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5 Tips for Medical School Interview Success

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It has begun – the eagerly-awaited interview invitation emails are starting to pop up in medicine applicants’ inboxes. In January and February hundreds of interviews will be held at Newcastle, forming the basis of who receives an offer. It may be slightly scary that this 30-minute-long chat can determine whether you’re bestowed the pleasure of being a future doctor, but don’t panic! Here are a few tips to hopefully help you impress at interview, and get that all-important offer…

1.    Research the uni

Let’s start off with an easy question – why do you want to come here? (Hint: ‘the nightlife’ is probably not the most appropriate answer…) Your interviewers will expect you to have researched the course in detail. For example, did you know that it has an integrated structure, providing opportunities for early clinical experience? Do you know that teaching in Years 3 & 5 happens in different Base Units? It helps to show that you know what you’re letting yourself in for!

2.    Do your background reading

As a potential future doctor, you’ll be expected to have an understanding of the NHS and the challenges it faces. You’ll also be faced with many ethical dilemmas, so be prepared to discuss examples of these, demonstrating that you can see both sides of an argument. There are always stories surrounding medicine and healthcare in the news nowadays, so it’s easy to read around for possible discussion topics.

3.    Know your personal statement inside-out

Being able to reflect on the work experience mentioned in your personal statement shows that you have insight into medicine as a career. You could also be asked to expand on hobbies, interests, or literally anything else you put in there, so make sure you’re familiar with everything you’ve written. Remember, every question is an opportunity to show how you’re different to all the other applicants after the same place as you.

4.    Practise, practise, practise

They’re not everybody’s idea of fun, but mock interviews give a good indication of how you’ll perform in the real thing. Ask teachers, friends, or parents for valuable constructive criticism – or even talk to yourself in front of a mirror! There are plenty of websites and books with example questions to use. It’s good to prepare points for typical questions like “Why do you want to be a doctor?” and “Why not nursing?”, but bear in mind that you don’t want to sound like an over-rehearsed robot on autopilot.

5.    Be yourself!

(Couldn’t resist ending on a cheesy note, sorry.) It’s not just about reeling off good answers. The interviewers want to see your personality, how well you communicate, and the way you cope under pressure. All you can do is keep calm, be confident, and answer honestly. And don’t be put off by any slip-ups – you don’t need to have a perfect interview to get a place!

Good luck 🙂

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