Being prepared is paramount to boosting your confidence, and therefore to succeed in Med School interviews!
There are many online resources that offer sample and past questions. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by everything that’s available, so let’s break it down… Interview questions broadly fall into eight different categories, including Work Experience, Personal Insight, Empathy, Ethics and more.
To optimise your chances of success, I recommend creating a document or flashcards with succinct bullet points around your personalised answers to common questions. Maybe focus on a few from each question category. You should avoid writing out paragraphs of text to memorise, because this can cause problems in your interview. After all, you don’t want your answers to seem rehearsed, monotonous or robotic on the day, as this means the interviewers won’t have a chance to get to know you as a person.
It’s essential to practise giving your answers aloud, so try this with a friend, family member, teacher, tutor, or even just on your own. You’ll find that actually speaking your answers is very different from just visualising the bullet points in your head. For any question that you struggle to answer during this practice, update your document/flashcards so that you are prepared for next time.
With many Med Schools using online interviews this year, you might feel a temptation to dress more casually than you would in person. But remember that it is a formal interview, so dressing professionally is still important.
If you are being interviewed online, make sure you’re wearing something that looks smart but is also comfortable to sit down in. You don’t want to be fidgeting during your interview, and you’ll perform at your best if you’re feeling comfortable.
Take a moment to pause and collect your thoughts before you answer each question. Resist the temptation to jump into an answer which leads you off onto a rambling tangent, does not really answer the question, and scores you lower than what you deserve!
Always try to think about precisely what the question is asking you. For example, if you face an MMI station where you’re asked to describe three people you would want to help you escape from a desert island, what are they really asking? Are they asking to reflect on what qualities make up a good team? Do they want you to consider problem-solving and communication skills? Are they assessing your ability to stay calm and work well under pressure (which is critical to a career in Medicine)? Take a few seconds to think before you speak.
Maintaining open posture and eye contact with your interviewers is important in Med School interviews.
This can also be applied to online interviews. When answering questions, try to direct your gaze into the camera if you can, instead of at the screen in general (and definitely don’t look away from the screen!), because this will create more of a connection with the interviewers.
If your interview is online, make sure you’re sat in a quiet room with stable internet connectivity, good lighting and a background that doesn’t look messy.
The Med School should send you some specific instructions for the interview, which may require you to use software that you have not used before. Ensure that you set aside ample time to go through all of the instructions and familiarise yourself with the software (creating an account if needed) to reduce unnecessary stress on interview day. Pay attention to any other specific instructions, such as a request for you to blur your background – you don’t want to give the Med School an easy reason to not accept you!
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