First, here’s a list of what NOT to do during interview prep. These are some of the most common preparation traps students fall into every year, and they can seriously affect the efficiency and effectiveness of your prep:
- Don’t find random practice questions online.
Some of these questions won’t be representative of Australian and New Zealand medical and dental interviews—and depending on the type of interview you’ll be sitting (e.g. traditional, MMI), the question types you find online may not even apply to your interview format.
- Don’t practice with friends or family members.
Since they probably don’t know much about how medical and dental interviews are actually assessed, the feedback and scores they give you won’t be professional, constructive, reflective, or accurate, and might even encourage or reinforce mistakes.
- Don’t forget to research the topics and traits being assessed.
If your responses don’t address the key topics and traits that interviewers are looking for, they will lack direction and score poorly.
- Don’t pre-write and memorize whole answers.
This makes your responses insincere, inflexible, and less expressive. And since the questions you’re asked on the day will most likely be different from the ones you’ve prepared for, if you insist on using the content you’ve memorised you’ll just end up giving strange and irrelevant responses.
- Don’t assume that you’ll do fine.
Even though you might be good at debating, giving speeches, or starting conversations with strangers, these skills don’t directly correlate to the medical or dental interview. In all our years of experience, we’ve never encountered a student who came out of the interview saying it was easy!
- Be cautious about asking medical students for interview help.
Although they are in contact with the medical profession, they might not have the necessary interview skills and experience to help you prepare effectively for your interview. As a rule, it’s always much better to be taught by interviewers than by the people who get interviewed. (In the past, we’ve worked with students whose medical student friends gave them a lot of ‘advice’ that, funnily enough, was completely incorrect in relation to what interviewers are actually looking for.)
- Don’t start too late.
Interview prep is a process that takes time to complete, so don’t leave it to the last minute. You need to develop personalized content that addresses the traits being sought, and you also need to refine your responses and gain confidence. For example, it’s hard to answer the question “Why is leadership important?” on the spot—but the more time you have to reflect on it and shape your thoughts, the better your final response will be! And don’t forget that the amount of time you have between final exams and your interview may only be a week or two (or sometimes only a few days)—since interviews are so important, leaving preparation this late is an extremely high-risk strategy.
To effectively prepare for your interview, we recommend following a five-step preparation process. Step 1 is for you to complete before the interview, Steps 2 to 4 are the planning process you carry out after the question is asked, and Step 5 relates to the actual delivery of your response.
- CONTENT CREATION (developing good, authentic, and relevant content)
- DELIVERY TECHNIQUES (delivering your response with fluency and confidence)
- STRUCTURE CREATION (adopting the best structure for delivering an impactful answer)
- IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES (knowing what traits are being targeted in each question)
- CONTENT SELECTION (choosing the content that best fits the question)
This process is further broken down and taught in our interview courses.