5 min read

How To Perfect The Medical Interview Tone?

Published on
May 13, 2024

If you thought that passing GAMSAT or studying medicine is the hardest part of becoming a doctor, don’t underestimate the medical school interview. 

The road to becoming a doctor involves sitting through gruelling medical entrance exams such as the GAMSAT or the UCAT, each expecting particular skills to excel in the medical pathway. However, a common occurrence is that once students crack these exams, their mentality can become rather laid-back and over-confident - not an excellent head-space to be when invited for a medical interview. 

The assumption that medical school interviews are a casual encounter and a get-to-know-you session is a blunder students often commit. Please have a read through one of our previous, informative articles to develop a better sense of the objectives behind the rigid medical interview process and why it is crucial for medical programs.

Preparing for medical school interviews seems a relatively vague and aimless process. It does not explicitly involve reading books, attempting practice tests, or asking a friend to interview you. Once you receive an interview offer, your mind will drift into a million thoughts on issues like medical interview preparation, what to wear to a medical interview, what type of mock interviews to attend, or what kinds of commonly asked interview questions to master. However, the most common fear regarding an interview offer is the importance of tone and how to sound professional in an interview.

The team at Fraser's has consolidated an array of helpful information into this article. We’re here to help you ace your medical school interview by perfecting that interview tone.

We also have a more comprehensive range of medical interview preparation courses offered by Fraser’s team to help you ace that medical interview with confidence.

Why Is The Tone Of The Voice Important In An Interview?

The tone of voice in an interview is a true reflection of how a candidate feels in the space. The voice adapted during an interview reveals the attitude, body language and sets the overall mood of the candidate. These factors can often be impactful than actual words in a medical interview.

If you receive a medical interview offer, it is pivotal to impress the interviewers and utilize a positive tone from the very start. It highlights the candidate's confidence and demonstrates good communication skills.

Besides verbal communication, the capacity to modulate your voice to suit the interview and accompanying body language are key determining factors.

In the clinical domain, medical interviews are challenging to master. However, it’s not rocket science. Interviewers are often chosen based on their medical career stage, or amongst those who have been tutoring medical students for many years now. These interviewers usually implement an intellectual and emotional combination of questions to assess the applicant's analytic skills, diagnostic reasoning, and ability to survive the medical pathway. The interviewers also evaluate your ability to build a rapport with them in relation to patient care and facilitating communication.

While expressing your response to such intricate questions, it is necessary to have a calm demeanour and adopt a reassuring and positive tone. Therefore, this is one of the top reasons why the tone of voice is relevant during medical interviews. 

How To Prepare For Medical School Interviews?

There are two formats for Medical School Interviews. The first is the MMI, whilst the second is a panel interview. 

Most medical schools in Australia have chosen the Mulitple Mini Interviews (MMI) format, which consists of short, problem-based stations to evaluate students' critical analysis, communication skills, and overall problem-solving ability in a social context. Each MMI station comprises of different types of multiple mini-interviews and has a different component:

  • Rapport building
  • Detech - where you explain a complex topic in simple terms for the patient
  • Aboriginal and Rural health issues
  • Current health issues that are facing people in Australia
  • Motivation to study medicine
  • Medical Ethics

Traditionally, a student spends about 7-8 minutes per station, which includes 1 or 2 minutes of reading/preparation time to reflect upon a scenario. There are a total of 8-10 mini-interview stations. The types of questions posed will vary between a direct question, real-life scenario, a role to enact, or a quote to reflect. 

Note that the prompts at each station are often vague or have the potential to be interpreted in several different ways; this is entirely intentional and determines how you will navigate such ambiguity. Hence, each student in a mini station loop has to be quick on their feet and have a clear mind while answering these questions.

Here the tone of the evaluation is of the essence. You don't want to walk into an interview station low on energy. Despite each station evaluating candidates irrespective of the other, students must prepare beforehand to speak professionally with confidence.

Before entering the MMI station, we recommend taking a deep breath, remaining calm in the head, and finally understanding the real purpose behind these interviews. Why? Remember that these MMI interviews are a direct mimicry of how doctors must react in real-world scenarios. Hence the questions posed are highly realistic and expect you to portray all those essential qualities deemed appropriate in a doctor. Thus, keep this purpose at heart while answering the MMI questions.

Some of the potential candidates to consider as a practice interviewer are:

  • A tutor
  • A friend who has successfully gone through a med school interview 
  • A friend that is also trying to get into medicine

Additionally, you can consider enrolling in an online course that provides mock interview tests and workshops.

The second type of interview, formal panel interviews, are adopted to evaluate students for admission into medicine in Australia. Unlike the MMI, where you encounter a fresh interviewer at each station, in the panel interview, you will usually have a group of 4-5 interviewers, each posing a wide range of questions.

A notable disadvantage to the panel interview is that your medical interview tone and skills must be at their peak because your answer can either make or break your impression. Therefore, if you are applying for universities with a panel interview format for the admission process, you must remain professional at all times. It can be intimidating, but with the right approach, you will be able to sell yourself well during the interview.

One way to maintain calmness when presented with a question is by deploying the S.T.O.P technique/method:

  • Stop overthinking and focus on the question
  • Take small deep breaths
  • Observe your mind, emotions, and facts before answering.
  • Proceed with the right intention and incorporate all your learnings in the answer.

The Fraser's team offers a range of medicine interview prep courses to improve your interview experience. It consists of LIVE interview workshops, private tutoring, and much more!

How Is Tone Set In An Interview?

As mentioned earlier, you, the candidate, determine the tone of the medical interview. You are in the driving seat to set the mood and overall ambience throughout the interview process. There is no denying that the interview process is highly nerve-wracking, but the satisfaction of acing it is genuinely exhilarating. 

We recommend you approach each question with the right tone and temperament. What you say is essential, however just as crucial as how you say it. 

Most interviewers prefer to break the ice with commonly asked medical interview questions, such as, 'Why did you choose to become a doctor?' or 'How have your personal and professional experiences influenced your medical journey?'

We strictly advise you to refrain from lying because it tends to alter your tone to a more unnatural one due to stress, anxiety, unnecessary overcompensation, insecurity, and/or lack of confidence. Therefore, if you wish to sell yourself in a medical school interview, you must be self-assured. Also, remember that you have passed many hurdles to reach the interview stage, so give it your best shot!

Medical Interview Questions And Answers

At this stage, you shouldn’t feel threatened by the medical interview. Instead, prepare to the best of your ability to score better than other potential candidates. 

A great approach to employ is practising commonly asked medical interview questions to pre-construct your answers and avoid stammering over simple questions. 

Some commonly asked questions are listed below: 

#1 Tell me about yourself.

An ideal way to answer this question is by formally introducing yourself. Try implementing phrases like - 'I would like to take this opportunity to..' or 'To start off, my name is...'. 

Avoid phrases such as, 'Well.. um..' or 'So, my name is..'

The latter phrases portray you to be an applicant with low self-esteem. Hence, use the correct words and don't take a passive approach. Establish your stance in your introduction.

#2 What makes you a good doctor?

This question has significant weightage. You will likely be facing this question and if so, be honest and confident. State your reasons and articulate your response clearly.

Focus more on key attributes that make you a good doctor. Additionally, describe why you chose the medical profession to help people more than any other related sector. 

#3 How do you cope with stress?

Frame your answer more positively rather than relying on emotions. Speak actively about distractions you employ to keep yourself sane during tough times. Also, use this opportunity to reflect upon the time you took the entrance exam tests and how you utilized it to unwind during stressful times. 

By deriving from your personal and professional experience, you can demonstrate your methods to cope with stress. 

#4 How do you see Australia's healthcare system change in 20 years?

For more research-based questions, remember to take a moment or two to understand the question, then begin answering based on relevant information and knowledge you have gained.

Refrain from beating around the bush and stick to facts if possible. Credibility and a confident stance go a long way in such scenarios.

#5 How will you contribute to changing health issues affecting people in Australia?

These types of questions require you to have a voice of authority and credibility. When we mention authority, we don't imply yelling or raising your voice but rather speak with confidence and power to justify your answer. 

Try to also back your answer with statistics, long-term and short-term impacts, and sources.

What To Do Next?

Check out the Fraser's Medical Interview Atlas, a solid range of medical school interview preparation courses specifically designed for you.

What's inside the Atlas?

  • Wide selection of model stations to practice
  • Commonly asked questions to help you construct better answers
  • Personal consultation on your interview tone and much more!