"Why Medicine?" is likely to be the very first question you hear in your Medical School Interview. Nowadays most Medical Schools use the question as an icebreaker and to get you in the interview mood. After all, you have already told them why you want to become a doctor in your Personal Statement!
Be wary, however - while this question may not be decisive in terms of whether you get in or not, interview panellists expect you to be prepared for it. Thus, with your answer, you have to show consideration, confidence and maturity.
Questions about your motivations to study medicine are equally likely to come up in panel interviews and MMIs.
For most people, there are only a limited number of reasons for choosing the medical pathway. If you don't have a unique and personal motivation, don't worry - it's more about how you approach the question and present yourself to the interviewers than the substance of your answer.
🙆♀️ Be Genuine: The interview panellists don’t want to hear the most sophisticated and unique reason, but a genuine one. Make sure you choose reasons that you actually care about, as the interviewers may always ask you to elaborate on some of your points. They will know if you’re making your answer up in order to tell them what you think they want to hear.
💪 Use The Question To Signpost Your Strengths, Interests and Experiences: If you enjoy problem-solving, mention the chess club you are a part of or a moment during your work experience, which showed you how crucial it is in medicine. If hands-on use of science appeals to you, mention the experiments you did as a part of your EPQ or the piano lessons that helped you develop manual dexterity. This technique will make your answer stand out and sound more genuine.
🤩 Demonstrate How Passionate You Are! Smile while giving your answer and imagine you are casually talking to one of your best friends. Remember that your body language, tone of voice, or speaking pace can exude more passion, sincerity, and confidence than any words. More than that, some interviewers have a rubric dedicated to assessing that non-verbal aspect of your answer.
🆘 ”I’d Like To Help People”: Avoid saying you would simply "like to help people," as 80% of the jobs in the world do that (think of police officers, farmers, software developers etc.) If you really want to use this argument, be wary of the phrasing and support it effectively.
🤑 ”It’s A Stable And Well-Paid Job”. Yes, that’s true and it’s fine if that’s one of the motivating factors for you. But being a doctor requires a lot more passion and dedication to persevere through the long course and many challenges you’ll face as a doctor. Therefore, it’s not a good reason to mention in your interviews.
🔊 Sounding Rehearsed. Since it is the most obvious question and one highly likely to come up in your interview, it may be tempting to memorise the answer to it. This, however, will make you come across as robotic and inauthentic (rather than genuine and enthusiastic), which won't be perceived favourably by the interviewers. Therefore, try not to script a complete answer to the question, and when practising, try not to overdo the question.
🔢 Simply Listing The Reasons: This doesn't show genuine interest. Make sure you elaborate on each of them, even if in one sentence.
🥱 Giving Vague And Banal Reasons. Make sure your reasons are as specific as possible. Saying you would find great joy in translating the knowledge behind the disease to a meaningful context and using it as a tool to help people is much more convincing than saying you "enjoy the sciences."
♾️ Attempting To Cover Too Many Reasons. Medicine is a highly complex and multidimensional field, so there are naturally numerous good reasons for getting into it. However, the question is not a contest of quantity, so it's best to limit your answer to 2-3 succinct, well-thought-out and meaningful points.
Introduction: Ensure you show the interviewers that deciding to pursue medicine wasn't a random decision but rather one you have thoroughly considered. It may be a good idea to highlight this in the first sentence of your answer. Other than stating that explicitly, you can choose to mention how you gained insight into the profession or highlight how multidimensional medicine is.
Points: Make the answer brief. We would recommend choosing two to three most relevant but distinct reasons to show that there are various aspects of the medical world or the profession that interests you. Remember always to explain these aspects and not only list them.
Conclusion: It is good practice to signal to the interviewers you have ended your answer with a powerful, direct summary (e.g. "This is why I have chosen to pursue a career in medicine").
🚀 TOP Tip: Finding these tips helpful? Check out our 70,000+ interview guide with insider tactics, interview flashcards and mock interview simulations at Medfully - The Best Medicine Interview Preparation Resource.
There are numerous reasons why I’d like to study medicine. For me, personally, choosing to apply for medicine was the product of many thoughts, reflections and experiences over the past years.
Firstly, I was always naturally drawn to the natural sciences, so I knew for a long time that I’d enjoy doing something within that realm. But it wasn’t until my volunteering experience at a local care home, that I realised first-hand how satisfying it is to build that intimate rapport with patients, one based on trust, empathy and competencies. And it’s that perfect and unique balance of science and the human connection that draws me towards medicine.
Secondly, I think that doctors have the unique privilege to take care of arguably the most valuable commodity that exists, which is people’s health or sometimes even life. Working directly on something as meaningful as that will, I think, make my work meaningful and in turn, motivate me to give it my best and stay committed. At the same time, working closely with someone sick, who’s likely at the hardest stage of their life, is a huge responsibility, but one I’m ready to apply myself to.
So overall, what draws me most to medicine is the nice balance between science and human connection, as well as the satisfaction and meaning it provides. However, this is by no means a comprehensive list!