How to prepare for your University of Sydney medicine or dentistry interview
It’s that time of year again!
As part of the application process, interviews are mandatory and are often a cause of unease with prospective students, but they don’t have to be! To help you out, we have compiled some interview tips from former OzTREKK students, and from our own little knowledge bank we’ve stocked over the years.
Multiple Mini Interview
International applicants who qualify for an interview will be interviewed via an online link using Skype. When making an interview booking, applicants will be required to enter their Skype user name and phone number (including the country code and area code, in case that there is any problem during their interview).
The interview process is known as the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). The actual MMI is expected to last approximately 45 minutes; however, the entire process including registrations may take up to 2 hours, although this is rare. They are looking for
- good communication skills;
- your sense of caring, empathy and sensitivity;
- your ability to make effective decisions;
- your ability to contribute as a member of a team;
- your appreciation of the place of medicine/dentistry in the wider context of healing; and
- your sense of vocation, motivation and commitment within the context of medicine/dentistry
Who are the interviewers?
All MMI interviewers are volunteers who have completed a training program and observed the MMI process. They will be friendly and professional and want to see you succeed. No one will try to trick you!
- Academic, clinical academic, and staff of the university
- Graduates from medicine and dentistry
- Persons drawn from the wider community
On the day of your interview, you must log into Skype and be ready at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled interview time. If you can’t attend your interview at the specified time, you must contact the Admissions Office as a matter of urgency. The Admissions Office will make reasonable efforts to accommodate your needs, but cannot guarantee that an alternative interview time will be available.
What to expect
The multi-mini interview (MMI) is an assessment of applicants’ personal and professional attributes, designed to test your reasoning and problem-solving skills in a range of areas that the University of Sydney considers important in entry-level students, as well as your values and commitment.
The assessment is conducted through a range of different authentic scenarios that test specific characteristics. There are usually five stations of seven minutes each, with a turnaround time of two minutes. Each station samples different aspects of professionalism according to a carefully designed framework.
At the commencement of the interview, the first interviewer will appear on the screen. This is your chance to say hello! Once the bell rings, you will be sent the first scenario via instant message on Skype. Read the first sentence of the scenario aloud to the interviewer.
Former OzTREKK students’ tips… and things to get you thinking!
Now, we don’t guarantee that you’ll be asked about your shortcomings, but it is recommended to have an overall sense of “who you are” and a level of comfort with yourself and your knowledge before heading to an interview. Here is a list of tips from former OzTREKK students, and other things to get you thinking about the types of questions they may ask to help get you prepared:
Before your interview
- Get ready for scenarios! Read and discuss. Read about what is happening around you and find someone to discuss it with. Present your views and listen to their views. This is a great way to actually hear different sides of the same story.
- Practice formulating a position, practice speaking, and practice expressing your opinion! Avoid confrontation.
- Stations may be loosely categorised into ethical-dilemma situations, teamwork-based situations, professionalism situations, differing-opinion situations, etc.
- What makes a good or bad doctor?
- If you are invited to ask questions, have some! Be prepared to speak about yourself and your interests outside of dentistry or medicine.
- Do you have weaknesses? What are they? How are you working on them?
- Know the profession—its past, its present, its future. This shows you would like to invest your life in the profession.
- Think about alternative medicine and dentistry. Is it valuable? Is it comparable to Western medicine?
- Where do you see yourself 5, 10, 20 years from now?
During your interview
- Be yourself. Putting on an act to impress people is rarely successful, is usually transparent, and is most often a turnoff.
- Dress appropriately.
- There won’t be any breaks. Use the washroom beforehand. You may have a glass of water on hand should you need it.
- The questions are not “black and white,” “right or wrong.” The interviewers are interested in your passion for medicine or dentistry, your thought processes, your communication skills, and your personality.
- Figure out what kind of general situation you are in and then present not only how you view the situation, but also from the viewpoint of bystanders and/or the opposing party. Think outside the box, but tread lightly!
- If an interviewer interrupts at any point, stop and listen carefully to what he/she has to say. They are doing this in your favour, as you are likely veering off course in your discussion.
- Don’t lie. Answer questions as honestly as possible.
We know it’s difficult, but try not to stress. We often hear from OzTREKK students, “I didn’t need to be as stressed as I was.” The interviewers are people, just like you. They understand that you will be nervous and will factor that in when they interview you.