Congratulations – your BMAT is over and done with!
Unfortunately, this year’s challenges are only just beginning. Applying to medical school is like a marathon, and you need perseverance and resilience to get through!
However, with the right preparation and organisation, you can navigate this year successfully. In this blog, I will discuss the three most important things to concentrate on from now until your interviews.
After your interview performance, your exam results are key to your offers – and therefore studying and revising for these exams should not be taken lightly. This is particularly important now that many colleges and sixth forms have all exams taken at the end of the two years of study.
Try to be consistent and keep on top of your work throughout the year; this will prevent the need for any end-of-the-year late night cramming. Be organised, and consider which style of revision best suits you. If you are the type that simply likes to read through notes at the end of the year, keep your notes up to date and complete.
If you prefer to make notes straight from the textbook, then ensure that you highlight which parts are needed for the exam, so that you do not waste time looking for them at the end of the year. If you learn best through doing past papers, then make sure you have them all available, so you do not panic trying to find them just before the exams.
Although you won’t have heard back from medical schools, it is important to prepare yourself by familiarising yourself with different interview styles and the kinds of questions you might be asked. Find out what style of interviews are given at the medical schools you have applied for – they may be traditional or Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). You can find out which med schools use the MMI here.
Different styles will need you to adapt your approach, but there will be some fundamental preparation that will apply for any interview. This includes questions such as: why do you want to be a doctor? Why did you apply for this medical school? They are also likely to ask about your work experience and voluntary work; remember to discuss what you learnt from your experiences, rather than solely focusing on describing what you did. You can see the kinds of questions you may be asked on our Interview Question Bank.
Preparation is vital, but they do not want to see someone who has simply memorised answers and spouts them robotically on demand. You want to come across as natural and at ease, which is all the more difficult under a situation as pressured as an interview. Practising will allow you to feel prepared in what you want to say, but should not make your answers become rigid and unnatural.
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of keeping calm this year. Not only will you feel better, but being in a better mind-set will actually allow you to perform better in both interviews (when they roll around!) and A-Levels.
The pressure of waiting for an interview may feel as though it is never-ending, and endless weeks with no responses may make you feel like the university does not like your application. This is not the case in the slightest. Some people receive interviews straight away, and others have to wait months. Don’t let this get you down. It is not a reflection on your application; they simply have an enormous number of applications to get through.
Finally, don’t forget the hobbies and relaxation techniques you wrote about so passionately in your personal statement! There is a reason medical schools look for this, and that is because medicine is a demanding degree and future career – and being able to take time out to relax stops you from burning out.
Words: Mariam Al-Attar
Looking for example interviews questions? Check out our Interview Question Bank!