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Three Common Interview Questions and How To Approach Them

Tell-me-about-yourself

You have made it through the UMAT, found out your Year 12 results... now it's time for the interview! Not sure where to start? In this blog, I have outlined three common medical interview questions, and how to prepare for them.

 

Why have you decided to study medicine and not pursue another field where you can help others, such as pharmacy, education, nursing or social work?

This question is designed to reveal your motivation for studying medicine, and to avoid the common answer of "I want to help others." Whilst this is a valid part of your reason for entering the medical field, you need to demonstrate how studying medicine will align with your passions, interests and personality. To determine how to answer this question, consider a few of the following questions:

  • When did you begin to consider medicine as a career path?
  • Was there a distinct turning point or experience in your life that has motivated you?
  • Is there a particular area of medicine that you are drawn towards, or are you perhaps intrigued by the many possibilities and research opportunities that exist in the field?

Be honest in your answer, and aim to show the interviewer a unique perspective. Avoid discussing wealth, power and respect as driving forces behind your intention to study medicine.

 

How have your extracurricular activities, jobs and volunteer experiences prepared you for the responsibilities of studying medicine and working in the field?

Depending on the interviewing style, this question may be direct (as it is here) or disguised in scenarios or questions about specific skills and qualities. It is important to draw links to activities that you have been involved in, to show the interviewers that you have practiced skills such as teamwork, problem solving, commitment and time management. Prior to the interview, consider times when you have demonstrated these skills. Be prepared to discuss recent or long-term endeavors (rather than that time you volunteered in your school library for a day during primary school), and highlight unique experiences or combinations of activities in order to embed yourself in the interviewer's memory. During your preparation, associate two or three key skill words with each major activity you might talk about, so you feel confident to mention them during your interview. To begin this process, you may find it useful to brainstorm a list of qualities that a doctor might require.

 

What are some current problems or ethical issues within the health system?

Here, the interviewer is assessing your awareness of the Australian health system. It is not necessary to have statistics and facts memorised. However, reading about a few topical issues prior to the interview will allow you to talk confidently about them on the day. It also means you will be familiar with key words and will avoid off-putting surprises during the interview. When discussing ethical issues, it is important to mention multiple perspectives where possible; the aim of these questions is to allow you to demonstrate openmindedness and awareness, and to discuss how your values align with the provision of healthcare. Here are a few topics to get you thinking:

  • Mental health awareness (for the general public, and more specifically doctors' mental health)
  • Rural health and Indigenous health in Australia
  • Refugee health
  • "No Jab No Play" policies
  • Voluntary assisted dying laws
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