Becky is a Medical Student at Exeter Medical School. She was part of the 2nd place team in the National Student Medical Ethics Debating Competition. She is a Research Assistant and Interview Coach for theMSAG. Additionally, she is a Co-author for two of theMSAG guidebooks.
For many prospective medical students, the joy of having received an interview offer from a medical school is quickly eclipsed by the fear of the medical school interview itself. It can seem like a daunting prospect, but the most important thing is to keep calm, and the best way to keep calm?
Be prepared! Follow these key steps to preparing for your multiple mini interviews (MMI) and panel style interview and you’ll take it in your stride.
It might be cheesy, but the favourite quote of many a parent or teacher really does ring true: "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail"
Knowing what to expect can allow you to focus your preparation and practice and calm your nerves!
Get as much practice as you can with whoever is willing: Parents, friends, teachers, etc. Get them to ask you questions that you’ve thought of or questions of their own and practice how you’re going to word your answers. This will help you indicate which techniques you need to address and improve on. The more realistic you can make it better. You can also book one of our medical school interview preparation courses for realistic practice and personalised feedback.
Deep breathing is a great way to relieve stress and calm your nerves. If your nerves are getting too much in the wait before your interview try taking 10 slow and deep breathes. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Or why not try mindfulness? There are all sorts of exercises you can do to slow your breathing and control your nerves, find something that works for you.
In the interview itself the same stands, make sure you breathe! Interviews are designed to see how you perform under stress, interviewers will ask you difficult questions that may require you to think on your feet (no matter how well you prepare). If this happens, take your time. Stop and take stock. Think about how you’re going to formulate your response. If you find yourself getting lost mid-way through a response the same applies – pause and consider what you’re going to say next.
How you structure your responses will, of course, vary depending on the question and format of the interview. In general, the best way to go about answering any question about your personal qualities is to offer examples of experiences you’ve had – even if it’s an example of when something didn’t go so well! If you can then draw out from that experience, why it was good or not so good, and what you learned from that experience that could help you in medicine, you’re onto a winner.
When your interview is over try not to over analyse the good and bad. Make time to cool off and relax after a stressful day (because no matter how amazing an applicant you are it’s going to be stressful).
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