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Published on 19th November 2018 by lauram

4 Mistakes I Made

Hi guys – I hope that your interview preparation is going well. I remember very clearly the constant email checking during this period! To hopefully ease your mind about the interview process, in this article I will admit four mistakes that I made during my preparation and give you some tips on how to avoid them!

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1. Don’t rote-learn answers

One of my biggest mistakes in preparation was rehearsing my answers. As students who are likely to have a strong interest in science, it is easy to fall into the trap of looking for and memorising a ‘good’ answer to a question – much like formulas found in Maths or Chemistry.

The biggest problem with this is that when you are asked a question similar to (but not quite the same as) the one you have learned, you’ll often find yourself lost for words or regurgitating the wrong answer!

You have met the university’s criteria for interview selection, now they want to find out more about you, not what you have rote learned from a question book. No matter how much you prepare you will not know what is going to be asked of you on the day. There will inevitably be an element of thinking-on-your-feet; try not to be scared of this!

Read 20 Things You Should Do Before Your Interview>>

2. Don’t over research

During one of my MMI Ethics stations, I quickly realised that my research into very specific medico-legal cases wasn’t particularly useful as the universities are not looking for qualified lawyers!

They are rather seeking students who can apply basic ethical principles (for example, the four pillars of medical ethics and consent) to different scenarios.

Read our guide to medical ethics>>

3. Make sure you practise with other medical applicants

There are multiple benefits of practising with other students interested in similar things, as they all will have some idea of the interview style and what is expected.

This set up can be really helpful when preparing for ethical scenarios. Ethics debates work very well as you are able to hear other people’s points of view and their reasoning. These situations encourage you to challenge and question statements as well as learning how to respond to being questioned on why you hold a certain viewpoint.

Learning how to converse in this dynamic could also be a good tool for those who will have group interviews. I think it also would have helped me feel more at ease about being probed on my answers.

See over 100 example questions and answers in our Interview Question Bank>>

4. Make sure you research the city of the university 

In all honesty, at the time, I didn’t think that research into the fine details of the course and the city would be particularly important.

However, knowledge about the course, the city and the attached clinical centres to the medical school is vital. At interview you may be asked questions on this subject. It is best to have an idea on why each specific university attracts you.

Even if the topic doesn’t come up in your interviews, you will be spending up to six years in medical school rotating through hospitals and living in the city.

This is also what will help you to make an informed decision should you receive multiple offers!

Read how to answer ‘Why this medical school?’>>

See 5 Things to Research About Your Med School Before Your Interview>>

So how can you avoid making the mistakes as me?

  • You should practise getting a random question, allow a short amount of thinking time, and then delivering an answer in front of family or friends – asking for their feedback. Frequent repetition of this technique will help you to build your confidence when in time-pressured scenarios.
  • Take control by asking any fellow applicants if they want to discuss a practice question. Keep on top of the big medical cases in the news and use one of these cases as a basis for your discussion.
  • Practise ethical questions using the question bank from The Medic Portal, using the four pillars of medical ethics as a baseline for all of your answers.
  • Spend some time researching: what specific aspects of the course attract you, which extracurricular societies are on offer, what hospitals and GP clinics are attached to the medical school.

That’s all from me for now guys. I wish you all the best with your preparation!

Words: Jayden Gittens

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