University of Aberdeen Medicine Interview Tips
Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists
Hey, there! If you’re reading this, you have probably secured a spot in an interview at the University of Aberdeen, congratulations! Let’s go through some tips and insider tricks on how to make the process as easy as possible.
Be sure to research key features that make studying Medicine at Aberdeen unique and make sure you can debate in their favour; what are their pros and cons? Definitely mention the very modern Clinical Skills Centre or the opportunity to explore you interests with the Student Selected Components starting from your first year. Interested in rural medicine? At the university of Aberdeen, you can pick a “Remote and Rural option” and spend all clinical blocks in fourth year in Inverness (should this be of interest to you!).
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When facing a question about how you cope with stressful situations, it is very important that you reflect on your previous experiences. If you do this before getting to the interview, it will make your life much easier on the day. It’s always a good idea to try and integrate an anecdote from your work experience, to show that you know something about stress-inducing circumstances in the healthcare system. If you struggle to give structure to your answers about past experiences, try the STAR system (Situation, Task, Action, Result). The examiners want to see self-reflection, so make sure you explore your weaknesses and strengths in how you dealt with the situation. Be aware that they might also ask you to show first-hand your stress coping abilities by involving you in a challenging role play scenario.
At Aberdeen, they tend to be more relaxed about the timing of the stations, than at other universities. With seven minutes per each of the seven stations and two minutes in between them, you have more time to work through the questions and scenarios and more time to think about the instructions and relax in between. This also means that the interview process will overall be slightly longer and that each station will have more value, so be mindful of this when practicing as well.
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Understanding Local Healthcare Provision
Make sure you have an in-depth understanding of how the NHS works, such as what primary, secondary and tertiary care are. These bits of information will be useful to you, not only in a dedicated station but also throughout the entirety of the interview at Aberdeen. If you are from the UK, think about your previous experiences in healthcare (even as a patient!) and be able to critically evaluate it. If you’re an International or European applicant, be able to compare and contrast the NHS to your own health system. They’re not asking to take sides; the examiner is trying to gather your understanding and awareness of healthcare globally. Additionally, be able to compare and contrast more local variations in healthcare ie. Between England and Scotland or even between Aberdeen and Glasgow.
Real Medicine Scenarios
Don’t be surprised if one of the stations is about “real” Medicine! They might give you a real-life healthcare scenario (e.g. “this patient’s heart is beating very fast” or “this patient is feeling dizzy”) and ask you how you would proceed. The examiner does not expect you to have any in-depth knowledge about concepts that you haven’t been taught but they are interested in seeing how you think in a clinical context, despite not having much background. Don’t get too hung up on mentioning something that isn’t relevant and consider your differentials (possible diagnoses) and management options (including which scenarios members/colleagues could support you in this challenging setting). Don’t dive in head first and only think about extreme scenario (some rare condition you read about once) but consider the basics, too. In the majority of cases, the ideal response will involve a calm, well calculated approach that involves the input of appropriate team members, rather than acting beyond your clinical competence.
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