Medical school interviews are high stakes. The competition is fierce which means there is little room for error (in fact a single particular mistake could mean you miss out on a place). Many hopeful students will hear about two schools of thoughts when it comes to interview preparation: 1) you can’t prepare for an interview; 2) you can thoroughly prepare for an interview. What is the truth here? The truth is you can prepare for your interview and you must prepare for your interview.
1) Do your research
Thinking you can wing it during an interview because you have the ‘gift of the gab’ is a big mistake that has been costly to countless prospective medical students. Interviewers are trained to see if you’re making things up as you go along, you can’t fool them. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by not preparing adequately. Each medical school have key themes they focus on which you would have covered in detail on your personal statement which is why you were called for interview in the first place! Practise answering common interview questions by applying key themes, the aspects of a medical school programme and traits and behaviours of a doctor that make you a well-suited candidate.
2) Give examples
When answering any interview question make sure you have examples of how you demonstrated the skills asked of you by the questions. If you’re asked about a time where you demonstrated good team work, you could talk about how you effectively demonstrated good team work and how your experience makes you suited for a career in medicine. Plus, don’t forget to reflect on what you learnt and what the experience with help you to bring into the medical career. A good way to organise your thoughts is by using the STAR method (situation, task, action and reflection).
3) Do mock interviews
In your mind any interview performance can be imagined going perfectly but, it might not go so perfectly in a real-life interview. This highlights the importance of feedback. Before your high stakes medical interview, practise answering common interview questions with someone you trust to give you constructive criticism (a friend, a teacher, a career’s advisor, or you could sign up for MedScore interview workshop and get tailored feedback from medical school students and doctors). This will help you to identify bad habits (and eliminate them) and help you to build the confidence you need to smash your upcoming interview!
Until next time.
BSc MSc MBChB
Prepare as well as you can, and you’ll boost your chances of securing that place at medical school you deserve.