The medical school interview is an important part of the application process and can play a crucial role in deciding whether you are accepted or not. Preparing for a job interview as a medical student in the UK can be a daunting task, but it’s essential to make a good impression to help secure the role you want. Before the interview, brush up on industry-specific terminology and be familiar with the key responsibilities of the position.
It’s also important to reflect on your skills, experiences, and how they relate to the job requirements. Additionally, you may want to think about possible questions that the interviewer may ask and practice your responses. By taking the time to prepare, you can increase your confidence and perform at your best during the interview.
To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 most common interview questions, along with suggested responses. We’ve also provided some specific tips on handling how to explain your weaknesses. And finally, our top 10 golden rules to follow when taking a medical school interview.
Top 20 medical school interview questions and responses
Here are some common medical school questions, along with considerations and things you should include in your response.
- Tell us about yourself.
This is one of the most common interview questions and an opportunity for you to highlight your experiences, achievements, and qualifications. Start by talking about your educational background, then move on to any relevant extracurricular activities, work experience, or volunteer work.
- Why did you choose to study medicine?
Your answer should demonstrate your passion for medicine and show the interviewer that you have thought carefully about your career choice. Talk about any experiences you have had that have confirmed your desire to become a doctor, and explain what you find most interesting and rewarding about medicine.
- What qualities do you think are important for a doctor to have?
Some of the most important qualities for a doctor include empathy, communication skills, attention to detail, compassion, and the ability to work well under pressure. Explain how you embody these qualities and why you think they are important for a doctor to have.
- How have you prepared for medical school?
This question is designed to gauge your level of commitment to becoming a doctor. Talk about any relevant coursework, reading, volunteer work, or shadowing experiences you have had. Emphasize your eagerness to learn and grow as a medical student and future doctor.
- How do you handle stressful situations?
It’s important to demonstrate that you can handle stress and remain composed in high-pressure situations. Talk about a specific instance when you faced a challenge and explain how you handled it.
- What are your weaknesses?
It’s important to be honest about your weaknesses, but you can answer this in a way that plays to your strengths. you could pick a weakness that is not directly related to medicine and explain what steps you are taking to address it. Plus, read our tips further below.
- What are your strengths?
Highlight your strengths that are relevant to medicine, such as your communication skills, problem-solving ability, and attention to detail. Explain why these strengths will be beneficial as a doctor.
- How do you handle ethical dilemmas?
This question is designed to assess your ability to think critically and make ethical decisions. Explain a specific situation where you had to make an ethical decision and how you approached it.
- What do you know about our medical school?
Do your research before the interview and show that you are interested in attending their specific medical school. Talk about what you admire about the school and why you would like to attend there.
- What are your future career goals?
It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to do after medical school. Talk about what specialty you are interested in, what kind of work you would like to do, and why you have chosen that particular path.
- Why should we choose you over other candidates?
This is your opportunity to sell yourself and highlight what sets you apart from other candidates. Talk about your unique experiences, skills, and qualities that will make you a valuable asset to the medical school.
- What are your hobbies and interests?
It’s important to have a well-rounded personality and show that you have interests outside of medicine. Talk about what you enjoy doing in your free time and how these activities have helped you develop as a person.
- What do you know about the NHS?
The National Health Service (NHS) is a cornerstone of the healthcare system in the UK, and it’s important for medical students to have a good understanding of how it operates. Explain what you know about the NHS, including its mission and values, the services it provides, and any recent developments or challenges it has faced.
- What are your thoughts on current healthcare issues?
This question gives you the opportunity to show that you are aware of current issues in healthcare and have opinions on them. You could discuss topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic, access to healthcare for underserved populations, or advances in medical technology.
- How do you approach teamwork and collaboration?
Working well with others is a crucial part of being a doctor, and it’s important to demonstrate that you have strong teamwork and collaboration skills. Talk about a specific experience you had working as part of a team, and explain why you think it’s important to work together in healthcare.
- Can you tell us about a difficult decision you had to make?
This question is designed to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to make difficult decisions. Choose a situation where you faced a challenge and explain how you approached it, what decision you made, and the outcome.
- Can you tell us about a time when you had to communicate difficult information to someone?
Good communication skills are essential for doctors, and it’s important to demonstrate that you can handle difficult conversations. Talk about a time when you had to deliver bad news or explain a complex medical issue to someone, and explain how you approached the situation.
- How do you handle criticism?
Being a doctor often requires receiving feedback and criticism, and it’s important to demonstrate that you can handle it constructively. Talk about a time when you received criticism, how you responded to it, and what you learned from the experience.
- Can you tell us about a patient or a situation that had a significant impact on you?
This question is designed to assess your empathy and emotional intelligence. Choose a patient or situation that had a profound impact on you, and explain why it was so meaningful.
- Do you have any questions for us?
The interview is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about the medical school and the program. Prepare a few questions in advance that demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for attending their medical school.
How to answer “what are your weaknesses”
Interviews are all about preparation – thinking about what questions you may be asked and making sure you have some positive points as a response.
But what about when you are asked to expose your weaknesses?
When posed the question “Please can you tell me your weaknesses or flaws” think about this in a positive manner.
Explain your weaknesses as strengths to maximise the return on the interview you are having.
You shouldn’t mislead or lie to interviewers but if you strategically prepare your responses as explained in this video it will assist in getting the maximum from an interview situation.
The 10 golden rules to follow when applying for places
Finally, we have some guiding principles to live with which will help you prepare for success. Here are our 10 golden rules to follow when applying for places at medical schools…
1.) Read an article from nature related to health prior to going to your interview.
2.) Have an aspect of your study / SSM that you can specifically talk about in terms of interests.
3.) Have a location specific reason why you want to do that specific job.
4.) Be able to list your strengths.
5.) Have an answer to “what are your weaknesses” (see above).
6.) Demonstrate areas outside of medicine where you can relax.
7.) Approach the topic of future speciality with sensible pro’s and cons about why you would like to work in that specific area.
8.) Read about clinical governance (the 7 rules: google it or Clinical Governance).
9.) Read about the restructuring of medical careers (MMC, modernising medical careers/ MTAS) — google it or search http://www.nhsemployers.org/
10.) Thank the interviewers at the end for their time.
Preparation is key but some focus on areas to prepare for will really help!