Updated: Aug 7, 2022
Interview Tips for Applicants
By Elizabeth Neri
Hello there aspiring medical students! Medicine school interviews are currently underway and I remember how nerve wracking this period can be. So, this post is dedicated to providing interview advice and resources that can be used.
What type of interviews are there?
So first of all, it is important that you understand the difference between the main interview types, there are three: MMIs, panel interviews and traditional style interviews. MMIs (multiple mini-interviews) are exactly what the name suggests, it consists of a series of stations distinct from one another each testing a different skill and do not last a very long time. Panel and traditional style are very similar in the sense where they both typically involve two or three interviewers, typically a member of faculty or a medical student but sometimes universities include a “lay” person without medical knowledge also, and questions flow in a way where they are influenced by the person being interviewed answers. They last around 20-30 minutes. The main difference between traditional and panel interviews is that traditional interviews are only carried out by Cambridge and Oxford and at times can feel slightly more abstract and unconventional.
Interview advice and preparation
Although there are different styles of interview, overall, your preparation shouldn’t differ significantly as a lot of universities are looking for same/similar qualities. Here’s an article made by the medical portal that breaks down UK medical schools by their interview style and other information worth knowing:
Right so now you know all about the individual medical schools’ interview styles and typically what to expect, so now it is time to actually prepare. You do not need to pay for mock interviews or an interview workshop to do well at interviews! There are many free/cheap alternatives that are just as if not more effective. For more free support here is a link to 6med where there are articles providing support in developing and understand key skills looked for at interview:
They also run an actual workshop, which you do have to pay for, but bursaries are available (although currently applications are closed for the 2021/2022 cycle).
Here is also a link to the medical schools council’s interview prep site. It takes you step-by-step through what to expect at interview. It should take half an hour to work through and includes videos and activities:
Wherever you can try and get an actual mock interview, there are a few companies that offer free mock interview support:
Whilst it is helpful to have one done by an actual medical student or clinician, this may not always be possible. Maybe ask your science teachers whether they could try and replicate an interview scenario. Your friends and family can also help out also. Here are some links to MMI and panel mock interview questions that you could work through or ask a friend or family member to interview you with:
https://www.thestudentmedic.com/interviews (they offer free panel mock interviews to students from a low income household/entitled to free school meals)
What I found helpful was having conversations with friends and teachers on current medical topics and ethics as well as things covered in my science lessons. By getting more comfortable discussing scientific concepts and current issues within the medical field it meant at interview it didn’t feel too unnatural as I had had practice before hand. Also make sure you have model answers to questions that are likely to be asked like “why study medicine?” or “what interested you about this medical school?” however my biggest piece of advice is try and enjoy this process, to be given an interview is amazing in itself, try not to get into your head so much that it inhibits your ability to perform and show off your knowledge.
What other advice do you have for aspiring medics, or resources you found useful?
I wish you all the best of luck!