Alex | Founder of Medfully
06 Jul 5 min read

How I Got 3/3 Offers for Medicine (as an International Student) | Success Stories

Q: Could you please tell us about your journey to medical school?

Yes, sure! Hi, my name is Shuen, I will be 18 this year and I’m from Malaysia. I applied for Birmingham, Sheffield, Belfast and Nottingham and I got 3 interview invitations (from Birmingham, Sheffield and Belfast) and then 3 offers, from all the universities I was interviewed by.

In terms of my stats; I got 2900 and Band 2 on my UCAT (which unfortunately was below the threshold for Nottingham) and I applied with a predicted AAA.

It was very challenging for me to get in because I’m an international student and I also have a disability, which I was afraid will affect how I’m perceived by the admissions team.

Q: How did you go about starting your interview preparation?

I first started looking for any online resources and began by reading some general tips and questions that come up. When my interview invitation came in, I then started looking for more specific resources, like Medfully.

Q: Roughly, how much time did you spend preparing for your interviews?

It was early December when I started taking my interview prep more seriously. At that time I’d just finished my AS exams, so I had entire days just to prepare for my interviews.

And that’s what I did - for about 1.5 months I’ve devoted entire days just to preparing for my interviews (pretty much I did nothing else haha).

Q: What techniques and resources did you find most helpful when preparing for your interviews?

What helped me get a better insight into what the interviewers were looking for was MedicMind’s interview marking scheme. After that I moved on to YouTube, searching, for example, role-plays and general tips.

Then I came across Medfully and it’s when my actual interview preparation started.

I didn’t use any other resources, like 1-1 tutoring or interview courses, as they were all too expensive and I thought they were not worth the money.

Q: Moving on to the interview itself - tell us a bit more about your actual interview experience. Is there anything that surprised you? What challenges did you face?

I had one panel interview and two MMIs. What I found quite challenging during the MMIs, was that I had very little time to read the question and think the question through. Moreover, I did not expect that they might ask me as many as 3-4 questions during a 5-minute MMI station. So during the first station, I was kinda held back by that fast pace. So I told myself that during each break I need to focus and recollect myself.

From my general experience, it’s really important that you use the time between stations in an MMI to recollect yourself and restart your mind. If you mess up the previous station, you can still do well on the next station if you reset your mind and come with a clean slate.

Another challenge that I faced was a role play. I’m not sure if they made the station harder on purpose, but the interviewers scowled at us, slammed the table and got very emotional… which was just very scary (I’ve never dealt with such conflicts in real life).

But I kept telling myself “It’s just an interview, it’s just an interview”, which really helped me deal with that high-pressure environment of the role-play.

My panel interview went alright… There was one question that surprised me - it was a yes/no game, where you had to ask the interviewers close-ended questions to guess what they have on their minds. I think they do that to test your creativity and communication, but it was really fun too!

Q: In hindsight, is there anything you would do differently, in terms of preparing for your interviews?

Yes, I wish I had devoted more time to reading about current medical news (but I remembered a few from Medfully’s weekly news posts on Instagram!).

Also, I think it’s best to start your interview prep, as soon as you send your applications (15th of October). I’ve seen some of my peers starting their interview preparation only once they’ve received an interview invitation, which didn’t leave them enough time to prepare.

Q: What advice would you give to people applying to medicine this year, regarding their interview preparation?

1. When you really don’t know how to answer the question (in my interviews I got asked about some stuff in the UK news that I’ve never heard before), just admit that you really don’t know. The interviewers will appreciate your honesty. But don’t stop there - after admitting the truth, make an attempt to make an educated guess. Tell them everything that comes to your mind about the specific topic, use your imagination and fake it until you make it.

2. In one of my interviews, when I said that I haven’t ever read about the topic, the interviewer said it was very brave of me to admit that and that it’s a trait they are looking for in candidates.

3. My second tip would be to smile. It’s very likely that your interviewers will interact with you during medical school at one point or another. So it’s really important to convince them that you are a friendly, easygoing person. So I tried to smile as much as I can, I remembered to be polite and friendly… and it seems to have worked!

4. One thing that helped me a lot, was the answer structures provided to each question at Medfully (so like a ready, ideal structure that you can apply to the question). So in the actual interview when a question came up (that I’ve seen on Medfully before), the structure came to my mouth very naturally, because all the structures are very well organised.

5. One last thing that I did, is I tried to show how passionate I am about medicine. I’m not sure how the interviewers can catch it, but I tried sounding as passionate as I could, speaking from my true heart.

6. Try to practise by yourself. I practised in front of my mirror, with the flashcards on medfully, with my friends… It helps you get a feel of how it’s like to be in the actual interview.

7. Check how you look in your interview outfit (and on a webcam). Right before my interview, I checked how I looked on the webcam and I looked super pale and sick. This really stressed me out, a thought came through my mind that they won’t offer a place to someone sick haha. So prepare and check your interview look in advance to give a good first impression.

8. Be confident and enjoy the process. Before each interview, I would tell myself “It’s just a part of the process, now it’s time for you to shine, so enjoy it. You can do it” to give myself power. I think the mindset you go with in the interview is the most important element of success.