Open day for interviewees! 06/12/16

It’s that wonderful time of year where the best and brightest students across the country make their trip to Swansea Uni to find out what to expect from their upcoming GEM interviews.

Having been in that exact position 12 months ago, the day came with a distinct whiff of familiarity. I fondly remember being shepherded around by poor, exhausted and unorganised medical students during my open day visits (and oh, how the tables have turned!).

It was fantastic to meet and chat with so many enthusiastic and hopeful candidates for next year’s selection.  We hope that you enjoyed the day, and that we gave you some idea of what to expect when you pass your interview and choose to come to Swansea!

Speaking to a few of you (and your lovely parents) I noticed there were two questions in particular that seemed to be on your minds:

1. “What is the interview going to be like?”


2. “How can I prepare for the interview process?”

Firstly, each interview is going to be different. Swansea uses the classical interview style (i.e. not MMI – phew!!) which allows them to tailor each interview to the person sat in front of them. After interviews at 3 other universities last year, it seemed alien to me to walk into a GEM interview and actually have a friendly conversation with the people sat across the desk. I came away with a smile beaming across my face! It was the first opportunity I had been given to describe who I am, what I have done and what kind of doctor I wanted to become. As long as you are relaxed, focussed, and honest, you will have a very positive experience on the big day.

Secondly, because the interviews are so personal it’s quite difficult to advise on how to prepare. My prep involved reading up on medical ethics and law, keeping up to date with medical news, practising hundreds of interview answers on my parents (or my dog when they got bored of me), and watching at least 2 episodes of Scrubs a day. Do whatever works best for you! The interviews are designed to find out what sort of person you are, as long as you properly show them your enthusiasm for the subject and the uni, you will come out smiling just like I did.

One piece of advice I can offer is to master the art of self-reflection. It may take hours and hours of practice (it did for me), but if you can learn to recognise what qualities you have, how your experiences have changed you, and what you hope to gain from a career in medicine, it will be of enormous help to you on interview day. It’s probably the one aspect of my interview prep that I put the most work into, and it made the difference between being rejected in 2015 and being accepted last year!

Below I’ve posted a couple of links I’d recommend for you to read after xmas. In the mean time, take a breather and enjoy your xmas break.

Congratulations on being offered your interviews, you’ve beaten the odds to get to this far, and with a little PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again next year!

All the best! – Alex


p.s. Don’t be scared of the infamous ‘Written exercise’! It’s not academic, there’s no individual correct answer, and it really isn’t worth worrying about! Remember they are assessing what kind of person you are, so just be yourself!


Helpful links

(I do not receive endorsements from any of the websites listed below, these are just pages that I found useful during my preparation, there are plenty of others out there!)

Medical School Interview Questions

Geeky Medics

A Regional Collaboration for Health (ARCH)

Swansea University Medical School





Alex Ruddy

Hi I'm Alex, I'm a current 2nd year GEM (graduate entry medicine) student at Swansea University. I graduated from Swansea in BSc Medical Biochemistry in 2015, and after a year out working in the ABMU I decided to come back to study GEM. Hopefully this blog will help anyone looking to apply to GEM here, please get in touch if you have any questions you feel I can answer!

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