Thursday, 16 February 2012

Diary of an interviewee: Part 2

Currently listening to: The Way Love Used To Be - The Kinks

The story so far: I came back home from my Barts and The London A100 interview feeling deflated, disappointed and sensing a real grump coming on. Luckily my mother came to visit and she brought some cake with her so things didn't seem that awful and we went out and talked, or rather I moaned about how much I hated the applications process and she very kindly listened. Slowly I began to feel that the interview wasn't that terrible and that even if it was, there was nothing I could do about it except use it as a learning experience and move on.

Wednesday 15th Feb 2012 - Joint interview at Warwick Medical School for WMS and BL GEPs.

00:00: I go to bed, telling myself that however bad yesterday had been today is a new day and a chance to make up for previous mistakes.

01:00: The clock in the hallway chimes and I realise I've been awake for an hour thinking about random rubbish. Shut eyes and tell self to sleep.

02:00: Clock chimes again. For god's sake man, if you carry on like this you're going to feel like a wreck tomorrow. Go to sleep!

03:00: Still awake. Thinking thoughts you do not want to think the night before an interview: What if I balls this one up too? What if interviews are my fatal flaw? What if I'm stuck being a grumpy biomed forever? Why can't I sleep?!?!

04:00: The clock's chimes now begin to feel as welcome as a death knell. I realise that as it stands I'm going to get a maximum of five hours sleep. Feel utterly hopeless.

04:30ish: I presume that I finally fall asleep.

09:00: I jolt awake after less than five hours sleep. Words can't describe how annoyed and pissed off I feel at the fact that when I needed my sleep most, I couldn't get it. I am not a happy bunny.

10:23: The train leaves from Euston. I listen to some music and thankfully the adrenaline has kicked in so I don't feel particularly tired.

11:45: I arrive at Warwick Medical School courtesy of a taxi from the station. Meet with some other applicants in the school canteen and begin chatting. Slowly feel less tense and relax as I realise everyone else here is in the same boat as me.

12:15: The selection centre officially begins with document and ID checks in the medical school common room. I must say, I really like this campus. It's very new, but it has character and a very friendly vibe. The staff are all very nice and friendly too. The selection centre has three parts: an interview, a writing exercise and a group exercise.

The Interview

Wow is all I can say. If for no other reason, I love Warwick Medical School because their interviewer was so affable and easy to talk to. That and the fact that I'd already had a hellish interview the day before meant that I'd adopted a resigned attitude of "whatever it is, it can't be worse than what I've just had".

Then the most amazing thing happened...when he asked me the first question, everything came flooding back. All my experiences, all the things I'd reflected on, and the points I wanted to cover. I felt like a blindfold had been lifted from my eyes and I could see clearly again. So I began speaking and very soon it felt like I was having a chat with one of my lecturers from uni. Of course, I was still treating it very seriously, but what I'm trying to say is that it didn't feel like an awful grilling. By the end of the interview the interviewer and I were talking about The Kinks and that whilst they're no longer a band, Ray Davies still does the occasional concert. The interview finished, I shook the interviewer's hand, gave him a big (and very genuine) smile and headed off for the next part.

The Writing Exercise

I can't give away specifics here, but the point of the writing exercise was to get you to justify what you were writing. I felt I managed to do this but (and this is ever so annoying), the final section at the end was a reflection on the task completed and I ran out of time on it. Very irritating! But I finished the main bulk of the exercise so I hope they'll take that into consideration. Again, it didn't feel like an awful experience, but like completing any other assignment at uni.

The Group Exercise

Again, I can't give away specifics but I can say that I'm very glad all my team mates were nice, friendly and I feel we all managed to work well together. I was very surprised about this part of the selection centre. Going in I had been very skeptical, I assumed that we would be parading around like the knobheads on The Apprentice, completing pointless tasks for the amusement of the invigilators and being really fake and cut-throat with eachother. But it was nothing like that at all, and pretty soon I settled into it and treated it like any other group task which I'd completed at uni.

So with that the day finished and the admissions tutor returned to answer any questions we had. She informed us that 430 people had been invited to the various selection centre sessions and Warwick would be making 230 offers. The offers will be given out towards the beginning of March. The selection centre then ended and I headed off to the main campus to join a certain Graduate Medic for a few drinks.

I have taken several things away from this whole experience. Firstly, I really like the selection centre idea now. Whether or not I get an offer, I think grading people on their overall performance throughout the day is more representative than an intensive 20 minute Q&A. Secondly, Warwick is really nice. The campus, the current students, the staff, everything really. Up til now Barts and The London GEP was my first the unlikely situation I have more than one offer (assuming I get any at all), it's going to be quite hard choosing between Warwick and BL!

And with that, the admissions process ends as far as I'm concerned. I've done all my interviews (Southampton don't do interviews) so all I can do now is wait, hope, and see if I get any offers. The maxim "you only need one offer", is something I have repeated to myself many a time. I am not picky or choosy, I just want the chance to study medicine. I really hope my efforts over the past few months will pay off and help me realise that ambition.


  1. Stick with Barts, Warwick is shite. You'll regret it if you pick Warwick over Barts, trust me.

  2. @Anon: Gonna have to disagree with you there mate, it was a super nice campus, lots of friendly staff and students, what's not to like? Okay, it's new and it doesn't have the "prestige" BL does but that's really beside the point. At the end of the day, if Warwick (or any med school)gives me an offer, I will be utterly ecstatic.

    What makes you say it's shite?

  3. Glad to hear this one went well! It's always a good sign if you come out positive. Good luck :)

  4. I go there and I hate Warwick with a burning passion. I rejected a Barts 5 year offer for it and it's turning out to be one of the worst decisions I've made. :)

  5. Uhm, how can you say that when you don't know what Barts would be like? Most people at Warwick do like it. If I could afford it, I would choose Barts 5yr over Warwick too, but I'm at another London school.

  6. I have a friend at Barts and she hates it - I think it is very subjective...