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  • Writer's pictureMegan Pode

6 Tips for getting started with interview prep

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

It can be a daunting prospect getting ready for an interview, after all the waiting it’s such an exciting time but can also be overwhelming. Here are 6 things I think are a great way to get your interview prep off the ground...

1. Why do you really want to study medicine

This may sound obvious but this question is guaranteed to come up in every interview you have so, if you know you can smash it, it will give you a great boost. It’s important not to just recite cliched answers, really think about what makes your reason for wanting to study medicine unique. You may have wanted to study medicine all your life, want lifelong learning and combining science with care but the interviewer will have heard this many times before. Instead of saying ‘I’ve wanted to be a Doctor since I went to A and E aged 11...’ really explain the thoughts and feelings this provoked in you. “My first experience of medicine was A and E aged 11, I was fascinated by how the doctors were able to fix my broken arm with pins, seeing the Xray transformed from multiple breaks to a fully formed bone really captured my interest and inspired me to learn more”. Personalising your story and explaining what thoughts and feelings led you down the path of medicine really makes your answer stand out and sounds more genuine. This answer is a great chance to express your journey through experiencing medicine, build on that first thought of wanting to do it and reflect on the many experiences since then and how they reinforced/challenged that original idea.

2. Reflect, reflect, reflect

Following on from the first point a great way of getting ideas flowing is a mind map. Write down all your experiences relating to attributes they want in medicine, from volunteering to being in a sports team, playing an instrument to hospital work experience or even the hobbies you do at the weekend. The interviewers really want to get to know you and reflecting on all your experiences will help your answers seem more fluent. A huge part of not only medical school but also being a doctor is reflecting on different experiences: what went well, what went badly, what did you learn, what are you going to do to further your development. The interviewer will be impressed if you reflect on your experiences.

3. Know the medical school back to front

This is so important. As mentioned before it’s good to really know the questions you know will come up as it’s a great boost when they ask you and you have really nailed your answer. The key to this is knowing the course back to front, for example although Manchester Medical School is PBL and this is a great thing to talk about there are other features of the course that you can talk about that show you’ve really researched it in depth. For example; the ‘Personal Excellence Pathway’ allows students to learn academic writing skills in subjects they’re most passionate about in medicine, with some students even managing to get published through this part of the curriculum. It’s by bringing up points like this that show you’ve really looked into the course and are enthusiastic. Another top tip here is knowing the city/campus from a non-medical perspective, if you’re looking to go to KCL for example make sure you also have researched what the SU, surrounding area and extra curricular activities have to offer.

4. Read the GMC guidelines

Hopefully now you’ve got some helpful info on your experiences and also on the medical school. Now is a great time to focus on GMC guidelines. They have specific guidelines for medical students which outline how to act in specific circumstances- these are the most important guidelines to follow and should dictate any situational judgement station. Downloading them and having a read be it on the bus, before bed or when you have some time to kill will make a big difference when you get asked how you would act in a difficult position- for example a patients friend asking you to break confidentiality or social media related questions.

6. Know your personal statement back to front

This is another easy thing you can do to prepare for your interview. Any book you’ve mentioned, course you’ve been to or experience you’ve mentioned be prepared to talk about. It can be tricky to remember the ins and outs of a book you might have read a year before so it’s really important to familiarise yourself with things you might have spoken about in your statement.

7. Get a mentor!

This website was started by medical students who were being asked by old school friends, family friends and people they met applying to help with interviews and other aspects of the application. We believe everyone should have access to the kind of help and insight we can offer as practicing medical students so started a mentoring scheme to help connect everyone. Please sign up today and we can match you to someone who will be able to offer 1-1 guidance.

Good luck and please comment below with any questions or if you found this helpful 😊

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