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MEDICAL INTERVIEW TIPS: WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?

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Delivering coherent answers in a medical interview is no easy feat, but unfortunately, that is only half the battle. The interviewer is trying to see if you have the qualities that would make a good medical student and more importantly, a good doctor. These qualities can include being resilient, motivated and self-aware. And thus, the questions and/or activities they ask of you are all trying to assess if you possess these qualities. The first step in you presenting desirable qualities to your interviewer is you being aware that they are looking for them instead of blindly answering each question. A good way to prepare yourself before your medical interview is to list these qualities and be prepared to emanate them in the interview through your responses.

MMI INTERVIEWS

In MMIs (Multiple Mini Interviews), they generally assess one specific quality per station and are often quite direct with their intentions. 

For example, a station might ask questions about a difficult time in your life. This may be assessing your resilience and your ability to cope under challenging circumstances. Thus, your anecdote should not only cover what the difficult time in your life was, but also be reflective and describe how you coped and/or ‘jumped back’.

PANEL INTERVIEWS

In panel interviews, it is sometimes more difficult to see what the question is really asking you as the environment is far more casual and the interviewers are often less direct.

Common medical interview questions I encountered:

Question

Possible qualities assessed

Notes

What do you think makes a good team?

Describe a time when you had to work in a team.

Teamwork, communication skills

Asked at UoN/UNE Joint Medical Program

Follow up questions: Did you value your teammates’ opinions? Did you consider all perspectives?

Describe a time when you’ve had to deal with difficult people.

Being non-judgemental, being reflective, conflict resolution

Commonly addressed in scenario stations at UWS

Follow up questions: Did you ask yourself why they might be acting difficult? (i.e. It may be a problem with you). Did you try speaking with them privately to figure out what was wrong? How did you come up with a solution?

How do you deal with stress?

Stress-management

Asked at University of Adelaide

Show that you can recognise that you are stressed, destress and then use the experience to remove future stress

What are your parents like?

Describe a childhood memory.

Who do you look up to?

Extroverted, desirable personal values and goals

Asked at UNSW

Positive childhood experiences make it likely that you are also a positive and mentally healthy person.

The values of your parents and role model often reflect your own values.

The Medical Interview training guide and Medical Interview Training Session held by MedEntry will provide a whole list of past and present medical interview questions as well as discussing how to ace your medical interview.

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