Is the interview hard?

Yes. It’s a LOT harder than students usually expect.

Before doing the interview, some students tend to think that it “can’t be that bad—it’s just a chat to see if I’m a decent person”, while parents tend to think of interviews as being more or less a “formality.” But in all our years of experience, we’ve never encountered a single student who came out of the interview saying they found it easy. (Unfortunately, a lot of students leave the interview regretting that they didn’t do more careful preparation because now that they think back to their answers, they realize that what they said in the heat of the moment was pretty silly and they should have said this or that instead…)

Students often struggle to perform well during medical and dental interviews because they can cover a wide variety of topics and question types, have challenging time constraints, and—most critically—because students have a poor ability to express and demonstrate the full range of traits that the interviewers are looking for, especially to a level of depth and authenticity that will make them stand out. This makes it very, very difficult for them to score well.

Given that the interview is usually weighted very heavily for entry, it can be extremely challenging to distinguish yourself from the competition within such a short amount of time. (For programs that weigh the interview as heavily as the ATAR, a single 60-minute interview assessment is worth ALL of the effort that they put into their study for EVERY Year 12 subject.) Again, the fundamental reason for this is that students don’t know how to produce targeted answers that actually address the traits the interviewers want their future medical/dental students to possess. Most students do a lot of ‘storytelling’ and give ONLY examples, or they give generic, surface-level answers that make sense but don’t actually demonstrate well-developed traits, which means they don’t check the interviewers’ boxes and end up with a very low score. (To see how interviewers score candidates, check out the mark scheme in this article.)

If they want to score well, students need to convey the right traits in an in-depth, relevant, diverse, and authentic way. This takes time, preparation, personal development, and a strong understanding of what exactly the interviewers want to see (plus the ability to incorporate that into their answers). They also need to manage their nerves and pace their responses well so that their answers are fluent and keep to the time limits.

So yes, the interview is definitely hard! For more interview help, check out these four articles (article one, two, three, and four), or chat to us to get personalised advice.

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