We asked over 550 medical students what their best tips would be for people just starting out on the medical school entry journey. Here is what they said.
While there were lots of tips on how to succeed in getting into medical school, we have picked out the best and most mentioned tips to help you get ahead on this difficult and long journey.
It is time to use those drama skills you gained during school by setting up a mock interview or two for yourself. Although you'll probably find it awkward at first, you will soon get the hang of it and may even enjoy the experience. It is best to make mistakes now rather than in the real interview. The more trial runs you organise the better you will be and the more comfortable, relaxed and prepared you will be on the day. Rehearsing your answers out loud and having a family member or friend to ask you questions, all aids remembering the key points for answering them at the real interview.
Many of the successful medical students we surveyed recommended organising these key points into 5 bullet points for each topic or big question. One student gave the following example: “Although I practised the "about me" part out loud, I really only went into the interview with 6 bullets in mind. I wanted to cover: family background, academic journey, pre-med experiences, leadership and hobbies.” This gives you a mental road map to fall back on so you do not get lost nor forget to leave something important out.
Organise your outfit in advance and try it on more than once. If you are buying new clothes and shoes, test drive them. What do they feel like to walk, sit and generally move in? Will you be cold or too hot? Play around in the mirror, sit down, walk and shake your own reflection’s hand to see how the clothes look and feel. One student admitted to buying new shoes the day before their interview and by the time they have got to the medical school from home their feet were in agony. You need to be clean, smart and most importantly feel comfortable in order to perform well.
Almost all the students we spoke to mentioned the importance of the night before. Either they had wished they had been kinder to themselves or had made a point of being gentle on themselves the night before so to have a great start to the important day ahead. Nothing is more valuable than being relaxed, confident and getting some sleep. Feel free to treat yourself to candles, a hot bath, a great book and your favourite meal. Trust yourself and the time and effort you have put into the preparation process. Your hard work will pay off.
Google is not the only place where you can find great research reading is a good habit to have for pleasure too and demonstrates a thirst for lifelong learning. If you have mentioned on your application any research you have performed, you will be expected to answer questions about it. Make sure you have an understanding of what you did, how you did it, what you found out and why you did it. Know your application well.
If you have done all the research you should have into why you want to do medicine and why you have picked that particular school, you will have a list of burning questions you want answered. Almost all interviewers have asked me if I have questions and the more the better, just make sure they are well thought out and clearly expressed. For example, "I know that there's the Clinical Foundations course that spans the curriculum, but how are elements such as values, compassion, and professionalism integrated into the curriculum? These issues are important to me." It shows you have researched their curriculum and that you have an appreciation of things that are less tangible but important.
The interviewer will proceed to tell you how their school offers just what you're looking for and how their program is a good fit for your goals and needs. You can use questions like the above to show more about yourself which will convince them you belong there. Need more questions? One student suggests asking about the camaraderie among students, how accessible faculties are for research or academic help and how students who are new to the city can identify local community needs and how to start a program to address them.
Why? As a doctor, you will be working alongside and caring for people from all different cultures, ethnicity, and beliefs. Being culturally sensitive and aware is important within your competence of fulfilling the role of a great doctor and providing the best service you can. All doctors approach medicine differently so this is important to consider when practising medicine; it helps maintain professionalism and rapport with your patients and colleagues. Doctors have a duty of care to help people regardless of demographics; in your working life you will see that diversity builds stronger teams and helps garner trust.
To help exhibit cultural sensitivity, ask appropriate questions about beliefs and understanding. Identify your stereotypes and root these out before they become a problem. With this in mind, beware of the language you use to describe or explain certain cultures or groups of like-minded people. Successful students learn and research about different cultures and their communication differences.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious right now? Didn’t quite make the percentile you needed? Or just starting out? Please don’t worry, head over to our UCAT Online Course and we’ll get you signed up, in a matter of seconds, to guide you through this whole process step-by-step.
We have a bank of over 10,239 questions, a decision making section and 8 full mock exams and 18 mini-mock exams; we even give you performance feedback too.
We’ve been lending a successful helping hand since 2009. Medify’s here to support you, just reach out to us.