Applying to Medicine – Step 4 (Interviews)

If you’ve gotten to the interview stage – CONGRATS! Getting to this point is no mean feat; you’re just one step away from Med School eeeek!!

I was very fortunate to get interviews at Barts, Southampton, Kings and Warwick – and each was a totally different experience. Of course I’m not allowed to detail the exact setup of each interview, but I can give you some general ideas of what to expect and how to prepare.

Each university has a unique way of interviewing candidates, some have a panel set-up, some are MMIs, some are group discussions, some involve analysing a piece of text/video and some involve teamwork. I would strongly advise buying the iscmedical ‘Medical School Interviews’ book: it contains almost everything you need to know for interviews and over 150 typical questions to expect – it’s a MUST HAVE. 

Remember:

  • First impressions are everything. The way you hold yourself when you initially walk into the room will immediately give the interviewers an idea of who you are.
  • To shake hands or to not shake hands…. that is the question! Each interview will be totally different – and generally, you’ll know whether or not shaking hands is appropriate or not as soon as you walk in.
  • Smile! Don’t forget to smile and appear friendly. Even if you’re internally freaking out.
  • Body language is key. From eye contact to nodding to maintaining a strong posture, you have to present yourself as a calm, positive and confident individual.
  • Be yourself. Don’t try and memorise answers you’ve seen online or in the textbook. Be authentic. Be honest. Be you. If they don’t like you for you, then they’re not the right university.
  • Remember, they’re just people! I know it’s easier said than done, but just remember the interviewers aren’t out to get you – they WANT to find ideal candidates (people like you) so don’t be afraid! Relax, the last thing you want to do is allow your nerves to get in the way of your dream career.
  • Read up on the university. And then shape your responses accordingly. Universities always outline the type of student they’re looking for on their website, so try and incorporate those characteristics into the anecdotes you tell them.
  • Humour – yay or nay? This is a tricky one, because everyone’s sense of humour is different, but it never hurts to show your light-hearted side.
  • Don’t panic if the interview doesn’t go to plan. Trust me. My interview at King’s went terribly (in my opinion) – I messed up at almost every MMI station, ran out of things to say in some of them, and in my panic I even ended up talking about Balamory at one of the stations (who even am I). Despite the endless disasters during that day, I somehow managed to get an offer from them!! Proof that you never quite know how you’ve performed in an interview until you get the feedback, so there’s no point panicking about it afterwards. Just give it your all and pray for the best!

That’s all I can think of in terms of tips at the moment, but if you have specific questions regarding the individual universities and their interviews, drop me an email! Happy interviewing!

Job interviews are like first dates. Good impressions count. Awkwardness can occur. Outcomes are unpredictable.” – Anon.

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