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10 Most Common Medical School Interview Questions and Model Answers

Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists

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Interviews for Medical school can cover challenging topics. Here, we present 10 of the Most Common Medical School Interview Questions and Answers. We’ve combined questions for US and UK students to highlight some of the most challenging areas across both. You can find more in our dedicated Medical School Interview Question Bank

Motivation for Medicine and Knowledge

Why have you chosen to study Medicine?

Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by the human body and its complex workings. This interest was ignited during my biology lessons in secondary school and further fostered during my A-level studies. Medicine stood out as a unique blend of science and human interaction. It provides a dynamic career that promises lifelong learning, which appeals to me greatly. I also have a strong desire to help others and make a positive impact on their lives, and I believe medicine offers the opportunity to do just that. My work experience at a local clinic reaffirmed this aspiration. The close interaction with patients and the fulfilment that the doctors derived from their work further inspired me to choose medicine as a career.

Can you discuss a current issue in healthcare, and why it interests you?

The issue of health inequalities, especially exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, deeply interests me. Many low-income and disadvantaged groups were disproportionately affected by the virus, highlighting existing disparities in access to healthcare services. This has brought to the forefront the importance of social determinants in health outcomes. As an aspiring medical professional, I’m motivated to understand these issues and their implications on medical practice. I believe it’s essential for doctors to consider these social determinants when providing care, to ensure

How have your work experience or volunteering activities confirmed your desire to study Medicine?

I volunteered at a local care home, where I interacted closely with the elderly residents. The experience gave me an appreciation for the roles of empathy and understanding in providing care, especially for individuals with complex health needs. I also shadowed doctors at a local hospital, observing how they used their knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions. Witnessing the doctors’ impact on patients’ lives, combined with the intellectual challenge that each case presented, reinforced my decision to study Medicine. It affirmed my belief that a career in medicine would be both personally fulfilling and intellectually stimulating.

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Motivation for Medicine and Knowledge Continued

Why do you want to study at…..eg. King’s College London?

  • King’s College London is the largest medical school in Europe and as a result has many opportunities for research.
  • The style of teaching suits me: Largely lecture based teaching, lots of anatomy dissection, case based learning with patient contact from the first term.
  • King’s College London is an extremely well recognised university which ranks in the top 20 in the world for Medicine.
  • It offers excellent facilities for clinical sessions as well as having a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
  • Location in the centre of London means it serves a diverse population and so one is likely to come across a wide range of medical conditions.
  • King’s College London is also associated with a number of excellent teaching hospitals- Guy’s, St Thomas’, King’s
  • It would truly be an honour to study medicine at one of the most established and well respected institutions in the world

A doctor’s role can be very challenging. It is therefore vital that universities assess a candidate’s motivation, in order to ensure that they are committed to a career in medicine. Discuss with the examiner why you would like to be a doctor, and not any other medical professional.

  • Although all members of the MDT have roles of equal importance, I feel that the role of a doctor is best suited to my skill-set. The vast scope of scientific knowledge which I find very interesting, alongside being able to demonstrate softer skills such as communication, is something that I find very attractive in this career.
  • Operating on patients is something that is specific to the role of a doctor, and is something that, from my work experience, I find particularly interesting. (The candidate may describe the post-graduate training for a doctor, highlighting the uniqueness of this in comparison to other disciplines).
  • The variety of different aspects to a doctor’s role is also very attractive. Doctors are often able to take time out for research and teaching amongst other interests.

Why should we offer you a place over other candidates?

  • I can’t speak for other students as I haven’t seen their applications, however I feel that I have a skillset that will stand me in good stead for a career in medicine. I am hardworking and self-motivated, which I feel will help me as a student as well as in the future as a doctor.
  • From my work experience, I understand that a career in medicine is very stressful, but I feel that my non-academic interests such as the sports teams I am part of, provide welcome stress relief
  • I understand that although academics are very important in a career in medicine, I feel that I am a well-rounded student. I am part of my local football team and have represented my county in regional tournaments. Through this I have developed skills such as teamwork that I am able to transfer to a career in medicine. As well as the skills and qualities needed to be a doctor, I feel that I am able to contribute positively to student life.
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Ethics

Discuss the ethical implications of euthanasia.

Euthanasia, or assisted dying, stirs considerable ethical debate due to the complex interplay of several principles. The central issue is the sanctity of life versus individual autonomy.

From a deontological perspective, life is inherently valuable, and its termination by any means is morally unacceptable. This perspective aligns with the principle of non-maleficence – the directive to do no harm, which is fundamental to medical practice.

Conversely, from a utilitarian viewpoint that seeks the greatest happiness for the greatest number, if a patient is suffering unbearably with no prospect of improvement, euthanasia could be considered morally acceptable. This aligns with the principle of autonomy – respecting the patient’s right to decide their course of treatment or end of life care.

Balancing these principles is challenging. In jurisdictions where euthanasia is legal, strict regulations are in place to protect vulnerable individuals and ensure that euthanasia is a genuinely autonomous choice made without coercion. While ethically complex, conversations around euthanasia ultimately promote dialogue on dignity, quality of life, and compassionate care at the end of life.

You are a junior doctor and you notice your senior has made a mistake which could harm a patient's health. How would you handle the situation, and what ethical principles are at play here?

The ethical principles at play here include patient safety (non-maleficence), honesty (veracity), and professional responsibility. If I noticed my senior had made a mistake, I would first confirm my observations and then communicate my concerns directly and respectfully to them. If the senior doctor failed to address the issue, I would escalate it to a higher authority to protect the patient’s wellbeing.

Patient safety is paramount in healthcare, and open communication is vital to maintaining it. This situation also underscores the importance of a just culture in medicine, where individuals feel safe reporting mistakes without fear of punitive action. Encouraging such a culture promotes learning, improves practice, and ultimately leads to better patient outcomes.

Consider the concept of patient autonomy in relation to a patient refusing potentially life-saving treatment. How would you handle this situation, and what are the ethical considerations involved?

In such a scenario, the primary ethical considerations involve balancing respect for patient autonomy with the principle of beneficence, the duty to act in the patient’s best interest.

Firstly, I would ensure the patient fully understands their diagnosis, the proposed treatment, its benefits and potential risks, and the consequences of refusal. This process, called informed consent, respects patient autonomy and allows them to make decisions aligning with their values and goals.

If the patient maintains their decision to refuse treatment, I would respect their choice, given they have the capacity to make the decision. It’s important to explore their concerns, as there may be fears or misunderstandings that could be addressed, potentially changing their perspective.

Ultimately, patient autonomy does not equate to physician abandonment. If a patient declines treatment, it’s my responsibility to respect their decision while continuing to provide them with the best possible care within their choices, aligning with the principles of autonomy, beneficence, and non-abandonment.

Imagine you've discovered that one of your peers has plagiarised a piece of coursework which contributes to their final grade. What would you do in this situation and what ethical issues does this situation raise?

In this situation, several ethical principles are implicated, including honesty, fairness, and professional integrity.

First, I would approach my peer privately, raising my concerns in a non-confrontational manner. They may be unaware of their wrongdoing, especially if they’re unfamiliar with academic integrity standards, or they may not understand the severity of their actions.

If my peer dismisses my concerns or chooses to ignore the issue, I would feel obligated to report the matter to an appropriate academic authority. This is not an action I would take lightly, but it’s important to uphold the standards of academic integrity that we are all expected to follow.

The principle of honesty is obviously at stake in a situation of plagiarism. It’s crucial to present one’s own work in academic settings, respecting the intellectual property of others. The principle of fairness is also important because it’s unjust for a student to gain advantages (like higher grades) through dishonest means.

Moreover, this situation raises broader concerns about professional integrity. In a healthcare context, for example, this behaviour could have serious implications. If a future doctor is willing to plagiarise, it brings into question their fitness to practice and their ability to uphold the values of trust and honesty essential in the doctor-patient relationship.

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