Interview tips for shy premeds

February 5, 2016

interview tips

The thought of an upcoming medical school interview can be a daunting prospect for any premed student. For shy premeds, it can be even more overwhelming, which can lead to increased anxiety and poor performance. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to hide your nervousness on the day and go on to impress the admissions committee. Preparation and practice are key to not letting your nerves get the better of you at your med school interview. Remember, your goal is to thrive, not just survive.

Studies show that being well prepared is the best way to reduce anxiety on any occasion. So how do you prepare and practice for an interview? There are several things you can do:

Take stock

Start by taking inventory of your strengths and skills and practice how to highlight them. Being very clear on what you bring to the school – and the medical profession as a whole – can boost your confidence.


Read up on commonly asked med school interview questions and practice how to answer them. Don’t overlook the simple questions such as ‘Tell us a little about yourself’ or ‘Tell us why you want to become a doctor’. These are deceptively simple but can often be the most challenging to answer. Also, browse through the school’s website and read up on their facilities, their programs and think about how you will fit into their community. Be prepared to give a compelling answer when you’re asked why you chose that particular school.


When practicing your answers, use a tape recorder and listen to the playback. Do you sound nervous? Do your replies seem forced? The goal is to appear natural and confident, so keep practicing until you are satisfied with the result.

If you’ve done a hospital shadowing placement, think back to your experiences and draw confidence from them – most importantly, think about how you’ll relate those experiences to the interviewers.

Rehearse in front of the mirror; this will help you work on your body language, which speaks volumes about you. Interviewers are experts at reading body language, so aim to look professional, confident and relaxed. The more you practice, the easier it will become for you to appear less nervous. Take it one step further by asking a friend or teacher to interview you and provide honest feedback on your performance.


A few days before the interview, get your clothes ready for the interview. Do a full rehearsal and double check that the clothes are ironed, fit well and look professional. Keep the entire set of clothes ready to wear on interview day to avoid any last minute scrambling that may increase stress.

Keep all of your documents ready in a folder and a day or two before the interview, read through your resume, transcripts, and personal statement so that you remember everything that’s mentioned within.

Make all of your travel arrangements a few days in advance. If you’re using public transport, find out about the timings and take an earlier bus or train to rule out any possibility of being late. If you are travelling by car, make sure you leave enough time. Last minute rushing can add to your anxiety levels. When you arrive at the destination, taking a few minutes to review your notes and relax will help you overcome your shyness and be more confident as you step into the interview room.

Good luck!

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.