Eight last minute tips before your medical school 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.
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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