Although you can't predict every single question that can come up on your medicine interview, here are the 10 question types that come up every year:
1. General questions
These comprise the most fundamental, highly predictable questions, such as "Why would you like to study medicine?", "Why would you like to study at XYZ university?" or "Tell us something about yourself". Many medical schools treat them as ice-breakers, which are meant to help you get into the interview mood. Having said that, you should still treat those questions seriously. Many candidates will have well-thought-out answers and the admission tutors may expect you to be prepared for those questions, so don't overlook them just because they seem basic and straightforward.
2. Personality questions
One of the main purposes of medicine interviews is to learn more about your personality, to see whether you'd make for a good colleague and doctor. Hence it's very likely to get a few questions assessing the suitability of your personality to medicine like "As a doctor, how will you deal with stress ?". But there may also be questions, which are only about you - like what's your greatest strength or weakness or what your 3 main qualities are. With such questions, you don't have to link it back to medicine at all costs. The interview panellists really value honesty and authenticity, so try to be as true to yourself as possible when answering such questions.
Learn how to answer 60+ questions from ALL 10 types!
3. Tell us about a situation when...
"Tell us about a situation when...." is a type of personality questions that we though are worth mentioning on their own, as many of you find those really tricky. Those questions ask you to provide an example of when you showed a given quality - a quality that is usually key for being a doctor or a medical student, like tell us about a situation when you had to rely on your problem-solving skills or when you had to work in a team. Since it would take you a lot of time and effort to prepare a separate scenario for all such questions, we would recommend you to recall 4-5 situations when you have demonstrated multiple skills and identify those skills or qualities.
4. Personal Statement Questions
Remember the pain when you had to delete some valuable phrases or achievements from your personal statement because of the character limit? Well, interview may be an opportunity to elaborate on your points. Let's say you wrote about a care home placement or a science project like an EPQ - the interviewers may have your personal statement printed and ask you "oh tell us so tell us something more about it" or "were there any challenges you encountered" or something along those lines. To prepare for such questions it's best to print out your personal statement with double spacing, highlight all the individual points you've written about and try to come up with questions about them as I just did.
5. Insight into Medicine
Some medical schools may also assess your insight into the medical profession, that is, if you have a realistic understanding of what being a doctor entails and how passionate you actually are about becoming a medical student. With such questions it's important to make balanced statements to demonstrate your decision to study medicine is well-thought-out and that you are aware of the less glamorous side of it. A good example of such questions would be "Why is empathy important in medicine?" or "What has been the greatest medical advancement in the last 10 years?".
6. Insight Into University
Similarly, universities may want to see how passionate you are about joining them. They want to see that you haven't chosen them randomly and that you'll be a valuable asset to their community. The interviewers may ask you, for example, about the things you find most appealing in their university, about their research facilities or the course structure. All of that information is usually available on the main page of the medical school, and it's definitely a good idea to research it thoroughly and write a few bullet points about each university you applied to.
7. NHS & Hot Topics
Questions revolving around the NHS are the one's most candidates find more challenging. When students start reading about the NHS, it's structure, all it's bodies and sub-organisations they become a bit overwhelmed and stressed by all the information - the NHS is a really complex organism. But luckily for you, it is rather unlikely to be asked very specific questions about NHS's history or structure; most medical schools expect you to have a general overview of such topics. If you would like to save yourself some time and research, at medfully.co.uk we have collected and condensed all the essential information about the NHS or Medical Ethics and much more! The other category related to the NHS are the so-called Hot Topics, so essentially questions testing your insight into current affairs from the medical world in the UK. On your interview you may be asked to discuss a current issue regarding the NHS, healthcare or science. To prepare for those questions, it's best to just follow medical news like BBC Health regularly before the interview to stay on the top of things.
Learn how to answer 60+ questions from ALL 10 types!
8. Medical Ethics
Other question-type requiring you to acquire some extra
knowledge are the ethics questions. You may be asked to discuss a medical
scenario from an ethical perspective, similar to what you may have done on the
SJT on the UCAT. A common ethics question that gets asked goes as follows:
"Imagine you are the head of the surgical department in
a hospital. There are two patients, A and B, both requiring an urgent liver
transplant, but there is only one viable liver. Patient A is a 32-year old
social activist with a drug abuse history. Patient B is a 78-year old woman who
takes care of 3 children whose parents died in a car accident. How would you
decide who to allocate the liver to, and why?" (adapted from
Such questions require from you an understanding of the
basics of medical ethics, like the famous 4 pillars or 3 C's, and the ability
to dissect a scenario and discuss it from a multiple perspective.
9. Role-play Scenarios (MMI)
Role-plays are like a live simulation of a real medical scenario. They are exclusive for MMI interviews, as they require a separate interviewer to play the role of a patient, patients-relative or a medical practitioner. You, as an interviewee, are usually asked to play the role of a doctor. While most candidates find role-plays really stressful and challenging, many medical schools adore them, as these can really test your communication skills or empathy in action. Preparing for role-plays is a whole different story, as it's far easier to explain what you would do than to do it, especially under the interview stress. So if you know that your medical school will be conducting role-play stations, make sure to dedicate some time not only to learning about, say how to break bad news, but also to practicing it
Last, but not least, there are questions which don't fall into any of the previous categories, but are nonetheless really important. These may include data-analysis questions, questions asking you to do basic calculations and explain them or one that is also common, as it tests your communication skills - picture description questions. Many candidates make the mistake and overlook those questions and then fail to answer them well on an interview, so preparing for them may give you an advantage and help to stand out.
Good luck with your interview preparation! You may also want to check out the video format of this post on Medfully YouTube channel: