These are questions that ask you to think critically about a topic and form logical, balanced answers. These types of question are common in both MMI and panel interviews.
<p>Hi my name’s Harry and I’m a medical student at the University of Oxford. Today I’m going to be going through an example of type of question you can expect to be asked in your medical school interviews – debate-style questions. These are questions that ask you to think critically about a topic and form logical, balanced answers. These types of question are common in both MMI and panel interviews.</p><p> </p><p>The example question we’re going to look at today is: should cigarettes be banned?</p><p> </p><p>This question might not seem directly related to medicine, and the interviewers are assessing your ability to think critically about the question and construct balanced, well reasoned answers. </p><p> </p><p>In answering debate style questions, you should follow the structure of two arguments in favour, two arguments against, followed by an overall conclusion. Remember to explain each of your arguments, and give evidence where possible. </p><p> </p><p>Looking at our example question, should cigarettes be banned: we are need two arguments in favour and two arguments against.</p><p>Our first argument in favour could be about the health effects of cigarettes – smoking causes a number of diseases including cancers and other lung pathology. </p><p>This is a good start but we need to explain and add evidence.</p><p>We as a society ban other substances due to their negative health effects – why should cigarette smoking be any different. The argument here follows a paternalistic model for society – the government making laws to protect its citizens. Proponents of this argument would say that it is the government’s duty to protect its citizens from harm by legislating to outlaw harmful substances.</p><p> </p><p>Our second argument in favour is an extension of our first argument.</p><p>Cigarettes cause health problems which causes a strain on the NHS. It is estimated that smoking costs the NHS about £6billion a year in treating the disease caused by smoking. This must be paid for by society so therefore smoking causes a large burden on society financially. Money spent on treating diseases caused by smoking means less money can be spent on treating other diseases. Therefore, banning cigarettes could mean resources are diverted to other areas. </p><p> </p><p>We then move onto our arguments against: why cigarettes should not be banned. </p><p> </p><p>Our first argument can be the civil liberties argument: people should be allowed to have the autonomy to choose what to do with their bodies, and that extends to smoking. Other harmful substances exist – such as alcohol – and these are not outlawed by the government. Instead of banning, it could be argued that greater education should be provided to citizens to warn them of the harms, or greater incentives to stop smoking. These methods aimed at reducing smoking do not infringe on people’s civil liberties. This is in contrast to our first argument in favour, where we argued that the government should legislate to prevent people using these harmful substances. </p><p> </p><p>Our second argument against could be the economic argument. Cigarettes are heavily taxed in the UK, and the revenue from cigarette sales in the brings in £12 billion. Therefore, cigarette smoking brings in more money in taxes than it costs the government in treating diseases caused by smoking. This money can then be used for other purposes, such as spending on education and other public services. Therefore, cigarettes are good for the economy. </p><p> </p><p>The final part of our answer is the conclusion: we need to pick a side. This could be:</p><p> </p><p>Overall, I think cigarettes should be banned as they are harmful to health. Some people argue that it is not right for the government to ban substances purely because they are harmful and people should have the right to choose what to put in their bodies. However, smoking does not just affect the individual – it affects others in society with the effects of second hand smoking, so even those who choose not to smoke are still affected by cigarettes.</p><p> </p><p>Remember to always pick a side and give a balanced conclusion, recognising both sides of the argument.</p><p> </p><p>To recap, in answering debate-style interview questions, remember to have two arguments for and against, and back them up in with evidence and explanations. Then come to an overall conclusion. I hope that was helpful. </p>