Interview

Well done on getting an interview! Now you just need to make sure that you're well prepared. This page will help by giving you some advice, along with a more detailed look at the way that HYMS runs its interviews.

Then you can relax and prove to the interviewers what a brilliant candidate you are!

Why do medical schools interview?
  • Most candidates that apply to medical school have high grades. Interviews are a way of distinguishing between people.
  • To assess interpersonal skills. Being a doctor is about being a people person and this can't be assessed on paper.
  • To verify the experience and insight that you wrote about on your UCAS form (so make sure you don’t lie or exaggerate!).
  • To screen candidates for any serious unsuitability which might not be apparent from their UCAS forms.

Remember, the medical school has picked its the top applicants from all the UCAS forms, UKCAT results and AS results, and you're there. So keep reminding yourself that you've earned your place at interview!

Also, remember that the interview is about two things. The university has to decide whether you're right for them, but you also have to work out if the university is right for you. This is a key part of interviewing.

What are interviewers looking for?
  • Knowledge and enthusiasm about the course, and about the profession
  • Confidence, but not arrogance
  • Good preparation. If you've taken the time to prepare properly, this shows that you really want to be there
  • Communication skills
  • The ability to work well as part of a team

Relax -- interviewers are not there to catch you out! They just want to see if you're right for their course!

Top tips for interviews
  • Practice makes perfect. Teachers at your school or college can often help with sorting out mock interviews, so make the most of the opportunities you have available to you. Mock interviews are helpful because they allow you to develop your communication skills, ideas and confidence. Members of staff at your school can often help with sorting these out, so make the most of the opportunities you have. But a standard mock interview is not always an exact representation of what a medicine interview will be like, so bear that in mind.
  • Dress comfortably but smartly. For males, this could be a suit or smart black trousers and a shirt. For females, you could wear a skirt or smart trousers and a blouse or shirt. If you're not sure, wear something you feel comfortable in! First impressions do count, so it's better to be a bit too smart than too casual.
  • Read quality newspapers like The Guardian, The Times or The Independent, or look on news websites on the internet (like BBC News - Health) and make a scrapbook of relevant articles. This is the perfect thing to read on the way to your interviews and it may help if you're asked a question on current medical issues, which is quite common. You can also read the Student BMJ or New Scientist to keep up to date with current medical issues.
  • Plan your journey and leave more time than you think you need. If necessary, arrive the night before and stay in a hotel close to the place of interview.
  • Make sure you know where the interview is held. Use campus maps, and double-check exactly where you should be and at what time. You don't want to have to worry about finding the venue on the morning of the interview.
  • If you're nervous, try deep breathing, and reminding yourself that you're well prepared. Try to relax; you will come across better at interview that way!
  • When you're invited into the interview room, don't forget to greet the interviewers, shake their hands and take the seat they show you to.
  • You can always ask the interviewer to repeat the question – it won't be a mark against you.
  • During the interview, make sure you keep good eye contact, with relaxed and open body language, so you appear confident even though you may not feel it!
  • It may seem obvious, but if there are two interviewers, answer the question to the person that asked the question.
  • Remember, the interview is partly to assess your communication skills, so speak slowly and clearly. Take a couple of seconds before answering each question -- so you don't rush in with an answer you later regret!
  • Don't be put off by other candidates on the day. Some might appear loud and confident, but on the inside everyone will be feeling nervous!
Format of a HYMS interview

Every medical school does things differently. For 2014 entry, the interview process has three components, which can happen in any order:

  • A group interview lasting 20 minutes. The main aim of this group activity at interview is to allow a 'live' assessment of your ability to work effectively with your peers. You will be scored on your level of contribution using a prescribed set of grade descriptors, by an experienced problem-based learning tutor and one other trained assessor. In particular, we're interested in:
    • your ability to work collaboratively in a group
    • how you contribute relevant information to the group discussion
    • whether you articulate your own thoughts effectively and clearly in this setting.
  • A first structured personal interview lasting 10 minutes. There will be two interviewers. There will be no more than three key questions during the interview, but interviewers will ask you to expand your responses. Each interviewer will score your responses separately using a prescribed set of grade descriptors. The questions will focus on:
    • motivation and commitment to a career in medicine
    • experience and understanding of a career in medicine
    • awareness and understanding of current medical issues
  • A second structured personal interview, also lasting 10 minutes. There will be two interviewers. There will be no more than three key questions during the interview, but interviewers will ask you to expand your responses. Each interviewer will score your responses separately using a prescribed set of grade descriptors. The questions will focus on:
    • communication skills
    • personal qualities such as empathy, tolerance of ambiguity and resilience
    • critical thinking

In total, you will be assessed by six different people during the interview process.