Founded in 1975, the University of Leicester prides itself on providing the most state of the art facilities for teaching. No wonder, it’s a highly sought-after destination for lots of medical school applicants.
So, if you’ve already got an interview offer or waiting to hear back from them, it’s time to start preparing for the interviews. For a bit of extra help, here are the things that we think that you should know before your interview.
1. About your interview
At Leicester, their interviews are in the format of multiple mini interviews (or MMIs for short). The MMI will consist of around 8 stations, lasting 8 minutes per station.
The interviews at Leicester test various skills and traits that you would likely have covered in your personal statement. You’ll like be expected to show your motivation for studying Medicine and attending the university. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can reflect on your own work and have insights into your strengths and weaknesses. They will test your ability to use good communication skills. As problem solving is an important skill for doctors to use on a daily basis, they may also test you on your numeracy skills stations and ability to interpret data.
Take a look at the example circuit at Leicester that we have found on their website. It demonstrates what an MMI circuit could look like on the day. Of course, it could differ but it gives you an indication of what it may be like.
- Station 1 – Video Consultation (data gathering)
- Station 2 – Numeracy (SBA and calculations)
- Station 3 – GP video (cues and responsibilities in a team)
- Station 4 - Comprehension
- Station 5 – Interaction/ Patient Contact
- Station 6 – Motivation and Suitability akin to traditional Interview
- Station 7 – Communication Skills
- Station 8 – Personal Qualities presentation and interview
As you can see, the types of stations vary quite a lot. In order to perform really well at the interview, you’ll need to start preparing early for the different stations you may come across. We’ll cover more information of how to actually do this in a later section of this blog post.
Each station is scored out of a maximum of 18. Each part of the station will be graded either unsatisfactory (0), satisfactory (1), good (2) or excellent (3). Each station will be scored and you will be ranked on the basis of those scores. Where two or more applicants are equally ranked, your UCAS form score may be used as a tie-breaker.
2. About the course
You may be wondering why it’s important to know about the course at Leicester. Well, take a look at the section above again. Did you spot that one of the stations at Leicester centred on your motivation and suitability to attend the school? To perform well in a station like this, you need to do your homework. From our experience as examiners, there’s nothing worse than a student sitting across from you on the table fumbling over why they want to study Medicine and not knowing much about the medical course, that stretches beyond the website.
Imagine you’re on the Apprentice TV show, it’s a gruelling two months process to find out if you are going to be Lord Alan Sugar’s next business partner. Do you think it’s possible to enter that competition without knowing who Lord Sugar is or what business he runs? Well, some have tried over the years! And, they definitely haven’t made it past the first couple of weeks. Don’t be like these sorts of contestants, who turn up and try to wing it. Get a really good understanding of the school you’re applying to, it will give you so much more confidence when going around your circuit. Here’s a brief summary of the information that we believe will help you.
Teaching is mainly delivered through problem based learning in the smallest teaching groups in the UK. New first-year medical students will also be given an iPad, in order to access e-learning which supplements the content delivered through their lectures and teaching sessions.
Teaching at the medical school revolves around patient-centred care and is complemented by early patient exposure.
We’ve recently written a post about the anatomy teaching at UK medical schools. You can find it here. At Leicester medical school, they teach anatomy via full dissection. During anatomy classes, medical students will be carrying out the dissection themselves on cadavers who have donated their bodies to medical science.
Intercalation and elective opportunities
Students have the opportunity to undertake an intercalated BSc, thereby increasing their degree length to 6 years. There are three BSc choices that you can opt for: BSc Biomedical Sciences, BSc Clinical Sciences or BSc Medical Research. An eight-week elective opportunity to experience Medicine in an alternative environment are available.
“With fantastic teaching, a strong sense of community and plenty of opportunities for early clinical exposure, the University of Leicester is an excellent place to study Medicine. It has recently built a brand spanking new Medical School and developed a splendid e-learning system, facilitated through the distribution of free iPads to each student. Leicester is unarguably embracing a future with technology at its core.” - Current student at the University of Leicester.
3. TheMSAG tips to prepare for this style of interview
These vary greatly from the more traditional panel based interviews. MMIs are an opportunity to showcase a variety of different skills and make multiple first impressions. You will likely be faced with one or two examiners on each station. There will be a particular style of question or topic for each station e.g. role play or data interpretation. So, how can you prepare for MMI circuits?
Work to a time limit
It’s really important to factor in the time pressure. With no time limit, it would be possible to answer each question quite well eventually and cover most of the points on the marking scheme. The time limit adds pressure and may make you more likely to freeze or make mistakes. It’s crucial then to time yourself whilst giving answers to practice questions. You’ll quickly realise if you talk too much or too little. If you’re speaking too little, you need to think about preparing more content to speak about in your interview. If you’re speaking too much, maybe you have a tendency to ramble or waffle, in which case, you need to ensure that you’re applying a structure to your answer. For help on applying a structure to answering an opinion based or example-based question, make sure to check out our Online Interview Course.
Reflect, reflect, reflect
It’s all very good knowing lots about the course or your work experiences, but you can’t forget to reflect. Often students tell us that they’ve been given this advice before. They ask us “What does reflecting actually mean?” Reflection involves relating your experiences back to your career in Medicine. It can be achieved in many ways but we recommend asking yourself one or two of the following questions, each time you refer to an experience.
- Why does this experience make me want to study Medicine?
- What have I learnt about the career in Medicine or the healthcare system from having this experience?
- What skills have I seen or started to develop that will help me in my career in Medicine?
Can you see that by asking yourself these questions every time you talk about your experiences, you’ll be showing good reflections on your career in Medicine? It takes a bit of time to get your head around it but give it a go - you’ll see automatic results in the quality of your answers! If you want more help on how to reflect or structure your answers, head to our FREE online interview course. It’s packed full of hints and tips to improve your interview technique.
Practice with strangers
Ok, so we don’t mean find someone on the street and start talking to them about why you want to attend Leicester Medical School. BUT from our experience, students who regularly practice with their best friends or family tend to fall into bad habits or are not critical enough on their interview responses. Where possible, try to book some time with a teacher or with a classmate who you don’t know so well, so that you have a chance to practice with someone who’s being objective. The more timed practice that you can do, the more confident you’ll feel on the day.
If you are looking for more practice from experienced doctors and medical students who have years of experience in providing feedback, head to one of our mock MMI circuits across London or Birmingham.
4. Interview advice from a current Leicester medical student
“Develop some specific interests. Read up on the refugee crisis, social inequalities, the nutrition transition - anything that you can talk about in an interview that will pique the interest of the admissions officer.”
If you are struggling to find any up-to-date material about things happening in the medical world, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We regularly post about the latest hot topics in Medicine. Otherwise, take a look at our online courses related to NHS Hot Topics in Medicine for useful video material that covers commonly asked cases such as Charlie Gard and Dr Hadiza Barwa-Garba.
The information used for this blog post has been found on the following website: https://le.ac.uk/medicine/study/applying/interviews. It was accessed during the 3rd week of November 2018.