Saturday, 31 March 2012

My Interview at Barts

When I first started applying for medicine, I heavily relied on TSR and blogs for advice and guidance. Subsequently I have always seen my blog as a learning tool for others following in my footsteps. Now that I have an offer I can share my interview. People can understand what I was asked and how I responded.

Before the interview I was asked to read this article and "hear my thoughts" on the issue.

14th February 2012
I arrive, register and am taken to the Common Room. I am then taken to the Old Library where I sit with a few of my fellow coursemates and some people I don't know. The Old Library is a big, spacious room and they have set up several booths to conduct the interviews. I can hear little snippets of each conversation i.e. "New Scientist", "What would you do...", "Passion".

Me and a friend talk with the medical student. All being 21 we are more confident than the 17/18 year olds next to us, waiting for their interviews.

I'm finally called and the interview knows exactly who I am. It was hard, two guys and the rest girls. I'm Caucasian and the other guy is Asian. If you knew my name, you'd make the same judgement as well.

She leads me to the very last booth in the room telling me about who she and the other interviewer are.

I sit down, announce "So this is it" and they both smile. We begin by discussing the process in which I am applying. Deferred entry for 2013. This moves onto my modules choices for third year of Biomed and I discuss the SBCS restructuring. One of my interviewes is a medical scientist and is very concerned about this. She is a lecturer on my third year module of Endocrine Physiology. We have a genuine conversation on it, before we realise that I'm here for a medicine interview.

We discuss the benefits of having a degree before medicine, and one of my interviewers thinks that all applicants should have a degree before hand because it matures you and makes you a better medicine applicant. I'm loving this interview already.

I am then asked about the article we were asked to read. I start by discussing the journalistic points of the article and then move onto the ethical reasons. I talk for a few minutes, running through my prepared answer and coming to a logical conclusion.

We then discuss a scenario about someone who is obese and would they remain the same weight after the operation. I am repeatedly pushed to defend my opinion at this point. I assumed it was a test to make sure I would stand my ground on the subject.

I am then asked "Why Barts?". I start with my mention of Hackey, Shoreditch and Bagels (all my friends laughed at this). I then move onto clinical reasons such as local prevalent diseases. They stop me at this, as if they have heard enough already and I wish I could have talked about PBL and dissection.

We move on to "What have I done to prepare for medicine?"

I discuss work experience, volunteering, working for DWP. This briefly leads them to review my personal statement and ask me how JD Wetherspoon could possibly be beneficial to Medicine. I explain about my A&E work experience. How I dealt with drunk people in both situations.

"Has anyone tried to put you off medicine?"

I discussed how I know medical students who have cried at exams. That the course was so intense they broke down. This was a difficult answer. I was criticised for this because if students can't deal with exams, how can they deal with being a doctor? I responded and defended my statement.

I also talked about other negatives I've viewed from my work experience and what I know.

"How would I deal with death as a doctor?"

I started off answering this about in terms of a medical student. I was stopped and they reasked the question. I then talked about empathy and professionalism and I knew I had hit the buzz words. Lots of nodding from one.

"Any questions?"

This surprised me. They said it had been "a good interview" and I was very pleased to hear that. I didn't know what to say. I couldn't believe it was over so quickly, so I just ended with "Barts has always been my first choice. Plus I'm in love with the library." They agreed. One of the interviewers wished she could enjoy bagels with no consequences. We all laughed, I shook hands and left.

Apart from one job at the student union, I have got every job I have interviewed for. I felt confident about this but at the same time I felt like I could have said so much more. I lived in nervous wait for over a month before I heard. I love the two woman that interviewed me and when I meet them again, I will thank them over and over!

Advice for Barts
Barts are so nice. It blew me away how nice they were. At the same time, I heard from friends that their interviews were not as nice as mine.

In my opinion, Barts made you feel comfortable but were not afraid to push you so that you would defend your opinion/answer. I felt on a few occasions that they were being conflicting, just to see how I would deal with the pressure, how I would respond to the attack on my view.

I can't fault Barts. They were lovely to me and I got an offer. Plus I'm probably known as 'Bagel Guy" in the admissions office.


  1. Wow well done! VERY USEFUL thank you.

  2. Wow. That sounds like you had the perfect interview :O hope you do get in! It really is amazing on the other side (but like your break down colleagues as you'll see on my blog - happens to everyone :/) Good luck though!

  3. Love your blog - helps me get a much better idea of what it's like studying medicine. Don't know if I'm as smooth a talker as you, but hopefully I'll get the marks to get into a good uni ;) In my second last year of high school so.. plenty of time to investigate! However, plenty of time to hesitate and get cold feet as well :/ Keep blogging! :D

  4. this was so incredibly useful!

  5. Hi there, well done on passing first year. I'm pretty much in the same boat as you, just a year behind - biomed, getting an undergrad medicine place. I was just wondering how you went about financing it as there isn't much financial support for graduates who undertake 5 year medical courses. Thanks!

    1. Thanks. I've just finished 2nd year now so getting ever closer to the end ha.

      Congratulations! A big achievement to get that place. I was very lucky to be honest. My Grandparents paid my tuition fees and my parents support me with money each month. I am extremely privileged in that regards.

      Some companies and banks will loan you the money. But it is becoming harder. Certain charities will provide money but you have to have a low income and subsequently very competitive.

      Best of luck.

  6. I must say that good information.