Top 10 Medical Interview Questions (With Example Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 10 November 2022 | Published 1 July 2021
Updated 10 November 2022
Published 1 July 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Before being accepted into university for a medicine degree programme you can undertake an application process which includes an interview stage. This is a highly competitive exercise with a large amount of candidates applying for a limited number of places. In this article, we give you advice to assist you with the medical interview process including a list of top medical interview questions and answer examples.
Top 10 medical interview questions with example answers
While not all medical interviews will follow the same format, interviewers might focus on a similar broad range of themes to work out your overall suitability. These topics may include your personal information, ethical beliefs, interest in medicine and work experience. Below are 10 of the top medical interview questions and possible answers:
1. Tell me about yourself
This is a popular opening question for a variety of interviews not just in a medical school situation. Avoid talking too much about your results. Keep it light and mostly about your background and a little about your plans.
Example: "I grew up in Brisbane with my two parents, a sister and a brother. My father has been a GP for 35 years. I've always looked up to him and admired how rewarding and challenging the profession is. I've graduated with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science from the University of Roundrock. I'm currently working as an administrative assistant at the surgical ward at ABC Hospital."
2. Why do you want to be a doctor?
Another basic question in which the interviewers seek to find out what your core motivation is in studying medicine. Try to think deeper about this question as to “help people” may not be enough to catch the other party's attention.
Example: "I've always been passionate about learning everything I can about the human body. I used to spend hours at my father's practice looking at models of organs and old periodicals. From there I always seemed to take the lead when one of my siblings injured themselves or if one of us had a cold. Taking over the doctor role - even if my father on hand - seemed second nature to me."
3. What are your views on abortion?
This question is top of mind with ethics in medicine. Both topics can create conflict and emotion, so remember to consider your answer ahead. A tip is to put the patient at the centre of your answer.
Example: "This is a complex topic with both sides. As a doctor it comes down to the patient and their needs. In Queensland it is legal for a woman to have an abortion within the first 22 weeks of gestation. I believe the patient should be able to choose to have an abortion within this law. I don't believe in pressuring the patient unless there is a medical risk to their life."
4. What work experience or relevant volunteering work have you done?
This is another basic information gathering question. It's a chance to include everything that you have done outside of university to prepare. Be specific and include all relevant information.
Example: "Outside of my university studies, I have been an administrative assistant in a surgical ward for two years. I have volunteered my time on two research projects with PhD candidates studying the efficacy of using aspirin as a preventative measure on adults at a high risk of heart attack. I have also done a six week work experience placement with Dr Smith at client DEF."
5. What are your biggest weaknesses?
The ability to reflect on a personal weakness shows emotional maturity. Answering this question effectively can bring added points to your medical interview. Obvious weaknesses to include may be hard skills, such as, a problem doing mathematics, other languages and technology.
Example: "I've been working in recent years to minimise what I see as my two biggest weaknesses. First, I will be the first to admit that my spelling is not at the right level. I find I am very reliant on ‘spell check' and I am working to improve my skills by turning the spell check off in the first draft phase to increase my independent spelling skills. I also find that in some areas - like in projects I am passionate about - I am reluctant to delegate power and hand over control."
6. Tell me about a time you did not get along with a manager or lecturer?
Some of the most problematic interview questions involve you expressing a negative experience. Choose a situation where there was a difference of opinion and how you resolved it through positive behaviour. Try to keep any emotion out of your word choices or expression.
Example: "In my previous place of work, I had a difference of opinion with my supervisor about the system used to take orders from customers. Instead of discussing the issue in the open store area, I moved the discussion to a private office space. I explained to the person why I used that method and the success I had with it. They offered their view on the issue and stated some interesting points. I conceded that there were issues I didn't realise and altered part of my system to resolve their concerns."
7. What are some of the biggest challenges in healthcare outcomes in Indigenous Australians?
This point seeks to show your knowledge of a current issue in healthcare. We recommend you research these topics so you can provide well-rounded answers. This type of question requires a lot of preparation.
Example: "‘Closing the Gap' between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians is one of the biggest healthcare concerns the industry is working to address. For me this comes down to access to both health care services and information and basic necessities - food, clean water and shelter. A portion of Indigenous people live in very remote communities which can't attract or afford permanent health care services."
8. Why is teamwork important?
Working in a team is a big part of most businesses, including healthcare facilities. Most doctors will operate in a multi-disciplinary team during their career. The interviewers want to see that you understand the benefits of teamwork. Giving an example can add context to your answer.
Example: "If a team can work collaboratively, they can usually come up with a better solution than working as individuals. If all people get time to express their own views, it makes the process smoother and more effective. When working as part of a team during the latest research project I was a part of, I found having structured brainstorm sessions and chances for each person to share their opinions made the project more successful and more innovative in its approach and outcomes."
Related: How to Prepare for a Job Interview
9. What are your hobbies and interests outside of medicine?
The interviewers want to see that you are a well-rounded person with some interests outside of medicine. Bonus points if you can show how your interest will indirectly help while studying medicine.
Example: "I don't have any formal hobbies but I have a keen interest in hiking and exploring natural locations. In a usual week I will go for an hour bush walk. I find this activity clears my mind and relaxes me, as well as keeping me physically fit."
10. Imagine if, as a doctor, you are treating a person with liver disease who is an alcoholic. How do you feel about this situation and what strategies would you use to help them?
This question addresses your ability to empathise with a patient who is suffering complex physical and emotional needs. It's all about putting yourself in that person's position and remembering your rights and responsibilities as a doctor.
Example: "It is important to be empathetic to someone in this situation as alcoholism is an addiction and sufferers will struggle to give up alcohol or may not even want to control their intake. During a consultation, I won't judge the person for their behaviour as they may be feeling guilty or sensitive about the topic. I would provide treatment in the same way I would other patients with a similar diagnosis and if they want information on treating their alcoholism I would assist them to find services and support."
Types of medical school interviews
The structure of medical school interview questions will depend on the type of medical interview you will sit. Not all universities use the same interview style. However, most follow one of three common structures:
Multiple Mini Interview (MMI): Most GAMSAT universities use the MMI format for their interview process. It is a specialised interview style which includes eight to ten “mini interviews” which require you to consider how you would react in a certain situation.
Formal panel interview: Similar to other job interviews, this structure features a panel of interviewers who have a set of pre-determined questions.
Semi-structured panel interview: This type follows a similar structure to a formal interview panel, except they give interviewers license to create their own questions and ask follow-up questions.
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