Finding it difficult to practise for your interview? We’ve created a range of interview preparation tips, including practical advice, games and tips on how to prepare for the day, covering all interview question types and different learning styles. This blog is Part One – stay tuned for Part Two soon!
1. Make mind maps for each interview topic
This may be a good preparation technique if you’re a visual or linguistic learner. Take a look at our Interview Question Bank and make a large mind map for each topic. This can be a good way to plan your answers and collect your ideas in one place. Here are a few examples of how these could work:
Teamwork – These questions are usually reliant on examples, so your mind-maps for each one could feature an example of where you demonstrated the relevant skill. For this, you could jot down a specific experience you had in forming your school’s medical society to show your teamwork skills.
Knowledge of Medical School –You could create a mind-map for each medical school you’re applying to and make notes under the following headers: the teaching style of the course (do they use PBL? Is it an integrated course?), the extracurriculars offered, key facts about the medical school itself and what specifically appeals to you about the school (this should ideally be a combination of the course, learning style and perhaps some extracurriculars – not simply that you’d love to live in London for a few years!)
Medical Ethics– A mind map can be a good way to get to grips with Medical Ethics. You could write out the four pillars and apply these in bullet points to a range of different scenarios from the question bank, considering which of the four pillars are in conflict for each one.
2. Play games and explain a process to a friend
If you’re preparing for an MMI, this will be great communication practice – and is great if you’re an auditory learner. Try explaining an activity to a friend or family member as if you were teaching them for the first time. Here are a few ideas:
How would you explain tying shoelaces without using your hands?
Ask a friend to draw a floor plan layout of a building on a piece of paper – with several rooms, doors and corridors – and a door at each end, marked ‘Door A’ and ‘Door B’ – then give it to you. You should then explain to your friend how they would get from Door A to Door B in a few minutes.
Imagine your friend has never made a cup of tea before. Explain the process to them while they follow your instructions.
With a group of friends, or with your family, you could also make a bank of these types of questions, toss them into a hat, and each take it in turns to explain your card to the rest of the group – this might be a fun way to prepare, and you’ll be able to practice your communication skills at the same time!
Another fun way to prepare for creativity questions may be to do a similar thing, and pool together a group of questions to put into a hat, such as:
How many words are in the average book?
Why do we wear shoes?
If you were stranded in the middle of the jungle, which one person would you pick to accompany you and why?
The group can then take it in turns to explain their reasoning – and you could then look at Creativity Questions for our detailed answer guides to see if you were on the right lines!
3. Highlight your work experience diary
This may a good technique if you’re struggling to apply your work experience to different scenarios. Go through your work experience diaries with a highlighter to find the key points, such as specific patient interactions or observations. After this, you could go through the Interview Question Bank and organise your experiences under different headings to help you tackle these questions in an interview. For example:
Empathy– Under this, you may want to mention any work experience you had in a care home – or where you observed other doctors or nurses communicating with patients in a kind and understanding manner, which helped you to understand the importance of empathy in a medical setting.
Personal Insight– For example, if you were asked ‘what do you think you would find hardest about being a doctor?’, you may mention that you previously found it hard to witness a patient suffering, but that your work placement at a hospital gave you the opportunity to ask colleagues for advice, which helped you with that aspect of medical work.
Teamwork– You may be asked, ‘what do you think makes a good leader?’ – look through your diary for examples of when you saw good leadership skills. Perhaps the doctors you were working with demonstrated the importance of organisation or communication skills when interacting with all members of their team.
Good luck with your interview preparation – and stay tuned for Part Two!