5 Key Differences with Graduate Entry Medicine Interviews
Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists
Applying to a graduate Medicine course will at some point, like undergraduate courses, involve an interview. Although both routes share interview similarities there are some key differences between graduate and undergraduate interviews.
1. Interviewers will expect greater maturity from candidates
Graduate Medicine programmes will expect an extra level of maturity in successful candidates. After all, graduate applicants are at least three years older than undergraduate applicants. Your maturity can be put across in a variety of ways during your interview. For example, be sure to emphasise life skills, experiences and accomplishments from the last couple of years when asked to speak about your past experiences. These skills have been gained in a variety of ways, whether from working or whilst studying your prior degree. Regardless, these facets will emphasise your maturity in a graduate Medicine interview.
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2. Clearly detail your motivation for wanting to study Medicine at a graduate level
This is a crucial element of any medical interview, with candidates inevitably being asked at some stage why they want to become a doctor. It is particularly important to plan your answer before a graduate Medicine interview.
Many graduate applicants apply for medicine at a late stage. Some may apply straight after their undergraduate degree, whilst some may apply after years of working in a different industry. Detailing your motivation may be simpler if you have just completed a bioscience-related undergraduate degree but applying after completing a non-related degree or working in a non-related industry may provide a unique and interesting viewpoint for your reasons for studying at a graduate level. For this reason, many graduate programmes accept candidates from a range of backgrounds, although it is always worth checking this first to ensure no applications are wasted!
In addition, motivation may be displayed by detailing examples of your extensive work experience, what you may have learned from these encounters, and how they have influenced your motivation going forward to study graduate Medicine.
Due to the increased competition for graduate places compared to undergraduate places, candidates’ motivations for studying Medicine will be scrutinised even more extensively. Selectors must be certain that candidates are willing to undertake the career-long commitment of continuous skill development and hard work.
3. Make use of your previous degree/ job to give examples of transferable skills
Candidates may often be asked to describe how their previous experiences have prepared them to study at medical school. Graduate courses often have increased work experience requirements and candidates may often have held a healthcare job role for the previous year. As a result of this, selectors will expect a higher calibre of answer from these candidates. Examples of these transferable skills may include the ability to work well under pressure from experience of exams or coursework in your undergraduate degree. In addition, you may have worked as a part of a multi-disciplinary healthcare team whilst working as a care assistant, and it is crucial to explain what skills you may have developed from this experience and how they relate to your Medicine application.
Experience of clinical environments will help with this area of an interview, as you will be able to put across a realistic view of what being a doctor entails, and which transferable skills from your previous experience may be most crucial.
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4. Prepare to speak about your academic history
Graduate Medicine interviews may often include questions on previous academic results or academic interests. As an application is centred around the result of your last degree, some medical schools are less interested in your high school results. This may be helpful for some applicants; however, it is important to remember that Graduate medical schools are looking for an extremely high current academic standard. This standard, along with excellent organisational skills, is necessary in order for students to cope with a four-year degree.
As a result of this essential high standard, emphasis should be placed on any particular academic achievements you may have had in your last degree. These may include any publications, academic awards, conferences attended or poster presentations. In addition, if you have any particular areas of research interest from your previous degree, be sure to emphasise these. They will help you stand out against other applications!
5. Be aware of any extra tasks
Some graduate courses involve extra tasks before or after interview, such as analysing a doctor-patient interaction or participating in a group task. Think about how you may want to approach these tasks in order to help you stand out against other candidates.
Elliot Noble, Graduate Entry Medical Student, Newcastle University