Doc eat doc Your blueprint for medical school entry Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:02:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The ten fears of (almost) every medical student Sun, 31 May 2015 15:28:12 +0000 doceatdoc eye pic


Getting into medical school is just the beginning.

Most medical students will admit to getting stressed or panicked about things on a fairly regular basis throughout their 5 or 6 years at medical school.

Yes, we know that medics are a strange group of people at the best of times but still, have a read of the following and try to sympathise!


1. Stress from “not knowing what I’m supposed to be doing”

This one is a bit pathetic, but is fairly typical in ‘high achievers’ who often prefer a prescriptive learning regime rather than too much freedom of thought.

Luckily medical school is quite a busy time, full of assignments to keep them busy and so this mainly happens to new medics between getting their A-levels and getting their first pointless written assignment.

How about an essay on the actions of muscarinic antagonists?


2. Fainting

Will I faint as soon as I see a cadaver, or will it happen when I witness a needle going into a vein?

This sort of fear is common since fainting can happen to absolutely any medical student, from the petite girl who never though she was squeamish to the huge rugby player who missed breakfast.

If it happens to you once, you’ll always worry that it may happen again, making anatomy sessions as well as surgical attachments quite stressful.

Luckily we have an anti-fainting guide to help you prevent any embarrassing collapses in front of your colleagues.


3. Competition

It’s great being top of your class during A-levels and even during a non-medical undergraduate degree. However, as soon as you arrive at medical school you are surrounded by a whole class of people who are used to being top of the class. Rather than accept that there will be a new distribution of talents and skills, some med students get awfully stressed by this and spend excess time and energy trying to out-nerd their fellow nerds.

This really does happen, I’m afraid to say, and I have personally witnessed students doing crazy things such as hiding library books or sitting in the computer room all night over a fifteen minute assignment, or even hyperventilating as they look at their mark sheet.

It’s all because nobody ever told you that once you get into medical school you should aim for a C. We at advise our med student clients to aim for minimum passing grades whilst working on a career beating CV behind the scenes. It’s easy with the right advice.


4. Fear of failure

The costs in medicine are always high. At any stage in your career a single error could see you

a) being investigated by the GMC and losing your career.

b) nicking a vessel and seeing a patient exsanguinate.

c) forgetting a routine test and getting sued in court.

Yet somehow medics mostly manage such stresses without showing it. Occasionally it all comes out though…

It is important to emphasise that there is always help for stressed medical students and doctors and it needn’t affect your career. Too often, disasters happen when the early signs of stress are ignored.


5. Hang on a minute… I get these very same symptoms!

Every medic will recognise the fear that results when the symptoms we are learning about or asking about appear within ourselves. Knee pain, blurred vision, regular headaches and sensory deficits eh?

It isn’t funny when it happens, but thankfully it usually ends up being nothing at all or having a perfectly benign explanation.

Sadly though, doctors do sometimes get sick and even die prematurely.

So which symptoms are real and which are a figment of my imagination?

Is this a sore throat or the first sign of leukaemia?


doceatdoc i told you i was sick


6. Fear of being humiliated

Much of medical student teaching involves performing in front of our colleagues and tutors. We’ve all seen someone say something embarassing or ignorant in such settings. This can be humiliating and most medical students have a memory of something similar that still makes them cringe.

Example: Getting my words mixed up to comic effect in an OSCE exam (and therefore failing) whilst the examiner tried hard to suppress his amusement


7. Fear of discrimination

Those medical students from any sort of minority group are aware that medicine is somehow different to the rest of the workplace. In medicine you can always feel discriminated against if a patient holds strong racist, sexist or other abhorrent views.

They may refuse to see you or simply pass a certain comment to make their point.

Although it isn’t acceptable, there is a very real risk that at some point in your career you will have to endure some discrimination.

At least our colleagues are (mostly) supportive though eh?


8. Fear of losing out

Medicine takes up such a large amount of ones time as well as ones physical and mental energy that it’s often impossible to enjoy all the other things that are there to be enjoyed in young adulthood.

Are we losing out? Of course we are! What exactly is being missed though is open to speculation.


9. Ending up like that old, single, debt laden, overworked and miserable registrar

There is always that risk isn’t there? However hard we work, however many papers we publish and however many favours we do for our colleagues along the way we could end up in a dead end in our mid-thirties. Our colleagues that went into law and dentistry will wonder why we are still struggling financially, and why it’s taken us the best part of a decade to gain proficiency in a tiny subspeciality with minimal prospects for gainful employment within our remaining lifespan.

It can end up like this.

doceatdoc poor reg


10. Fear of neglecting our family and friends

Becoming a medical student should feel like starting any other degree course. So why do so many medics complain that they have little time left for their family or old friends?

It’s as if medical students disappear into an ever narrowing social circle of fellow medics, where all they talk about is medicine. Is this some sort of group therapy? Have we forgotten how to converse with those we once knew or is there really no time?


Are you a medical student? (or soon to be one?)
Do you need help to avoid these stresses yet still ensure you are doing the right things for your chosen carer path?

A one-to-one coaching session with our experts might be just the investment you need.
If you have a specific career related question just email us! We always respond.




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How can I prove that applying for medicine is my OWN decision? Sun, 17 May 2015 11:59:37 +0000 parents medicine doctor


Dear Leo,

The first time I became interested in medicine was by watching my father at work.
He is a GP and has been my main inspiration.

I have admired his work since being a young child and  some of my work experience also includes attending his clinics.

I’m worried that if I’m honest and include my experiences with my father in my personal statement, it will look as though I’ve been pressured into becoming a doctor to follow my father into medicine.

I’ve never been pressured into medicine by my dad but how can I avoid giving that impression in my personal statement??


This is a common concern  of many children of doctors who assume that if they apply to follow in their parents footsteps people will assume they’ve been pressured into doing this by Dr Mum or Dad.

There is a short and a long answer to this problem.

The short answer is that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. As long as you submit a reasonable and balanced personal statement, nobody on an admissions panel is going to worry about whether you’ve been pressured by your parents to study medicine.

The facts are that doctors are more likely to discourage their children from following their footsteps into a difficult and stressful career.

In fact non-medical parents are often much more likely to pressure their children into medicine than medics.


OK, now for the long answer.

If you are especially clumsy about how you write your personal statement, you may give a strong impression of having been overly encouraged into medicine from a very young age by your pushy medical parent. Very few medical applicants are unwise enough to do this but I suppose it wouldn’t do any harm to point out some obvious stuff.


1. Don’t say that your medical parent has been your main and only inspiration for pursuing a medical career.
You can say that they were an early inspiration but do show that you have left the comfort of your parental embrace and sought out experiences for yourself.

Which of these sounds more convincing?

“My inspiration to study medicine comes from my mother who tended to her patients day and night, tirelessly. My dream in life would be to emulate her character and contribute to humanity as she did. “


“An early inspiration towards medicine came from my mother who worked as a rural doctor in difficult circumstances. Over recent months I have organised a series of work experience placements that have shown me many other aspects of medicine, including GP in an inner city and general surgery in a teaching hospital. My experiences have all been inspiring and I have enjoyed the opportunity to experience the huge breadth of career options within medicine…”

I hope you agree that the second one is better.


2. Don’t declare every unfair advantage you’ve had.
Undoubtedly you will have had more of an idea about the work of a doctor simply by being in a medical family. We know you’ve had a head start in some ways and that’s OK, as long as you haven’t exploited your situation to disadvantage everyone else.

“Through my fathers colleagues, I was fortunate to be given work experience in…..”

That doesn’t sound very fair does it?


3. Give some intelligent insights.
OK, so you are a doctors son or daughter and you are applying for medicine. I think you really should have something interesting to say about what it was like growing up or perhaps what unique insights into medicine you obtained, or even how the experience will better inform your life and career in the future. Remember that many of the people reading your statement and interviewing you will be doctors but also parents and will be fascinated to read about this sort of thing.

“Growing up in a medical family gave me some insights into the level of commitment required in a medical career and I distinctly remember my father having to leave a family dinner on numerous occasions to attend an emergency. I feel I have some understanding of the importance of work-life balance in a medical career as well as the need for an understanding partner!”


4. Don’t be overly paranoid.
As stated in the short answer at the start, don’t over-think this issue and nobody else will either. Your situation is not unique, many other applicants and many of the admissions panel will come from medical families.

Historically (ie only 20-30 years ago) it was not unusual for a medical father to phone the admissions panel before his sons interview, or for a medical school to look favourably at the application of a daughter of a previous graduate. Today this sort of unfair influence is completely unacceptable but there are many older doctors who remember that era very well indeed.

In conclusion, find something else to stress about and of course, feel free to email us about it!

Best of luck!

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Which Medical School? Too Many Offers! Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:02:41 +0000 A grades for Medicine











Hi, I need some advice on which medical school I should accept an offer from?

Thanks to your help with my statement and interview technique I received offers from ALL the medical schools I applied to and am now confused about which I should select as a firm.

My offers are:

Can you offer any advice?

Firstly congratulations!

Your interviews clearly went well and you have mastered the key techniques required.

We’ve been thinking about your choices here and the good news is that there is no wrong choice in this situation.

All UK Medical schools are perfectly fine for training a good doctor and all will be well respected internationally.
Even if you pick one out of a hat you’ll still get to study medicine and become a doctor.
So you have already won the main prize in effect (as long as you meet the offer requirements).

That said, you need to think about the optimal choice for you, given your unique requirements, circumstances and personality.

Ultimately the decision rests on where you will be happy. You can be doing an amazing course in a place that doesn’t suit you and be unhappy and wish to dropout.
Or, you could be on a mediocre, disorganised course somewhere fun where you are surrounded by fun individuals and you might be very happy.

Have a think also about where you want to live for the next 6 years.

interview suited

Here are some points you may not have considered when finalising your choice of medical school.

1. London?
Remember that London is more expensive. Is it closer to home? Do you need to be closer to home? Are you a city person that might get depressed in a quieter environment? Do you mind spending many hours travelling through traffic and tourists to get to and from attachments?

2. Oxford?
In Oxford you will undoubtedly get the best teaching available and if you do choose to go there you won’t potentially regret turning down an offer to study at Oxford, which is a fairly rare privilege. It is hard work, as we’ve mentioned before, but then medicine is always hard work wherever you end up. 

3. Teaching style
There is now a wide variation in teaching styles between medical schools. Again this is not a critically important issue, but is something you can think about when you have the luxury of 5 offers to choose from!

Some PBL (problem based learning) students who have now graduated say they feel confident in clinical scenarios because of the independent learning style but sometimes feel they lack depth in certain areas.
Doctors graduating from more traditional style courses have complained about not being as confident in communicating with difficult patients or dealing with uncertain decisions.

4. Size
A smaller year group may mean smaller groups and this can sometimes lead to more tutor contact and more feedback, particularly in clinical scenarios. Students from some of the larger medical schools have often mentioned feeling crowded out during bedside teaching.

5. Success in getting your first choice foundation programme
Entry onto foundation programmes is getting competitive and for the more popular programmes, over-subscription is common. London medical students have a lower success rate overall in this regard.
However, this is probably because graduates from outside London also apply for London foundation programmes making it likely that some of the weaker London graduates have to move out.

6. Success in post graduate examinations
A recent study looking at graduates from various medical schools found that graduates from Oxbridge, and Newcastle were significantly better than everyone else at passing postgraduate exams. Sadly, graduates from Aberdeen, Belfast, Dundee and Liverpool were significantly worse than average.
What does this data actually mean? Possibly that some medical schools expect a slightly higher standard than others.

7. Choice of specialty
Early contact with certain specialities tends to influence us towards them. Medical schools that expose students to general practice in the early years tend to produce more GPs and so on.
Should this be a deciding factor in where you want to go? Probably not.

In conclusion, it’s clear that the actual variation in the success of graduates from different medical schools is fairly minimal. As stated at the very beginning, make sure you go where you think you’ll be happiest and everything else will follow.

Best of luck!


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MMI Example Station: Personal and Professional Ethics Sat, 14 Mar 2015 11:47:42 +0000 research-ethics image

If you are preparing for the multiple mini interview, you must be prepared for a scenario that tests your response to a moral or ethical problem.

Here’s an example from a recent potential MMI station:

“You are a third year medical student and a friend confides in you that he has been feeling depressed lately and thought about committing suicide once a few weeks ago. He asks you not to tell anyone as he thinks he is coping better now. What possible action should you take and why?”


There are many similar scenarios to this and they are all easy to answer once you have an idea about what exactly is being tested.

Here the panel want to ensure that you understand your professional duty as a doctor, firstly to patients but also to your colleagues.

The first question to ask yourself in any such scenario is,

“Could patients could be at risk?”

It seems clear that there is at least a small chance that this doctors depressed and suicidal behaviour could put patients at risk.
This could be during his current clinical attachment or perhaps in the future when he has a more responsible role.
There is therefore a duty to ensure that you consider the risk to patients, first and foremost as well as formulating a sensitive response to this friends distressing problem.

1. The first thing to say would be that you are concerned for BOTH your friends well being and safety of any patients that he may be in contact with who may therefore be put at risk.

2. Initially it would be reasonable to approach him directly and highlight your concerns to him if you have a good rapport with him.

3. Make sure that he seeks professional help rather than just assume he is better and the problem has been resolved.

4. Persuade him to approach his personal tutor for support. This step will ensure he gets the right sort of help and can be allowed to step away from the clinical setting in the meantime.

5. Do not under any circumstances collude with him in covering this problem up. As a doctor you have a greater responsibility in this scenario and the success of your answer depends upon this carefully considered approach.

6. If it is not clear that he is taking this seriously and has not sought help you may need to highlight the problem to other people in a responsible position. The first step would be your own personal tutor.

7. You may be pushed by the examiner to show more loyalty to a friend and let him deal with this issue privately. Insist that you understand this point of view but take your responsibility to patients very seriously.

8. You may also be pushed to try to deal with the issue yourself. Whilst you can lean a sympathetic ear to your friend, he is at risk of future self harm at the very least and urgent professional help is needed. As a friend you are probably best placed to persuade him to seek this help himself, especially since he has confided in you already.

9. Remember that this may represent a ’cry for help’ and you have a responsibility to your friend, even though he seems to be playing it down by suggesting he is better now. This may simply be his way of talking about a difficult and embarrassing subject.

10. As you discuss this scenario, remain calm and firm in your argument. Try to sound reasonable throughout. Consider other options presented to you by stating that you appreciate that point of view.

11. Finally, be aware that sometimes you may be given a hint to correct your argument if you are going down the wrong track. Be alert to this although usually in this type of scenario the panel will be challenging you to see how well you can argue your position.

This a common type of scenario. The best preparation is to read the GMC guidelines for doctors and be aware of the duties of a good doctor. You can refer to these in your answer for extra marks.

If you’d like to access MMI mark schemes and more example scenarios and strategies try our Multiple Mini Interview Guide.


Best of luck!


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Eight last minute tips before your medical school interview Sat, 03 Jan 2015 14:54:02 +0000 what to do immediately before your interview

1. Don’t fight the stress of it all!
This is a stressful situation. Dwelling too much on the stress of it all or trying hard not to stress are guaranteed to make you more stressed! Everybody is under pressure, and as your interviewers, we know that you are as stressed as you’ll ever be.

Remember interviewers are nice people who want to put you at your ease. I’ve known candidates who mince their words and then simply say,

“Sorry but the stress of this situation is getting to me, can I just answer that more clearly?”

Every interviewer I’ve known will smile and try to put such a candidate at their ease.
So in short, don’t stress about trying not to stress. It’s normal.


2. Run through the things you know you’ll have to say
You are certainly going be explaining why you want to study medicine. The answer has already been rehearsed (hasn’t it?) but just go through it in your mind and make sure its all at the tip of your tongue. If it goes well, the rest of the interview will follow.


3. Don’t try to predict unusual or difficult questions at this stage
The actual interview is only ten minutes away. Thinking about the variety of unknown things you could potentially be asked to talk about can only lead to an unpleasant feeling of unpreparedness. This is the last thing you need. Most interviews will have surprise questions that cannot be predicted. You’ve already done the groundwork so don’t worry about the unknown at this late stage.


4. Ignore everyone else
People may be nervously waiting alongside you and some may try to chat to you.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with this, but my advice for the last ten minutes would be to look down, read through your notes and politely ignore others. It’s easy to be unsettled or intimidated by what someone else may do or say or look like. Ten minutes before you go in, you want to remain calm and collected and other people are more likely to hinder you.


5. Keep your ears open
The one caveat to point 4 is that occasionally you hear something that might be useful. Don’t engage with others but stay alert. I can’t say any more than that.


6. Think about your temperature
Personally I would make sure that I’m not too hot and sweaty (and potentially drowsy). Too cold is usually not such a big deal.
Waiting rooms are often too warm and I would suggest stepping out of a hot waiting room to get some fresh cool air if possible or perhaps taking off your jacket for a few moments. Perhaps a few sips of cold water might help.


7. Think about caffeine and glucose levels
If your brain functions better with a bit of sugar and caffeine in the system (and most brains do), you should top up with something ten minutes before going into the interview.

Different people have different ways of doing this. Some people get jittery and perform worse following too much coffee. Plan ahead and know what works best for you and then make the necessary arrangements.

Personally I found the (usually horrible) coffee-mocha option from the cheapest coffee machines to be engineered precisely (and solely) for this purpose. A glucose and caffeine hit to last through the interview.

interview suited

8. Think about your appearance
Check yourself in a mirror or on your phone just before you enter.
Is you hair, hijab or turban in place?
Is your make up unsmeared?
Is your tie done up well without showing an open top button or undergarment?
Is there some gooey stuff in your eye?
Is there chocolate on your front teeth?

These are basic checks that you cannot forget!

Sadly it’s too late to decide that your choice of Armani suit makes you look like a criminal.

So there isn’t much that can be done in these last ten minutes but the few things that can be done have the potential to make all the difference!

Good luck and drop us a comment if you can think of anything that could be added to this list to help someone out.


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Help, I haven’t got an offer for medicine yet! (And other urgent questions) Wed, 31 Dec 2014 17:41:12 +0000  

urgent question medical school


If you have an offer already well done. Make sure you get the grades and your job will be done! The hardest part of your career is nearly over. You’re into medical school and on your way to becoming a doctor!

However, many of you aren’t quite there yet and have been emailing…


Q: Is it too late to get an interview for medical school?

A: No it isn’t! You simply haven’t been in the early batch of interviews and offers but there is still time. Perhaps you submitted your application slightly late into the season or perhaps there were many applicants with stronger applications than you this year.

There are only three things you should do.

1. Stop panicking.
2. Continue to prepare for your interview as your invitation may be in the post as you read this.
3. Continue to work on your A-levels. This is more important for your medical career than getting an interview.

Medical schools interview well into next year and some offers are given out quite late into the spring. You might need nerves of steel, but you mustn’t lose your focus.


Q: I’ve had an interview and a rejection already! Is my medical career over?

A: No! There may be further interviews around the corner. Treat the failure as practice. Work out how you can improve and make sure you use the experience to kill off any competition next time.

Q: But there are no more interviews to go!

A: If you are unlucky and there are no further interviews for you this year, you’ll be applying again next year, won’t you? The only thing you must, must do in that case is to get the very best A2 grades you can. Focus on that above all else. If there is any bandwidth left you must try and get some more work experience between now and next August. There will simply be no time to boost your medical experience after grades are published in August and therefore you must start arranging things right away. It may yet be too late for some hospitals. Hurry up and follow this advice to jump the queue!

Also think about what you’ll be doing in the gap year after A-levels. Plan ahead as this sort of stuff takes forever to organise and there is always some keen individual who is already trying to take your place!

(This is the nature of a competitive field like medicine and will continue even after you graduate!)


Q: I feel like picking an alternative career such as banking!

A: What??!

Have a good long think about why you wanted to become a doctor in the first place.

If it was about helping others and getting the satisfaction of solving real human problems, keep going. Medicine is still open and needs people like you!

If you really do think that staring at a spreadsheet into the late night whilst making lots of money is starting to look more attractive, make a clear decision and get some advice from people in the field (whatever field that might be – banking is just an example here). And when you start making some real money don’t forget to drop us a line!


Q: I’m heading towards an A-level grade disaster and can’t see how I will salvage this!

A: Get help now! Make sure any academic weaknesses are dealt with and any extenuating circumstances are documented and communicated to your teachers and admissions tutors if you already have an offer.

If you are finding a particular part of a subject difficult to deal with but the rest of the subject is fine, it may not be your fault. Ask for a different exaplanation or a different teacher to go through things with you. Get outside help, pay a tutor if you have to.

I remember struggling with certain topics which turned out to be very simple once a different teacher and a different explanation was sought out. Teachers aren’t perfect and some are better than others. Make sure you take charge of any academic problems instead of becoming a moaning victim.

Without the very best A-level grades you are making it much, much harder for yourself. This is a career emergency and you need to treat it as such!


Q: I have a different urgent question?

A: Put them in the comments and we’ll get some admissions experts to answer everything!


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Is becoming a Nurse Practitioner an easier route into medicine? Sat, 27 Dec 2014 11:07:06 +0000 Doctor or nurse practitioner


What a question! It seems deliberately designed to cause a slight clenching of the jaw in many a professional medic (also known as a doctor).

However it is a genuine question that is asked fairly frequently in the real world by people thinking about medicine as a career path.

The very fact that the question is even asked, must surely tell us something about the confusion that exists about the changing roles of professionals that work in healthcare and the very bad job we have done as doctors (and nurses) in clarifying key differences.

So in the following few paragraphs I will attempt to set the record straight and dispense some career advice at the same time.

Nursing, at it’s core involves caring for the sick and infirm. Traditional training for nurses reflects that, and a good nurse can make the difference between life and death for multiple patients simultaneously whilst making each of these patients actually feel cared for and comfortable. A good nurse can make the difference between a successful and a failed surgical procedure.

At the heart of nursing lies close adherence to protocols and to an overall plan of treatment set out by a doctor.

on the other hand requires an understanding of the sciences that underpin clinical medicine and an ability to apply that understanding to real life clinical problems. This may involve dealing with uncertainty, high levels of technical ability or even taking responsibility for deciding what to treat and what not to treat in each unique context. Medicine often involves close adherence to protocols but doctors are required to have an understanding that goes far beyond the protocol, and should always question whether protocols or guidelines are appropriate for the situation at hand.

This is all part of medical training.

Why do you want to be a doctor


So, where do nurse practitioners fit into all of this?

Well, a nurse practitioner is a nurse that has had extra training to perform some of the tasks that a (often junior) doctor might otherwise perform.

These might, for example involve seeing patients in general practice with ‘simple’ ailments that should free up a doctor to see more complicated cases. In some GP surgeries and hospitals, nurse practitioners may run asthma or diabetes clinics for example where monitoring of disease and adjustment of medication can be carried out without a doctor. They may have some limited  prescribing rights and may be able to perform certain aspects of surgical procedures, vein harvesting in cardiac surgery, for example.

Because nurse practitioners have never been to medical school, they should not be expected to have the knowledge that a doctor should have about the conditions they manage. They are therefore supervised to varying degrees by doctors to troubleshoot any problems that may arise. A doctor will often take ultimate responsibility if something goes wrong.

Because much of the day to day of clinical practice is simple pattern recognition and adherence to protocol, nurse practitioners are able to deal with many of the problems that traditionally required a doctor. Many doctors worry that, without full medical training, nurse practitioners may make mistakes or miss important pathology which is often hidden among the routine cases in a busy clinic.


Should you consider a career in nursing?

If you are truly undecided about which sort of healthcare career you want to pursue, nursing my well be worth looking into.

However, we don’t feel that a nursing career will satisfy the typical medical applicant.
In spite of the considerable political power held by supporters of nurse practitioners and their ever increasing role, it remains the case that when someone wealthy, well educated or powerful falls sick, they turn to a fully qualified doctor for obvious reasons.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on twitter!

Use the hashtag #medicineornursing


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MMI: how not to screw it up Sat, 13 Dec 2014 16:33:52 +0000 srew up


The multiple mini interview is probably here to stay.

If you’re applying to medical school this year or in the near future, you’re bound to come across it.

Although the MMI format sounds even more terrifying than a regular interview, it actually can be tamed if you know what you are doing.

Our MMI guide lays all of that guidance before you, including the interview scoring sheets that are comonly used as well as recent MMI questions.


However, if all you need are some very useful tips for how not to completely screw up your MMI stations read on. The following five tips have been compiled after our discussions with experts and MMI interviewers!


1. Read the question twice

Every year a number of excellent students miss vital marks by failing to answer the question properly, or trying to answer a different question to the one being asked.

This sounds like a mistake that would only be made by a complete idiot but I can guarantee that some of the brightest students have missed the point of a simple question by misreading a key sentence or simply jumping in too quickly to answer a question they think they read.

If the question sounds very tricky, just read it again. The chances are you’ve missed the point, which is usually something very very simple and straightforward.


2. Do not ignore the cues given by the interviewer

Interviewers are by and large nice people. There are very few sadistic teachers in medical education and you’ll get to know them individually once you get in.

However, for the purposes of your interview, assume the interviewer is trying to help you.

If the interviewer says, “Are you sure about that?” Have another think about your answer.

Usually this is a free chance to change your answer so unless you are really pretty sure, take the opportunity to rethink your answer.


3. By ethics, we mean the standard ethical principles for a doctor in this country!

When asked if you’d lie to save a best friend from getting into trouble with some authority, the answer is NO!

A large number of applicants seem to think that this is an opportunity to prove what a loyal friend they are.

Now, it doesn’t matter what you might have done in real life, remember that the interview is scored upon your ethical judgment if you were a doctor. Try and put yourself into that mindset when answering such questions.

If you are an overseas student have a think about how expectations may differ for medical students or doctors here in the UK. Make sure you sound like you are ‘in tune’ with prevailing attitudes.

We are going to have a feature on basic ethics for premedical students just to cover some of these areas in more detail.


4. Practice keeping to time.

Plan your answer carefully to make sure you can get it all out within the allocated time.

We will not let you run over even if we want to as there is another candidate waiting to start the station as soon as you finish.

Make sure you get to all parts of the question. Covering one aspect perfectly and then failing to score on the other two aspects will still only get you a third of the marks, at best.


5. Forget the previous station

Every interviewer will describe witnessing candidates arriving to a station flustered and stressed after their previous station went badly. Unable to focus on the current station, they make silly mistakes, show poor judgement or simply fail to answer the question at all.

The simple rule is to forget that you fell off your chair in the previous interview station and focus on the current one.

This is difficult to do and therefore needs some practice. It’s worth thinking about this as it is also a common skill needed in medicine where you cannot let a stressful encounter with one patient colour your next consultation.


Remember, that the interviewer is probably on your side and is secretly willing you on. Most interviewers I know enjoy doing interviews and find it painful to see a young potential colleague screw it all up.

So please don’t.


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Work Experience: A day in the life of a cardiologist Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:16:42 +0000 In our series on work experience, we are trying to shadow various doctors in different areas of medicine to give you a good idea of what working as a doctor is like and what you might expect to see whilst on work experience.

Of course this is no substitute for actual work experience, but we think it is very useful to give a realistic idea of what to expect.

As always, please let us know what you think or what else you’d like covered in the comments or at the usual FB or Twitter locations.





A typical Monday morning for me begins on the ward rounds.

My team has been on call over the weekend and we must see each new patient and work out whether they’re all on the correct treatment, whether any tweaks to their medication might be needed or whether we need to speak to other specialists to get involved.



One elderly patient collapsed whilst out walking and ended up on our unit. He underwent stenting (see below) of his coronary arteries yesterday but it is clear that this was not very beneficial.

Examining him, it is clear there is nothing more that can be done for him. He had a fairly severe heart attack, and a large part of his heart muscle has died.

If he were younger he may be a candidate for surgery but I do not think the surgeons will be particularly keen to get involved here.

He will, nevertheless be discussed at our afternoon multidisciplinary meeting, where cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons discuss patients together to decide on the most appropriate management plan. In his case I feel this is a simply a formality, but we shall see.



One other patient has arrived this morning with an arrhythmia. He hd been feeling faint intermittently for a number of months, but this time he collapsed and had to be brought in.

Following my initial assessment it is clear that he will require a permanent pacemaker to prevent such attacks in future. This will be done in the next few days whilst he is still an inpatient.

I need to call my colleagues to see whether anyone has the space to fit him onto their list.


Lunch is unfortunately eaten alongside my secretary who insists I need to go through some urgent paperwork with her.

She shows me emails from patients demanding to have their clinic dates changed and their angioplasty brought forward. We are running to capacity and I need to decide what can possibly be done to keep everyone happy.

Of course this is hardly ever possible. I manage to sort out a plan that means I will have to work faster during one overbooked clinic next week, and my secretary will have a horrible afternoon re-organising everything for next week’s cardiac catheterisation list. What a great result.



The afternoon is spent in a cardiac catheterisation laboratory. I have two afternoons here a week, and I feel it is the most interesting part of my job.

I perform a variety of procedures, from angioplasty and stenting of narrowed coronary arteries, to pacemaker insertion and simple investigations.

The most difficult case of the afternoon turns out to be a simple angioplasty or stent insertion for a gentleman that turned out to have much more severe disease than previously appreciated. One of the arteries is completely blocked and after multiple attempts using some fairly sophisticated techniques we manage to get enough of a channel opened to get some flow across the artery. Only time will determine whether this will result in better function for this patients heart but we’ve certainly tried our best.



This long case means we must cancel our last patient as we’ve run out of time. We need to re-assign a date and time to her before she goes home. This simply adds to the pressure on our schedule for the next few weeks.

I must apologise to the patient we’ve cancelled and she is actually very understanding. Most patients are.



I must now head back to my office to catch up on emails that have been neglected.

Of the issues I must deal with the most pressing is a medical student that appears to be failing her cardiology module. The medical school would like me to see whether I can offer her any extra clinics.

Other problems are mainly concerning our pharmacy department trying to dictate which cardiac drugs it should stock without fully consulting all of the consultants.

As with most NHS problems, I’m sure cost is at the bottom of all of this, but we must at least have a consensus that ensures everyone has feels they been involved.



It’s a late finish, like most days. Cardiology is a busy speciality with increased out of hours commitments over recent years. However the job is still rewarding and fascinating and one that I would recommend to junior colleagues that show an interest.



Instant rewards when patients treated well

Multidisciplinary approach to most problems

The interventional side involves some minor surgery and some very technical procedures

A variety of subspecialties within cardiology



Increasing intensity of out of hours work by senior cardiologists

Reduced private incomes (as in many other specialties)

Cost and length of training, most trainees now have a higher degree

Increasing Competition



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The multiple mini interview guide for medical school interviews Mon, 01 Oct 2012 15:11:14 +0000

The multiple mini interview (MMI) for medical school entry is here to stay….

Intially piloted for graduate entry medicine programmes (GEP) MMI has been hailed as a success my many medical schools worldwide and each medical school is planning its own version of MMI.

Some are already using MMI, others are set to start using it for the current round of applicants and in a few years, many more will perhaps follow suit.

If you are planning on becoming a doctor you cannot avoid MMI

Yet it is amazing to see how little is known about it and how little guidance there is in the public domain.




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I’m planning on making damn sure I get place for medicine very soon. How do I prepare for MMI?

Well up until until very recently there was almost nothing to help guide you.
A few example questions, some generic online advice and that was it.

After many questions from concerned applicants desperate to prepare for their one shot at becoming doctors, we decided to prepare a guide to the multiple mini interview for medicine.

As some of you will know, this guide has taken many months of research and preparation and attempts at getting insider information have been met with many difficulties.

Sadly the whole MMI process is shrouded in secrecy and even interviewers are unable to divulge any inside information.

However, we believe we have finally brought managed to produce the most valuable guide to MMI in existence.
Something that finally gives an insider look at what MMI for medical school is all about.


MMI guide on ipad

Here’s what you will find inside:

  • Example questions not seen anywhere else
  • Example answer transcripts to make sure prepare in the right way
  • Common pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • Our insider strategies for the most difficult issues faced by candidates
  • Mark schemes used by interviewers
  • Methods to maximise your score and stand out from the crowd
  • How to stop wasting time and prepare efficiently for success
Ready to get prepared?
As usual our prices are low and won’t make sense to some.
However we want to make this accessible to all, whilst covering our basic costs of production.
And, to give you complete peace of mind, there is a 60 day money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied for any reason.

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Is this only aimed at UK medical school applicants?

Although this guide was initially written for UK applicants, during the course of our research we found that MMI is  the same, whether you are applying to  UK, US, Australian or other medical schools. The same questions arise and the same preparation strategies are needed
The score sheets as well as the tips and tricks for success are identical.
Remember, there is no other guide that explains MMI in as much depth.
We are pretty sure you’ll be impressed by what you find here.


Why order now?
  • This is the ONLY MMI GUIDE for medical school interviews available right now
  • Future availability cannot be guaranteed
  • There is a no risk 60 day money back guarantee
  • Once you order it arrives immediately in your inbox and you can start getting prepped for your MMI right away.
  • The guide is produced to our high standards with worked examples, mark schemes and answer transcripts that are fully annotated and analysed
For most applicants, MMI is the final hurdle before getting a place to study medicine.
If becoming a doctor is a serious ambition for you, you need to get serious about cracking the multiple mini interview.
The  MMI guide will help you get started and guide your preparation today.


Well, it’s time to face it, this is an incredible deal!
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