Receiving a Medical school interview invitation is exciting and daunting at the same time. Only 10% of applicants successfully get accepted into a Singapore medical school, whether it is the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at NTU or Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at NUS.
The purpose of an interview to conclude your Medical school application is to verify the information that you included, such as your personal statement.
With the interview being the final lap, you need to be well-prepared.
But what do interviewers ask?
Do you have to study ahead in case they ask you about a medical question?
How do you tactfully answer an ethic-based question?
Why do you want to become a doctor?
If you have established your personal branding exercise, compiled a holistic and reflective academic portfolio and written a compelling personal statement, the big question should come naturally.
However, anxiety and eagerness to impress your interviewers could lead to fumbling for words, resulting in the inability to articulate your thoughts in a mature and thoughtful manner.
MMIs? FSA? SJTs?
If you are applying to NTU Medicine, you will be familiar with the term MMI or Multiple Mini-Interviews. At NUS, there are 2 rounds consisting of the FSA (Focused-Skills Assessment) and the SJT (Situational Judgement Test).
Although named differently, the MMI and FSA are carried out in similar ways. You will be expected to move from station to station with a limited time to answer a question prompt or complete a task.
What questions will I be asked at a medical school interview?
Depending on the stations that you go to, interviewers might ask you a range of questions. This could include personal questions to find out more about you, your motivations for pursuing Medicine and whether you have a genuine interest in the Sciences.
You may also be asked questions about the experiences you mentioned in your application. This will be an opportunity to elaborate on your takeaways and reinforce how they will impact your performance as a Medical student and doctor in the future..
You can also expect role-play scenarios that assess your ability to handle complex and challenging situations that you have no control of. Don’t be afraid to clarify when in doubt or weave your questions into the role-play. If you need to make assumptions, declare them in your responses.
Let’s see how you can answer these Medical interview questions.
“You are an orthopedic surgeon.
Your patient needs to undergo a knee replacement surgery but will agree only if he will be able to run a marathon a month after the procedure. Otherwise, he plans to wait until after the marathon.
Why won’t you be able to guarantee his desired recovery?”
Interviewers aim to assess your understanding of how complex a patient’s situation or treatment plan can be.
The doctor’s and patient’s objectives appear to be different. While the patient hopes to return to running a marathon one month after his surgery, the doctor might be focused on a more long-term view of reduced pain and normal function.
There are many considerations not included in the question. For example, the accuracy of the patient’s medical history, unknown underlying conditions that might surface during surgery or the patient’s adherence to the recovery plan. With variables beyond a doctor’s control, he/she cannot possibly guarantee an outcome.
“Should drug addicts, alcoholics, and smokers receive equal treatment?”
Do you know the difference between self-inflicted and non self-inflicted illnesses and conditions? Interviewers will be interested to know if you have sufficient understanding of the complexities of treating self-inflicted diseases, as well as awareness of ailments that arise as a result of these addictions.
For example, a drug user who uses needles could have Hepatitis C, someone with alcohol addiction could suffer from liver cirrhosis while a heavy smoker could develop lung cancer. While the natural assumption is that the condition is a result of the habit, it is extremely difficult to prove that conclusively without deeper, time-consuming investigation.
Another consideration is the recognition that addiction is a psychological or psychiatric condition which needs to be managed separately. You will need to emphasise fairness and objectivity when responding to this question, regardless of whether the condition is an addiction or caused by something else.
At the same time, you will need to recognise that some diseases might be transmissible and require treatment for public health reasons.
It is definitely not your place as a doctor to judge or deny treatment because you disagree with the patient’s lifestyle. You will need to make objective decisions to treat the symptoms and take the appropriate steps to investigate and diagnose the patient.
Interview Tips for Aspiring Medical School Students
Be authentic and be yourself. Many candidates have a perception that they need to be stiff or serious when they attend the interview. If you have a sense of humour, let that come through when appropriate during the interview because it reflects your personality.
Candidates tend to make the mistake of saying what they think the interviewers want to hear. Rather, let your personality come through as you respond to their interview questions.
Don’t walk into the trap of only talking about your list of achievements because the interviewers would have already seen them in your application.
Instead, take this opportunity to explain how these achievements have impacted you and how they will influence the type of Medical student and future doctor you will be.
The interview is the final step to your Medical school application. As long as you have remained truthful in your application: your grades, testimonials, activities list, personal statement and interview answers will be consistent, allowing the admissions committee to assess your suitability to be a Medical school student.
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