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By now you may have finished your year 12 exams. For those who sat the UCAT this year, it almost seems like the end of the road. However, there is one crucial component for entry into medicine that many major universities require – the interview. It is important you prepare and practice for this last step, especially because this time, you are competing against a tough cohort: all those students who performed outstandingly in both the UCAT and ATAR.
The first step to preparing for any interview is to start practicing. Whether this be attending the MedEntry Interview Training sessions, practicing with family, or even with friends, it is imperative that you get feedback from other people on your performance. Often the way we perceive ourselves is very different to the way we actually present, and as a result, having a second or third opinion about your interview skills can help you significantly in performing well. Make sure you practice basic questions such as “why you want to do medicine?”, “tell us about yourself”, “what is your most significant accomplishment?” or even “who is your role model?”. These questions will help you build character and a personality that you can confidently present during the interview. This will not only make your interview stand-out, but also give life and individuality to your responses. However, also practice developing logical responses for more structured interviews like the MMIs, which can be especially challenging if no preparation is done beforehand.
The interviewers are looking for people who can give genuine opinions and ideas and back them up with strong arguments. Hence, it is important you have detailed and deep discussions with your interviewer rather than provide one-word responses. Remember that these examiners must assess your thinking style, persona and ability to excel in the medical field simply based on the words that come out of your mouth. If you do not hear or do not understand the examiner’s question, ask them to repeat it for you. If they ask you a question that you do not know anything about, just be honest and explain to them that you are not sure, but continue to provide your opinion based on past experiences and ideas that you already have. This is meant to be a test of character and socialisation rather than knowledge, so do not get too nervous if you are unsure of some topics. Most importantly, have fun with the interviewer. Whether this be in the form of humour or telling an interesting story, engaging the assessor is crucial to performing well.
Interviews are notorious for generating anxiety and making students nervous. Just like any written exam, nerves are your worst enemy in interviews. You want to showcase a confident, diligent and assertive personality and to do so, you must remain calm and positive at all times. If there are questions that have thrown you off slightly, do not worry about them during the interview and move on. Take your time to think about what you want to say and try not to rush into answering questions. Additionally, it is important to keep your relationship with the assessor professional, yet light-hearted. Although you can use a formal tone, develop a sense of friendship with the interviewer. Whilst this is difficult for interview models such as MMIs, it can be especially useful for longer panel interviews.
It is the final hurdle in getting into your dream course. Make the last step count and use the opportunity to truly show the universities what a great doctor you will be.