It can be difficult to know where to start when preparing for your medical school interview. Depending on where your interview is and what the format is, there may be different things you can do to prepare, e.g. practising role plays with a friend, or finding out about the Problem Based Learning (PBL) process.
However, some things will be important for you to know about, no matter where your interview is. In this blog, I will give you three things you should definitely read before your medical school interview.
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Questions in an interview may be about a specific topic, or be as broad as “tell me something you read in the news recently about the NHS”. Being asked about a specific topic is tricky, and answering it depends on you having read about it beforehand, which may seem a little unfair. Being asked broadly can also be difficult, as you may not know where to start.
For this reason, you should try to read around as many topics as possible. My advice would be to keep an eye on the news (our weekly news summaries are great for this) as well as reading up on the “classical” hot topics in medicine, many of which are ethical. This includes abortion, euthanasia and organ donation.
Amongst these, try to find two or three topics which particularly interest you, to read further in depth. That way, if you are asked an open question, you can show an impressive wider knowledge!
GMC stands for General Medical Council, which is an organisation in charge of monitoring medical education and training. Its role is to maintain patient safety by overseeing the practice of doctors. The GMC publish guidelines for doctors which outline what is expected of them. This guidance is titled “Good Medical Practice” and is split into sections including: professionalism, knowledge, skills, safety, communication and trust.
The guidelines are updated regularly to reflect the ongoing development of the profession and new issues that arise with time. They also include interactive case studies which give you an idea of the kind of situations that could arise in practice and how to implement their advice.
As well as reading through the overview of the guidelines themselves, the case studies would be particularly useful as they will reflect the ideals that medical school interviewers will expect you to at least be aware of. You may even be given scenarios to analyse in the interview, and this will give you an idea about how to approach them appropriately.
3. Your personal statement
You need to prepare yourself to answer any question about your personal statement. Trust me, it will not look good if you’ve forgotten what you wrote! Remember, the fact that they have called you for an interview means that they liked it, and therefore you need to be able to expand further about what you wrote.
Personal statements have such limited characters, so they will expect you to have much more to say about your experiences and achievements. Go through your statement with a fine-tooth comb, and practice answering questions about it.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but should give you a good starting point for your preparation. Good luck!
Words: Mariam Al-Attar
Mariam is a 5th year medical student at Lancaster University. She loves writing and medical education, and is hoping to specialise in rheumatology.