The Complete Interview Guide: Work Experience
This is part of our new ‘Interview Guide’ blog series, where each post will be focusing on a different aspect of a medical school interview. This guide collects a range of our resources on Work Experience, from topic-specific blog posts to Interview Questions.
How will Work Experience feature in my interview?
Work Experience is a popular interview topic – admissions tutors will want to see demonstration of your interest in Medicine, and your ability to communicate your experiences. They’ll also want to see that you made the most of your placement by making an effort to ask questions and interact with patients and co-workers. You may be asked questions on what you learned and the kinds of placements you completed or particularly enjoyed. If you kept a record of your time at a GP or care home, now is a good time to re-read it!
Remember that interviewers are not looking for you to reel off an impressive list of placements, but to reflect carefully on your time. What did you learn? How did you interact with patients or the doctors you were working with? Don’t forget: with work experience, it’s quality over quantity!
Key resource: Medical Work Experience
What kinds of questions will I be asked about Work Experience?
You may be asked a variety of questions about your work experience, for example:
- Can you tell me about a difficult situation you observed at your placement and what you learned from it?
- What was the most valuable lesson you took away from your work experience?
- Which part of your work experience did you find the most enjoyable?
These questions are all designed to encourage you to reflect on the experiences you had, how they influenced the way you understand modern medicine and what you gained from working in a medical environment. For a further bank of interview questions on work experience and detailed answer guides, you might find it useful to visit our Work Experience Interview Question Bank.
Key resource: Work Experience Interview Question Bank
How can I prepare for Work Experience questions?
There are plenty of ways to prepare for questions on work experience. One idea may be to revisit the records you kept of your time at a care home, GP or hospital. Look at the experiences you had during your placement and reflect on them. What did you learn from each experience? Did you interact with patients? What did you learn from the doctors and nurses you were working with? Did you observe a particularly interesting patient consultation?
It may be helpful to go through your records and make notes for answers to the questions above – or look at your diary while going through the Work Experience Interview Question Bank. You could make notes on the most common questions, such as ‘what did you learn from your work experience?’ and write down the key things to mention for each placement. For example, at your hospital placement you may have seen doctors breaking bad news to patients or explaining test results – this may have taught you about the importance of doctors’ empathy and communication.
Another way to prepare may be to go through Work Experience practice questions with a friend to get used to reflecting on your experiences aloud. When the interview comes, you’ll feel much more comfortable.
Key resource: Making The Most of Medical Work Experience: Top 5 Tips
Other key Work Experience resources:
The following pages have sections on how to make the most of your work experience:
How we can help:
- Interview Tutoring – want to practice discussing your work experience in an interview scenario? Tutoring sessions are entirely tailored to suit you, so you can focus on the best strategies for discussing your work placements.
- Interview Courses – our highly popular Interview Course covers many interview topics, including how to speak about work experience, motivation and interest.