Core Surgery Interview
Things You Need To Consider To Ace Your Core Surgery Interview
Surgery is one of the most complex and in-demand fields in medicine in the UK. That said, many medical students vie for to be assigned to a surgical training post in top organisations and medical associations that specialise in this field. However, to apply for this training, applicants must first pass a series of tests which include the core surgery interview.

With over thousands of aspiring trainees taking the interview every year and only several hundred getting accepted, the interview is something applicants put in a lot of time, effort, and resources to prepare for.

And while you can choose to prepare for the interview on your own, you might not get the best results unlike when you get the services of professionals specialising in this field of training. So to help you find the best core surgery interview training course for the interview, below are the things that you need to consider.

Know yourself

A surgeon must become an effective team member as he works with other professional doctors and nurses in the operating room. During the core surgical training interview, you will be given scenarios to check your experience as a leader and being a team player. To answer this question, you need to know yourself well— your personality, strengths and weaknesses, values, motivations, experience, career aims, and skills. People who do not have insight into these features have a tendency to answer questions in an arrogant manner, or grossly undersell themselves.

Keep a good portfolio

This is an often under-appreciated area by applicants. Most interviews beyond medical foundation applications will require you to bring a portfolio of your achievements to the interview. What to include and how to structure this is often provided on the organisation’s website

Prepare your portfolio as early as you can. As you write a list of your achievements, you will inevitably come across accomplishments for which you have no physical proof. Allowing yourself time to obtain/find certificates will save a lot of stress before the interview9.

Interviewers may look at your portfolio before the interview, but you will also often have your folder in front of you in a portfolio station of the interview. As a result, keeping an organised portfolio and being able to flick quickly to the relevant page presents a good image to the interviewer.

See both sides

This is particularly important for ethical scenarios. Every scenario is designed to make you think. That said, it’d be wise to go through as many topics as possible, so find the most comprehensive core surgical interview question bank you can find online. You should never commit yourself to a definitive answer immediately. If the first word out of your mouth is a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’, does it really look like you’ve weighed the debate properly? Perhaps not. It can be tempting to blurt out an instinctive response, especially if it’s something that you feel strongly about. But you need to keep your emotional response in check.

A better course of action is to first discuss arguments both for and against, before coming up with a balanced conclusion that appreciates the nuances of the scenario.


This is of course crucial. You must put in the time to develop any skill, and interviewing is no different. Start by reciting answers to common questions. Then, move on to having others practise with you and perform mock interviews based on topics covered in your core surgical interview question bank.

Finally, one resource that is very helpful is your university’s career centre (or analogous service). These centres generally offer mock interviews which can be scheduled. Do this. You will not regret it. Treat it like a formal interview. It will help come interview day to have gone through the motions and practiced interviewing with a stranger who is experienced with the process.

If possible, be sure to practice mock interviews with real doctors who have already conducted hundreds of medical school and residency interviews – it’s as real as it gets.

Prepare a few examples of experiences

If you have a few key experiences—adversity you have faced, challenges in school or the workplace, instances of personal growth, times when you were pushed to make a difficult decision—make sure to apply and highlight them accordingly during your core surgical training interview. A general key for interviews is to provide examples/experiences for questions rather than giving vague or abstract answers. By having a stock set of significant experiences, you can make it easier to answer unexpected questions.

These are just some of the important considerations you need to take note of when preparing for the core surgery interview. And as you build your confidence and competence for the role you are applying for, your chances of getting through the first step to becoming a surgeon further increase. With proper training and preparation coupled with the right mind set and commitment to succeed, your goal of becoming a surgeon will become a reality sooner than you think. That said, always keep in mind the things mentioned in the guide and always prioritise your physical and mental health as you prepare for the interview to achieve the best results. Good luck!

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