Top 5 Tips for Medical Interview Success

1. Knowledge Base

Medicine is a career that encompasses a very large number of skills, including but not limited to ethical reasoning and strict adherence to protocol. Doctors and other healthcare practitioners are often in positions of power relative to their patients due to the nature of the occupation, and are therefore expected to act in certain ways and follow certain behaviours. Understanding their ethical and logical guidelines is therefore a fantastic place to start - I recommend reading ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’ and ‘Good Medical Practice’, as well as getting to grips with the four pillars of medical ethics. Understanding these core elements will help you approach most questions from first principles instead of having to rely on learned answers.

Alongside this, be able to talk about a couple of medical cases from research papers or the news that interest you - that will demonstrate your initiative and willingness to further your own knowledge.

2. Practice Answering Questions

Just like the UKCAT, BMAT, GAMSAT or any other exam, the best form of revision is to practice doing questions. There are a ton of free resources out there in this area, look at places like The Medic Portal, my own website ( or (dare I say it) The Student Room. Have your friends or family members ask you random questions so you’re forced to think on your feet - even if you don’t think they’re likely to come up. Sometimes being put on the defensive and into an uncomfortable scenario is the best way to get used to thinking and answering in a more structured way.

3. Practice Under Pressure

Of course the other element of medical interviews (as with most assessments) is the aspect of time pressure. This is particularly true in MMI format interviews where you may have no more than a few minutes to answer a particular question, particularly if it’s a probing question rather than the stem of a discussion. With this in mind, when practicing with family or friends make sure to have them time you for 2-3 minutes per individual question - this will make it very hard in some cases, but if you can achieve that then on the day it should be easy.

4. Reflective Thinking

Doctors (and medical students) are required to perform reflections throughout their careers to consolidate what they have learned and set action plans for self-improvement. Furthermore, most medical schools (particularly at graduate-entry level) demand some level of work experience or exposure to a healthcare setting. The reason for this is to give you a chance to evaluate if medicine is truly the right career for you. Based on your experiences at school or university, at work, while volunteering - why do you think you would make a good doctor? What have you observed? What do healthcare professionals do every day? What did you like about what you saw, or conversely what was shocking or disappointing?

Gaining insight into your own thought processes will be enormously helpful for your interview and for your time at medical school and beyond.

5. Relax

Probably the last thing any of you wanted to hear, but it’s vitally important. Remember, you’ve made it to interview now, so there’s a very good chance that you are completely suitable for medicine. The role of the interviewer is not to grill you so you can be eliminated, but instead to allow you to demonstrate your competence and allow them to get a feel for ‘the real you’. Let your personality come out and answer everything honestly. A medical interview is fundamentally a discussion and that’s how you should approach it.

Make sure to get a good night's sleep the night before (stay overnight close by if necessary) and have something to eat. I'm sure you'll do great - good luck!