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Medical Interviewer FAQ!

chinaski

Regular Member
As long as it's relevant, it's fine. For example, interviewers want to hear about a Contiki tour to Asia where you "found yourself", gained a new collection of elephant print yoga pants, and helped build a sub-standard wall for a house for those less fortunate ;)
Bonus points if you can whip out your phone and show them the selfies you took of yourself and some cute disadvantaged kids for the 'gram. ;)

Seriously though, time spent away from formal studies can almost always be shown as a positive. Unless you spend your gap year sitting on your arse in your parents' house gaming and looking at pornography (not necessarily in that order), not going straight to uni after high school will likely be seen as a strength.
 

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LMG!

Moderator
Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
Yes that is very true, good point. I am reasonably confident I will interview well. I'm mature aged, articulate, have lots of life experience, regularly teach classes to rooms of 30 or 40 people so not easily rattled. If it weren't for the lure of a seemingly large discount I would absolutely not consider wasting money on a course. I'd like to know if anyone has found it to be really, reaaaaally helpful/unmissable?
I was in a similar position to you coming into interviews, mature aged, experienced, articulate, and with a successful history of (allied health) job interviews behind me (including specific feedback once that I interview “very well”). I did virtually no prep at all beyond thinking through my motivations for doing Med so I could articulate those if necessary (hint: no one actually asked for this!) and got CSPs at both WSU and JMP (the only places I attended interviews at as UTAS don’t interview). I definitely think you can save yourself the $$, but it’s obviously up to you. I was nervous and unsure of what to expect on the day (as I have been with job interviews), but certainly not overwhelmed and for the most part, I actually very much enjoyed the challenge! Especially at WSU.

If you have a spare few hours and $200 then I doubt it will hurt but, yeah, they’re definitely going to be wanting high achievers to do their course. Tell them you can’t afford $190 but if they reduce the price to $50 it would be feasible, see what they say! ;)
 
That's very nice of you, whoartthou, to answer all these questions - thanks! I've got a question. Which interview questions generally tend to be answered badly and why?
It varies a lot. I've heard of every question answered badly. I think those with less life experience seem to struggle more with scenario based stations as many a time by experiencing it IRL helps you with answering the question.
Some universities ask about their course so if you didn't do your homework and at least get a general understanding of their course then you will not do well.
The list goes on and go.

As long as it's relevant, it's fine. For example, interviewers don't want to hear about a Contiki tour to Asia where you "found yourself", gained a new collection of elephant print yoga pants, and helped build a sub-standard wall for a house for those less fortunate ;)
Actually building a substandard wall may not be as bad as some other experiences. You will also never find yourself, we are always searching and changing.

Thanks LMG, your post is reassuring.
Haha, I actually thought about doing that. I might!
I agree with what people have said above. I wouldn't strongly advertise Medentry's interview prep course for those that have life experience. It might help school leavers but otherwise it's pretty non specific. Also if you think $190 is expensive wait until you have to pay for courses and exams as a doctor. I spent ~$10,000 in the last financial year for exams, courses and equipment.
 

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Winger42

Member
It varies a lot. I've heard of every question answered badly. I think those with less life experience seem to struggle more with scenario based stations as many a time by experiencing it IRL helps you with answering the question.
Some universities ask about their course so if you didn't do your homework and at least get a general understanding of their course then you will not do well.
The list goes on and go.



Actually building a substandard wall may not be as bad as some other experiences. You will also never find yourself, we are always searching and changing.



I agree with what people have said above. I wouldn't strongly advertise Medentry's interview prep course for those that have life experience. It might help school leavers but otherwise it's pretty non specific. Also if you think $190 is expensive wait until you have to pay for courses and exams as a doctor. I spent ~$10,000 in the last financial year for exams, courses and equipment.
Thanks so much for your answer! I've got another question if you have time:
Of course I wouldn't hide it, but are the interviewers impressed by someone who's taken a gap year/year 13 to get into med (and which one is a better word for me since I'm only redoing 2 subjects)? I've been working on the weaknesses of my application last year (ATAR, UCAT but especially interview - is this good to mention, or is it better to say something generic like "developing myself personally?). I've also been tutoring high school students, went interstate for a bit, did sport, just a bit of everything really. I'm just really confused about what the interviewers do/don't like regarding this (i.e. should I say it shows determination?) Thanks mate :)
 
Thanks so much for your answer! I've got another question if you have time:
Of course I wouldn't hide it, but are the interviewers impressed by someone who's taken a gap year/year 13 to get into med (and which one is a better word for me since I'm only redoing 2 subjects)? I've been working on the weaknesses of my application last year (ATAR, UCAT but especially interview - is this good to mention, or is it better to say something generic like "developing myself personally?). I've also been tutoring high school students, went interstate for a bit, did sport, just a bit of everything really. I'm just really confused about what the interviewers do/don't like regarding this (i.e. should I say it shows determination?) Thanks mate :)
I get asked this question a lot by students usually because they lack experience. Anything you say regarding your personality carries no weight if you can't back it up. If you say you are determined, what do you mean? Did you hit the gym 6 times a week for 1.5 hours each day without missing a day? If you did then that shows determination.
"I am developing myself personally" means nothing if you can't back it up. If you say "I've been developing myself through mentoring high school students by facilitating and organising lesson plans etc etc." then yes I would agree with you.
It's not about what interviewers do or don't like the majority of the time, it's the way you construct and deliver your answer.
I saw a meme the other day on how do you write "I changed a light bulb on my resume"."Single-handedly managed the successful upgrade and deployment of new environmental illumination system with zero cost overruns and zero safety incidents." is another way to say the same thing. Just be careful not to embillish it too much or force it as the interviewer may become confused or see through your bullshit. This is why a tutor may be of benefit to students.
 

Winger42

Member
Hey, if you're still answering questions, I've got another. In my "Why Medicine" answer, is it okay to mention that I haven't always wanted to do medicine and that I was only attracted to it in the last few years, or is this a turn off (and something I should only tell them if they ask)? Thanks :)
 

chinaski

Regular Member
The opposite, if anything. Most mature decision making is made with the benefit of adequate insight and life experience. As such, recently arriving at the decision to undertake a course of study after due consideration and reasoning is actually a good thing, rather than pursuing an idea based on the fact that you've held it as an idealised dream since childhood.
 

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pi

Junior doctor
Administrator
Contrary to popular belief, there's a large group of people in medicine who did not see medicine as a calling. It's more than fine to be part of this group.
 

Winger42

Member
The opposite, if anything. Most mature decision making is made with the benefit of adequate insight and life experience. As such, recently arriving at the decision to undertake a course of study after due consideration and reasoning is actually a good thing, rather than pursuing an idea based on the fact that you've held it as an idealised dream since childhood.
Awesome, thanks a lot, that's very helpful!
 

chinaski

Regular Member
Contrary to popular belief, there's a large group of people in medicine who did not see medicine as a calling. It's more than fine to be part of this group.
Personally I tend to regard those who talk about childhood dreams and callings to medicine with more than a hint of suspicion, just quietly.
 
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Thanks so much whoartthou and everyone for these answers - it’s great guidance.
I am a school leaver and will be taking a gap year next year and so hope to be offered a medical place which I will then apply to defer for 12 months. I have accepted a UK job in a primary school as a boarding house assistant and teaching/coaching assistant.
Do you think I should not mention this at all in my interviews (as it might suggest I am not super keen or ready to start medicine) or, if I think it’s relevant to my answers, should I talk about the fact that I am looking forward to working, being independent and travelling to broaden my experiences before I commence my university studies?
Many thanks.
 

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Hey, if you're still answering questions, I've got another. In my "Why Medicine" answer, is it okay to mention that I haven't always wanted to do medicine and that I was only attracted to it in the last few years, or is this a turn off (and something I should only tell them if they ask)? Thanks :)
I think it depends on your wording and how you managed to come to that conclusion. If you came to the conclusion with deep insight and understanding then not a problem. If you had no idea what else to do that would be a nono.


Thanks so much whoartthou and everyone for these answers - it’s great guidance.
I am a school leaver and will be taking a gap year next year and so hope to be offered a medical place which I will then apply to defer for 12 months. I have accepted a UK job in a primary school as a boarding house assistant and teaching/coaching assistant.
Do you think I should not mention this at all in my interviews (as it might suggest I am not super keen or ready to start medicine) or, if I think it’s relevant to my answers, should I talk about the fact that I am looking forward to working, being independent and travelling to broaden my experiences before I commence my university studies?
Many thanks.
I don't see this as a problem. As someone has mentioned above taking your time to pursue a career in medicine is not only a way to show maturity but also it shows the interviewer you don't have an idealised vision of medicine. By the sounds of it, that is an awesome experience and I think it would be a loss to not include it. Although make sure you word it in a way that showcases your learnings and experience.
 
I think it depends on your wording and how you managed to come to that conclusion. If you came to the conclusion with deep insight and understanding then not a problem. If you had no idea what else to do that would be a nono.




I don't see this as a problem. As someone has mentioned above taking your time to pursue a career in medicine is not only a way to show maturity but also it shows the interviewer you don't have an idealised vision of medicine. By the sounds of it, that is an awesome experience and I think it would be a loss to not include it. Although make sure you word it in a way that showcases your learnings and experience.
Thank you for your response - it’s much appreciated.
 
Hey whoartthou ,

In the interview, would it be alright to talk about other people who displayed the skills needed in a particular situation (e.g. teamwork) that you didn't display, explaining how you learnt how important the skill was in achieving the desired outcome and how you would approach a similar situation the next time? Or would this just highlight my own shortcomings?

Thanks!
 
Hey whoartthou ,

In the interview, would it be alright to talk about other people who displayed the skills needed in a particular situation (e.g. teamwork) that you didn't display, explaining how you learnt how important the skill was in achieving the desired outcome and how you would approach a similar situation the next time? Or would this just highlight my own shortcomings?

Thanks!
Most questions will be directed at you. Usually the question lines begins with "Tell me a time when YOU ......" If the question line doesn't involve this then it is totally appropriate. You just need to listen to the question.
If you talked about someone else's ability in a team it doesn't really give the interview any information about yourself. If you absolutely have nothing to say then you really have no choice. However, if a student didn't have these "experiences" then I would not be judging that student favourably.
 
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818

Lurker
Really hope its not too late to ask questions - but I was wondering how 'relaxed' we should be. I normally find it pretty easy having a conversation with anyone but even in a practise environment where my friend is asking me questions my answers become much more thought out, hesitant and formal. I obviously shouldn't treat the interviewer as a friend but is it better to be more comfortable when speaking or should I remain formal and just work on making my answers flow a bit more? Sorry if this doesn't make much sense.
 
Really hope its not too late to ask questions - but I was wondering how 'relaxed' we should be. I normally find it pretty easy having a conversation with anyone but even in a practise environment where my friend is asking me questions my answers become much more thought out, hesitant and formal. I obviously shouldn't treat the interviewer as a friend but is it better to be more comfortable when speaking or should I remain formal and just work on making my answers flow a bit more? Sorry if this doesn't make much sense.
Interviewers are not your friend at the end of a day. At the same time you shouldn't feel it is a job interview. Ideally you should be formal and confident. An articulate students shows maturity and confidence but it can also come across rehearsed and insincere. You need to strike a balance but I would not be speaking to an interviewer as you would with a friend. The only way to know is to ask someone with experience to listen to your answer and provide you with advice. I would say most of the marks doesn't come from how formal you sound rather the content of your answer. However, if you're aiming for an excellent score then it is important to consider.
 

818

Lurker
Interviewers are not your friend at the end of a day. At the same time you shouldn't feel it is a job interview. Ideally you should be formal and confident. An articulate students shows maturity and confidence but it can also come across rehearsed and insincere. You need to strike a balance but I would not be speaking to an interviewer as you would with a friend. The only way to know is to ask someone with experience to listen to your answer and provide you with advice. I would say most of the marks doesn't come from how formal you sound rather the content of your answer. However, if you're aiming for an excellent score then it is important to consider.
Thank you !!
 

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