We want you to keep this in mind for every question you answer in your interviews: respond confidently, concisely, and backed up with relevant experiences.
You’ll be more confident and convincing with your answers when you know you have a good list of experiences you can pull out, and also in knowing the attributes and qualities that go along with them. Of course, practice is important too, and you don’t always need to have a partner – you can easily run through the common questions by yourself and judge how confident you are at them. If you’re a bit shaky, it means you don’t quite know what to say yet, and you should keep reviewing your database.
Being concise with your answers isn’t always easy, and with practice you’ll know when shut up and when to give a bit more information. A concise set of evidence-based points isn’t only a pleasure to listen to – it shows confidence and that you know what you’re talking about. If you get a weird question, don’t be afraid to stop for a few seconds to think – you should carefully consider what the question is asking, and this will help reduce the risk of you rushing in and giving a poor answer. It helps to structure the points you want to make in your head beforehand and then run through them systematically, always providing evidence for what you say. Although must be able to work under pressure, that doesn’t mean not taking the time to think something out before doing it.
The balance between arrogance and confidence
We’ve interviewed quite a few students, and there’s a tendency for some of the answers they give to come across as a bit arrogant. This is hard because the aim of the game in many ways is to show and prove to the interviewers that you do have the qualities and skills they’re looking for, but doing so in an arrogant manner can be a huge turn-off.
The trick is this: don’t tell them what you are; tell them what you’ve become. To better explain that phrase, here’s an example:
What you are:
‘I am a confident leader – I led our school football team and we won the Essex finals.’
What you’ve become:
‘I believe I’ve developed into a confident leader through leading the school football team, and working together, we were able to win the Essex finals.
What you are:
‘I’m a strong communicator – I’ve taken all the LAMDA exams in Speech and Drama and have acted in several school plays.’
What you’ve become:
‘Through taking LAMDA exams in Speech and Drama, as well as acting in plays at school, I believe I’ve developed into a strong communicator.’
Another point is that you should always be moderate with your language. Try not to be absolute with every answer you give: using phrases like ‘I believe’ or ‘I feel’, can take off the weight of an answer that could come across as arrogant.
Remember, although it’s vital to be confident, there’ll be interviewees who’ll convey an air of self-inflation, arrogance and over-confidence: don’t be one of those people – these are traits that medical schools will pick up on in seconds and some will refuse to give an offer to students who show any indication of these characteristics.
You hopefully realise now that the way you phrase your answers can say a lot about you: even a subtle difference can make an impact. So far we’ve discussed practically how to come across as a humble person, but it’s also important to actually cultivate an internal attitude that shows that you really do have humility and that you’re a person who is successful on many levels, but remains humble of those successes.