How to Ace The Medical School Interview
Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists
Depending on which university you have applied to, the interview format varies slightly. Most universities tend to use either a multiple mini interview format (MMIs) or a traditional interview panel format. Furthermore, for online interviews, each university may use different online software (such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom) and therefore it is crucial to check the arrangements that are in place for the specific university to which you have applied. This is certainly an area of preparation that differs from in-person interviews, since you will need to familiarise yourself with the software used in advance. But do not worry, you could ask friends and family to create a virtual mock-interview room using the same software that you will use for the actual interview. In fact, you can even take advantage of virtual arrangements in order to increase your confidence – for example – you can take time to prepare a space in your own home environment so that you feel as calm and comfortable as possible.
For online interviews, it is crucial to equip yourself with a laptop that has a good webcam and microphone, with good high-speed internet; you could always borrow one from a friend if need be. Before the interview itself, check everything is in working order and create a back-up plan in case there are technical problems on the day.
Physical gestures and tone of voice are easier to convey during an in-person interview. Therefore, there are some important differences to be aware of when participating in an online interview. Firstly, you should modify your manner of speaking, being as clear and as articulate as you can, allowing for any delay in audio. You may have to practise adjusting the way you use your body language, too, for example, by looking into the camera when you are speaking, looking at the screen when listening and making you sure you sit in such a manner that you are well-framed in the webcam.
Some top tips for online interviews
A useful tip is to conduct a mock interview beforehand which you record, and review this carefully so that you can identify areas of strength or weakness. You might realise that you are fidgeting too much or not looking at the camera enough. Also, ensure that you have the necessary paperwork for the interview prepared in advance, or even submit it beforehand. You should dress as you would if you were being interviewed in-person, ensuring that you look smart. Avoid too much make-up and try to style your hair in a professional way.
Practise the interview questions in advance
For online or in-person interviews, it is important to be familiar with the type of questions that you will be asked. For universities that use multiple mini interviews (MMI), it is important to familiarise yourself with the types of role-play or scenarios that you may face. These could be contextual questions which cause you to think about the ethics of a given situation, clinical graphs to interpret or calculations to carry out. In order to stand out from average candidates, you should include as much detail as possible in your responses by considering both sides of the argument and the range of factors that might be involved.
Study in detail the common types of question that you might be asked during the interview. These focus on things such as your motivation for wanting to study Medicine, your knowledge of the current issues in medical practice, questions of ethics, empathy, caring, and your ability to communicate. Being able to discuss the different types of skills you possess and those which will contribute to the medical profession, will be viewed positively by the interviewing panel.
Show off your skills
Use the interview as an opportunity to demonstrate your personal characteristics that are vital to the medical profession such as: the ability to empathise, ethical awareness, working in a team and problem-solving. When asked open questions, demonstrate your creative and critical thinking skills. Explain your thought processes out loud and attempt to ask logical questions in order to reach a solution.
Make yourself stand out
Above all, always try to make yourself stand out from other candidates by showing your passion and enthusiasm for the subject. Have a question ready to ask at the end of the interview in case you are given this opportunity. And remember, try to remain calm; give yourself a few seconds before you answer a question and if there is a tough question you don’t feel able to answer fully, be honest with the interviewers and suggest that you have read something similar but you are keen to find out more about the subject in due course.
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