10 Tips for Medicine Panel Interviews
1. Prepare for common questions
Panel interviews tend to be less diverse than MMIs therefore if you prepare well for the commonly asked questions you should perform well. Take a look at our guide to common interview questions here. You can almost be sure that your panel interview will start with an exploration of why you want to study medicine, so preparing well for the Motivation for Medicine questions would be an excellent start.
2. When you prepare, make model answers
Especially for commonly asked questions such as “Why Medicine?” or on specific skills. Having said this, don’t write a script, as this will come off unnatural and robotic at interview. Instead, it is best to write a bullet point list of a few points for each question. This will help you prepare, but also sound natural in your discussion of the question.
3. You need some core knowledge
The structure of the healthcare system and medical ethics are very important topics that are commonly asked at interview. Therefore, it is really important you are comfortable with the factual basis of topics and ethical dilemmas such as abortion and euthanasia. Take a look at our article covering some of the most commonly encountered ethical questions.
4. Know your university
You need to know the course and university inside out, so make sure you have done your research. The interviewers will expect you to know quite a bit about the university, so go above and beyond to impress and leave a great impression. Maybe there is a particular club you are interested in joining at the university, or they offer a specific module or teaching style that you’re keen on. Don’t be afraid to get your enthusiasm across!
5. Perfect interview etiquette
We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in an interview, thats exactly what happens. Dress smartly (we have a handy guide for this), be clean and polished, maybe even have a fresh haircut, and remember to sit up tall. Try to cut out words such as “like” and “basically” from your interview answers. They can seem natural in some sentences, but used too much and it can come across as too informal, ultimately leaving a bad impression.
6. Know your personal statement inside out
It is more likely at a panel interview that one, if not all, of the interviewers will have read your personal statement. They may even have it in front of them during your interview. Therefore, it is imperative that you know your personal statement inside out, and are ready for any question that could be thrown your way!
7. Use your previous answers
Although you will need to give different examples, you have the benefit of gradually building a relationship with the examiners over the course of your interview. You can say things such as “…as I have previously mentioned…”, to add continuity to your answers. However, as we have said, you will need to use different examples for different questions. This will help to show you have a broad range of experience and also keep the examiners interest.
8. Speak to everyone on the panel
The panel of interviewers will usually have 2-3 interviewers, but sometimes can have more. Therefore it is important to address every single person on the panel when answering questions. Remember, it isn’t just the person who asked you the question who is marking you. Therefore, make eye contact with all interviewers. Chances are you will be drawn to one interviewer more, especially if they are being warmer in their responses than another interviewer. In this case, it is especially important to distribute your concentration evenly across the panel.
9. Identify what the question is really asking you
This does take a bit of practice, which is why it is so important to prepare well for your interview. Getting to the bottom of what the question is really asking you in relation to wanting to study medicine is key to scoring highly at interview. For example, a question asking why don’t you want to be a nurse? Is still asking you why do you want to be a doctor? However it is also looking for you to distinguish between the two job roles. In this question, for example, you don’t want to spend all your time explaining why you aren’t applying to nursing school, but instead focus on the differences between a nurse and a doctor, and why being a doctor is more appealing and better suited to yourself.
10. Practice, Practice, and Practice
it may seem obvious, but the more practice you do, the better chance you have a performing well. You probably won’t have been to an interview like this before, and chances are you won’t have had to deal with difficult patients, or break bad news. For these sort of scenarios ask family and friends to help you by playing these roles in some role plays. Make the stations up yourself, or practice with a tutor.