Medical School Interviews: Get Ready!

February 15, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

Click here for 2021 shadowing opportunities

The email you wished for finally arrived – you’ve been invited to interview at one of your top choice medical schools.  What can you do to be prepared and successful at this crucial point in the admissions process?  Here are a few tips to consider:

Your Outfit

It may seem counterintuitive to start with your appearance, but the average length of time you have to make a first impression is less than 10 seconds. You’ll want to appear professional, confident, and comfortable.  Because your interview may take the better part of an entire day, you’ll want to select an interview outfit that will allow you to appear serious while providing maximum comfort. Nothing will make you feel worse than those shiny but uncomfortable shoes that you save for special occasions, and nothing looks more unattractive than tugging on a shirt that keeps riding up. Consider giving your interview outfit a test run, wearing it for an entire day.  This way, you’ll know whether it’s the right one for you to wear for the big interview.

Your Attitude

Casualty at Chiang Mai Central Memorial Hospital Now is not the time to be modest.  Your medical school interview is your golden opportunity to show real people that you are more than what they have read about on paper. Be sure to project confidence and maturity, focus and determination, with a dose of humility. Notice the fine line between presenting a high self-esteem and bragging.  You’ll be asked questions such as “What aspects of your life and experiences do you think make you a good candidate for medical school?” and “ What do you consider to be your strengths and your shortcomings?” You’ll want to project a positive, high-energy attitude that doesn’t come across as arrogant or abrasive as you answer. You may want to rehearse the answers to these types of questions with a trusted mentor to assess how you present yourself and the attitude you communicate through your responses.

Your Experiences and Opinions

Medical school interviews are especially interested in learning more about your experiences in medicine and your opinions on pressing medical issues.  They may also throw a few curveballs your way too. 

Be prepared to answer these types of questions about your medical experiences:

-Tell me why you’re interested in medicine.  

-What experiences have you have in a medical or clinical setting?  

-Why did you choose your major? How has it prepared you for a career in medicine?

Be prepared for these types of opinion-generating questions:

-What do you think is the most pressing issue in healthcare today?  

-How do you think the U.S. should address the physician shortage problem, particularly in primary care doctors in rural areas?

And then get ready for these curveball questions that have no right or wrong answer but seem like they do!

-How do you deal with stress?  

-Discuss a book that you’ve recently read for pleasure.  

-What will you do if you don’t get into medical school?

Your Questions

Medical work experience students in TanzaniaAs you reach the end of your interview, you’ll be asked that dreaded query, “Do you have any questions for us?”  Again, this feels like it falls into the curveball category.  Say yes, and it looks like you didn’t do your research; say no, and the interviewers might wonder why.  You’ll need to make your best judgment call based on the content and flow of the interview whether you will have questions to ask your interviewers.  Have several planned ahead of time so that you appear to be an engaged candidate who wants to find the best fit for your medical school journey.

The medical school interview is your time to shine.  With a little preparation and research, you’re sure to show your best side to the interview committee. — Post by Madelaine Kingsbury.