then? 

Common mistakes

  • Not preparing! These ethical questions often throw off students who are too worried trying to answer with the ‘correct’ response. 
  • Remember, there is no right answer. As long as you can justify your response, any answer is right!

Question 5: What Are The Challenges Associated With Being a Vet?

Like any profession, there are many challenges associated with being a vet. Some of these challenges you may choose to discuss could be: 

Work-Life Balance: Balancing the demands of veterinary practice with personal commitments can be challenging, often leading to feelings of stress or burnout, and in severe cases, vets changing professions leading to vet shortages. 

Physical Demands: Veterinary work is physically challenging, involving lifting and restraining animals on a daily basis as well as working in various weather conditions. 

Ethical Dilemmas: Veterinarians may face ethical dilemmas related to euthanasia, treatment decisions, animal welfare concerns, and conflicting opinions with the owners of the pets. 

Common mistakes

  • Claiming that there are no challenges associated with being a vet! 
  • Listing all of the challenges without providing any solutions. 

Question 6: How Do You Think Advances in Technology Will Impact The Vet Profession?

Questions about future events that may impact the field of veterinary medicine are becoming more and more popular in interviews. In these questions, it is important to give both sides of the answer, ending with an evaluation and final conclusion, much like you’d structure an essay. 

For example, for this question, you may say that advances in technology will be particularly useful in surgical situations, where in some cases robots may be more precise than humans. On the other hand, technological advances may mean that some vets may lose their jobs. 

Common mistakes

  • Make sure you stay up to date with current veterinary news to show your passion for animal care.

Question 7: Can You Provide An Example Of When You Have Been Resilient In The Face Of Adversity?

This style of questions gives you a great opportunity to showcase any skills you have that lend themselves to the veterinary profession. The best answers will include some reflection of how your response to the adverse event could have been improved even further. 

You may choose a relevant example that demonstrates your ability to handle challenges in the veterinary profession.

Highlight your response, emphasizing determination, perseverance, and problem-solving skills. Reflect on how you could have improved your initial response, showing self-awareness and a willingness to learn. Then connect your example to skills and qualities required in veterinary medicine.

Common mistakes

  • Do not make up a situation! Interviewers can often tell if a situation is made up upon further questioning. 
  • You should focus your answer more on how you overcame the situation, as opposed to explaining what the situation was itself. Remember, the interviews themselves are not that long so you don’t want to waste any valuable time. 

Question 8: If Your Application To Veterinary School Is Unsuccessful, What Will You Do?

This question is testing your commitment to studying veterinary medicine, so your answer should reflect this as much as possible. 

Brainstorm some ideas of what you would do if you were to take a year out, and how these could be applicable to a second application to veterinary school. 

Common mistakes

  • Saying that you will apply for another course!
  • Saying that you will take a year out, including nothing that is relevant to veterinary medicine. This shows a lack of commitment and passion for the degree. 

Data Interpretation Questions and Current Hot Topics

Importantly, you may also be faced with some data interpretation questions or questions on current topics in veterinary news. Make sure you stay up to date with clinical developments in the field by regularly reading journals such as those published by the British Veterinary Association.

An example of a hot topic could include shortage of vets in the UK, so you need to know about the reasons of the issue, potential implications and solutions.

Useful Tips For Approaching Your Veterinary Medicine Interviews

Research the university and its program: It is essential to understand the unique features of the program you are interviewing for, as well as its curriculum and faculty, in order to show your dedication to that particular university. 

Dress professionally and arrive early: Make a good impression by dressing professionally and arriving in good time. 

Know your application: You are bound to be asked questions about your personal statement. Make sure you know it inside out!

Stay calm and confident: Remember, everyone is in the same shoes as you. Interviews can be nerve-wracking. Take a second to gather your thoughts, then deliver your answers clearly and confidently. 


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