How to Prepare for Medical School Interviews: Tips and Advice

Interviews are a significant milestone during the process of applying to medical school. They occur after completing the demanding tasks of submitting UCAS applications, taking entrance exams, and managing school responsibilities. This last selection phase can be overwhelming and particularly anxiety-inducing for numerous candidates.

This article will deconstruct the interview preparation process into smaller, more manageable steps. We will also offer numerous suggestions for effectively preparing for the interview day.

At what point should you commence your preparation for the medical school interview?

Let’s begin by dividing the preparation into indirect and direct categories.

  • Indirect preparation:

Throughout the UCAS application process, you engage in indirect preparation. This includes gaining work experience, crafting your statement, and studying for the BMAT ethics section. Interestingly, these endeavours indirectly contribute to your interview readiness. For instance, when brainstorming for your statement, you also generate ideas that can be valuable for interview questions like “Why do you want to pursue medicine.” It’s a common interview query!

  • Direct preparation:

Direct preparation typically begins after completing other UCAS requirements, particularly after taking the BMAT. Beforehand, focusing on entrance exams and avoiding undue stress about the interview is more beneficial. Hence, it’s recommended to take a well-deserved break after the BMAT and then commence your interview preparation. The final stages of preparation should occur when you receive interview invitations and have information about the universities conducting the interviews and the interview format. This knowledge will help you concentrate your efforts effectively. However, delaying your preparation until that point entirely is not advisable!

What are the most effective ways to prepare for my interviews?

Let’s begin with some small steps you can take for your indirect preparation. It’s beneficial to start actively considering interviews during your overall preparation. One suggestion is to create a dedicated notebook or folder on your computer early on, where you can jot down anything related to interviews. This can be referred to as a reflection diary by some individuals.

Take detailed notes throughout the process. For instance, if you’re reading a book about medicine during the summer, immediately write your thoughts in your notebook. This way, you’ll have those notes readily available when the interviews approach a few months later. Similarly, during your work experience, make it a habit to jot down your daily observations and actively reflect on them. These notes will be valuable references in the future.

Research common questions as part of your direct preparation. Spend time looking up frequently asked questions and brainstorming potential responses. Sit down, review the questions, and carefully consider the answers you wish to provide. Utilize your reflection notebook, draw from your reading materials, and leverage your personal experiences.

Engage in practising your answers—the transition from preparation to actively voicing your responses out loud. Familiarize yourself with articulating your thoughts and transforming written paragraphs into spoken answers. Practice various aspects, including finding the right sentence structure, maintaining a coherent and organized flow, and striking a balance in the length of your responses—not too long or short.

Refine your speaking skills. Focus on speaking clearly and calmly, adopting an appropriate pace, employing a rich vocabulary, and avoiding repetitive or overused words. Although these aspects may seem daunting at first, they improve with practice. Remember, these skills can be developed over time.

Avoid memorizing your answers. Instead, emphasize the cultivation of quick thinking and the ability to construct well-structured responses on the spot when faced with unfamiliar questions.

With whom should I engage in practice sessions?

Start in a comfortable setting, such as your room, to actively practice. Then, gradually progress to practising with friends and family before moving on to someone less familiar, like a teacher, admissions tutor, or an individual you don’t know well. Request honest feedback from everyone you practice with. The objective is gradually increase difficulty and stress levels, making you more accustomed to challenging scenarios. The ultimate goal is to develop the ability to respond to interviewers’ questions on an actual day effectively. Another helpful technique is recording yourself, answering questions, and reviewing the footage to analyze your performance later.

What resources are available for preparing for medical school interviews?

The official websites of universities are the most reliable and up-to-date sources of information. These websites provide details about the interview structure, common questions, and potential topics that may arise during the interview. It is essential to thoroughly explore these website pages for each university where you have an interview scheduled.

Blogs or forums where students share their interview experiences can also be a resource. However, it is important to exercise caution as the accuracy and currency of the information cannot be guaranteed. People may fabricate details, and there is no verification process in place. So, approach these sources with discretion.

Another valuable resource is reaching out to current medical students. They have recently gone through the interview process and can offer insights into the questions they were asked. They can provide invaluable advice and guidance. If you need help finding current medical students, consider asking your school or seeking assistance from older students who may be knowledgeable in this area. Additionally, attending open days can be helpful as student volunteers are often available to provide guidance and support.

What actions should be taken the day before and the morning of the interview?

The evening before the interview revolves around reducing stress and adopting a positive mindset. Engage in light revision, such as briefly reviewing your notes, without overthinking or exhausting yourself. Prioritize sleeping well, eating nutritious food, and indulging in a relaxing bath or shower. Additionally, take some time to read something unrelated to medicine.

Likewise, on the morning of the interview, focus on activities promoting relaxation, such as walking or listening to uplifting music. It can be beneficial to repeat motivational sentences, remind yourself of your accomplishments thus far, or read motivational quotes.

Ensure you minimize stress on the interview day by planning your outfit and organizing your bag in advance. Be prepared by planning the route and aiming to arrive at the interview location with ample time. If the interview is conducted online, choose a quiet room with reliable Wi-Fi reception as your interview space. 

Verify that your laptop, microphone, and headphones are functioning properly. Ensure you have all the necessary details and links for the virtual meeting platform, and familiarize yourself with the contact person to contact in case of any technical issues.

Remember, you are capable of succeeding!

Author Bio: Mark Edmonds is a highly skilled professional at Academic Assignments, where he offers exceptional assignment help to students. With a specialization in medical assignments, Mark is committed to assisting students in achieving academic excellence. His wealth of knowledge and unwavering commitment make him an invaluable asset for students seeking guidance and support in their academic endeavours.