Preparing for your University of Sydney interview
From August 1 – 10, 2016 Sydney Dental School and Sydney Medical School applicants will be undertaking multi-mini interviews via Skype for admission into the DMD and MD programs for the 2017 intake.
To help you out, we have compiled some interview tips—from former OzTREKK students, and from our own experiences! As part of the application process, interviews are mandatory and are often a cause of unease with prospective students. Like a job interview, it is best to exhibit a professional, competent, and likable personality—like we needed to tell you that!
On the day of your interview, you must log into Skype and be ready at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled interview time. Your interview will likely last at least 45 minutes; however, you should allow at least one hour in addition to this time in case there is a delay, or there is a need to clarify a matter. Internet and computer glitches often come at the most inopportune time!
You should use the most reliable method of connection available for your interview (e.g., a wired computer connection, where possible.) Wireless connection can be used, provided that it is sufficiently reliable to complete the interview process. Imagine beginning your interview with shady internet connection—yikes!
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. It is 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 will be 5 stations of 7 minutes each, with a turnaround time of 2 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. Say hello to him or her. 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:
- Don’t have Skype? Get it. Learn about it. Be prepared to know how it works. Especially learn the instant messaging button as this is where you will read the interview questions.
- Read and discuss. Read about what is happening around you and find someone to discuss what is happening around you. 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.
- Familiarise yourself with the school. Find out who is in charge and understand the faculty structure. What is the school known for? Why is that a good fit for you?
- If you are invited to ask questions, have some! Be prepared to speak about yourself and your interests outside of dentistry and medicine.
- Do you have weaknesses? What are they? 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.
- Where do you see yourself 5, 10, 20 years from now?
- Be prepared to talk about your undergrad degree.
- What makes you stand out from other applicants? (But don’t brag!)
- Lastly, there is a wealth of MMI resources out there on the internet! Do your homework!
During the interview
- Take a deep breath. The interviewers are people, just like you. They understand that you will be nervous and will factor that in when they interview you.
- Be yourself. Putting on an act to impress people is rarely successful, is usually transparent, and is most often a turnoff. If an interviewer has a bad first impression about you, the other aspects of that particular station will likely be graded poorly. Remember, the interviewers are people too, and they are likely volunteering in the MMI process. This is especially important if you consider an interviewer may not even be listening to a word you are saying. At the end of the station, the interviewer may look back at the past 7 or so minutes, and depending on how much verbal diarrhea you may have spewed out, they may only remember how calm, collected, and eloquently spoken you are.
- Dress appropriately. No one wants to see you just out of bed, in a T-shirt, or wearing exercise gear. You are interviewing for a professional degree!
- Turn. Your. Cellphone. Off.
- There won’t be any breaks. Use the washroom beforehand. You may have a glass of water on hand should you need it.
- No note-taking permitted!
- 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.
- Stations can be loosely categorised into ethical-dilemma situations, teamwork-based situations, professionalism situations, differing-opinion situations, etc.
- 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.
Best of luck!