Why Do You Want To Study Medicine?

Advice & Insight From Medicine Application Specialists

​​Different medical students have different reasons for choosing to study medicine. While these reasons may be incredibly complex and personal it is important to be able to succinctly summarise your own personal experiences into 3 to 4 points that can be easily expressed in about 2 minutes. This will prevent the interviewers from becoming distracted or thinking you seem unprepared. It will also keep the interview engaging and give them sufficient time to ask you other questions or probe deeper into your passion for medicine.

​Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Discussing relatives who are medical
This might make it seem that your passion for medicine derives more from the birth lottery or familial influence and therefore may seem less genuine. While some successful candidates may have discussed their relatives, it is probably better to steer on the side of caution and avoid any mention of relatives who are medical professionals.
Stating that “you have always wanted to be a doctor”
Many interviewers will take this quite literally and question if you wanted to be a doctor since you came out of the womb. It is important to show that you have considered as many alternatives as possible to show that you will not give up on medicine for greener pastures.
Discussing relatives, particularly grandparents, who have had diseases
Everyone has had a relative who has suffered from some kind of ailment. By stating that this is the reason you decided to do medicine, it implies that virtually anyone and everyone is also interested in medicine. Many candidates will discuss their relatives and it will make it hard to differentiate yourself from them by giving a generic answer. If there really is a particular incident within the family which sparked your interest in medicine, it is probably better to state that this was a patient you met while volunteering or on work placement, or find another patient with a similar disease and talk about them instead.
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​Example Answers to Consider

Scientific Endeavours
These could include research work in a lab, giving a presentation in school on a particular disease, starting a campaign to raise donations for a particular disease, reading a very interesting book. They need not be astounding or ground-breaking achievements, but should be extracurricular to prove that you are actively engaging with the subject area by opening your horizons beyond your prescribed syllabus.
This will help distinguish why you chose to study medicine and not nursing.
Volunteer Work
If you do talk about scientific endeavours, it is important to balance this out with something more humanitarian to show why you chose to study medicine as opposed to biomedical sciences. You should also talk about how volunteering made you feel. While the volunteer work need not strictly be in a medical setting, such as volunteering at a Cancer Research or British Heart Foundation charity shop, the more directly related it is to medicine the more apparent your interest would be.
Recent News Stories
Few candidates discuss recent news stories, particular ones to do with government policy, so this could help further enhance your application. It could include recent measles outbreaks in the US, the U=U (undetected = untransmittable) movement to get patients with HIV who have an undetectable viral load to be classified as HIV free or the humanitarian crises in Yemen. Be sure to show that you read further into the medical aspects of the news article and that this deepened your interest in medicine.

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​Standout Tips

Structure, Structure, Structure
Ensure that your answer is structured in order to offer maximum clarity. An easy way to do this is to list your reasons in chronological order, starting with what sparked your initial interest and then ending with the main reasons you have maintained your interest. Another way you could organise it is from the most important to the least important, in case the interviewers cut you off half-way through your response.
What you say V How you say it…
Finally, keep in mind the answer to this question is as much about what you say, as how you say it. An exemplary answer with no passion or enthusiasm for medicine is far less likely to stand out compared to a comparatively average answer ingrained with enthusiasm and passion to study medicine.

Why Do You Want To Study Medicine?

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