Medical School Interview Basic Questions

Why do you want to become a doctor is an important question that you can be asked in your Medicine interviews.

Before you go into your forthcoming medical school interview, you must be able to answer a basic question which is what you think a doctor is. This question can come in different disguises such as being asked what are the challenges of a doctor, what are the disadvantages of a doctor, what are the benefits of being a medical professional or what you understand is the role of a doctor.

Here at University Expert we make sure that our students are being tutored very comfortably in answering these types of basic questions. You will be able to answer this type of question if asked. This question can be asked at both a panel interview and even a MMI type of interview. As with all interviews, it is important that you don’t memorize the answer because that will easily be noticed by the interviewer. Instead, we ask students to make sure that they include some important points when answering this question.

First of all, you would need a definition such as “A doctor is a Healthcare professional who diagnoses and treats patients who require medical intervention. “

What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of A Doctor?

 In order to answer this question, you can choose to bring across your knowledge especially if you did have live work experience. In this answer, you can choose to mention that doctors will specialize in different fields such as in the care of the elderly which is known as geriatrics or for example in the care of children which is known as paediatrics.

As a general blanket rule, most doctors in this country within the NHS will become general practitioners which are a speciality in its own right or they may choose to specialize in a particular field such as neurology, psychiatry, gastroenterology or orthopaedics. Whatever speciality a doctor chooses to go into, the same basic principles of diagnosing and treating patients who require medical intervention applies.

 In many medical school interviews, it is common for the interviewer to branch off with something that you have said. This is another reason why you should not memorize your answers because then if you are asked to elaborate or branch off on something you have said and if you have memorized the answer you may not be able to do so appropriately.

 Here at University Expert, we spoke to a doctor who sits on the panel of Plymouth medical school and he stressed the importance of not memorizing answers directly because it is easy for them with the training to notice which students are doing this.

Therefore during your answer in this question, the interviewer may want to elaborate on a particular speciality or for example a speciality that you liked during your work experience or something that you have mentioned in your personal statement.

Below are some of the questions that have been asked during some of the London interviews such as Kings or at Queen Mary’s.

What Do You Understand About The Role Of A General Practitioner? 

We spoke to a lecturer who also regularly sits on interview panels at London Medical Schools and she told us that these questions are designed to see whether you have done any background reading in what actually encompasses being a doctor. Therefore, if you are asked about general practitioners, you may wish to mention that the majority of students, who qualify from any medical school, will end up becoming GPs.

The current figures are more than 50%. It is therefore prudent and wise for students to know what a general practitioner is, how they get to that position and what their work involves. Furthermore, many students we would say have had work experience in a general medical practice.

In this field of medicine, you will see patients from all ages and backgrounds as this is a community type of appointment. You would also mention that this is Primary Care which is being at the frontline of healthcare and the first point of contact within the NHS. Typically, general practitioners will diagnose and treat their patients based on their examinations and special tests, however sometimes they will also seek a second opinion from an appropriate specialist such as referrals to hospitals which is termed secondary care.

If your interviewer wants to probe a little bit further, you can be asked if you know what type of community doctor services are available within a certain specialist such as neurological health or community paediatrics. In addition there are palliative care hubs which work towards effectively caring for patients in a hospice who may be terminally ill such as through cancer.

At your medical school interview, you shouldn’t be surprised if you are asked about the role of hospital doctors. This is because a sizable chunk of students who qualify from medical school will end up working in hospitals although not quite as high as general practitioners. You will not be surprised to learn that there are at least 30 important and key medical specialities and even within these, there will be sub-specialities.

A typical example is where you train to become an obstetrician and then a few years later, you then become a sub specialist consultant in gestational diabetes for high-risk pregnancies.

At a recent Liverpool medical school interview, a student was asked if they knew the role of non-clinical doctors. Fortunately, at University Expert Medicine Interview Tutoring Services, through the interview syllabus that we go through with all our students, we cover this aspect of medicine.

In this sense, you would have highlighted how not all doctors will choose to directly treat patients however they will carry out non-clinical duties. These may be in an academic role or within Medical Research. These research based careers will focus on a particular field of Interest such as global Public Health, Cancer or orthopaedics. Some doctors will even progress to a BDS dental degree and therefore become an oral maxillofacial surgeon.

The point of these questions is to find out if as a student you know the vast opportunities available in order to diversify into a wide range of career branches as a doctor.

Many students still fail to realize that just because they have been asked to come up for an interview, the medical school entry interviews are still extremely competitive and there is no guarantee that you will get a place. Many of these students will also not be ready to get asked the question, why do you want to become a doctor? Follow-up questions may focus on the advantages and disadvantages of being a doctor.

Therefore, as University Experts, our tutors really prepare students to have a good general overview of career pathways and general knowledge about what it really is like to become a doctor but there are good and bad points. 

Doctor Career Pathways

The medical school interview preparation team at University Expert will make sure that all students really know the pathways once you have qualified as a doctor. We even go back a little bit so that you understand that the degree of medicine will last for typically 5 years, however some students will take an intercalated year to also qualify for a BSC in a medical subject and therefore their training will be an extra 1 year which will take it to 6 years.

The intercalated year is taken out of the medical school 5-year course and you are given the opportunity to study a subject such as physiology or biochemistry in much more detail. Although most medical schools make this an optional requirement so it is not an actual requirement and there are some which do make it compulsory however.

Foundation Training Pathways In Medicine

Once you have graduated as a doctor, you will be required to carry out 2 years of Foundation training as a junior doctor and this can be done at the same hospital or different ones.  You are also not tied in to the hospital vicinity that you qualified from. This 2-year Foundation training pathway for doctors is often known as F1 or F2 training.

What Are Core Training Pathways As A Doctor?

Once you have qualified as a doctor and you have carried out your two Years Foundation training pathway, the next pathway is called the core training pathways also known as CT1 and CT2. This is where you decide which particular branch of medicine you want to pursue and specialize.

There are lots of examples here such as going into general practice which is known as GP specialist training or one of the other specialties including radiology, psychiatry, gynaecology or obstetrics.

During this time, you will go through various rotations which will be in either medicine or surgery and then eventually you can apply for a speciality training post. This is a reason why doctors therefore often have to move to different parts of the country and relocate appropriately.

What Is Speciality Training?

Once you have carried out the core training pathways as a doctor, the next step is called speciality training which can be between 4 to 6 years in length. This is known as ST throughout, where you will be assessed so just because you are qualified as a doctor, your learning does not end there.

 Consultant Positions Within Medicine

Many hospital doctors will ultimately advance to become a consultant in their speciality field of training. You can only become a consultant after the certificate of completion of training has been obtained.

This is known as CCT. Once you are in that position, you can then apply directly using your CV and your academic reputation to different roles that will be available in different parts of the country. You will still have to undergo rigorous interviews to secure the position that you want. There will be certain areas of the country which are naturally more competitive than others.

What Is Run Through Training?

As a doctor, some specialities can be entered directly after the foundation program however some can only be joined after you have finished the core training program. This is because there is a merging of core training and specialty training in these cases and this can be ideal for doctors who decide early on how they want to progress in their career.

In conclusion, if you are asked what you understand what being a doctor is about, why do you want to become a doctor, what are the advantages of a doctor, what are the disadvantages of a doctor and what are your career aspirations, the interviewers are actually testing if you have done background reading and have a good understanding of what it means to be a medical professional.

If you want a competitive edge at your Panel or MMI Medicine Interview, get in touch and we will help you secure your place as we have already done so successfully for the last 10 years and get your goal of becoming a doctor.

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