We shall examine the many forms of medical interviews in this post. This post is a condensed version of a section from module 2 of our book on medical interviews, “The Fundamentals,” which also covers the particular qualities that medical schools are searching for in candidates and how various question types (such as ethics questions and work experience questions) are intended to determine whether or not a candidate possesses these qualities.

Type 1 Medical Interviews: Conventional Panel Interviews

We will start by thinking about this kind of interview in medicine. The MMI, which is the other primary kind of medical interview and is covered below, has significantly displaced traditional panel interviews in terms of frequency. In order to minimize interviewer bias, panel interviews often include two or more interviewers. An interview for this kind of medicine usually lasts 20 minutes to an hour. Typically, the panel consists of a mixture of medical professionals, faculty, admissions tutors, and a growing number of medical students, nurses, patients, and members of the public.

In most cases, panel interviews are conducted in an open format. This implies that the panel will be facing your application materials, such as your personal statement. In the majority of MMI Medicine stations, this is often not the case. There are less closed interviews. Aside from the most basic personal information like your name and school, the interviewers will have no further information about you.

Interviewers in panels often know you better than MMIs do since they will be on the same panel with you for a longer period of time and have more background knowledge about you. In an interview for this kind of medicine, this allows the panel more time to ask you detailed and follow-up questions.

Only a small percentage of US medical schools do group panel interviews. In this scenario, you continue to respond to private inquiries, but other students are also asking you questions. This kind of medical interview also frequently involves group discussion exercises.

Panel interviews are graded according to stringent standards that minimize interviewer bias, so they are less subjective than you might imagine.

The medical school views this as an issue as it is simple to coach applicants for this kind of medical interview. Due to the predictability of questions, they may practice their responses. Furthermore, the candidate does a lot of “telling” rather than “showing” in this process. Applicants don’t have to provide evidence of their exceptional problem-solving, collaboration, or other abilities. This issue is attempted to be resolved via MMI interviews, which are covered below. In these interviews, candidates must demonstrate their capacity for empathy, negotiation, and communication, among other things.

Type 2 Interviews in Medicine: Oxbridge Interviews

Let’s go on to the Oxbridge interview, which is the next format for medical interviews. Panel interviews are a feature of Oxbridge interviews; however, they differ greatly from panel interviews at other medical schools. Since the purpose of the questions is to gauge your thinking, they are significantly more intellectual and problem-solving oriented. This stands in contrast to the majority of other medical school interviews, which either do not focus on academic aspects at all (unless your personal statement or something you say naturally brings up the subject) or only focus on them in passing, such as one MMI station/interview panel question on data analysis or numeracy skills out of many other non-academic MMI stations/interview panel questions.

This is so that these non-Oxbridge medical schools may assess additional qualities, such as your communication skills and drive to study medicine, during the interview in addition to using your academic grades and admissions test results to establish your academic fit for medicine.

Below are a few instances of actual Oxbridge questions. There will be follow-up questions after these, because the interview is a conversation.

Oxbridge interviews often begin with easy academic questions that become harder over time, to the point that even highly qualified candidates struggle to answer some of them. The purpose of the questions is to see how you think and how you draw conclusions from the data that is given to you. They are also particularly interested in how you respond to questions that you are not immediately sure of the solution to and how you modify your responses in response to the conversation (e.g. if the examiner provides you with further information or exposes the answer to you).

This means that it is crucial that you avoid merely shutting off a conversation or implying that you are incapable of solving difficulties by saying that you do not know the answer. Additionally, you should think aloud and explain your reasoning to the examiner as you go along, rather than merely giving responses. Examiners will be able to assist you in this regard as well by giving you pointers and letting you know if you are headed in the correct direction.

As you can see from the sample questions, a candidate for this kind of medicine interview has to be quite knowledgeable on their curriculum. You may probably be asked questions that are not covered in your curriculum, but you can answer them by using your prior knowledge to adapt to new circumstances and facts.

If your test success came from memorization rather than a thorough comprehension of the material, you will have a very hard time answering Oxbridge questions. Most of the time, you will be asked to fill out a form ahead of time that asks about your curriculum and experiences, so the questions are often centered around subjects you are already familiar with.

The medical schools in Cambridge and Oxford are made up of many colleges. Although the selection criteria used by universities are generally the same, there may be some differences in the interview process. Two interviews are mandatory for candidates to some Oxbridge colleges. One focuses on academics, while the other covers the entirety of your application to medical school, including your reasons for studying medicine, your employment history, etc.

Type 3 Medicine Interview: Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI)

This is the last kind of medicine interview we shall examine, and it has quickly risen to the top. Six to twelve MMI stations, each lasting five to fifteen minutes, normally make up an MMI interview. After finishing one station, you’ll go on to the next. Since each MMI station is often evaluated independently, your performance at one station does not affect your performance at subsequent stations. Actors, assessors, and other personnel are usually entirely different at each location. Take advantage of this by approaching every station as a brand-new beginning and a chance to succeed. Every station often focuses on a distinct area, such as medical ethics, communication skills, medical understanding, or numerical proficiency.

MMI is only the term for a certain kind of multi-interview format used in medicine interviews. You are not informed about the MMI stations’ content by it. For instance, an MMI station can consist of merely a few common interview questions. For instance, these two actual MMI stations—out of a total of eight—were utilized in 2022 interviews at Sheffield Medical School. Every station ran for eight minutes.

Theme: Sheffield and the MBChB program at Sheffield MMI Station

Examine the candidate’s interest in and familiarity with Sheffield, the MBChB program’s structure, and their resolve to pursue a career in medicine.

Nonetheless, the majority of MMI interviews don’t solely use typical panel-style interview stations. As an alternative, stations may entail conversing with a patient; engaging in role-playing (such as comforting a friend who is distressed about their parent’s impending divorce or breaking bad news to an actor portraying a friend); engaging in a game of Twenty Questions with an examiner; or characterizing and evaluating a graph or piece of writing. For instance, a comprehensive MMI interview would normally include a few stations similar to the following ones in addition to the two already mentioned:

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