Teachers’ Guide: Interview
The Medicine interview can be incredibly daunting for students – but there are many ways to help them prepare at school. This page will detail advice on how to help students prepare for their medical school interview.
How can I help my students prepare for their interview?
Encourage students to give presentations
This may be particularly useful for questions on NHS Hot Topics to encourage students to keep up to date with the latest medical news and to practice communicating what they’ve read.
You could ask students to pick a recent medical news story (for example, the 7-Day NHS) and present it to the rest of the class or their group. In their presentation they could give an overview of the debate and consider its potential impact. For example, how would the 7-Day NHS impact doctors? How would it affect patients? These presentations are a good way to encourage students to think critically about current news stories and to keep up to date with developments in Medicine and the NHS.
Organise class or small group debates
This may work well for questions on Medical Ethics or NHS Hot Topics.
You could encourage your students to debate both sides of a chosen topic as a class or small group – for NHS Hot Topics, ask them: is the 7-Day NHS a positive? What are the issues with a 7-Day health service? Students may feel strange discussing these things aloud at first, but these debates will be great practice for strengthening their communication skills in their interview.
For Medical Ethics, you could divide the class into groups of four and present each group with specific ethical scenarios on cards (Medical Ethics questions can be found and printed off here). Ask them then to discuss the card with each other and feed back to the class. In a group of four, each student could be assigned one of the four pillars of Medical Ethics:
One group’s card may read: A patient refuses treatment for a life-threatening condition. Discuss the ethical issues involved. Each student can then discuss how the scenario relates to their given pillar: the student with ‘Autonomy’ may argue that it is the doctor’s responsibility to honour the patient’s decisions – whereas the student with ‘Beneficence’ may suggest that the treatment is in the patient’s best interests, and that as a doctor you have a duty of care.
These debates are an excellent way to encourage students to think in detail about each of the four pillars – crucial to answering Medical Ethics questions in their Interview.
Practice as a whole class
Another good way to prepare your students for their interview is to go through our Interview Question Bank as a class – perhaps focusing on a topic a week. You could examine the answer guides together for more difficult topics, such as Ethics or Creativity – but remind students that these guides are designed to stimulate their thinking and should not be repeated word for word at their interview! Encourage them to think about and develop their own ideas.
In addition to working on trickier questions together, encourage them to practice the most common questions – these are usually under Motivation or Work Experience. Questions may take the form of ‘why do you want to go to medical school?’ or ‘what did you learn from your medical work experience?’. Students could practice these in pairs to familiarise themselves with vocalising their motivation for Medicine, or speaking about their experience in a GP. This will help them to feel much more relaxed on the day.
Remind students that their interviewers may also ask them why they chose a specific medical school – for example, ‘why are you looking to study at Cardiff?’ or ‘what particularly appeals to you about the style of learning at Aberdeen?’ – so strongly encourage them to research their chosen schools beforehand! This should include learning styles (such as Problem-Based Learning) as well as extracurricular opportunities. You could also direct students to our Knowledge of Medical School Question Bank here.