Professions School Interviews
Being asked to
interview is a key step in your acceptance to
medical school... the medical school in question
is telling you that they are interested in you
and that you look good enough on paper to go
there. See this opportunity as your chance to
shine. You looked good enough on paper to get
Types of Interviews
● How to Prepare
for the Interview
● Medical School
● Grooming and Dress
● Top 10 Questions
Questions for Medical School
● Interview Videos
● After the Interview
● Interview Feedback
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Includes an example of a med school that uses that type.
Panel: Eastern Virginia Medical School
This is where more than one interviewer interviews you at the same time.
It can feel like the Spanish Inquisition, but try not to get over
intimidated. Make eye contact with the person who has asked you the
question, but also try to look and engage the other interviewers as you
make your points. Usually panel interviews are made up of people from
different disciplines such as basic science/ research, clinical
medicine, or surgery. There is often a medical student as part of the
panel. So be prepared for a real range of questions...
Blind: George Washington SOM
This is an interview where the interviewer has not seen any part of your
file. He or she does not know your grades or scores and has not read
your essays. Be prepared for the worst of all possible interview
questions: "So, tell me about yourself." Expect to regurgitate a lot of
what you have already written in your various application essays. Your
previous prep to answer so why do you want to be a doctor questions will
really help here.
Partial Blind: Loyola Stritch SOM
This is where an interviewer only sees part of your applications, such
as your essays and secondary application, but not your grades or scores.
This saves you from defending your C in second semester Organic
Chemistry class, but requires that you look again at what you wrote. I
was given a great ethical question at a partial blind interview.
MCV (up to the interviewer whether they look at your file or not)(MCV
has only one interview/interviewer)
In this type of interview it is up to the interviewer whether or not he
or she will look at your file ahead of time. Be prepared, therefore, for
"blind" type questions as well as questions addressing what you wrote in
I haven't experienced this personally. But my advice would be to keep
your cool and composure and take your time answering your questions. If
they ask personal questions (which you know they aren't allowed to),
there are different ways to approach the situation. You can choose to
answer the question they ask, or turn it around and give an answer which
asks why the interviewer thinks this is relevant, or one which tries to
diffuse the situation.
How to Prepare
for the Interview
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enthusiastic about the school. Know why you want to go there and be able
to provide 4 or 5 reasons when you're asked.
When asked why you applied, don't say that you applied because you
thought you had a good chance of being accepted.
Always emphasize that you are seriously considering the program even if
it isn't one of your top choices. If it isn't one of your top choices,
don't say so.
Consider your responses to questions beforehand, but don't practice too
much because you don't want to look like you've rehearsed too much.
Have questions to ask. Ask about unclear aspects of their curriculum,
research opportunities, and so on, but your questions should show that
you are familiar with the school.
Read the catalog beforehand and use it to create questions. Good
questions demonstrate your enthusiasm and intelligence.
Bring up your strong points, but don't be overly self-confident. Try to
strike a balance between self confidence and humility.
prepared for an interviewer to bring up your weak points or ask you for
your input on your weak points.
Listen carefully to the interviewer and often you will get clues or
hints as to what they are interested in.
Understand that some interviewers may not have read your application or
may not recall it. Be prepared to fill them in on your qualifications
It's ok not to know the answer to a question. Just say so.
you did research, be prepared to talk about it. You should know the
overall goal, methodology, what you found, and why it's important. Be
able to discuss your part and contribution to the research.
Dress appropriately. Be neat and comfortable.
Try to relax and enjoy yourself.
Interview: 4 Tips
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Medical schools use the interview to identify candidates
with maturity, empathy and superior interpersonal skills. They already
know your credentials. Now they want to know what kind of person you are
and how you relate to others. Don't put on an act; don't be something
you're not. Here are four tips that will help you ace the interview.
Unless you read tea leaves, there’s no way to predict the questions
you’ll be asked. Don’t wash your hands of it and forego preparation.
Come to the table prepared to discuss your academic background, your
extracurricular and leisure activities, your employment (and research)
experience, your views on medical problems or ethical issues and your
description of why you want to become a physician. Practice crafting
substantial responses and concrete examples.
Take Your Time
Interviewers don't expect you to have a ready answer for every question,
but they do expect you to be able to think on your feet and give a
If a question catches you off guard, don't be afraid to take a moment
and formulate an answer before you open your mouth. If it seems
ambiguous, ask for clarification. If you don't know, admit it and ask
the interviewer to share the answer.
By taking the time to make sure that your response is well-conceived and
well-spoken, you will come across as thoughtful and articulate—two
characteristics essential in a good doctor.
Ask Great Questions
The best interview is a dialogue, with considerable give and take. As
best you can, think of it as a conversation and not a Q & A.
You should already know a lot about the school. Don’t ask a question
that you could find the answer to on their website or in their
brochures. Don’t bring up controversy. If the interviewer asks you a
charged subject, state your views plainly and move on.
First Impressions Matter
The tone of an interview is usually set in the first few seconds. Don’t
forget that you’re there because you are being strongly considered. Be
on time and look the part. Dress conservatively. Shine your shoes. Carry
your documents in a portfolio. Make eye contact and use a firm
handshake. Smile and be positive.
In a group setting, where the committee talks with more than one
candidate at a time, you will be observed not only when you answer a
question, but also when your fellow applicants are speaking. Keep alert,
and show interest. After all, you never know what you may learn that you
can use in your next interview.
Interview Grooming and Dress
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● Smile! Radiate confidence. Fear is
fine, but keep it in your heart and not on your face or in your
● A good handshake. Practice and ask
for opinions if you are unsure what this means.
● A watch. Check the time zone!!!
● A comb/brush and toothbrush for last
● Minimal jewelry, conservative style.
Prepare answers to likely questions associated with an engagement ring
or wedding band.
● Minimal make-up. Look polished and
● Neat, non-fussy hair, kept out of
● You may want a nice folder or
portfolio to keep papers and pen organized.
● NO white or ivory hosiery! Go for
skin tone or off-black. Sheer navy is about as wild as you could go
● NO white or ivory shoes! Given that
your suit is probably blue, gray, or black, match your shoes to your
● NO perfume!
● Neat nails, preferably short, with
no polish or clear/neutral color only.
● Extra hosiery. Snags and runs do
● Consider pants as opposed to a
skirt. This is a comfort issue as opposed to a fashion issue. You may be
getting in/out of several vehicles if you are given a tour.
● Comfortable shoes. Walk, walk, walk!
● If you carry a purse, keep it
small/simple and coordinated with your outfit.
● NO cologne!
● A good tie (silk, non-novelty,
appropriate length for build)
● Comfortable shoes, probably black
given the preferred suit colors.
● Socks that match the shoes.
10. what do you do if you suspect a colleague (another doc) is abusing
9. rank intellectual, compassion and integrity in the order of
importance to you.
8. why physician? why not nursing?
7. What part of your CV are you most proud of?
6. What made you go into Medicine?
5. Tell me about yourself. (Don't give a complete life history.
Summarize the key points in a chronological manner and sprinkle with few
details in your more recent history.)
4. Why did you volunteer where you did? (see Sample Interview Question
3. Who are your heroes/role models and why? (see Sample Interview
Question Video: Role models)
2. Why did you apply to this medical school? (see Sample Interview
Question Video: Why this medical school)
and the #1 question is...
1. Why do you want to be a doctor? (Give several key points in summary
form). Replace very general responses like "I want to help people" with
more specific intentions
Interview Questions for Medical School
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Actual Questions Used by Medical
- What do you hope to gain during your medical education?
- Describe a typical day from your elementary school days.
- What questions do you have for me about our school?
- What is your weakness that concerns you most?
- Name some strategies to
address the problem of smoking
among teens; talk about some
that haven't been tried before.
- What would your best friend say about you in convincing me I
should admit you to our medical school?
- If you could be any character in history, who would it be, and
- How did you decide to apply to our medical school?
- Why did you choose our specific program?
- How are you a match for our medical school?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- What other medical schools are you applying to?
- How do you view abortion?
- Would you perform abortions as a doctor? Under what conditions?
- What are three things you want to change about yourself?
- How would you describe the relationship between science and
- Think back on your undergraduate experience at SU; what would you
change about it?
- If you were in charge of SU what would you change that would impact
the undergraduate experience?
- Name something you are most proud of…
- Which family member has influenced your life so far and why?
- What do you think about the health care system and which way should
- What do you think is wrong with the current health care system in
- Name a meaningful experience you've had and how it shaped you to
pursue work as a physician.
- Is there a good deal of drug use at your school? Possible follow up:
Have you taken drugs?
- Which languages do you speak? Why?
- Which of your college courses interested you the most?
- If you couldn't ever be trained to be a physician, what would you
- In your present living situation, how do you settle disputes with
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- What interests you outside of medicine and getting into medical
anyone you know influence your choice of career?
you have family members who are doctors? What do they think of the
field? How has their lives changed over the past few years with the
changes in medicine? Do you want to follow in their footsteps? (be
careful with this one. This question may be a disguised way to ask you
"what specialty you are interested in?" In answering this type of
questions, you should keep in mind that many medical schools are having
a push towards primary care. This does not mean that you should be
dishonest and lie about what you want to do. Always say
the truth. If you are uncertain about what you will want to do, say the
truth: I am not certain which field of medicine I will be best suited
for; I hope to find the answer during my clinical rotations!)
field of medicine are you interested in? Again, keep in mind that many
schools have been pressured into graduating more students interested in
primary care specialties!
kind of experiences do you have in the medical field? This is an
excellent opportunity to discuss some of the strong points in your
application. Keep in mind that some interviewers do not have time to
read all of your submitted information (but some will read everything in
detail and will ask you questions to double check some of your
do you plan to practice? If you are a foreign student, stating that you
want to return to your country will unquestionably count against you.
The state/federal government (depending on the school you are applying
to) is partly funding your medical education. Certain programs will
prefer to train physicians who will work in the undeserved areas of the
are your goals in medicine? Answer this one in a similar fashion to why
you want to be a doctor.
do you see yourself in 15 years? (what specialty will you be in/ where
do you plan to practice) are all the same questions!
Do you plan to continue your hobbies through medical
If you had one day to do anything, what would you do?
What was the last book you read? What did you think about it? Would you
recommend that I read it? The last movie you saw? What did you think of
What was the last medical book that you read/studied? If you have not
studied one, don't lie. But usually, everyone has looked at medical
books when someone in the family has been sick. One good book that I had
used in undergrad was the Merck manual which discusses most common
Which classes did you enjoy most? Why? --talk with great enthusiasm when
you are talking about things you like in general. Make sure that your
enthusiasm is at its highest when you talk about medicine!
How would your friends describe your personality? --AKA, what are your
If you were stranded in an island, what three books would you want to
have with you and why? --think of practical books or possibly spiritual
ones. You want to maximize your chance of survival in the island. For
example, would you want to know which plants were poisonous?
What are your strengths and weaknesses? What would you change about
Is there something about you that would make it difficult to get along
with you? What type of people do you get along with well? --good
physicians have to be able to work with all types of personalities
throughout their training. As residents, you need to depend on other
residents to get many tasks accomplished. As surgeons, you depend on
your scrub nurse and assistants. In general, you like to convey that you
get along with most people well. To show that you are hardworking
(hopefully one of your pre-planned strong points), you may discuss that
working with people that do not give their best effort may be difficult.
You should, however, add that you have been successful in working with
these types of people (by putting forth more effort on your side)! This
is what I honestly felt when I was asked this question; think of
something similar for yourself.
Describe the most exciting (scary, unusual, etc.) event of your life?
What do you think will be the most difficult aspect of medical school?
--don't come up with multiple answers which would convince the
interviewer that you would have a tough time in medical school. State
the obvious like the need for increased studying; you may want to add
that you can handle this sudden increase in your workload based on some
previous quarter or semester in which you took 5000 units, etc!
Why did you do so poorly in bio 191? --this is a good opportunity to
defend or explain bad grades, etc. Use it to your advantage; think about
what you will discuss very carefully. You may even want to bring up this
subject when you are asked "do you have any more questions?".
Imagine that you find a lamp that gives you three wishes? What would
What qualities would you look for in a doctor? --think of all your
strength and stress the importance of possessing them as a doctor! You
need to remind the interviewer that you possess all these strengths.
What qualities would you look for in your patients?
If you could be any animal/body organ/cell, what would you be and why?
Who do you admire the most in your life? If you could chose one figure
in history to have dinner with, who would it be? --family members (like
your dad) would be an easy way to go. Describing his good qualities and
comparing them to your own qualities is yet another opportunity to sell
yourself. Use these opportunities as the interviewer may not ask you
about your strengths and weaknesses.
Have you always put forth your best effort in every situation? --you
need to balance being modest with guaranteeing that you will do your
best at all times in medical school.
Tell me about something that you know a lot about? --this could be a
hobby or anything you feel like you are an expert in. You can discuss
making a web page for children with cerebral palsy. Don't forget that
you want to be concise. Talk for a few minutes and pause to see the
interviewer's reaction (this holds true for all the answers!)
Medical School Interview
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Example 1: Admissions/Volunteering
Example 2: Role
Why this medical school?
Medical School Interview:
questions tips answers and preparation
After the Interview
Don't forget to
send a thank-you letter
after each interview. You can write several
individual letters or one that addresses the
entire committee. It's a good idea to
take a few brief notes right after you leave,
such as the interviewer's names and some of the
topics they covered.
It can take anywhere from one week to several
months before you get a final decision from the
school. Different schools have different
policies and approaches (find out about this
school's process on interview day or before);
often the committees fall behind schedule and it
takes a bit longer than the four or six weeks
alone can't get you into medical school, but
they can definitely strengthen a borderline
application or completely eliminate you from
You can no longer change your grades or
scores... those are in. But you can stand out
for who you are. Show them what a warm,
charming, intelligent, thoughtful and
professional person you are. They'll want you...
how could they do otherwise?
If the school is still not sure whether they
want to admit you, they’ll place you on a "hold"
list. This means that they want to see what the
rest of the applicant pool looks like before
If you’re on the hold list, you can
send in supplementary material to bolster your
If you have recent academic or extracurricular
achievements that didn’t appear on your
application, write a short (less than one page)
description and send it to the school. Use
restraint and discretion—don’t flood them with
additional recommendations or extraneous
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Medical Schools feedback from Student Doctor