by Dibah Jiva August 18, 2020 5 min read

Hi! I’m Dr Dibah Jiva, founder of theMSAG. Today, I’m going to give you some insight into how we prepare students for their interviews and some resources for you to get started.

We offer plenty of help for the interview, and almost all students start with our course and the MMI circuit. I will tell you more about them below. For some students, that tends to be enough, while others may need extra support in the form of 1-1 tutoring. We also offer videos for students to learn knowledge from home. The course and MMI circuit are about the implementation of that knowledge and thus focus on delivery and practice.

Step - 1 - Learn the knowledge

The interviews are more like an oral exam, rather than an interview about someone. The students need to know a fair amount of knowledge about medical ethics, NHS issues, and also how to structure their answers, how to approach scenarios, the GMC Duties of a doctor etc. Most of that knowledge can be learned through self-study.

I recommend the following:

Free Resources

  • GMC - Duties of a Doctor - Read this in full and familiarise yourself with the whole domain. Try to think of examples when you saw these in practice, or demonstrated them yourself.
  • Kings Fund - the NHS - Help understanding the National Health Service system
  • NHS constitution - core values - Another great resource to familiarise yourself with. Again, try to think of examples when you saw these in practice, or demonstrated them yourself.
  • theMSAG Self-study Interview Course - Overview of how to approach various interview questions and how to structure your answers

Paid Resources

We are creating a special series about COVID-19, its impact on society and the medical profession which will be released in October 2020.

We also have a book that contains a lot of knowledge including past questions from medical schools. It is currently sold out, but the new edition will be published in October as well.

All of the above are things you can look at in your own time and will form an excellent BASE for her interview preparation. All of it will help you answer questions. You should also prepare some examples, stories of when you demonstrated the values from the NHS constitution and when you observed the GMC Duties of a doctor.

Step 2 - Delivery, structure and practice

Once a student has thought about their examples and accumulated some knowledge to answer questions, the most critical next step is to be able to DELIVER a coherent, structured and mature, non-biased answer. This is what the course we offer focuses on. Whether it is for traditional interviews or MMI, there are many different question types, and the structure, tone, approach to delivery is essential in answering well. It is not enough to know the content or have good stories; it is about how they come across.

Our small group (12 students max) interview course covers the following topics:

  • Motivation or Frequently Asked Questions
  • How to structure your answers to example and opinion-based questions
  • Tackling Scenario Based Questions & understanding the GMC.
  • How to answer ethics-based questions
  • How to perform well at a Group Task
  • Current challenges affecting the NHS
  • How to answer questions related to the NHS values
  • Current NHS Hot Topics
  • How to approach Role Play Stations
  • How to approach special stations
  • Picture
  • Data Interpretation
  • Calculation
  • Task
  • Video

The course is VERY interactive, and students are put in the hot seat to deliver answers as well as feedback. When a student provides an answer, the question, answer and feedback from the tutor are recorded on camera, which you get to take home at the end of the day. There are 2-course facilitators for each session, so each student gets plenty of individual attention. The tutors are a mixture of Doctors and Medical students, with one facilitator always being a doctor.

Our facilitators have been in interview panels at medical schools and have all undergone over 10 hours of training before becoming tutors. Most have been tutoring for multiple years with us. During the day, a student will hear and be exposed to MANY questions, but they will fully and individually practice around 6.

If you are trying to decide between the course and the MMI circuit, I recommend the course. Although it is better to do both, if a student does just ONE, then the course helps students develop the structure and skill to approach and answer all question types. Most sessions throughout the day are a mix of demonstration/small teaching and then practice and feedback.

STEP 3 - Prep for the medical schools you’re applying for

Over the years, we have been collecting past questions from all medical schools. We now have over 800 recent medical school questions, categorised by the school. We have analysed questions that come up often, as schools tend to reuse the same ones often over the years (or the same style). The MMI circuit is a REALISTIC MOCK interview that uses past questions from the school you are applying to.

For example, if a student applies to King's College London, then when they attend our MMI circuit, all of their questions will be questions used by King's College London Medical school in previous years, and the balance of question types will represent a typical King's Interview. We can reproduce the same for all Medical and Dental Schools in the UK.

Many students come to the MMI circuit multiple times - before each of their real medical school interviews, treating ours as a mock. For example, you can come and do an MMI circuit using Glasgow questions before your Glasgow interview and then come back to do an MMI circuit using Cardiff questions before your Cardiff interview. We also offer these mocks as 1-1 tutoring for students who cannot attend multiple times due to location, and plan to offer virtual MMI circuits as well in 2020.

I have seen that the style of interview can be very different from one school to another. King's always has data interpretation, picture station, while Anglia Ruskin has task stations, and Nottingham has multiple role plays. Many of the same questions come back as well. If a student wants, they can attend an MMI circuit, and get half the questions from one school and half from another school too.

SUMMARY

Attending our course and starting your prep EARLY is the best. Learn HOW to answer, structure and deliver questions well. Essential knowledge is reviewed in the course, but it is practice focused with feedback on delivery skills, rather than a class just to learn all the basic knowledge. The knowledge is covered and clarified as needed, of course.

Finally, I recommend attending the MMI circuit around 2 to 3 weeks before an interview to tailor the circuit for that school OR right after the course (next day) to have a chance to get a mock and practice all the skills learned the day before.

I hope the above helps clarify what we offer, how to prepare and the difference between the various courses. Hope to see you all soon and best of luck with your interviews!

Dibah Jiva
Dibah Jiva

Dr Dibah Jiva is the Founder & CEO of the Medical School Application Guide (theMSAG). She attended the University of Nottingham Medical School. She has personally helped >500 families get students into medical school and has consulted for medical school applications for the past 12 years. 


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