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University of Sheffield Medicine Interview Questions Explained 2023 – Full guide.

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The 2023 questions are similar to the ones in 2021 and 2022, however, Sheffield have built on the original questions and included more follow-up questions. We have updated our blog to include a guide on how to answer the extra questions included this year.


Sheffield medical school releases the interview questions for their medicine interview before the interview. We have put together a guide going through each of the questions in the Sheffield Medicine Interview in detail to help you to prepare.


Preparation is key for success in the Sheffield medical school interview. After reading our guide, we strongly recommend that you book a mock interview with us to put this into practice and get some feedback from our medical interview experts!



The Sheffild Medicine Interview is an 8 station MMI which you MUST prepare for beforehand. We strongly recommend 10 hour of 1-1 tutoring for Sheffield and we believe that we are the most up-do-date with the Sheffield Medicine Interview. We also strongly recommend, at a minimum, that anyone applying to Sheffield Medical School does a Sheffield Mock Interview With us.







Introduction to Sheffield Interview


Be ready for follow up questions.

  • People have found this tough. The key to success in follow up questions is to have good experience and to be well-prepped.

  • Fake the confidence if need be but do not show weakness in the interview. You have got this!


General advice for Sheffield


You will likely be interviewed by one medical school admissions interviewer (+ one medical student).


You must be prepared to answer ALL the questions. You will only be asked these questions (+ follow up questions on your content). You may not be asked all questions.


You MUST be prepared to answer follow up questions.

  • You may be interrupted when giving your answer and asked to elaborate on a statement that you made. You may be asked follow-up questions after giving your answer. Do not bring anything into the answer that you are not confident answering further questions on.


Station 1 - Sheffield and the MBChB Programme


Why is Sheffield the right place for you? 2. What can the city and university provide you with that is important to you? 3. What makes the course structure the right one for you? 4. What will you do if you do not receive an offer?


Generally, you want to come across as enthusiastic as possible in this answer. You want to show off the research that you have done as well as link it back to ‘why Sheffield’. Ensure that anything that you mention you can talk about, and answer follow up questions. I have written a lot for this question for a reason. It is this question and the follow up questions after it that have caught students off-guard, especially as it is the first question. I want you to be over-prepared for this question!


Resources


1. Sheffield MBChB undergraduate course homepage - https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/2022/medicine-mbchb

3. Sheffield Medical School News - https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/medicine/news


Question 1 - Why is Sheffield the right place for you?


Opinion based structure from the MasterMedPrep interview course:


Introduction -> main part -> conclusion. Find an example of how to structure this answer below.


Introduction = “Sheffield is my first-choice medical school and city. I did a lot of research before applying to medical schools and I kept being drawn to Sheffield as somewhere that I not only want to live, but also as somewhere that I believe will help me become the best doctor that I can be. I will talk about the city of Sheffield and the university of Sheffield. Then I will talk about the Sheffield MBChB curriculum.”


City of Sheffield = “I believe that Sheffield as a city has everything that I want as a student. Sheffield is the 4th largest city in England… (ADD 1-2 from list below of GENUINE INTERESTS)”.


University of Sheffield = “There are 3 things that set Sheffield university out. That is its reputation, its extra-curricular opportunities, and its curriculum.”

  • Reputation = (ADD one sentence)

  • Extra-curricular Activities = (ADD one sentence).

  • Sheffield MBChB Curriculum= “As I said before, the Sheffield MBChB is one of the three things that made the university of Sheffield stand out to me when I was researching where to apply. I will talk about my favourite aspects of the Sheffield curriculum and then go on to explain the four phases that make up the Sheffield curriculum.


Sheffield MBChB Curriculum Part 1 = choose three things to talk about from Sheffield MBChB ‘first section’. I recommend integrated teaching, chance to intercalate and early clinical experience/exposure.


Sheffield MBChB Curriculum Part 2 = “There are four phases that make up the Sheffield MBChB curriculum. Phase 1…”


Conclusion = “Sheffield has a lot to offer its medical students. I could talk further about my research, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that Sheffield is somewhere that I want to call home for at least 5 years, and it is somewhere that I could see myself staying and working as a doctor.”

  • (They want you to stay in the local area. Even if you do not think you want to stay in Sheffield, I would say that you see yourself in Sheffield for the long term. I.e. you want to stay there after university and train as a doctor in the local hospitals).


Question 2 - What can the city and university provide you with that is important to you?


Sheffield is a city university so most of your time as a medical student will be spent in and around the city. Split this into more manageable sections as you see fit.


Please DO: sound passionate and enthusiastic, list a variety of reasons both academic and extracurricular, and show that you’ve done your research.

Please DO NOT: list reasons without further development or thought or give generic answers. INSTEAD – make the example personal to you by describing real life experiences.

Geography = Sheffield is the 4th biggest city in England and is found in north-central England. It is a city in South Yorkshire. Sheffield is a green city – lots of parks, gardens, and trees! Sheffield is also very hilly. Living in the city, you will get used to walking up hills. The city is next to the Peak District National Park – a third of the city lies within the Peak District National Park. This attracts lots of tourism. It is the only UK city with a National Park within its boundary. I personally would link this to my love of hiking, as that is a genuine passion of mine.


Demographics = Racial composition fairly typical of the UK = 84% White, 2.4% mixed race, 8% Asian, 3.6% Black… these numbers are not important. The largest age group is ages 20 – 24 years old (9%) due to the large student population. Talk about how these appeals to you. The city’s students mainly come from = University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University.


History = Historically, Sheffield was a heavily industrial city. Innovations around steel manufacturing helped Sheffield grow as an industrial town. More recently, Sheffield city is rapidly changing and undergoing projects to regenerate some of the more run-down parts of the city.


Retail = Sheffield is a major retail centre (IF you are going to talk about this, please do your research). Meadowhall shopping centre, located to the north of Sheffield close to the boundary with Rotherham and next to the M1 motorway, is a major regional shopping destination.


Sport = Big on football! Sheffield United (The Blades) and Sheffield Wednesday (the Owls). Sheffield was the site of the deadliest sports venue disaster in the United Kingdom, the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, when 96 Liverpool supporters were killed in a stampede and crush during an FA Cup semi-final at the venue.


Transport = Sheffield railway station is nice and well connected (from personal experience!). Very easy to get to Manchester, Leeds, London, Nottingham, Derby etc. Sheffield has a decent tram network = you can get to Meadowhall. As expected in any major UK city, it has good road/bus links. This is important to help you get around as a medical student.


Hospitals

  • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Split into two campuses.

    • West Campus = Royal Hallamshire Hospital, the Jessop Wing (maternity wing), Weston Park Hospital, Weston Park Hospital (specialist cancer treatment) and Charles Clifford Dental Hospital.

    • The Northern General Hospital is the second 'campus' and is a large facility in the northern suburbs of Sheffield, containing the city's A&E department. The medical school has a large new clinical skill centre here.

  • Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust provides healthcare for children within the city of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and the UK. Very well known – take about a third of their patients from outside of Sheffield.


Question 2 - University of Sheffield


Reputation

  • University of Sheffield is a prestigious, Russel Group, research university.

  • The University of Sheffield has a global reputation for its exceptional teaching, impactful research, international outlook and outstanding student experience.

  • No 1 Students' Union in the UK

  • A Top 100 university – QS world rankings.

  • 6 Nobel Prize winners

  • Sir Hans Krebs = You may know the ‘Krebs cycle’ from biology?


Learning facilities

  • Outstanding academic research library. Access to thousands of e-books, books, journals etc.

  • ‘The Diamond’ = super modern study facility.

  • West Bank library.

  • Health Sciences Library (HSL) is located at the heart of the medical school.


Extra-curricular

  • Please do specific research. Choose a sport and society to join (you do not have to commit to this, but please do for the purpose of your interview).

  • Over 350 clubs and societies to get involved in.

  • Volunteering = Sheffield Student Union are particularly good. You will have opportunities to help charities should you choose to get involved.

  • Sport = fully equipped gym + swimming + bouldering wall.


Question 3 - What makes the course structure the right one for you?


I would split this answer into two sections. First section = generally what you like about the curriculum. The key here is to relate the points you make to yourself. An example “Seeing patients is something that motivates and inspires you (from your work experience) and so you are happy that Sheffield integrates this right from the start”. Second section = go through the 4 phases of the Sheffield MBChB. I would do my research and keep this factual.


First section

Patient-centred approach. Unique to Sheffield clinical exposure begins in your first year. This exists as Early Years GP (EYGP) sessions. Here a group of 6 of you go to a local GP surgery and get taught about how the stuff you learnt in lectures applies to clinical practice.


Sheffield uses an Integrated teaching model. What that means is that they have a range of lectures for the whole year group and small group teaching (10 people). The small group teaching is used for Integrated Learning Activities (ILAs) these are sessions where you come together as a group to discuss a Clinical Case in relation to what you are learning in lectures at time. You will of course also have lectures and online material/private study.


Clinical skills focus. In your first year you are also taught clinical skills in small groups (up to 20 people). The type of clinical skills you learn are how to take vital signs such as: taking Manual Blood Pressure. These are fun!


Anatomy = In Sheffield you are taught anatomy via full body dissection. This means you and a group of 9 others work with the same cadaver through the year. Learning the anatomy of each body system on your cadaver. Each group of students has their own facilitator, so you are not left alone.


Chance to intercalate = Have a look at this website to see what you can intercalate in - https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/medicine/intercalation


Second section

Learn the course structure and phases – Be ready to answer follow up questions on the course structure. I would advise choosing 1-2 things that you like from each of the four phases. Examples below.


Phase 1 = “Introductory Clinical Competency”. (September Year 1 – June Year 1)


  • Most of this phase is spent at the Medical School – next to Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

  • NEW clinical skills unit near Northern General Hospital.

  • Early clinical experience! 10 GP visits. Two-week hospital-based professional experience. Introduction to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

  • Do not be fooled. Most of phase 1 will be anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry! Talk about Sheffield’s integrated approach.


Phase 2 = “Basic Clinical Competencies” (September Year 2 – December Year 3)


  • Starts with a 6-week research project! Chance to develop research skills.

  • You will build on the basic science you learned in year 1. Symptoms, pathology, management of different conditions. Pathology, microbiology, immunology, and pharmacology.

  • Phase 2b = This is where you get to start being a ‘student doctor’! Three-week introduction to basic clinical skills. Then you will undertake a 12-week clinical placement in one of the hospitals around Sheffield.

  • You undertake a project in medical ethics.


Phase 3 = “Extended clinical competencies” (January Year 3 to August Year 4)


  • This is the majority of your ‘clinical experience’.

  • Primary and secondary care = emphasis on ‘hands-on medicine’.

  • Primary care = General Practice.

  • Secondary care = Hospital work: Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Psychiatry, Acute Medicine.

  • You will have the option to CHOOSE some rotations.


Phase 4 = “Final Preparation for clinical practice” (Year 5)


  • Prepare for clinical practice, ‘being a doctor’, after graduation.

  • Like phase 3 but you will be more integrated into the team.


Extra nuggets of information about Sheffield’s curriculum – exam formats

  • Phase 1 = Written paper (multiple choice + short answer questions) = focussed on anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. Practical examination (anatomy (models and sections), communication skills, labs)

  • Phase 2 = Another written paper (multiple choice + short answer questions). OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) = common type of medical exam. It is a practical, real-world examination on real patients. Stations include = history-taking, examination skills, drug calculations, blood interpretation etc.

  • Phase 3 = As above + must pass placements and clinical procedures.

  • Phase 4 = As above (FINALS). As above + must pass placements and clinical procedures.

Question 4 – What will you do if you do not receive an offer?


This is a tough question and will often catch people off guard. The main thing the interviewers are looking for is an insight into your resilience and drive for wanting to do medicine.


It can be tempting to start talking about your motivation behind wanting to do medicine, but remember, that question will come up in a later station. This question gives you the opportunity to talk about the steps you would take to reflect on your abilities.


As with all questions, break your answer down:


Start off by talking about how you would feel if you didn’t get the offer. Don’t be afraid to be honest, telling the interviewers you would be disappointed shows them that the offer means a lot to you.


Ideally, you would be aiming to apply to medical school again the following year, and you would have taken steps to gain feedback from the interviews you had sat. This is a good opportunity to talk about the steps you would take to better yourself as a candidate. E.g. you would spend the year doing volunteering/working in healthcare as immersing yourself in that environment would help you to further build good communication and teamworking skills.


Use this question to showcase your discipline, and ability to reflect and be critical of yourself. Its also a good time to show the interviewers you are aware of the skills and qualities that make up a good medical student, and doctor.


Station 2 - Medicine in a Wider Context.


1. Why do you want to be a doctor? 2. Tell me about a patient you saw during your work experience/volunteering who taught you something. 3. Staff shortages and its effect on waiting times has become a big challenge in the NHS. How do you think this should be tackled?


Question 1 - Why Do You Want to be a Doctor?


When talking about your motivation behind medicine, a good way to approach this question is to...


Start off by talking about the original catalyst. When was the first time you came across the career of medicine, and what were your initial thoughts when you found out about it. You could have had a personal experience of being in hospital or you could have been directed to the career through your love of science.


Next, talk about the steps you took to find out more about medicine and to make sure it is the right career for you. This will include your work experience and volunteering. While doing this, talk about the point at which you had that realisation that medicine is definitely for you. It would be great if you have an example of a specific scenario: it may be a consultation you observed, or a conversation you had with a patient. By giving a specific example, it means you can be more prepared for any follow up questions you may get as they will likely be revolving the specific scenario, as opposed to asking you to talk about any aspect of your experiences.


Finally, finish off by talking about what you are working towards achieving, and link it back to your experiences. Medical schools like to see candidates who have strong aspirations and ambitions. For example, you may have come across a specific condition during your work experience, and so you decided to research into it for your EPQ. Or, you might have been interested by the medical ethical cases, and so you started a discussion group where you discuss the different cases in the media.


Question 2 - Tell me about a patient you saw during your work experience/volunteering who taught you something.


It is important to pick only one patient in your response and answer all parts of the question. It should be someone from your work experience or direct volunteering experience. The key to this question is realising that the interviewer is far more interested in what you have learned from this experience on reflection than the actual patient scenario itself. Therefore, you should not worry if you do not have the ‘most interesting’ patient case to discuss as most of your answer should be reflection.


The structure for this question = MasterMedPrep STARR technique


Situation – The first part of your answer should set the scene for the interviewer. This is known as the situation, and it consists of the context of the story. You should start by describing: “Where” your example occurred? “When” it occurred?


Task – What was your task/goal? The reasoning behind your actions?


Action – talk about exactly what you did. “I did X, Y, and Z…”


Results = What did you achieve? Overall outcome? What have you learned?


Reflection = most important part! Take your experience and link it back to medicine. Look at what you gained from your experience and draw comparisons to medicine or life in medical school. This is often given more weighting than the rest of your answer so make sure you do this properly. 1) Link experience to why you want to study medicine. 2) Link the experience to what it has taught you about medicine/being a doctor. 3) Link experience into why the skills you have demonstrated will make you a good doctor.


Question 3 - Staff shortages and its effect on waiting times has become a big challenge in the NHS. How do you think this should be tackled?


This question is looking for your understanding of the current issues surrounding the NHS, and also your ability to think critically and come up with solutions.


A good way to prepare for this question is by reading up on some of the NHS hot topics and keeping up to date with current news articles. In the lead up to your interview, spend a couple minutes every day checking what news articles have come out. i.e., the nurse strikes are a current hot topic, and can link back to this question, so it’s good to be aware of it!


When approaching this question, split it up into its different components.

Start by talking about the issues presented. In this case it’s the staff shortages and waiting times. Talk about what are some of the reasons behind these current issues, i.e., the pandemic is something that applies to both, so you can talk about how it affected it.


Then talk about ways in which you could try to resolve these issues. There is no right answer, and they are not expecting you to come up with an ultimate solution to these problems, so don’t worry too much about what solutions you are coming up with. The interviewers are mainly looking for sensible ideas that relate back to the topics, and that show your understanding of the issues. For example: you could approach the waiting times issue by increasing appointments, which would be linked to increased funding. Underfunding of the NHS is a big topic, so it is something that you could mention here. However, you could also approach this issue by reducing the number of missed appointments. This could be tackled with reminder systems, increased use of technology, etc.


Station 3 - Good Medical Practice.


1. How might good medical practice apply to you as a student healthcare professional? Do you think how it applies changes when you qualify? 2. It can be common to work with patients who have communication difficulties due to illness or dementia. How might this affect the way you care for them? How would you manage confidentiality in such a case? 3. While working at your Saturday job in a shop you find that one of your colleagues has arrived at work smelling of alcohol. They appear to be intoxicated, and you know that they drove to work. What actions would you take?


Question 1 - How might good medical practice apply to you as a student healthcare professional? Do you think how it applies changes when you qualify?


They key here is knowing the document well = “GMC: Good Medical Practice”.

I would keep the structure simple: introduction, main body (go through each domain), and conclusion. This is NOT JUST a ‘tell me about’ question. You MUST relate the domains back to being a doctor and medical student AND YOURSELF.


I have written an example answer below to this question. I recommend that you read GMC Good Medical Practice yourself and write your own response. The response below needs fleshing out a bit and it is of course unprofessional to plagiarise interview answers.


Introduction

“The General Medical Council is a regulatory body that sets the standards for doctors and medical schools in the UK. The General Medical Council produced a document called “Good Medical Practice” which is a code of conduct for doctors. The document describes what it means to be a good doctor. Good Medical Practice is split up into four domains and I will discuss the key messages from each of the domains”.


Main body



Domain 1 = “The first domain is knowledge, skills and performance. This domain is all about developing and maintaining your skills. It is important that doctors keep up their skills and continually improve and keep up to date with the latest medical developments. The best example of this is the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is a new virus to all doctors, no matter how senior, and we are constantly learning how best to treat it and so all doctors must keep up to date with the latest developments during this current pandemic.”


Domain 2 = “The second domain is safety and quality. This domain is all about promoting a culture of patient safety and quality improvement. As a doctor or medical student this would involve taking part in audits and other quality improvement projects. On a more basic level, this would mean that you should take immediate action if you see that patient safety, dignity, or comfort is being compromised”.


Domain 3 = “The third domain is communication partnership and teamwork. This domain is all about teamwork and is essential for all doctors as no doctor can work alone. A doctor must work as part of a team of other healthcare professionals, porters, cleaners, receptionists to name just a few. I believe that I am a good team player, and I developed my teamwork skills … (ADD something about when you have showed that you can be part of a team). A huge part of medicine is teaching, and this is something that I hope to become involved in at medical school.”



Domain 4 = “The fourth and final domain is maintaining trust. This fundamentals of this are that you should treat your patients and colleagues fairly and with respect. As a medical student and doctor, it is important that you are always honest, especially when you make a mistake. If you make a mistake then you should try to put matters right, offer an apology and explain this to the patient. As doctors we have a “duty of candour” which means that we have a duty to be honest with our patients when mistakes are made.”


Conclusion


“I think that the GMC have an important role in regulating doctors and medical students. The main thing I take away from the guidance is that doctors and medical students should always put the patient first. This means ensuring that you keep up to date with your clinical skills and knowledge, working well as a team, and ensuring that mistakes are recognised and learned from.”


Question 2 - It can be common to work with patients who have communication difficulties due to illness or dementia. How might this affect the way you care for them? How would you manage confidentiality in such a case?


This is a difficult question that is asking for a deeper understanding of the GMC guidelines. The interviewers will be looking to see how you interpret the guidelines and apply them to real life situations.


To answer the first part of this question, you can start by talking about how you would handle the care of patients in normal circumstances, and then talk about how that would change in the scenario mentioned.


Barriers in communication can make it difficult for the doctor to take a comprehensive history, and to figure out what is going on. However, it can also make it difficult for doctors to explain to the patients what they think is going on, and it makes it difficult to keep the patient in the loop. Remember, part of a doctor’s responsibility is to present the patient with all the information available and aid them in making an informed decision that would be best for them.


In this case, the topic of confidentiality comes up. It’s important to be aware when confidentiality can and can’t be broken. Usually, confidentiality is assumed to be between the patient, the doctor, and the rest of the MDT. With the consent of the patient, cases can also be discussed with family members, which is something you could talk about here. It would be important to talk about the importance of consent, and how it is taken.


Top tip: make sure you are happy with concept of competency – it refers to if someone is able to make decisions for themselves.

Question 3 - While working at your Saturday job in a shop you find that one of your colleagues has arrived at work smelling of alcohol. They appear to be intoxicated, and you know that they drove to work. What actions would you take?


Ethical situations like this are common and the interviewers want to see how you would approach it. The structure for this question MasterMedPrep SPIES technique


S: Seek information – start off by mentioning the problem and ask questions about. Is this a one-off occurrence? Is this something that regularly happens? Who is involved in this?


P: Patient safety – if it’s applicable, talk about if the patient’s safety is compromised by the actions. In this case, the example is outside of a healthcare setting, so you can talk about if anyone else is affected by the situation.


I: Initiative – when approaching how to deal with these scenarios, always start by talking about what you would do first. Also talk about if the situation is something that could be resolved by you, or if you think you may need more help.


E: Escalate – if you think you might need help resolving the issue, talk about who you would ask for help and what plan you may need.


S: Support – Finish off by talking about how you can best support your colleague, aside from escalation.


Station 4 - Attitudes and Values.


1. Tell me about a time when you have made a positive impact on someone else’s life. 2. What does working together for patient care mean to you? What factors might impact on our ability to do this? 3. Showing compassion and empathy is important when we deal with patients. How would you try to do this? Is this different from showing respect and dignity for patients?


Question 1 - Tell me about a time when you have made a positive impact on someone else’s life.


It does not matter what your experience is as long as it is personal to you. If you can think of an example that involves caring/volunteering experience that is great. However, the experience could be from any part of your life and the most important part is, as in question 2, how well you reflect on your experience.


The structure for this question = MasterMedPrep STARR technique as seen in question 2.


Situation – The first part of your answer should set the scene for the interviewer. This is known as the situation and it consists of the context of the story. You should start by describing: “Where” your example occurred? “When” it occurred?


Task – What was your task/goal? The reasoning behind your actions?


Action – talk about exactly what you did. “I did X,Y, and Z…”


Results = What did you achieve? Overall outcome? What you learned?


Reflection = most important part! Take your experience and link it back to medicine. Look at what you gained from your experience and draw comparisons to medicine or life in medical school. This is often given more weighting than the rest of your answer so make sure you do this properly. 1) Link experience to why you want to study medicine. 2) Link the experience to what it has taught you about medicine/being a doctor. 3) Link experience into why the skills you have demonstrated will make you a good doctor.


Question 2 - What does working together for patient care mean to you? What factors might impact on our ability to do this?


Teamwork is a huge part of medicine, and its important to show that you understand the importance.


You can approach this question by starting to define teamwork and talk about the different components that make up good teamwork, i.e., good communication, patience, listening, etc. Then relate these skills back to the question and link them to patient care.


Top tip: the key word to mention here would be MDT. If you have any examples of observing an MDT at work, this would be a great time to mention it!

When approaching the second part of the question, it can be useful to again think of teamwork as the components it is made up of. Talk through each component and how it could go wrong, and if you are able to, also come up with solutions of how you could fix it!

Question 3 – Showing compassion and empathy is important when we deal with patients. How would you try to do this? Is this different from showing respect and dignity for patients?


Answering this question would follow a similar structure to the previous one. Again, start by breaking compassion and empathy into their main components, and then talk about how you fulfil those components.


As always, if you have an example from your work experience or volunteering, then it’s a great idea to mention it using the STARR approach mentioned earlier. By giving an example, you are backing up what you have told them, and showcasing your skills and experiences.


For the second part of this question, you can relate back to the GMC guidelines, which we discussed above. Defining the terms respect and dignity will help you approach your answer. They are different to compassion and empathy, but there is overlap between the qualities, and your answer will naturally fall into place as you go through the components of the different skills.


Section 5 - Candidate as a Person.


1. Studying Medicine can be intense, so maintaining a work-life balance is important. How do you relax and unwind? What does the city or University offer that can support this? 2. Medical students are selected from students with a wide range of backgrounds. How will you cope with moving from an environment where most students have a similar background to one where everyone has a wide variety of experience and knowledge? How might that impact you or those around you? 3. As a Doctor you will be involved in challenging and upsetting situations such as breaking bad news or seeing patients who have situations which resonate with your own life experience. How do you think you will cope with this emotionally?


Question 1 - Studying Medicine can be intense, so maintaining a work-life balance is important. How do you relax and unwind? What does the city or University offer that can support this?


This is a nice question that you can really make personal to yourself. I suggest structuring this answer with a clear introduction, main body, and conclusion. As you are hopefully starting to learn when responding to interview questions, the real focus and the ‘marks’ are for your reflection. Do not worry too much about having the most interesting hobbies and interests. The most important consideration in this question is reflecting on the importance of maintain a work-life balance both for yourself and for your patients and colleagues.


I have written an example response below. It is important that you do not copy this response and that you carefully consider your response and make it personal to you. This is particularly important as you will likely be asked follow-up questions.


Introduction


“I agree that studying medicine can be intense. I have had several conversations with current medical students and doctors through my work experience. These pressures include difficult examinations, sometimes long placement hours, and emotional pressures of seeing patients in difficult situations. It is therefore important to maintain a good work-life balance to ensure that you do not burn out and to improve your experience of university. I personally believe that my work-life balance has been a major factor in my success in my GCSEs and A-levels and I am going to talk about my three main extra-curricular interests that I balance with my studies which help me to relax and unwind. These are going to the gym, cycling, and ….”


Main body (Expand on this answer)


“The first thing that I enjoy doing to relax is going to the gym. I started going to the gym when I was 16 years old. I really enjoyed going to the gym with my friends in our lunch breaks. We all taught each other about different exercises and techniques that we had success with. We also shared the exercises and techniques that had resulted in injury or discomfort and ways to improve these. We would watch videos on the ‘perfect form’ for lifting or performing a certain exercise and critique each other in a constructive way. The thing that I love about the gym is that there are always different exercises you can try and always new ways that you can push yourself in fitness. Another benefit to all of this is that it is quite sociable, although this does sometimes mean that you are a little less focussed on exercise than you should be!”


“The second thing that I enjoy doing to relax is cycling. I used to cycle a bit here and there until I feel off my bike mountain biking and broke my elbow. It has taken some time to build up my confidence but now I really enjoy road biking and have built my confidence up. I share this passion with my father and we both recently went to Belgium together on a cycling holiday. I will definitely continue cycling at university and Sheffield would be a great place to do this as Sheffield is so close to the Peak District and there would be lots of nearby cycle paths to explore!”


“The third thing that I do to unwind is…”


Conclusion


“I have spoken about why medicine is stressful and some of the ways that I relax and unwind. I do think that it is important to look out for your colleagues or fellow students. If I saw a friend struggling with stress or their work-life balance, say at university, then I would invite them to join me in one of these activities. I could ask them to come to the gym with me or invite them for a cycle. I do think it is important to recognise if you are suffering with stress or burnout and to let someone know. I am fortunate to have a good support network of family and friends and I would happily listen to anyone if they were struggling. I believe that it is so important for medical students and doctors to look after their own physical and mental health. This is not only because it is good for them, but because doctors cannot be expected to provide the best care possible if they themselves are not in good health.”


Question 2 - Medical students are selected from students with a wide range of backgrounds. How will you cope with moving from an environment where most students have a similar background to one where everyone has a wide variety of experience and knowledge? How might that impact you or those around you?


This is an interesting question which you could tackle in a number of ways. It is quite a broadly worded question, and so is open to interpretation. I will discuss one possible way to answer this question below, but if you have other ideas then go with that! Remember, the structure of the answers stays the same.


The first part of the question refers to diversity and you can approach this question by talking about your own experiences with working with different groups. You can relate this back to any work experience/volunteering, or to personal experiences from school.


The second part of the question can seem a little daunting, and one way you could tackle it is by selecting one part of medical school to talk about. For instance, you could choose to talk about teamwork, and how it would be impacted by diversity. the opportunity to be able to work with people with different backgrounds and experiences will mean they all see things differently and have different approaches and solutions. This means that working in a team will be both more and less difficult. Everyone will have lots of different ideas, which gives you the opportunity to combine them and come up with new and innovative solutions. However, it may increase the chances of disagreements due to the differing ideas, and so it would be paramount for you to all employ good communication skills, and make sure you are all listening to each other and resolving conflicts in a calm, respectful and professional manner.


Question 3 – As a Doctor you will be involved in challenging and upsetting situations such as breaking bad news or seeing patients who have situations which resonate with your own life experience. How do you think you will cope with this emotionally?


You can use this question as another opportunity to talk about your hobbies, but make sure to spend time reflecting on the hobbies and how they help you work on your mental health. The interviewers want to see that you will be able to cope with the more challenging aspects of the career. You can also talk about any challenging situations you have been in in the past and link them back to the hobbies you mentioned earlier to show how they have helped you.


Another way you could approach this question, especially if you do not have any personal experiences to talk about, is by talking about any difficult situations you may have come across during your work experience. You can talk about the scenario, how the doctor reacted to it, and anything they may have told you about how they cope.


Top tip: while on work experience or volunteering, if you have any time with doctors, it can be helpful to ask them how they have coped with the different parts of the job.

Station 6 - Communication Skills: Role Play


This can seem daunting at first, especially as you don’t know what scenario you will be getting. The key with role play is practice, practice, practice! The interviewers will mainly be assessing your communication skills, and other important qualities such as empathy, and listening skills.


When approaching a role play station, remember these tips: keep good eye contact with the actor, and make sure to utilise your non-verbal communication as well (i.e., nodding your head to show you are listening). Match the tone of voice given by the actor, and when applicable, repeat some of the points made by the actor to show that you are listening. Think of these as mini summaries dotted throughout the conversation.


If it’s relevant, remember to try and resolve any issues that arise. For instance, if the scenario is regarding someone who is feeling lonely as they are unable to go outside, think up some solutions and mention them during the role-play. They can be as simple as suggesting signing up to online classes, or face-timing friends and family.


The more you practice role-plays, the more comfortable you will feel with them. Try to approach the role-play as you if you were speaking to a friend, as it will involve the same characteristics!


Station 7 - Ethics, Values, and Attidues.


1. Most people utilise social media on a frequent basis and it is increasingly used to support Medical Education. How do you think that social media could help you whilst a student? What risks might exist? 2. A patient requests to follow you on Instagram. How would you respond and why? What are your responsibilities when using social media as a healthcare student? 3. Sites like Twitter are increasingly used for learning, health promotion and debate. Do different social media types require different approaches to their use?


Question 1 - Most people utilise social media on a frequent basis and it is increasingly used to support Medical Education. How do you think that social media could help you whilst a student? What risks might exist?


This is an ethics question and ethics is something that we specialise in at MasterMedPrep with a number of our medical experts also having a Master’s in Healthcare Ethics and Law. It is very important to show balance in responses to ethical questions even if you strongly believe in a certain opinion. It is also important to show awareness of the medical pillars of ethics and to conclude strongly. We would suggest using the MasterMedPrep ethics structure for this question.


Introduction (define key terms and set out what you are going to talk about) -> main body (arguments for and arguments against) -> conclusion (your opinion and main reason why).


I have written an example response below. This is NOT A COMPLETE RESPONSE, but it will give you a flavour for the sort of answer that is required. It is important that you do not copy this response and that you carefully consider your response and make it personal to you. This is particularly important as you will likely be asked follow-up questions.


Introduction


“Social media has changed how we connect with one another. It allows us to create and share pictures, videos, and messages instantly and to many people. It is to be expected that many medical students and doctors use social media. There are many pros and cons to using social media as a medical student or a doctor and I am going to discuss them now. I will conclude with my opinion”.


Main body


“I am first going to discuss the arguments in favour or medical students and doctors using social media platforms. Firstly, I think that medical students and doctors could use these platforms for good. Social media allows you to reach a large and varied audience which could be used for health promotion. I have seen some doctors on TikTok using the platform for good and spreading positive messages and advice about topics such as mental health and health eating (Can you name these people?). Social media can also be beneficial for a doctor’s career and education. LinkedIn for example can help connect doctors from around the world. Medical students can benefit from sharing educational resources with each other on social media. Another major argument in favour of allowing medical students and doctors to use social media is that they are human and deserve to have their own autonomy. Doctors and medical students should be allowed to use these platforms just like anyone else as long as they are using them positively.”


“I am now going to discuss some of the arguments against medical students and doctors using social media platforms. It is vital that public trust in doctors is maintained, and social media could risk this as anything that a medical student or doctor posts on these platforms could be linked to the profession. If doctors post offence things online, then it could hurt public trust in doctors. It could also involve the law as if a doctor says something severe enough about someone else then it could be considered to be defamation. It is also easy to break confidentiality online if you are not careful. If medical students or doctors are sharing teaching material, then they need to make sure that it does not have any identifiable patient information. There is also a risk that doctors could be contacted by patients on social media or even receive complaints on the platform and this could cause challenges for doctors.”



Conclusion


“I believe that it is appropriate for medical students and doctors to use social media as long as they use it wisely and follow the GMC rules. It is important that they use the appropriate privacy settings and do not post anything that they would not be happy with the GMC or their patients reading. In the future, maybe using social media appropriately could become part of medical school curriculum. I think that it would be useful for all medical students and doctors to learn about the best way to use it appropriately.”



Question 2 – A patient requests to follow you on Instagram. How would you respond and why? What are your responsibilities when using social media as a healthcare student?


This question follows on from the previous question, and also includes a situational judgement scenario.


In terms of how to respond to the scenario, it’s a good idea to mention the GMC guidelines. This is a professionalism issue, and so you can talk about what professionalism means and why it is so important.


The idea of professionalism also applies to the second part of this question. As a medical student, you are held to the same standards as doctors. Therefore, along with some of the points mentioned in the question 1, it is also important to use social media responsibly and making sure you are not spreading any confidential information.

Question 3 – Sites like Twitter are increasingly used for learning, health promotion and debate. Do different social media types require different approaches to their use?


This is an interesting question, and it is one of those where there is no right answer. The interviewers will be looking for a well-balanced answer with sound reasoning and will be exploring your own opinions and thoughts behind the different social media platforms.


With questions like this, it is important to make sure you’re giving an equal number of pros and cons. People often find it easy to name alternate between the positives and negatives, which stops them from spending too much time on one side and running out of time for the other!


Bring in your own experiences as well with this question. I’m sure you will have come across medical posts on all the social media platforms you use, and mention what you’ve seen and any differences you may have noted in the way information was presented and perceived in the comments!


Station 8 - Information Processing/ Logic: 20 Questions


With regards to the 20 questions, there is no ‘sure’ strategy out there. It requires that you can ask questions that are likely to yield a 50/50 chance of being yes or no. For example, “is it alive?”, “is it male?”, “is it found in England” are all good questions. It requires that you have a good understanding of assumptions. From my experience of medical school interview, it would be nice to get the correct answer, but it is unlikely to be that important. What is more important is that you use a methodical process and eliminate things as you go along.


Practice, practice, practice! We commonly teach this question at MasterMedPrep so if you want some real-life practice please do get in touch!

Firstly, you want to ask very general questions to rule out lots of things in one go. Then, once you have narrowed things down more then you can ask more specific questions. The specific questions will vary the most.


Top tip = if you want to rule to things out then you can. “Is it used in healthcare or education?”

Practice on this cool website - https://mysteryanimal.withgoogle.com/


Rules for this station


These are the instructions given to you and the interviewers for this station.

  • Rule 1 = The questioner (you) may only ask questions that can be answered with a yes or a no.

  • Rule 2 = The answerer (interviewer) may only respond with a yes or a no.

  • Exceptions to the rules

    • “I don’t know” = The answerer can say this if they do not know the answer.

    • “I can’t answer” = The answerer can say this if they decide to respond with this if they choose to or if the answer is not clear.


Three questions I always ask


Are you thinking of a unique thing in the world, or are you thinking of a class of things?

  • Research shows that this is one of the strongest first questions.

Is it bigger than a loaf of bread?

  • Research shows that this is the commonest second question – that is, asking for quantification.

Is it found within 50 miles of Sheffield?

  • I personally think that this is a good third question. I would ask a question like this just to show that you are thinking about Sheffield, and it could be quite helpful anyway.


Expand the menu below for general and specific questions for each type of 20 question station at Sheffield Medical School!


'Object' Example Questions

'Creature' Example Questions

'Event' Example Questions

'Place' Example Questions

Final Thoughts From Our Founder - Dr Dan


I hope that you have found this updated Sheffield guide useful! If you are serious about success in your Sheffield Medicine Interview then please get in touch and book a 10 hour tutoring package.


Put all that you have learned in this guide to the Sheffield Medicine Interview into practice with a MasterMedPrep Mock Interview!






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