Written by Jenita Jona James
Southampton uses a panel interview and group discussion as part of their admissions process, here are some of the reasons that may have contributed to me getting an offer:
There are many ways to approach the group task. I personally chose to be a team player as opposed to a team leader because in the heat of the moment, it can be misunderstood and can come across as dominating.
If I had something to say, I would always acknowledge what the person before me said and would add on to it. I gently encouraged anyone who was quiet and struggling to speak up by asking them their opinion on the topic – this is a win-win situation as it looks good for you and for them when they share their thoughts.
There was one candidate who would interrupt and talk over everyone else in our group – do not do this! They were also the only one who did not talk to us before we went in.
For the panel interview, the interviewers will pick out certain aspects of your Personal Statement that interests them and ask you about it. This is why it is imperative that you do not exaggerate or lie in your Personal Statement.
I had a good cop, bad cop experience – but the bad cop did not last long as they came around pretty quick and were really nice! Make sure you are able to talk about any volunteering and work experience you have done, as well as any extracurricular achievements.
Having worked in the NHS in various roles, at every interview I am asked about the values of the NHS. Southampton is also keen on hearing about how you demonstrate them. The six values are as follows:
Make sure you memorise them! They asked me what all six values were and were impressed that I knew about it.
It would also be worth familiarising yourself with the seven NHS principles so you can weave them into your answers as and when required.
I made a list of common interview questions and worked through them making sure I could answer them.
I advise knowing what the Medicine course entails, as they will ask how you are a good fit for their course. I talked about how I was looking forward to doing a research project as my undergraduate degree had piqued my interest in research. I also said I liked the option to undertake a language module in Year 3 as I had done language A-Levels and wanted to continue it.
They have weekend healthcare assistant shifts as part of the degree and this really interested me as I wanted to be able to experience working as part of a multidisciplinary team during my degree. Working as a healthcare assistant will make you a better Doctor – you will hear this often from nurses and it is true!
It is ok if you are not sure what speciality you want to pursue but a rough idea will help answer their ‘where do you see yourself in 5/10 years’ time’ question. I broke my answer down into clinical/academic/personal achievements and they really liked this. Southampton is keen on creating well-rounded Doctors who are not only good at Medicine but can also pursue their own interests outside of it. I used the ISC Medical interviews book to prepare for mine and I highly advise getting yourself a copy – it does not have to be new!
Remember that the interviewers would have been in your seat in the past if they are Doctors/Medical Students and they know how you feel. Relax and you will most definitely do well.
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