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Common Medicine interview questions and how to answer them 

Common Medicine interview questions and how to answer them 

Marianne N. Gazet
5-th Year Medical Student at Imperial College London Medical School (Instagram: @mariannedoesmedicine)
September 20, 2021

To best prepare for medical school interviews, it is a good idea to think about the questions you could be asked and how you would answer them. In the case of an MMI, each station will have a question about an important topic and follow up questions. There is a range of potential questions that can be asked and different topics that very often come up. Remember, some stations will not be questions but instead a task or exercise to perform. Read more to find out about common medical school interview questions and how to answer them!

Top 5 most common Medicine interview questions

  • Why do you want to become a doctor
  • Why not another healthcare profession?
  • Questions about your work experience and other experiences
  • Questions about YOU, your life and your hobbies
  • Questions about the university you are applying to

Why do you want to become a doctor

The most common and classic question is, “why do you want to study medicine/ why do you want to become a doctor?”. This is a very important question, even a crucial one, to be honest! But it can also be quite difficult to answer in a way! 

Make sure to really reflect on this, find something that is both truthful (super important!) and interesting, and avoid being too cliché. Honesty, reflection and introspection are very important here, for the interview and later in your life as well! You can draw in from your personal experience, describe an event that happened that struck you, someone you met that inspired you, something you studied at school that you found fascinating etc… But again, try to not make it very cliché (like I read this book and suddenly I had an epiphany sort of thing!) 

Build a narrative

It may be a good idea to build a little narrative of a stepwise realisation and confirmation of your interest in studying medicine. For example, you began to be interested in human biology at school so it planted the seed in your mind, then you decided to do work experience and learnt so much and realised you would enjoy working in this environment. In this way you can give multiple reasons and it doesn’t seem like your interest for medicine came out of a hat one morning!

Things to really avoid are thing like: since I was a baby I was playing with a stethoscope toy and knew I wanted to be a doctor (in my opinion this is a bit cliché and doesn’t mean much), both my parents are doctors and they really like their job (it sounds like it wasn’t your decision), anything around money or privilege of being a doctor (this is not a good reason to get into medicine!) 

Mock Interviews (MMI)

Online mock medical school Interviews with personal feedback

Ultimate MMI Course

During our Ultimate MMI Course, we dig deep into each interview question type and talk about what the interviewers want to hear, how to sound original, what answers to avoid, and there will be opportunities to practice answering interview-style questions.

Why not another healthcare profession?

A follow-up question that is also very commonly asked can be like, “ok so you want to help people/ you want a job with human contact/ you like science, why not become a nurse or any other healthcare profession?”. 

This can be a tricky question to answer, as you need to highlight the aspects of being a Doctor that appeal to you but never ever say that other healthcare professions are not as interesting or important. That would be a big red flag!

Always show you value other team members and their roles! It may be a good idea to read about different jobs in healthcare and jot a few reasons why it is specifically being a Doctor that draws you.

Questions about your work experience and other experiences

Another topic almost always asked about is your work experience in a healthcare setting. You may be asked to briefly summarise your experience, but it’s likely that more emphasis is put on what you have learnt from it, what the experience taught you about the healthcare environment, the medical profession and the day to day jobs of Doctors. This is why the reflection notebook can be so useful, to actually reflect on the events as you go along and keep those reflections handy for later. 

To answer the work experience questions, show your enthusiasm, what you have learnt and what you enjoyed about the experience. For the reflection aspect, try to think about the NHS values, teamwork, ethics of working in healthcare, communication, qualities of a good Doctor for example. You can very briefly summarise some scenarios you encountered and what you learnt from them, for example a difficult conversation with a patient or breaking bad news, that showed how communication is so important.

Apart from work experience, the examiners can ask you to reflect on any other experiences you have put in your personal statement, such as volunteering, teaching, leadership roles and any other job experience you may have. Make sure you have little things to say about everything you mention in your personal statement, and gain prepare some reflections on this. For example you volunteered to organise an event for your class and this helped you develop different qualities.

Questions about YOU, your life and your hobbies

Expect some other questions directly about you and who you are! They can ask you about your strength and weaknesses as a student or in day to day life, what traits you have that would make you a good Doctor, how you manage your workload and cope with stress. 

Additionally, some medical school have questions directly about your hobbies and interests and what you can bring to the university social life and club and societies. This is a chance to really show your personality and talk about things you are passionate about outside of school. 

Don’t feel that everything has to be related to your application. Any hobby is a good one, and showing you can balance different aspects of your life is great!

Have a look at our list of 43 common Medicine Questions!

Questions about the university you are applying to

You may be asked why you chose to apply to this university specifically, and this is also an important question. Before the interview, make sure to research the university, for example, reading details about the course and how the degree is taught and structured.

Be careful when saying things like the university has a good ranking because this may not be viewed as a good enough reason. Instead, you can comment on the quality of the research at the university the environment that will motivate you. Also I would avoid saying things like the campus looks nice or someone you know went to that university and enjoyed their degree- again not the best reasons in my opinion!

Please remember these are only a few examples from my experience only! Please make sure you check the university websites as they often give examples of what questions they ask and what they look for in answers. And on the day, don’t overthink it! Be yourself, show your enthusiasm and really put forward your personal qualities so the universities can choose you!

PRESENT THE BEST YOU AT THE INTERVIEW

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