Interviews for medicine can be daunting. Many medical students admit they were not looking forward to their interviews. It's just not natural for some us to be put on the spot like that - but as a medical student being put on the spot like that is a regular occurrence! Get the skills to communicate now! 

Information is for 2013 entry. Always check information directly with official sources

The medical school interview– one of those instances where “just being yourself” is a good idea. The truth is most questions, unless specifically science based, will have no right or wrong answer. However, it is still a good idea practising at answering questions on the spot and getting good at formulating coherent responses ahead of time.

Examples of Interview Questions

So what do they want to know?
You have already told them so much-from your personal statement to your entrance exam score- what else can they possibly find out about you at interview? Quite a lot. The first stage to succeeding at interview is understanding what the interviewers may be looking for and what they expect to find out.

Why do you want to do Medicine? Quite an obvious question, but easy to stumble on if you’re not prepared. You really need to think about this beforehand because whilst we all know we want to study medicine, being able to eloquently and concisely explain why without relying on overused clichés can be difficult if put on the spot. Requires some time alone to truly think about it. Or maybe reflections on your work experience.

Have you explored your reasoning enough to be sure that medicine is the right path for you? – they want to know whether you have considered medicine as a career in a thorough and clearly logical way.

Have you thought about what you will do if you don’t get into medicine? You might not want to think about the prospect of not getting in, but the interviewers will expect that you have considered every possibility logically and with a sense of maturity.

What did you learn from your work experience? They might not word it so specifically but any reference to your work experience during interview gives you the green light to explain in detail exactly why your work experience was useful for you in cementing and reinforcing your desire to study medicine. Maybe it made you appreciate how difficult the job of Doctor is but you are determined to become one none-the-less. Quite possibly you realised how difficult the road is ahead of you, but it also reinforced your desire to achieve your goals.

What else do you do? Being a Doctor is a full time job. Studying medicine sometimes feels like it’s a full time job (but without the pay cheque at the end of the month). Trying to become a medical student certainly consumes most would-be medics time, but you are expected to still fully develop other aspects of your life and indulge in other interests. If they happen to relate to medicine, or if the qualities needed in them also align themselves with the qualities you believe are needed as a medical student then all the better.

Do you take an interest in what is happening around you? There are major changes in the field of medicine continuously. From a treatments and prescribing perspective there are new medicines and techniques appearing in the journals weekly. There are also diseases which are becoming more common and are starting to threaten the future stability of the National Health Service. Indeed, the changes to the structure of the NHS are headline news every other week. On a personal level, Doctor’s pay and pension deals are being adjusted. What is your opinion on all this?

What area(s) of medicine are you interested in? You need to express that you understand just how vast a subject medicine is and that your opinions may change as you realise you have a long, hard road to travel to get a true appreciation of the various specialities. However, do not be afraid to go out on a limb and explain why you are interested in a particular field of medicine, Remember it is fine if you aren't – just enjoying all aspects of medicine is fine – but explain why.

This is not in any way meant to be an exhaustive source of possible questions- they could ask you anything. Having said that, here are some questions which other medical students remember they were asked during their medical school interviews:

  • What do you think will be the most challenging parts of a career in medicine?
  • Do you enjoy reading?
  • Do you enjoy stressful situations?
  • Why didn't you apply for nursing - they help patients too don't they?
  • In what way have you shown your commitment to studying medicine?
  • Do you think you are able to maintain a work-life balance?
  • What do you do to relax?
  • Can you give us an example of a situation where you have used team work to achieve a goal
  • What major changes can you think of which will occur in medicine in the next 5/10/20 years?
  • Should patients decide what treatments they receive?
  • Why did you carry out your work experience in that particular area?
  • Do you think scientific research is an important part of medicine and why?
  • What other professions make a contribution to the treatment and management of patients?
  • Do you read any scientific/medical journals?
  • There have been a number of changes to the structure and organisation of the NHS in recent times, could you tell us about them?
  • What will healthcare look like in 5, 10, 20 years?
  • Can you explain briefly how the heart/kidneys/lungs work?
  • If someone collapsed in the street in front of you, how do you think you would react and what would you do?

Recent changes...  the Shape of Training report has proposed major changes to medical training which are not only important for you to know about with regard to your career aspirations, but could also form the basis of questions at interview

You can read the final report in full here

Also a really good summary here and here

Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine.


 Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine