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Students in school or undergraduate university who are gunning for a medical school spot spend so much of their time focused on getting the grades for standardised tests and maximising their GPA, that sometimes they can lose track of what is driving them to study medicine in the first place. Medical school and the career that follows is a massive commitment, and interview panel members want to be sure that they are selecting candidates who know this, and can demonstrate true insight into why they want to be a doctor and hence are deserving of a spot in their program.
As a student taking either the multiple mini interview (MMI) or semi-structured interview (SSI), some variation of the question: “why do you want to be a doctor?” is bound to be asked at some point. Have a good answer to this question that goes beyond the old and tired responses usually provided by aspiring medical students:
So what kind of responses are they looking for? The answer to this question is simple: Something that makes you unique, original and MEMORABLE! Tell a story of your personal struggles related to health, or do some research into the latest health inequalities and why some of those in particular strike a chord within you. Sources of inspiration that can help you to flesh out the reasons behind why you have chosen this path are everywhere. From medical TV shows, to instagram accounts of famous doctors, books, blogs, etc. The world of information is your oyster, so use it to develop a well-thought out response to the bread and butter of medical interview questions. MedView can help with such preparation, so be sure to speak to an Academic Advisor or sign up to a MMI Workshop.
It’s no secret that how you look on the day is important. Make sure your shirt is ironed, your hair tied up, your face cleanly shaven and your shoes new if not immaculately polished.
Even in a post-COVID world where hand-shaking may be a thing of the past, it is still possible to make a strong first impression with a smile upon entrance into the room. It is also important to remember that examiners understand that this may be the most stressful moment of your life to date, so being calm and collected enough to start any interaction with a pleasant “hello nice to meet you” is a simple but effective way to demonstrate that you are composed and deal well with stressful situations.
Another important tip is reading MMI material to gain insights, knowledge and skills to execute in your interview. A personal favourite of mine is the MedView's interview preparation book was written by two Doctors who graduated from the University of Auckland, and has been updated to fully cover the Australian MMI. It is the product of our years of experience in tutoring students just like you. Give this a read before you go for your interview and gain experience and advice to interview successfully.
When factoring in tuition, resources, medical education technology and registration fees, it costs the Government around $1 million in tax-payer money to bring a person through medical school until they are a doctor at a public university. As such, something I always tell my tutoring students is that medical schools are looking at each student as a possible investment opportunity. In other words, is this student worth this investment for this particular university? So how do you show the panel members that you are this student? Do your research into the specific university, the details of the course profile of the MD or MBBS offered, and float some ideas about which specific elements of the program offered at this university appeal to your career aspirations and goals the most. Students who are clearly invested in the specific medical school at which they are interviewing and have evidently taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the course profile preemptively, are more likely to be viewed as a good investment.
Preparing for the medical interview is too often an afterthought for many students. Don’t leave your preparation until it is too late. MedView are your medical school admissions experts - we are here to help students on their path to medical school achieve their dreams. If you are considering becoming a doctor, get in touch with the MedView team and begin your journey today.