In the summer before Year 13, my family decided to take me university hopping around the UK. We’d go to different cities, stay at a local hotel, attend an open day, explore for a day or two and then move swiftly on to the next. Sometimes we’d visit 3-4 unis back to back – no stops, just songs blasting from the car speakers and my dog jumping up at every red light. I felt like a traveller (minus the caravan).
Back then I had no clue what I was going to do. I’d always wanted to study medicine, but I just wasn’t sure if I was passionate enough to dedicate 5-6 years of my life to one subject.
Has it really been almost a year since I had my medical school interviews?
To get me through the preparation process, I recall going through endless online resources (TSR is great!) reading through interview tips, experiences, etc. So I thought it would be exciting to add to the wealth of online material and offer a post with some advice and a bit of an insider’s view to what my interviews were like!
I attended three interviews last January/February- two of which were panel (Imperial and Queen Mary/Barts), and one MMI (Newcastle). This is where I sheepishly admit that I personally found the Barts one most enjoyable (promise I’m not a traitor); whereas the Newcastle one was half a disaster- MMI was not my friend!
It is always a very humbling experience being the student panel member at interviews for the MBBS 6 year Medicine course here at Imperial. Candidates come from a range of backgrounds with really interesting and unique passions and skills. I was lucky enough to sit on the panel again this Tuesday and had such a great day!
Behind the scenes a lot of work is done to ensure that the day runs as smoothly as possible. I was called in a bit earlier than my afternoon slot so that I could run some tours for the candidates.
I was thinking today about the advice that I wish I had known before I had started applying for medicine. It really is a bit of a long road to get into medical school and takes a lot of determination and work to get there. You have hurdles with work experience, entrance tests like BMAT, writing your personal statement, getting your grades (and predicted grades), securing an interview, doing well at interview… the list is pretty long. But it is so, so worth it so don’t let this put you off at all cause it all does make sense!
Before my interview, I called anyone I knew who had anything to do with Imperial and read every student blog that even mentioned the word. If that’s why you’re here, hey. Hopefully an extra insight will prove useful.
Outline of the day
This can obviously change between subjects and years, but the general outline is likely to stay the same.
The general idea is that you get a tour of the university from a student, along with a lunch, before meeting the human that decides your fate interviewer. This is the opportunity to ask questions about student life, stresses, work load and living in London, which may be more helpful answered by someone freshly going though it all.
I had my Imperial interview almost exactly a year ago. It’s rather unbelievable that an entire year has just flown by… But it didn’t really hit me until the first admission day. About a month ago we got an email from the department that we can volunteer to help on the admission days, and I – of course – applied.
Admission day is a lot more than just interviews: the applicants are shown around the campus, they have lab tours and they visit the Pilot Plant, too. When I volunteered to help, I didn’t know that it would be this shockingly amazing experience.
Last Wednesday I helped giving a tour around campus for 6th formers here for medical interviews. It was a lot of fun, but above all really nostalgic. Memories of my interview and applying to Medical School in general came flooding back. This gave me the idea to write a bit about my experience, and what the experience is like in general applying to Medical School. I hope current medical students can read this and think back to their own experience whilst prospective students can see that they’re not alone. Any one else not studying Medicine can read and see the ordeals we suffered.
So, interviews have started. Yipee!! We have seen lots of fresh faced applicants wandering around SAF and it has been pretty exciting. I was having a think about things that I wish I had known when I was getting ready for my interview and I hope that this will help you guys (this is only my opinion though!).
1) Why do you actually want to do medicine? No seriously. We know you like people and that you hope the world will be cured by your skills…but that’s not a full answer. Come up with something original and really think about it.
For anyone reading these blogs who has or hopes to get an Imperial interview, I thought I’d share my experience. Mine was obviously for Physics, so I’m not sure how relevant it will be to other subjects, but hopefully hearing about someone else’s experience will help to put your mind a little bit at rest!
In the build-up to it, my Imperial interview seemed like it was going to be the worst, most terrifying thing—ever. It was the first interview I was invited to, and though my school had promised me that they would try and find someone to practice with, I was called before they had a chance, so my preparation consisted of stressing and searching the internet for tips.