Graduate-Entry Interview Series #1: Why would you like to study Medicine NOW?

Some advice on how to answer one of the most common graduate medicine interview questions.

February 2022
Carolina Williams
UCL - 2nd Year

As for undergraduate Medicine candidates, the questions asked during graduate Medicine interviews can be challenging to navigate. Ideally, you want to be able to word your answers eloquently so that the interviewers can best understand you as a candidate and appreciate your enthusiasm and the qualities that make you stand out.

The questions which may be asked during the Medicine application interview for undergraduate and graduate applicants often overlap slightly. However, because graduate applicants are applying to Medicine whilst completing or having completed a degree and may have also taken a year or two away from studying around this, the interviewers are likely to be interested in knowing a bit more about their experiences during this time and what they learnt from these. Anything that helped to form and/or consolidate your motivation to study Medicine and any skills that have been acquired or developed during this time are worth mentioning as they contribute to what makes you the candidate you are today.

This series aims to provide you with some advice for addressing potential interview questions that may be asked but directed towards graduate applicants. Of course, you should approach answers to questions in the way that you wish. This is an interview to discover more about you, so your answers should be personal. We do hope that you find this information useful in stimulating your thinking and that we provide reassurance so you approach the interview with confidence.

Why would you like to study Medicine, NOW?

‘Why Medicine now?’… It may be interesting for the interviewers to find out why you would like to study Medicine now, at this time in your life, and after completing your undergraduate degree.

This is an interesting question, and perhaps one of those that it is difficult to answer well and whilst putting across your reasons and exactly how you feel in a clear way. Personally, I think that there are three components that may be worth thinking about. You may of course take inspiration from as few or as many aspects of the following as you feel fit with you and your Medicine application journey.

Under each question I have discussed below, I have provided some examples as if I were to answer them. Please remember that these are brief notes and are tailored to answering the questions for myself. It is important to provide personal examples, with specific details, as evidence in your answers. However, for example purposes, I have not elaborated on these so much in my notes below.

1. What are your personal reasons?

Thinking simply about the answer to the question. Why would you like to study Medicine now? Was there a turning point at some time that helped you to realise, or have you always wanted to but didn’t feel quite ready as an undergraduate?

Studying Medicine is a big decision and so you must be committed and motivated. Make sure to show your enthusiasm by highlighting some personal factors that genuinely contributed to your decision to study Medicine at this point in your life, and in particular, after completing an undergraduate degree. Discussing the factors that helped contribute to your decision, whether they be from during childhood, sixth form or your undergraduate degree, for example, are valid. It is important to ensure that these are honest reasons, as you may be asked to expand on these further.

Example: I have always enjoyed communicating and interacting with people and knew I would love a career where I was able to apply my knowledge directly to help others. I love the concept of life-long learning, approaching a challenge and working in a team to problem-solve.

2. What have you learned? What skills have you acquired or developed?

There are often many similarities between undergraduate and graduate applicants at the time of their application, and what sets graduate applicants apart mainly is time! Graduate applicants have studied an undergraduate degree, commonly 3 or 4 years long, and during this time undoubtedly many things have happened. You have gained more knowledge through your studies and had the time to understand more about yourself as a person, identifying your strengths and weaknesses.

It may be useful to think about how you were as a person and what you knew at the start of your undergraduate degree and compare this with you towards the end of your undergraduate degree (or at the time of reading this article). Which changes can you see in between? Specifically, which skills have you developed or improved upon? And what have you learned? This may be academic or personal, however, of course, is in relation to studying Medicine and your motivations and suitability for becoming a doctor. I am sure that you will have grown as a person in terms of competency, skills, knowledge and personally, a great deal.

Example: I thoroughly enjoyed my Biomedical Sciences degree and the content I was learning. During my degree, I realised that I found it most interesting to learn content that could be applied to a clinical context. I tailored my degree specialty, course modules, and final year project accordingly. After undergoing various work experience placements, I felt more educated, excited, and assured about my desire to study Medicine.

3. Are there advantages for you personally to be studying Medicine now versus as an undergraduate?

This question helps you to realise the personal advantages for yourself to study Medicine as a graduate versus what it would have been for you as an undergraduate. Whilst there are pros and cons to each route into studying Medicine, it is important to focus on the positives for you here. Why you as a person now are you more suited or mature or prepared or motivated to study Medicine as a graduate? Is it that you have undergone more research and work experience than you would have done if not a graduate applicant? Or, did you not feel committed as an undergraduate and wanted to understand more about the Medicine career before dedicating yourself? Whatever your reasons, highlighting the unique factors as to why you may be a better candidate now compared to yourself back in sixth form may be helpful to consider if you were to answer this question.

Example: I personally have considered Medicine as a potential option for myself since thinking about career choices. I was aware of the commitment associated with studying Medicine and becoming a doctor and in sixth form I did not feel as if I was ready or educated enough to make this decision, and I wanted to be if I were to peruse my Medicine studies. Therefore, I decided to continue educating myself about a career in Medicine, alongside my Biomedical Sciences degree, and I promptly realised that Medicine was the route I wished to take.

Ultimately, try to stay calm and breathe before answering interview questions, gathering your thoughts and examples that you have considered pre-interview. Best of luck!

Author: Carolina Williams

Editor: Allegra Wisking

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