Tips for a successful dental school interview – Part 3

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Dental work experience student Brendan learning practical skills at Rajavej Hospital in Thailand. #3 – Have you had any work experience?

Having some dental work experience will work to your advantage here. If you have not spent any time acquiring any type of dental work experience, you will have nothing to contribute by way of a reply. This could instantly lower your chances of getting through the interview, and unless you’ve put together an outstanding application and done brilliantly during the rest of the interview, you could find yourself out of the running altogether.

With regards to work experience, you may be asked a vague question such as “Tell us about your work experience” or you may find yourself being asked something more specific such as, “Did you find anything particularly interesting during your work experience?” or “Did the dentist you were shadowing have to deal with any difficult situations during that time?”

When talking about your work experience it is not enough to simply mention what you saw during that time. What is more important is to talk about what the experience taught you about being a dentist in the real world and how it motivated you and reinforced your passion for this career path.

The best way to get some relevant dental experience is by spending time on a dental placement overseas. Such placements provide an invaluable opportunity to shadow dental professionals and get a feel for the day-to-day realities of the profession. What’s more, a dental placement in a developing country will expose you to dental procedures being done quite differently from what you would see back home. Mentioning an experience such as this in your interview will add depth to your answer and will give you lots to talk about, convincing the interviewers about your passion and commitment to dentistry. It will also show interviewers that you have an appreciation for dental care on a more global scale.

 

#4 – Do you have a basic knowledge of dentistry?

Considering that, by now you would have spoken plenty about how passionate and committed you are to pursuing a career in dentistry, it stands to reason that you should have above average knowledge about some of the basic issues pertaining to the dental field. You could be asked about fundamental dental conditions such as caries, tooth erosion, gum disease or dentine hypersensitivity. Interviewers may also want to know what you understand about certain dental speciality areas such as orthodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgery or periodontics.

 

The good news!

With plenty of things to get done, preparing for your dental interview can sound pretty scary and overwhelming. However, it doesn’t need to be. The good news is that although interviewers ask you all of these loaded questions, they do not expect you to be an expert on everything dental. All they really want to know is if you are truly passionate and committed to a career in dentistry and whether or not you have some basic understanding of what is involved in this profession. Your aim in preparing for the interview should not be to try and learn everything you can about dentistry. Instead the aim is for you to get comfortable with the kind of questions that could come up so that you can reply calmly, comfortably and concisely. A couple of mock interviews can help tremendously. 

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