My Medical School Interview
Here we have Fatemah, a 4th-year medical student, giving her insight to medical school interviews and her top 5 tips!
University applications are daunting enough, without the prospect of travelling half way across the country for an interview.
People worry about the prospect of medical school interviews, but it’s important to also consider them from a positive perspective; your medical school interview is your opportunity to go in there and show them just what you’re made of!
You are being given the opportunity to express your passion for medicine, and prove to the interviewer(s) that you possess the qualities required to make a good medical student. It is also therefore important to make a good impression during the whole experience and not just in the interview room.
1. PLAN THE JOURNEY
This is particularly important if you are travelling from further afield for your interview. Make sure you plan your journey and include plenty of time for delays and cancellations.
If at all possible I would highly suggest travelling to further interviews, the day before you need to attend the interview. My university required me to sign in for the interview day at 8am, so I stayed in one of the budget hotels nearby overnight. I woke up feeling nervous but refreshed, and avoided any potential stress of train or bus cancellations. I arrived punctually, which is a highly valued attribute in medical school.
2. PLAN YOUR LOOK
Preparing clothes may sound like a rather superficial and unhelpful tip. However, having seen a rather unfortunate wardrobe malfunction on one of my own interview days, I think it is very important.
Plan the outfit you are going to wear to interview. If they are clothes that you don’t usually sport on a daily basis, make sure they are clean, ironed and all ready to go. Try to have long hair neatly tied back, avoiding (chipped) nail polish, or anything else that may look out of place in a professional environment.
If you are travelling across the country, I would recommend at least taking a spare shirt or blouse in case you spill tea/coffee/water on yourself in the morning. You never know.
3. DO NOT FORGET TO EAT
Unless you have a very good reason not to, I would very highly suggest eating and drinking properly on interview day. I know that lots of people (myself included) struggle to eat when nervous, but not eating is actually very counterintuitive. You need energy and fluids to be your best self. You don’t have to eat a whole cooked breakfast, even a slice of toast or bowl of cereal will go a long way! Try to also take a bottle of water with you and continue drinking throughout the day.
4. TRY TO SOCIALISE
This might sound like an odd one, particularly as some interview days involve a lot of waiting around. Also, aren’t the other students the competition?! Well in a way, maybe they are. However, your interview day can be a great way of meeting other like-minded individuals who are just as nervous and unfamiliar with the environment as you.
Being able to strike up conversation and build a rapport is an important skill in medicine, and it reflects much more positively than sitting and scrolling through Instagram or Twitter on your phone. I’m not suggesting you get too comfortable; a small amount of adrenaline will give you an edge. But a smile here, or a short conversation there, and you might find you feel a lot better.
5. BE YOURSELF
Out of all of the tips, I think this is the most important one. There is a reason they are interested in you, and not Jane from down the road. Although you may have doubts about yourself, it’s very important to try to stay calm, and remember why you wanted to be in this position. Believe in your own capabilities, and believe that they aren’t expecting anything from you that you can’t handle. Try to park any negative experiences or emotions – think of it as a clean slate, with new people, to show just how great you really are.
Well, there they are. My top five (not-so-short) tips on how to conquer that interview. Best of luck, future medics! You can all do this.
Fourth year medical student
Writer at www.mendingthemedic.com