Adopting this mindset will go a long way to making the interview itself (and the preparation for it) feel less daunting.
Remember that just receiving an interview invite for Medicine is no small feat – and that the admissions team has selected your application over hundreds of others because you have stood out and they are genuinely interested in having you attend their Medical School. So why wouldn’t you make the most of this great opportunity? You’ve managed to successfully put one foot through the door, and now it’s up to you to sell yourself to the panel.
Treating interviews this way will mean you are more likely to get something out of the whole process. Afterwards you can evaluate areas that went well, which you can then apply to future interviews, and aspects that could be improved on – in which case you now have a starting point to prepare for the next one! This will make you feel more productive and reduce anxiety.
Now is a good time to reflect on what your true strengths and weaknesses are. Start by noting down your reasons as to why you are choosing Medicine as a career. This will give you a good grounding for thinking about your motivation for Medicine and your personal attributes that would prepare you for the challenges of a Medicine degree and life as a Doctor. To answer Personal Insight questions, you’ll need to know what skills you possess that you consider your greatest strengths.
At the same time, consider what challenges could emerge on your personal and professional journey – then tell the panel how you plan to overcome these. This will demonstrate that you have not only the confidence and maturity to know what your own weak spots are, but also the pragmatism to address these in order to become a better person, Med student and Doctor.
If you take an introspective approach to discuss your strengths and weaknesses, this will help you to avoid cliched answers. You’ll also come across as far more genuine in your responses, which is sure to make you stand out from the crowd!
Interview panels want to get to know the person behind the application – and how can they do this if they are presented with a hollow, scripted answer to every question?
Of course you should prepare for interview by looking at common interview questions, but try to think of some keywords as prompt points for each answer, instead of learning whole answers by heart. You’ll be able to better engage with the panel and give solid answers, without seeming like you’re reciting a script.
Using keywords or phrases will make it easier for you to remember the key messages you want to get across in your answers, while also reducing the risk of you going off on a tangent. It should keep you grounded throughout the interview (which will calm you down if you’re nervous!) and ensure you come across in a natural, genuine way.
Academic ability isn’t everything. Above all, admissions staff are looking for well-rounded people who can effectively balance their university studies with their personal and social lives. Those with a healthy work-life balance are less likely to burn out both as a Med student and as a Doctor.
In particular, you should consider how you would actively contribute to life within the Medical School when you’re taking a break from studies. A good way to show that you have knowledge of the Med School and you’ve researched the university is to name a few of the societies that you’d be interested in joining, or that you’d be keen to set up yourself.
As opposed to the strict time limits at MMIs, in a panel interview you might get the chance to have a longer conversation with the interviewers about your interests, so take advantage of this. You never know – you might even find you have something in common!
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