Medical School Interviews Complete Guide

August 17

Table of Contents

An essential part of the medical school admission process is your interview. Usually, receiving an invitation to an interview means you possess the academic qualifications required for admission.

Medical schools are curious to know more about you. They want to see if you have the qualities they value in people, good morals, the ability to lead and make wise decisions, and genuine excitement for their organization.

You can discuss your strengths, interests, goals, and values throughout the interview. Keep in mind that, in addition to giving the school a chance to evaluate you, the discussion also allows you to learn more about the organization.

This article is a complete guide for medical school interviews. If you want to know more and ace yours, please continue reading. 

What is a Medical School Interview? 

Medical school admissions officers use interviews to ascertain whether applicants possess essential qualities in the medical field. These qualities include excellent communication skills, presence, critical thinking, compassion, and resilience.

Interviews are also used to identify candidates committed to continuing their medical education and aware of their difficulties. It includes the years of work required to get a medical degree, complete a residency, and receive a license. Probing questions regarding a premed’s motivations are frequently asked during admissions interviews.

Medical interviews give universities a chance to evaluate candidates’ interpersonal skills through medical interviews. 

Applicants to medical schools are frequently very bright, capable, and dedicated. However, the practice of medicine also demands doctors with high interpersonal skills, the ability to work well in a team, empathy, and other challenging qualities to demonstrate on a written assignment.

Why are Interviews Important for Medical School? 

The interview is crucial for medical school admission. Unfortunately, many qualified applicants (on paper) are rejected from medical school because of the interview. Simply put, this is how medical schools often operate.

Candidates for medical school who are invited for an interview should understand that the invitation was not sent casually. 

Only strong candidates are given a chance to interview. Thus, according to admissions experts, it is a positive development when you get the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities in this way.

If you are asked to an interview, medical schools take into account factors including:

Getting an interview at a medical school is challenging. If granted an interview at a medical school, you are already far on your road to admission. Only a tiny fraction of applicants are selected for interviews by medical schools.

Never undervalue the significance of an interview. Make sure to utilize any mock interviews that your college may be offering.

What are the Types of Interviews for Medical School? 

The application procedure for medical school is drawn-out, challenging, and competitive. 

After submitting your AMCAS application and finishing your secondary coursework, you should prepare for the medical school interview.

Schools significantly reduce the number of applicants between secondaries and interviews, so if you have made it to the coveted third round, congratulations! 

It is time to get acquainted with the types of discussions you can experience in medical school.

Medical schools all around the country use different types of interviews to assess their applicants. These include conventional interviews, group interviews, and several brief interviews. 

To help you prepare for your medical school interviews, here are the different types of discussions you need to acquaint yourself with.

Traditional Interviews

The traditional interview takes place one-on-one and lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. 

For example, a faculty member, a local community member, a current student, or a working physician might interview you. The interactions you and the interviewer have in this interview are typically casual and traditional, as the name implies.

For example, each interviewer might be given a specified list of character traits to assess and comment on, or some institutions might have an organized framework with standardized questions. The environment may also be relatively informal, with each interviewer dictating the tone and format of the conversation. Depending on the interests you listed on your application, you could or might not be allocated a specific interviewer.

Traditional interviews might be either closed or open. In an open interview, the interviewer is already familiar with you and your academic history because they have already reviewed your application materials.

In a closed interview, the interviewer only knows your name and the college you attended; they have yet to see your application. The interviewer is unfamiliar with all of your responses and what you are going to say. Introducing yourself in a fascinating, concise, and transparent way is critical.

Group Interviews

A group interview is like a traditional interview. However, at least two more candidates will be in the room simultaneously for their discussions. 

Because you will have to learn about the experiences of other applicants and they will be learning about yours, this can be a little nerve-wracking. 

Compared to other types of medical school interviews, group interviews assist admissions committees in analyzing your ability to collaborate with others. 

Therefore, group interviews may include a teamwork exercise in addition to the typical questions about your personality and career objectives.

Schools are interested in how you interact with others, assess situations, and communicate because these are crucial abilities for a career in medicine. 

Instead of trying to solve everything on your own, listen to team members, assist in assigning duties, and consider what will be best for everyone. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the initiative to lead. Still, you must also consider the requirements of your team members.

Multiple Mini-Interviews (MMIs)

The multiple mini-interview, or MMI, is one of the most distinctive medical school interview formats. Each focuses on a particular query or scenario, and six to ten interview stations are employed in MMIs.

You will be given a description to peruse and two minutes to prepare. Then you will have a 5-to-8-minute window when you can talk about a subject, engage in conversation with a patient or family member, or respond to a situation. Your responses will be seen by the interviewer, who will also assess how well you communicate with them.

The MMI is a closed-file interview; typically, a standardized patient evaluates you without knowing anything about you. After the interaction, you are evaluated using a pre-established evaluation form.

The MMI assesses your critical thinking, ethical decision-making, verbal and nonverbal communication abilities, and healthcare system knowledge. The idea behind the MMI is that the more interviewers and behavior samples there are, the more valid the information from the interviews will be.

Conventional Interviews

In contrast to MMI events, the one-on-one or panel interview format promotes in-depth discussions between applicants and their interviewers. Interviewers may opt to employ a pre-written list of questions they ask each interviewee, or they may choose to customize their questions for each applicant.

Common Medical School Interview Questions 

Interviews can be stressful, mainly if you believe that your future as a doctor could be at stake. As a prospective medical student, it would assist if you began getting comfortable answering some challenging questions. After all, your performance in the medical school interview will determine whether you receive an acceptance letter.

Be careful not to become overwhelmed by the big stakes. There are various strategies to get ready for your medical school interviews. Each interview will be unique, but the majority will cover topics of a few key subjects.

Here is a list of questions that will be asked at your medical school interview to assist you in getting ready and preparing.

Open-Ended and General Questions

These questions include questions about yourself and your personal traits. It may consist of general questions about your strengths and weaknesses, motivations, and what brings you to the medical field.


  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you choose medical school?
  • What makes you the best candidate?

Questions About Academics and Curriculum

You will also be asked questions about the curriculum. This is to assess how versed you are in academics and how well you perform as a candidate. 


  • How did your undergraduate studies prepare you for medical school? 
  • Which class or course gave you your worst grade? Why do you believe you didn’t perform well?
  • Does your academic history show any apparent gaps or failures? If yes, what might have caused them?

Questions About Clinical Rotation

You are most likely to be asked questions about your clinical experience. Interviewers assess candidates who have gained a deeper understanding of their clinical rotation experience.


  • What obstacles did you encounter in your clinical rotations?
  • How did your clinical rotations prepare you for a career in medicine?
  • What is the most important lesson you learned during your clinical rotation?

Questions About Research

Research is a big part of your medical school career. Needless to say, it will be a part of your interview. Be prepared.


  • Describe your background in research.
  • How do you keep abreast of the most recent advancements in your field?
  • What are some of the most crucial abilities a medical researcher has to possess? 

Questions About Global Health

Be prepared to answer questions relating to global health as well. The interviewers want to know whether you are updated with health situations worldwide.


Be prepared to answer questions relating to global health as well. The interviewers want to know whether you are updated with health situations worldwide.


  • What benefits and drawbacks would a universal healthcare system have? What position do you take on this issue?
  • What steps should the United States take to solve the physician shortage, especially for primary care doctors in rural areas?
  • Are there any instances in our society where access to healthcare is a right? If it is a privilege, when? When is something unclear?

Questions About Medicine and the Medical Field

More importantly, the interviewers will be throwing questions related to medicine. You must research ahead of time to ensure you know how to answer such questions.


  • What particular objectives do you have in medicine?
  • What fears or apprehensions do you have about working in medicine?
  • What prior encounters have you had in a healthcare or clinical environment?

For a comprehensive list of possible medical school interview questions, please check out the link below:

8 Tips for Acing the Medical School Interview

Every candidate who receives an interview invitation is regarded as qualified by that specific medical school. In most cases, everyone is now on the same page. These days, how you do in the interview often matters more than how you “appear on paper.” 

Even with excellent grades, getting admitted into medical school will be difficult if you are terrible at interviews. 

To help you ace your medical school interviews, here are a few tips that you must take note of.

Before the Interview

1. Conduct Your Research

Start by thoroughly researching each medical school where you will be interviewed. Each medical school is unique, focuses on a different area of medicine, and has a unique objective.

Read the medical school’s mission statement. Look for a medical school that adheres to your way of thinking. It will enable you to ascertain whether the medical school’s goals and yours are compatible and what the medical school looks for in prospective students.

2. Stay Current with Medical News

You will probably be quizzed on recent advancements in medicine. Being up to date on world events is therefore crucial for your success. In addition, watch political changes, especially when they have an impact on healthcare.

To keep up with health-related news, visit websites like CNN and The New York Times. Reading academic books and articles is yet another fantastic way to learn more. For example, the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) is a tremendous source that disseminates original studies, reviews, and other medical papers.

3. Have Mock Interviews

An interview with someone who can react to your questions just like the interviewer is called a “mock interview.”

It takes planning to ace an interview. However, practicing mock interviews is a fantastic technique to get input from others in your position.

You can learn more about what is expected of you during an interview and how to properly reply to questions by participating in mock interviews. In addition, you can instruct them on what to do and what not to do during interviews.

During the Interview

4. Be Humble

Even if you have the best MCAT score in your state and the most outstanding GPA in your class, if you come off as condescending and arrogant, you will undoubtedly ruin your chances of admission.

A certain amount of confidence is necessary to become a doctor, but this should always be understood as conceit. An arrogant doctor makes mistakes far more frequently. 

Refrain from believing yourself to be an authority on anything. A dedication to lifelong study is a must for becoming a doctor.

5. Take Your Time Answering the Questions

Some colleges utilize interviews to gauge how you handle pressure. They intentionally place you in an awkward situation so they can watch how you behave and communicate under pressure. 

Try to unwind if you find yourself in this situation. Interviewers do not anticipate that you will have a ready response to every query. 

However, they expect that you will be able to think quickly and provide a thoughtful response. If a question takes you off guard, do not be afraid to think it out for a second before responding. 

Ask for clarification if a question seems clouded in confusion. You will come across as intelligent and eloquent if you take the time to ensure that your response is well-conceived and well-spoken.

6. Ask Meaningful Questions 

Your medical school interview is not a question-and-answer period. Therefore, you should already be knowledgeable about the questions that they may ask. 

Therefore, please refrain from asking a question to which you could find the answer on the school’s website or in one of their brochures.

Instead, take advantage of the opportunity to discover more about the professors, research opportunities, accessibility of internships, or anything else important to you when considering a medical school program.

7. Keep Eye Contact

Make every effort to keep the interviewer’s eyes in your direction. Given the time limits, it is understandable that you might periodically stray during an interview. 

You may avoid that by turning your gaze away from the interviewer and at something else.

If you are distracted throughout the interview, pay attention to what the interviewer is saying and repeat it to them in your own terms. This will guarantee that you understand their question and help you maintain concentration.

After the Interview

8. Send Thank You Letters to the Interviewers

Remember to thank the admissions committee in writing after each interview. One letter or several letters might be sent to the entire committee. Before you depart, scribble down a few quick notes, including the names of the interviewers and some of the topics you covered.

If the school is unsure whether to admit you, they will put your name on a “hold” list. This suggests that they want to see how the rest of the applicant pool looks before accepting you. 

If your name is on the hold list, you can still contribute more information to support your application.

For a comprehensive list of tips to ace your medical school interview, please check out the link below:

6 Mistakes to Avoid During a Medical School Interview

The element of the application process that benefits the most from preparation is the interviews for medical schools. Ample preparation and participation in practice interviews can give your responses confidence and structure.

This means that your relationship with the interviewer will be the only thing to worry about on the day of the interview. 

To better your chances of getting admitted, here are the five mistakes you must avoid during your medical school interview.

1. Never List Qualities Without Giving Concrete Personal Examples.

An invitation to a medical interview indicates a decent chance you will be chosen. Most medical schools accept applicants who are offered an interview to save time. This is so candidates can be excluded from consideration rather than having their qualifications evaluated during the interview. 

Speaking in generalizations and using aphorisms are two red-flag traits that might lead to a low interview score. For instance, during the interview, many students expressed that they “care for people/patients” as if this were a distinguishing feature.

This is not just a standard quality but also a fundamental requirement. Therefore, one of the most crucial things to remember is to illustrate to your interviewer how you exhibit these qualities. For example, when you describe your strengths, connect them to accomplishments and other critical life situations.

2. Not Every Interview Format is the Same, So Be Prepared!

It helps first to recognize the differences between an MMI Interview and a panel interview if you genuinely fear failing one. 

One interviewer poses a different medical interview scenario to the candidate at each of the 7-8 micro stations that make up a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) Station.

On the other hand, a panel interview consists of 4-5 experienced people who ask one question at a time. 

An MMI station is recommended in the medical industry since it is more direct and consistent with other professional interview settings than a panel interview. 

The applicant must tailor their response to each interviewer on the panel, who will ask a mix of general and medically related questions. Then, the committee offers this applicant a spot in response to the responses.

3. Avoid Unstructured Rambling. 

Your main objective when responding to questions in a medical interview is to give truthful responses. You can influence how the interviewer perceives your personality and the suitability of your skills for medical school.

It would be best if you exercised extreme restraint in what you say and how you express it. 

You can take a few seconds after the interviewer asks you a question to gather your thoughts and speak your response aloud to emphasize the critical points of the question. In this manner, you may direct the interview and give your answer a self-assured spin.

Focus on crafting an answer around your strengths and shortcomings, personal and professional experiences, and current events connected to the issue. Most typical medical school interview questions demand well-articulated responses.

4. Do not Exhibit Poor Body Language.  

First impressions matter a lot, especially on the day of the interview. Your success depends on how composed, confident, and serene you come across. 

On the day of the interview, poor body language, such as slouching, crossing your arms, avoiding eye contact, keeping your hands in your pockets, and walking through the hallways with your head down, should be avoided.

People will assume you lack confidence and are easily rattled if you avoid looking them in the eyes and giving them a shaky handshake. Nobody wants to think of doctors as people who break under pressure.

So that you can assess your own body language, practice sitting and standing straight with your shoulders back. Make enthusiastic hand movements while you speak, avoid smiling, and make eye contact with anyone talking to you to show that you are paying attention.

5. Do Not Sound Memorized or Overly Rehearsed.  

While preparing for each interview, avoid creating a script that you then regurgitate verbatim. The interviewer is seeking a future physician, not a machine. You come out as more unauthentic the more practiced you sound. 

Additionally, the more you commit your responses to memory, the more likely you will make a mistake if the interviewer asks you an unprepared question.

Create a primary response that you may adapt to each interviewer’s specific requests. 

Do not make things too complicated. You already understand your motivations for pursuing a medical career and enrolling in this particular program. Be sincere, enthusiastic, careful, and thorough.

6. Do Not Dress Unprofessionally. 

Dress to impress! This could be your only chance for an interview at your chosen medical school. Do not wear revealing outfits. Plan what you will wear—head to toe, and let the interviewers know that. 

Avoid wearing flashy clothes as well. On the day of your medical school interview, the focus should be on you and your responses, your credentials, and not on what you are wearing.

If you want to know more about medical school interview etiquette, including how to dress up during your interview, please check out the link below:

How Long After an Interview Will You Hear Back? 

The U.S. rolling admissions method may influence when invitations to medical school interviews are sent out. That is to say, people that submit their applications first in the United States frequently have them reviewed first.

The interview season for medical schools can begin as early as November and often lasts through March. 

Preparing in advance rather than waiting until you have received an invite is advisable because the window between getting invited and having your interview can be short.

Many invitations will be sent in the new year, so do not panic if you do not receive one. 

Remember that various universities operate on multiple schedules; some will begin conducting interviews after the holiday season.

After your interview, some medical schools will let you know if you have been accepted, usually within 2-4 weeks. Others, however, will only be the application deadline in March.

Additional FAQs – Medical School Interviews: Complete Guide

When Should I Expect My Medical School Interviews?

Schools in the United States send out interview invitations on different timetables. 

However, although invitations are often sent out by January, some institutions’ interview cycles can go as far as February or March.

It depends on the medical school you are applying for. You have to visit their website or call them to be sure.

How Many Interviews Do Medical School Applicants Get?

When applying, most candidates receive between one and three interviews. Your personal qualifications (such as your GPA or MCAT scores) and the number of institutions that have already conducted interviews with other applicants can also affect how many invites you receive.

Hence, when you get an interview, you must make the most of it. Be prepared and let the interviewers know you are the best candidate.

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