150+ common vet school interview questions & answers
20+ role play scenarios
15+ veterinary school ethical scenarios
Model answers written by qualified vets
Updated for 2022 entry
Free Vet School Interview Questions & Answers (Taken From The Ultimate Guide)
Q13: Tell Me About Your Strengths & Weaknesses [Section 1: Personal Insight]
This is an extremely difficult question to answer because you must highlight your strengths in a humble and modest manner, and without arrogance, but you must not be too damaging in your critiquing of your weaknesses. If you are too destructive in highlighting your weaknesses, the Veterinary School may well opt to reject your application as a result!
We recommend, of course, focusing mainly on your strengths and highlighting these, whilst also having one or two weaknesses ready to discuss. Do not claim to have no weaknesses, as this comes across extremely arrogant, and may equally be tantamount to a rejection from Veterinary School. Remember, questions that are worded differently may still be attempting to discover your strengths and weaknesses. For example, “If you could change two things about yourself, what would they be?” is directed at analysing two of your weaknesses and why you think they need to be changed. Also, “Why should we give you a place at our veterinary school rather than someone else?” is an attempt to find out your strengths and what you would bring to the veterinary school, but also wants to see your self-awareness that you have weaknesses which you are willing to improve and grow as an individual. The Veterinary School does not expect you to be a perfect candidate, but rather, a candidate who is motivated, passionate and willing to learn.
Examples of strengths
For examples of strengths, please review our material on ‘What makes a good leader?’ and ‘What makes a good team player?’ for guidance. You should then interweave these characteristics with examples from your own past including academic achievements, sporting involvements, extra-curricular activities, charity and voluntary/paid work, and even assistance and involvement in your household.
Examples of weaknesses
You should select a perceived weakness that can be remedied and corrected. A weakness such as “I don’t care about other people” shows no compassion, care or empathy for others and ultimately undermines one of the crucial pillars of being a vet. However, explaining that “Sometimes I find that I am focused on a given task so much that I sometimes forget to check in on those around me. I’ve been working on this and setting myself daily reminders to check how my friends and family are doing, which has helped.”, shows self-awareness and willingness to improve, as well as a genuine interest for the well-being of those around you.
Other examples could include:
“I am always very punctual, so I sometimes find myself irritated with those who are late. I am trying to improve myself though because I understand that sometimes there are factors outside our control that make us run a little late. It’s something very common in veterinary medicine and so if I want to be a good clinician for my owners, I need to accept that sometimes things don’t go to plan and people cannot always be punctual.”
“I sometimes get too emotionally attached to animals whose paths cross mine. For example, I am currently volunteering at a rescue centre, and one of my favourite dogs passed away. I was of course deeply upset. I ended up discussing this with the owner of the rescue centre and we discussed how it is very common to grieve the loss of an animal we develop a relationship with, but that the dog had appreciated the time I spent with them. I realised that whilst I may end up upsetting myself by getting emotionally attached, the bond we formed would have provided comfort and companionship to the dog in the later stages of his life.”
“Sometimes I find that I take on too much responsibility. I always like a challenge, especially new and interesting tasks that I’ve never encountered before, but I have a tendency to always say “yes” to every opportunity. This means that sometimes, some projects or some friends or family may be neglected for a little while as I complete the task at hand. I am now appreciating the importance of balancing everything in life, and how to delegate tasks amongst a team. It also made me realise the importance of a life-work balance, because friends and family are a crucial aspect of happiness in life, and cannot be neglected.”
– “I used to take criticism “to heart” and far too personally. I now understand that criticism is a positive way in which I can make myself better, and improve my contribution to society by first improving myself.
It is also fitting to link these weaknesses back to the veterinary course if possible. You should acknowledge that studying Veterinary Medicine will tend to place pressure on some of the weaknesses and that it is important to use the help of peers and colleagues, as well as the support system of the university and veterinary school in order to succeed throughout the course and as a future vet.
Q32: What Are Your Expectations Of Life At Vet School?
Each applicant will have a different expectation for veterinary school. You should draw information from everything you have read, what you have seen on Open Days, and what you have read from current students at the university. You can find testimonials from current students on the veterinary school website of each university you have applied to.
You can expect the veterinary school to be very demanding: you should demonstrate your understanding of how the course works, what you will study in each of the various years, and how you will be assessed (practical exams, written exams, multiple-choice tests and continuous clinical assessment through the year). The course is long and demanding, both physically and mentally.
You will be challenged both academically and at a personal level. Aside from your demanding exams, you will be challenged to develop your personal skills, communication, teamwork and leadership, to name a few. These will test and challenge your personality and put you out of your comfort zone. Most veterinary school’s student societies are extremely popular and you will be encouraged to participate in all aspects. This will be both exciting and intimidating, especially for first-year students. You should make it clear to the assessors that although it may be a little daunting meeting and interacting with so many new individuals, it is an exciting prospect that you choose to embrace to the fullest.
In addition to this, as a new student to the university, you will need to familiarise yourself with the city, the university campus and integrate yourself within all of these. There are many different avenues to help manage these new aspects of veterinary school. You should look for role models, tutors, older students and even the university’s support scheme where you require. When discussing the realities of veterinary medicine and veterinary school, you should portray your knowledge of veterinary medicine through the phrases you use: for example, you may wish to say “I was able to get a good idea of what is expected of me in veterinary school. From attending open days, reading through the prospectus and talking to current students, I understand….” You should also draw on your learning from work experience, and what you gained from talking to current vets in the field.
Finally, you should always link your understanding of veterinary school back to your own personal experiences and what you have learnt, and how it has shaped you to become an excellent vet. For example, you may direct back to your own skills by highlighting: “I know that you are expected to be able to multi-task and deal with the stresses of multiple deadlines, projects and tasks at veterinary school. One of the things I learned throughout my time during A-Levels was how to multitask; I was a school prefect, part of the football and basketball teams and also played the piano at a Grade 7 level. All of this was whilst I managed to achieve top marks in my exams. This was obviously stressful at the time, but I think I am well-positioned to cope with the difficulties that veterinary school offers.”
Q56: What Are The Five Freedoms? [Section 4: Vet Ethics]
The Five Freedoms essentially outline five aspects of animal welfare that are under human control, developed in 1965 to a UK Government report on livestock husbandry. They have since been adopted worldwide as a “minimum standard” for animal welfare. We recommend that you do take time to memorise these, as reciting the Five Freedoms is a relatively common question asked at vet school interviews and it can also serve as a useful guide if you are being asked to assess whether animal welfare standards are appropriate - are the Five Freedoms fulfilled? If not, then you have valid reason to question animal welfare in any given scenario.
Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind
Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering
The vet school interview ethical questions in our guide has recently been updated to include questions commonly asked in 2021/22 online interviews - as ever they have always been written by qualified vets.
Q67: Tell Us About Your Work Experience [Section 7: Work Experience]
Your work experience will be of great interest to the universities which you have applied to. The interview is an opportunity for you to describe not only the facts and details of your experiences but also your reactions to them and what you have learned and gained from them. This question is broad, so use it to your advantage and highlight the most interesting parts of your work experience before rounding off your answer to summarise what you learned about Veterinary Medicine as a whole.
This question gives you the opportunity to discuss and elaborate on as many different situations or scenarios that you witness. The most important question in this station is actually what did you learn from it? – you should always aim to have a learning point that you have taken from each situation you encountered. If there were issues you did not understand at work experience, do not be afraid to communicate this to your examiner; use phrases such as “One really interesting experience that I saw was…. The only thing I didn’t understand at the time was why …was done instead of …?” and then attempt to use your logic, reasoning and further research around a topic to discuss it further. For example, you may have seen a vet give one medication instead of another, and researched it further in your own time to find out why that was the most appropriate drug. This will come across well in interview.
Ideally, most universities would like to see a few weeks of work experience in a variety of clinical scenarios (individual minimum requirements for specific universities are detailed on our University Guide). If you have been able to do work experience in a number of different settings, make sure you demonstrate this in your answer in relatively equal detail and highlight what you learnt from them.
If you have completed any other work experience outside of veterinary medicine, be sure to mention this too. You should be keen to impress that whilst the other work experience you did was interesting or a potential career path that you considered, veterinary medicine is definitely the profession that appeals to you more. Be sure to provide reasons why.
Q89: What Are The Qualities Of A Good Team Player?
There are so many different qualities that you can pick to answer this. A good practice is to pick three of them, before expanding on them and explaining why you have them. Pick any three of the following examples, before explaining why each is necessary for being a good team player. Then try to draw on examples or positions that you have that show you have those three qualities that make you a good team player. End by explaining how this links towards veterinary medicine or being a good vet.
Integrity and honesty
Self-disciplined and self-aware of one’s own abilities and limitations
Communicates constructively and keeps the team informed about updates and progress
Shares ideas and contributes to the team
Takes responsibility and ownership for their role
Accepts and learns from constructive criticism
Gives positive and constructive feedback to others
Knows when to seek help
Welcomes help from others when needed
Committed to the team
Promotes a positive attitude within the team
Rises above any differences or disagreements with other team members to ensure the best outcome for the entire team
We would recommend picking a few of the examples above and using some of the suggested frame works to help mould your vet interview question and answer practice and preparation material.
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