How To Gain Confidence With Your Medical School Interview

Two students attend their medical school interview and produce the same answers to set questions. One gets a place and the other is given a rejection. This will often be as a result of how their confidence levels are perceived by the university interviewer. In this article, we will look at ways in which you can appear confident when asked questions within your medical school interviews.

Tips In Having a Successful Interview

We at University Expert have been putting on these posts and going over different parts of the entire application process and right now, the Interview is the final hurdle.

Once your UCAS application has been submitted, in the coming weeks and months you are hopefully going to get one or more medical interview invitations. For those of you who aren’t applying for this yet, the material we’re going to share here is still very relevant to you as you can start thinking about when you do in fact apply. It will come around quicker than you think!

In this article on confidence building for Medical School interviews, you are going to hopefully obtain great insight into aspects that any UK medical school is really looking for in their interviewees and try to figure out your ideal approach.

So how you can stand out now when you may be nervous or feel underprepared? Interviews are obviously an uncertain nerve jingling component of the UK Medicine application process so we are going to go through this aspect in some detail and hopefully help you placate your nerves by giving you some insights into the questions you might be asked.

At University Expert, we have been helping students through this process now for about 10 years.

When Do I Receive My Medical School Interview Invite?

The earliest interviews that you can start expecting are those in about the middle of November but most actual interviews will start occurring in December/January onwards.

Check Your Emails!

Please do make sure you keep your email inboxes open and check them every day so that if you have applied and the medical university happens to contact you,e, you can prepare as soon as possible. Do get into this habit each day. 

What Do I Do During The Interview?

Once you get to the interview obviously you’ve already gone through a lot of stages in this process already and the medical school interview is the last hurdle/challenge you need to navigate through in order to hopefully gain an admission invitation.

In this aspect, already the good news is that UK Medical schools like you on paper at this point. They really just now need to see if this person can communicate, is this person likeable, are they going to interact well with their patients and others within their faculty at the medical school. If you take this attitude, that’s really what you are aiming for at the interview panel for UK Medicine schools.

Up to 25-30% of their interviewees only actually get accepted and it varies between schools. This is however not as bad as it sounds due to many students not preparing properly. We have prepared many students – even at the last minute – which pushes them over the line of being successful. At university expert, our interview tutoring for Medicine is thorough, precise and rigorous.

The disarming aspect or news about the interviews is even if you’ve come this far in the application process, a rushed interview with low confidence can really reduce your chances of getting into medicine. If you don’t do a good interview, you could get an immediate rejection.

Basic Tips For Medical University Interviews

Some basic interview tips; you need to be yourself but obviously be thorough. From the outset, you need to convey or show that panel and committee that you are likeable as a person and your characteristics emulate accordingly.

University Expert cannot stress this enough and sometimes this is hard to convey to students but just be your normal natural self. They really want to make sure that you are again a person that can have a conversation with somebody hence that can relate to others including your patients. What do we actually mean about being “normal?”

Always, make sure you’re courteous to everybody that you encounter. On the contrary side, don’t be arrogant so don’t be rude to anybody as you’re always being judged even if it’s a secretary or a receptionist or somebody just giving you directions.

If you happen to be rude to anybody, theoretically they could absolutely report back to the admissions committee about your poor manner and that could really hurt your chances. Please bear in mind that when you’re talking with an interviewer don’t dominate the conversation but let it be a gentle conversation between the two of you. Many students take over and will not even answer the questions being asked.

Medical University Interview Format

The basic interview day usually starts at your set time in the morning or afternoon but there may be some students to take you around a tour of the medical school campus at some point either before or afterwards.

Practical Logistical Medical Tips

Here are some practical logistical tips: Do be on time and so it is important, the day before your interview to know the exact location and set up of the campus including navigation directions. You will also really remove a lot of the nervousness about traffic and parking by being aware of this aspect in your timely basic planning. 

What Should You Wear At Your Medical School Interview?

Regarding dress, a lot of students have questions about this each year again. Dress professionally so for men that means a jacket with tie and for women, that’s going to be a dress jacket with a conservative shirt underneath. You should wear either a full length skirt or dress pants and low heels.

Obviously try not to even consider wearing very flashy loud eccentric colours. Instead, wear neutral black, navy or gray because those are the best colours to aim for as you don’t want to be a “stand out” and be remembered for the person that was in bright yellow. Keep your hair and makeup very neat but simple.

The traditional interview panel is most commonly with two/three people. At certain universities such as in London, don’t be surprised if it’s a student and a faculty member and it’s lasting somewhere between about twenty to thirty minutes. 

Being Confident At Your Medical School Interview

Always try to be calm and try to make it a conversation in that always try to think of  this kind of interview as talking to maybe like a colleague or somebody that you know who is well-respected at work or at school and somebody that maybe you’re comfortable with.

The Medical MMI interview is also known as the multiple minis interview and consist of usually six to nine stations and each station you’re given a written instruction, prompt or a scenario. If you’re given the scenario, you get time to read and think about this for about two minutes and then in order to prepare an answer. Then you actually walk into the room and you are given somewhere between six to ten minutes depending on the Medical school to discuss the scenario with the evaluator(s) in the room.

These MMIs are really designed to test your critical thinking skills but also your ethical decision skill making or how you act with a patient such as how you can demonstrate being empathetic with them. MMIs can involve multiple types of scenarios and we have seen everything from talking with a partner, to make an origami shape or talking to a patient in breaking bad news to them.

The key here again is just practicing, practicing and more practicing which is what we do in our one to one medical school interview tutoring sessions. We will try to practice as many scenarios as possible so you’re ready for whatever they throw at you on the actual interview day.

Our university expert tutors interview will go through all common traditional interview questions and you’ll see these recurring a lot as you start to go through.  You’ll kind of be able to get more comfortable with these and master them or at least feel very confident when you’re actually giving your answer in the proper situation.

Medical School Icebreaker Questions

How do you answer “tell me about yourself?”?

It is not really a main question but is increasingly used as an icebreaker by medical schools. Here, that is really where you want to start describing who you are, the kind of your background a little bit about your hobbies but not so much as to why do you want to be a doctor or your motivations for going into medicine.

Why do you want to come to this school is a very common icebreaker type question and as this is important so do not give generic answers. You need to give concrete examples of things that the school offers that really do interest you. This proves that you have read and done your research about the Medical school.

Other Common Icebreaker Questions

Other questions which can be icebreakers and also as main body interview questions include, what are your prevalent strengths and weaknesses, where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years, describe a challenge you have had to overcome and discussions around the National Health Service and current medical affairs.

These common interview questions are good in a way because then you can really practice them with colleagues, teachers, friends, family siblings and parents so that when you are actually there on an interview day, you’re comfortable with giving your answer but it should not be an answer that has been purely memorised. When we give Mock medical interviews to students who come to us initially, it is apparent when an answer has been purely memorised and recalled.

MMI Test Scenarios

Now, we’ll go into MMI scenarios so you can start thinking about what the MMI is actually testing and you can see some of the different categories of the MMI question.

Both traditional and MMI interviews can use icebreakers to get you started. The first one is an ethical type of decision making question so in this question you are the doctor for a boy who has been on life support state for several years.

The boy’s mother wants to remove his feeding tube but the father is not too keen. What do you do as the doctor? So obviously this is a pretty difficult situation on the surface and you’ll need to break it down. Remember that the point of these types of questions is not to test your scientific medical knowledge but about how you interact with a potential patient or family member in this case and then also how you can think through implications.

You do therfore need to know about basics of patient consent and capacity.

Before you answer, you may be provided with additional information such as  how long he has been in the vegetative state, what is the prognosis for  recovery and did he express any wishes before he was in this state.

Interviewers at Medical school panels are always looking for signs of showing empathy so  with this ethical decision making scenario, convey being empathetic.

Also convey being empathetic to whomever you are dealing with and in this case it’s a family member. So to verbalize that you could say you know I would approach the parent of this patient very calmly and very much try to understand the position that he’s coming from and really express how I can understand how difficult this situation and dilemma is for everyone concerned.

Overall, you are expressing empathy to this or any situation by verbalising but also in your mannerisms and tones. You can find more information in a lot of these ethical decision making in our other posts.


At university expert, we take the complexity and uncertainty out of your Medical school interview and that is why we have a high success year after year with students recommending more applicants for us to provide professional cost effective tutoring. At university expert, our interview tutoring for Medicine is thorough, precise and rigorous.

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