Shadowing a DoctorDecember 22, 2011
Well its that time again! The time of year when students for have applied to medical school are eager to receive the post everyday in the hope that there will be an official looking letter from UCAS landing on their doormats containing the news of the outcome of their applications to their chosen 4 medical schools.
Rejection or invitation to medical school interview? Either way its important not to panic ( too much! ) If it’s a rejection don’t be too downhearted, Medical schools don’t just have a reputation as being competitive ,they are! It would be a very unusual candidate indeed who received 4 invitations to interview! Secured an interview? Great! Time to start planning for the big day.
Start with the basics. Where is the medical school? Is it in the city centre or a campus slightly out? Plan ahead and make sure you know exactly where you are going and arrive in plenty time. Get the dress code right, are you really going to demonstrate your desire to be a professional within the healthcare field wearing your old Man Utd top and ripped jeans? Swot up on the usual questions, why you want to study medicine? What sets you apart from other candidates? Where did you do your medical work experience and for how long? What did this medical experience teach you? How do you deal with stress? Learn some current medical news issues inside out. You are not going to be asked for an explanation of the latest Kidney Dialysis machine but you may be asked what you think of proposed NHS cuts for example.
Each medical school will have different ways of conducting their interviews so its worth doing some research on the institution just to see if you get some tips on the structure of the interview and what to expect. You may be faced by a panel or a single interviewer. Some medical schools also bring some current medical school students to interview you, remember these students have been in exactly the same position as you in the recent past so they know what you are going through! If anything they should make you feel more at ease.
Its also a good idea to prepare some questions of your own to ask at the end of the interview but be sure to ask them conversationally, there’s nothing worse than a students question sounding fake and like you are just going through the motions!
The hardest thing perhaps about a medical school interview and the thing that perhaps trips most students up is their nerves and lack of experience in an interview situation. It’s easy to be nervous in a situation where you are facing a board of interviewers who are going to decide your future. Take a few deep breaths, relax and enjoy it. It’s so refreshing for a student to engage with their panel and not be overawed by the situation. Easier said than done I know but remember nobody is there to trip you up, simply to ask you some straightforward questions to see if you are going to maintain the reputation of their medical school and ultimately make a good healthcare professional.