Updated: Oct 10, 2018
DISCLAIMER: As Melanin Medics we thought it would be a good idea to have a central source of potential questions which we have gathered questions from several sources on the internet (credited at the end of this post). There are a lot of questions below and we do not expect you to go through every single one and develop in depth answers for each but rather we recommend you derive a strategy to approach unexpected questions in a coherent, clear manner as well as get a feel of potential questions that may be asked. They are organised categorically so if you feel a particular area is your weak point, practise answering several questions in that category. We are more than happy to add to these questions as well as answer any queries you may have and make sure you have checked out our ‘Preparing for Medical School Interviews’ blog post.
BACKGROUND & MOTIVATION
Tell us about yourself.
Take us through your personal statement.
Why do you want to be a doctor?
What do you want to achieve in medicine?
What qualities do you think make a good doctor?
What have you read or experienced in order to prepare you for medicine?
Why do you believe you have the ability to undertake the study and work involved?
Why do you want to be a doctor, rather than another profession that is caring or intellectually challenging?
What do you think being a doctor entails, apart from treating patients?
What branch of medicine do you think would interest you? Why?
When you think about becoming a doctor, what do you look forward to most and least?
What qualities do you think patients appreciate in a doctor?
What qualities do you think colleagues appreciate in a doctor?
What impact do you hope to make in the field of medicine?
What one question would you ask if you were interviewing others to study medicine? What would you most like us to ask you in this interview?
Why study medicine rather than any other health care profession? How do you think medicine differs from other health professions?
What aspect of healthcare attracts you to medicine?
Why do you want to be a doctor? If you were to become a doctor, how would you wish your patients to describe you and why?
What steps have you taken to try to find out whether you really do want to become a doctor?
What things do you think might make people inclined to drop out of medical training?
There are many different ways of helping people. Why do you want to study medicine, rather than working in any other health or social care professions?
Can you tell us about any particular life experiences that you think may help or hinder you in a career in medicine?
How would you dissuade someone from going into Medicine.
How old are you when you become a consultant?
If you were not offered a place to study Medicine, what would you do?
What do you think you will find most difficult about a career in medicine?
KNOWLEDGE OF MEDICAL SCHOOL
What interests you about the curriculum at [Medical School]? What previous experiences have you had of learning in a small group setting?
When you read the [Medical School] prospectus, what appealed to you or interested you in the course here?
Tell us what attracts you most and least about [Medical School].
What do you know about the course at [Medical School]? Why do you think it will suit you personally?
What do you know about PBL? Why do you want to come to a PBL medical school?
What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of a PBL course?
I expect you have thought about problem-based learning. Why do you think a PBL course will suit you personally? Tell us about 2 other aspects of the programme that will also suit you.
What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of coming to a new medical school?
This course will require a good deal of independent study, how have you managed this approach to learning in the past?
Why do you think problem based learning will suit you personally?
How does this PBL school differ from the others?
What previous experiences have you had of learning in a small group setting?
What ways of learning work best for you? How does this fit with this medical school?
What will you do if you are not accepted to medical school this year? Have you an alternative career plan?
Are you aware of the main method of teaching at this Medical School? What do you think are the advantages of this style of teaching?
Do you think cadaveric dissection is important for medical students?
This university offers a wide range of extra-curricular societies reflecting the diversity of students and courses we have here. If you were a student here, which societies would you be interested in joining?
What would you do if you fell behind on this course?
DEPTH & BREADTH OF INTEREST
Do you read any medical publications?
Can you tell me about a significant recent advance in medicine or science? Why has this interested you?
What do you consider to be important advances in medicine over the last 50 / 100 years?
Have you heard about any public health campaigns recently? What is your opinion on the role of public health campaigns in medicine?
Can you tell us about any significant medical stories in the media at the moment?
Tell us about something in the history of medicine that interests you.
Have you seen a film or read a book recently that has made you think, and why?
What do you think is the most important medical discovery in the last 100 – 200 years, and why?
If a benefactor offered you a huge amount of money to set up a Medical Research Institute and invited you to become its director, what research area would you choose to look at, and why?
Can you tell us about a book or a film that has influenced you as a person or made you think, and why?
Tell me about someone who has been a major influence on you as a person / in your life?
What do you think was the greatest public health advance of the twentieth century?
Can you describe an interesting place you have been to (not necessarily medical) and explain why it was so?
Do you think putting a man on the moon money well spent? If yes – why? If no – how would you have spent that money?
Tell me about a non-academic project or piece of organisation that you were involved in. How did it go?
If you had to have a gap year, and could go anywhere in the world or do anything, what would you chose to do, and why?
How do you think the rise in information technology has influenced / will influence the practice of medicine?
If you could invite 3 people, alive or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
Do you think/why is research is important?
What are the benefits of research?
What limitations are there of medical research?
Can you give an example of how medical research has been beneficial?
Have you thought about what you would like to specialise in?
Give an example of a situation where you have supported a friend in a difficult social circumstance. What issues did they face and how dod you help them
What does the word empathy mean to you. How do you differentiate empathy from sympathy?
Is it right for doctors to ‘feel for their patients’?
What thoughts and feelings might face someone offered alcohol to celebrate after receiving a liver transplant?
A person with learning disabilities is regularly being teased by their neighbours. How might that affect them?
What do you guess an overweight person might feel and think after being told their arthritis is due to their weight?
A friend has asked your advice on how to tell her parents that she intends to drop out of university and go off travelling. How you respond?
A friend tells you he feels bad because his family has always cheated to obtain extra benefits. How would you respond?
Thinking about your membership of a team (in a work, sport, school or other setting), can you tell us about the most important contributions you made to the team?
Can you think of a team situation where your communication skills have been vital? Tell us about the situation and your contribution.
Tell us about a group activity you have organised. What went well and what went badly? What did you learn from it?
Tell us about a team situation you have experienced. What did you learn about yourself and about successful team-working?
When you think about yourself working as a doctor, who do you think will be the most important people in the team you will be working with?
Who are the important members of a multi-disciplinary healthcare team? Why?
Are you a leader or a follower?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being in a team? Do teams need leaders?
Modern day health care is very much a team effort. Please tell us a role that you have played in a team, and what you think you contributed.
What do you think of nurses developing extended roles and undertaking tasks previously done by doctors?
What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of nurses replacing doctors as the first contact person in primary care?
When you are a doctor you will be working in a team. Who do you see as the key members of your team, and why? How will you help the team to develop?
What do you think is the role of humour in team working. Give an example.
What ways of working and studying have you developed that you think will assist you through medical school? What will you need to improve?
How do you think you will cope with criticism from colleagues or other health professionals?
Is there such a thing as positive criticism?
Give us an example of something about which you used to hold strong opinions, but have had to change your mind. What made you change? What do you think now?
Have you ever been in a situation where you realise afterwards that what you said or did was wrong? What did you do about it? What should you have done?
How do you think you will avoid problems of keeping up to date during a long career?
What are your outside interests and hobbies? How do these compliment you as a person? Which do you think you will continue at university?
Tell us two personal qualities you have which would make you a good doctor, and two personal shortcomings which you think you would like to overcome as you become doctor?
Medical training is long and being a doctor can be stressful. Some doctors who qualify never practice. What makes you think you will stick to it?
What do you think will be the most difficult things you might encounter during your training? How will you deal with them?
What relevance to medicine are the ‘A’ levels (apart from biology and chemistry) that you have been studying?
What skills do you think are needed in order to communicate with your patients; how do you think they are best acquired?
Can you learn communication skills?
How have you developed your communication skills?
What interests do you bring from school/college life that you think will contribute to your studies and practice?
What challenges do you think a career in medicine will bring you?
What do you think you will be the positive aspects and the negative aspects of being a doctor? How will you handle these?
What attributes are necessary in a good doctor? Which do you have, and which do you need to develop further?
Can you tell us about an interesting experience, and what you learned from it about yourself?
If you are a minority candidate, how do you feel your background uniquely prepares you to be, and will influence your role as, a physician?
If you are a woman, how has your gender impacted your decision to pursue a medical career?
If you are not a minority, how might you best meet the needs of a multiethnic, multicultural patient population?
If you are economically disadvantaged or have limited financial means, how has this adversity shaped you?
To what extent do you feel that you owe a debt to your fellow man? To what extent do you owe a debt to those less fortunate than yourself? Please explain.
Thinking about yourself: what characteristics do you think you would most need to change in the course of becoming a good doctor?
If you could only tell me one thing about yourself, to help me to get a sense of you as a person, what would it be and why?
If you could change two things about yourself, what would they be and why?
What do you think are your priorities in your own personal development? What qualities do you lack that would be useful for a doctor, and what do you intend to do about this?
What qualities do you think other people value in you?
How do you think other people would describe you?
How will you cope with being criticised or even sued?
Tell me about a time that you have been sad or confused.
Which of your qualities do other people find frustrating? What might you do about this?
You will probably have got high marks throughout school. On this medical course, most marks are awarded as ‘satisfactory’ or not. How will you feel about seeming ‘average’ in this new situation?
How will you cope with the death of a patient as a result of your mistakes?
Think of a time when you had to say ‘sorry’ to someone. How did that change your relationship with that person?
Some people are always very certain that whay they believe is right. Some people are never certain. What kind of person are you in this regard?
What makes a good working relationship?
ROLE OF MEDICINE IN SOCIETY
What is wrong with the NHS?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the NHS?
Should the NHS be privatised?
What are your views on euthanasia?
Should the NHS fund fertility treatement for people over 40?
What are the ethical issues concerned with abortion?
What problems are there in the NHS other than the lack if funding?
What relevance has the Hippocrates oath to modern-day medicine?
What would you prefer in a doctor? Bad communication skills with good clinical skills or good communication skills with bad clinical skills? Why?
Would you argue that medicine is a science or an art, and why?
How do politics influence health care provision? Is it inevitable?
Why do you think we hear so much about doctors and the NHS in the media today?
Do you think doctors should set a good example to their patients in their own lives? How or why might this be difficult?
In what ways do you think doctors can promote good health, other than direct treatment of illness?
Do you think doctors and the NHS get a bad press, and if so, why?
From what you have read and found out, where do you see the health service going?
What are the arguments for and against non-essential surgery being available on the NHS?
What does the current government see as the national priorities in health care? Do you agree with these?
How should the health service achieve a balance between promoting good health, and in treating ill health?
What do you think are the similarities and differences between being a doctor today and being a doctor 50 years ago?
Should doctors have a role in regulating contact sports, such as boxing?
Do you think doctors should ever strike?
Do you think patient’s treatments should be limited by the NHS budget or do they have the right to new therapies no matter what the cost?
What does the term ‘inequalities in health’ mean to you?
Do you think medicine should be more about changing behaviour to prevent disease or treating existing disease?
What do you think is the purpose of the health service in the 21st century?
What do you think are the chief difficulties faced by doctors in their work?
Why do you think people in the north of England live, on average, 5 years less than those in the south? Do you think this should be a matter for government intervention?
What are the arguments for and against people paying for their own health care as and when they need it?
What do you understand by the term ‘holistic’ medicine? Do you think it falls within the remit of the NHS?
How accurately do you think the media (particularly television) tend to portray the role of the doctor?
Do you think the bulk of medical treatment takes place in hospital or in the community? What makes you think this?
What do you think about the way doctors are shown in the media, say in the Simpsons or on the news? How do you think this will affect patients’ views of their own doctors?
What do you think is the greatest threat to the health of the British population today?
Ten years ago most doctors in hospitals wore white coats; now few do. Why do you think this is? What do you think are the arguments for and against white coats?
Animals that are thought to be suffering are ‘put down’. Should human suffering be treated in the same way?
Do you think more doctors or more nurses would be of greatest benefit to the nation’s health?
What are the arguments for and against banning the sale of tobacco?
In the UK at present 60% of medical students are female. Do you think we should have equal quotas for medical school places for males and females? What do you think will be the consequences of having more female doctors than male doctors?
What issues should be considered in deciding to terminate or not continue a patient’s life-sustaining treatment?
Medicine will bring you into contact with a vast range of different people, with different cultures; what experience have you had of different types of people?
What are the consequences of obesity for health services? Why?
Can you tell us about a significant recent advance in medicine or science? Why is it significant? Why has this interested you?
Tell us about something in the history of medicine that interests you. Why was it important?
What do you think was the greatest public health advance in the 20th century?
People are living longer and longer. Should doctors take credit for this?
What lessons can be learnt from how the swine fly pandemic was handled? What would you have done differently?
How do you think the rise of information technology has influenced and will influence the practice of medicine?
A close friend in your 1st-year medical school class tells you that his mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. He feels overwhelmed by his studies and is considering dropping out of medical school to spend more time with his mother. How do you counsel your friend?
Joe is a pizza delivery worker. The pizza shop he works for has a 30 minutes or less delivery guarantee or else the customer does not have to pay. On Joe’s most recent delivery, he spots a woman bleeding on the street. There is no one else around and the woman seems to be unable to move by herself. However, Joe knows that if he returns empty handed again, he will be fired from this job which he most desperately needs. What do you think Joe should do? Justify your solution in terms of practical and ethical considerations.
“Liberation Therapy” (LT), a vascular operation developed to potentially cure multiple sclerosis (MS) in certain patients, has recently come under very serious criticism – delaying its widespread use. Among other experimental flaws, critics cite a small sample size in the original evidence used to support LT. As a healthcare policy maker, your job is to weigh the pros and cons in approving novel drugs and therapies. Please discuss the issues you would consider during an approval process for LT.
Because of federal and provincial subsidy policies and return-of-service agreements, international medical graduates (IMGs) now make up an increasingly large proportion of rural doctors. As a consequence, the shortage of doctors in rural areas has prompted many family medicine residencies to increase their quotas for IMGs in their programs. Effectively, this development is leading to a relative reduction in spots available for Canadian medical graduates. Please discuss the pros and cons of such a development.
Discuss one of your pastimes outside of school and how the skills you acquired from this activity will help you in your career.
You are a family physician seeing Jane, a 67 year old woman with a recent history of multiple fragility fractures. You diagnose her with osteoporosis and prescribe some bisphosphonate drugs and other pharmacological treatments. Jane tells you that she has heard some good things over the internet about alternative medicine treatments such as Chinese medicine, and she is adamant on trying these as well. You are concerned about the use of these alternative medicine treatments and the possible negative effects they could have on Jane’s health. How would you handle the situation and what would you recommend Jane do? Discuss any ethical considerations that are present.
You are on the committee for selecting a new Dean of Science. What characteristics and/or qualities would you look for when selecting an effective dean?
In June 2011, the infamous Vancouver riots took place after their hockey team lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. Stores were ransacked and cars were burned. Hundreds of people were injured and sent to overcrowded hospitals. As the police chief in Vancouver, what measures or policies would you put in place to make sure this does not happen again?
An actor hands you a card, telling you that, in this role play, you are a close friend of theirs. You have been house-sitting whilst ‘your friend’ has been on holiday and you have to explain to them that you broke their favourite ornament. When informed, the actor becomes hysterical and very angry.
You are told that this weekend you’re going on a camping trip. Before you is a table of random objects. You have 20 seconds to pick 5 objects you deem to be of the most importance and value, and explain.
You are faced with an actor playing a 65 year old man who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He is coming to his GP for advice on how to cope with his diagnosis as he has heard a lot of stigma over the years about dementia and its burden on both his family and the healthcare service. Whilst talking to you he breaks down into tears.
You are told that you are entering a hospital staff room 10 prior to performing surgery with Dr ‘X’. As you enter, you see Dr ‘X’ take a swig of a clear drink from a bottle and quickly close their locker, which you suspect is alcohol. Over the course of the conversation, the Dr beings to forget things and slur their words. You have 5 minutes to speak to Dr ‘X’.
An actor hands you a card which states that you are playing the role of a GP and they are a 16-year-old girl who has come to ask for information about getting tested for STIs but is worried about her parents finding out.
You are asked to instruct the interviewer on how to unwrap and open the box, without helping them or using your hands. It’s not straight forward as the examiner will be using no assumed knowledge and will be doing what you tell them only
Clostridium Difficile (C. difficile) is a type of bacteria that increases its activity with most antibiotic use, and is therefore very difficult to treat. Research shows that the most effective way to prevent the spread of infection is frequent handwashing. However, many people have flat-out refused to wash their hands in hospitals. The government is contemplating passing a policy to make it mandatory for people entering hospitals to wash their hands or else risk not being seen by doctors and being escorted out of the building against their will. Do you think the government should go ahead with this plan? Consider and discuss the legal, ethical or practical problems that exist for each action option and conclude with a persuasive argument supporting your decision.
Discuss an experience that allowed you to learn something important about yourself. How will this lesson help you succeed in your career?
What experiences have given you insight into the world of medicine? What have you learnt from these?
What aspect of your work experience did you find the most challenging, and why?
In your work experience, what skills have you learnt that you can apply to medicine?
Can you give me an example of how you coped with a conflict with a colleague or friend; what strategy did you use and why?
Reflect on what you have seen of hospitals or a health care environment. What would you most like to organise differently, and why?
What aspect of your work experience would you recommend to a friend thinking about medicine, and why?
What impressed you most about the doctors in your work experience?
Can you think of a situation where good communication has saved the day and give a reason why?
Thinking of your work experience, can you tell me about a difficult situation you have dealt with and what you learned from it?
Have you visited any friends or family in hospital, or had work experience in a hospital? From these experiences, what did you see that you would like to change?
Can you tell me the key things you learned from your work experience, in caring or other settings?
What have you done on work experience/ in employment previously? What would you change about what you saw, if you could, and how would you set about this?
What do you think would be the advantages, and difficulties, for a person with a major physical disability (e.g. blindness) wishing to become a doctor?
Tell me about a project, or work experience, that you have organised, and what you learned from it?
What did you learn about yourself from your work experience?
What did you learn from the doctors and nurses from your work experience
Research has shown that “Integrity” is an important quality in a doctor. What do you think is meant by this and can you give an example of a situation in which acting with integrity might be important?
Is it better to give health care or aid to impoverished countries?
Why can’t doctors give a guarantee that a medical or surgical procedure will be successful?
Should doctors have a role in contact sports such as boxing?
Do you think doctors should ever go on strike?
Do you think we should find out more about patients’ views of their doctors, their illness or their treatments? How would you set about this?
What do you think are the major sorts of problems facing a person with a long-term health problem, such as difficulty breathing?
What are the differences between length of life and quality of life?
Is there a moral case against drug companies becoming as large and powerful as the market allows them to be?
What are the arguments for and against the decriminalisation of drugs such as cocaine?
Should alternative or complimentary medicine be funded by the NHS, and why?
Should the NHS be involved in non-essential surgery?
Should the NHS fund the treatment of self-inflicted diseases?
With the growing problems of overpopulation should the NHS fund IVF treatment?
How do you think doctors should treat injury or illness due to self-harm, smoking or excess alcohol consumption?
Female infertility treatment is expensive, has a very low success rate and is even less successful in smokers. To whom do you think it should be available?
Would you prescribe the oral contraceptive pill to a 14-year old girl who is sleeping with her boyfriend?
What is your feeling about euthanasia?
Would you perform abortions as a doctor?
Is it right that Viagra should only be available to certain groups of men?
Some Trusts are refusing to perform some elective operations on obese patients. Why do you think that it? Do you think it’s right?
What do you think about the use of animals for testing new drugs?
How do you respond and what do you feel when you see a beggar in the street?
Do you think that Class A drugs should be legalised?
Would being religious, and therefore potentially having a more positive view to death, be detrimental in your role as a doctor?
A man refuses treatment for a potentially life-threatening condition. What are the ethical issues involved?
A woman who is bleeding heavily refuses to receive a blood transfusion that you are proposing. Why do you think this might be? How would you handle the issue?
You have one liver available for transplant, but two patients with equal medical need. One is an ex-alcoholic mother with two young children, the other a 13 year old with an inborn liver abnormality. How would you decide to whom it should be given?
You have one dialysis machine to share between three patients with equal medical need. One is a 17-year-old drug addict who has just overdosed, one is a 40-year old woman with terminal breast cancer and only 6 months of life expectancy, the third one is a 70-year old marathon runner. Who gets the machine?
Imagine you are on committee able to recommend only one of two new surgical treatments to be made available through the NHS. The treatments are: an artificial heart for babies born with heart defects, or a permanent replacement hip for people with severe arthritis. Both treatments are permanent, i.e. never need repeating, and are of equal cost. On what grounds would you make your arguments?
Imagine a world in 200 years’ time where doctors no longer exist. In what ways do you think they could be replaced?
You are holding a party on a medical theme. How would you make it memorable?
Describe as many used as you can for a mobile phone charger.
How many different ways can you improve the process of selecting students for this medical school?
Imagine you had 6 months with enough money and nothing you had to do. Tell us the most imaginative (and no-medical) way you’d spend the time.
Your house catches fire in the night. You are told you can pick only object to take with you when escaping. What would it be and why?
Can you think of something fun you’d like to invent?
Fashion has changed hugely over the past 400 years. What do you think we’ll be wearing in 200 years from now?
What do you do to relax?
How will any hobbies or interests you have help you in a career in medicine?
Who do you admire and why?
What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?
Describe a situation you have been in which was stressful.
How do you deal with stress?
Have you taken on any extracurricular projects that demonstrate your interest in Medicine?