Your interview is a crucial step in the application process for medical school. An invitation to an interview typically indicates that you have the academic credentials needed for admission.
Your chosen school is now interested in learning more about you. They want to see if you possess the character traits they value, such as strong interpersonal skills, moral character, leadership potential, capacity to make sound decisions, and sincere enthusiasm for their institution.
During the interview, you can express your strengths, interests, objectives, and values. Remember that while the interview gives the school a chance to assess you, it also gives you a chance to learn more about the institution.
This article focuses on the preparation tips for your medical school interview. If you want to learn more, please stay on this page.
10 Preparation Tips for Medical School Interviews
Underestimating the significance of the interviews is the biggest mistake med students make. Your interview guarantees your entrance into the medical school of your dreams.
You must give it everything you've got and put your best foot forward. Your medical school interview might make or break your chances of getting accepted. Each medical school has a unique interview structure, and researching interview procedures can be challenging.
Here are the preparation tips for medical school interviews to make it easier for you.
1. Conduct Your Research
Understanding each medical school, you will be interviewing at in-depth is a terrific place to start. Each medical school is distinct, specializes in different medical fields, and has its own mission statement.
Take a peek at the medical school's mission statement to get started. Then, find a medical school that shares your philosophy of life. It will help you determine whether the medical school's objectives align with your own and what qualities it values in potential students.
2. Keep Up With the Latest Medical News
You will likely be asked a question about a recent development in medicine. Thus, being current with global events is essential to your success. In addition, observe political developments, mainly when they affect health care.
For example, the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), which publishes original research, reviews, and other medical articles, is a great resource.
You will likely be asked to express your opinion on some contentious topics, like marijuana use and abortion. The interviewers are more interested in learning about your knowledge of these issues. There are no right and wrong answers.
3. Practice Organizing Your Thoughts Before Answering Questions Right Away
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. Learn how to speak at an average pace without seeming to hurry.
Be prepared to answer questions about personal concerns, rambling off a list of knowledge questions like those on game shows, or expressing disdain for practically everything you say.
Interviewers anticipate that you will have a ready response to only some queries. However, they expect that you will be able to think quickly and provide a thoughtful response.
4. Determine What Kind of Interview You Will Have
There are four interview formats in medical school. You must know which interview formats your preferred medical school(s) will use to prepare appropriately.
The invitation will often outline the interview process and what to expect on the interview day.
For your reference, here are the different formats for medical school interviews.
This reasonably simple interview approach entails a formal interview with one or more interviewers, who frequently switch off asking you questions. Senior staff employees, faculty, senior students, and practicing doctors, among other backgrounds, could be the interviewers.
Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI)
The MMI interview is a situational judgment test with numerous interviewers who evaluate each candidate separately. You move between eight to twelve interview stations while being questioned by the interviewers. They could be academic members, senior medical students, members of the general public, healthcare workers, etc.
You are given a specific question or prompt at each station, which may be related to a policy, an ethical dilemma, or a more conventional issue.Alternately, you can be required to respond to a particular situation while "acting" out your response at an acting station.
Modified Personal Interview (MPI)
In this interview, you visit four stations and speak to another interviewer. They will probe you on particular areas of your application and qualifications.
You will have a semi-structured open-file format interview in which there are no prompts. Instead, a series of questions based on your application are asked.
This can include conducting many sessions of various interviews over an entire interview day.
Alternatively, you can be required to complete multiple interviews within a single interview session. This includes a regular interview followed by a condensed MMI with fewer stations, an MPI followed by an MMI, etc.
5. Do Mock Interviews
A mock interview is an interview with a different person who can respond to your questions just like the interviewer.
A successful interview depends on preparation. Practicing mock interviews is a great way to gather feedback from individuals who have been in your shoes.
Finding out your strengths and, on the other hand, your limitations will be made easier for you if you practice talking about yourself in a mock interview. To make your strengths and flaws more appealing to the interviewer, find out how to convey them.
Mock interviews can assist you in learning more about what is expected of you during an interview and how to respond to inquiries effectively. In addition, you can teach them what to avoid doing in an interview and how to prepare effectively.
6. Make a List of Possible Interview Questions
While you have yet to determine the exact questions that will be asked, you must be aware of the possible topics and questions in medical school interviews. Therefore, prepare a notebook and write all the possible questions to ask.
Have this notebook with you anytime, anywhere. Try to compose an answer that will impress the interviewer. If you need to research specific topics and questions, do it while you still have the time.
7. Do Not Memorize Your Answers
Some students believe memorizing their responses is an excellent way to prepare for an interview. They think that if a question arises for which they have extensively designed, they can (re-)state a prepared answer and impress their interviewers. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth than this.
To begin with, a canned response will always come across as false or insincere. Instead, interviewers are interested in learning about you as a person and your experiences, successes, and reasons for choosing to become a doctor.
Every year, evaluators hear dozens, if not hundreds, of students respond to these questions, and they can discern a rehearsed response from a genuine one without losing their cool.
The second problem with memorizing answers is that it frequently has the opposite effect. You might get thrown off guard if you get a slightly varied form of the question you are prepared for.
Some students repeat what they have memorized in this circumstance, which is now probably unsuitable. Hence, the answers do not directly address the topic or might contain unnecessary details.
8. Improve Your Communication Technique
You must pay attention to how you talk as you practice and aim to increase your overall coherence and eloquence. As mentioned before, rehearsing with model questions and conducting mock interviews with qualified commentary is the best approach to achieve this.
You can also record yourself while you practice to identify your areas for development and work on them. You should practice for a few weeks before your communication abilities reach the necessary level.
This self-improvement can take time to happen. This is why you must begin your interview preparation early. Start preparing before you get an interview invitation from the school/s you are applying for.
9. Examine Your Application Carefully
It takes a lot of reflection to get ready for an interview. However, to share them with others, which is precisely what you will do in your interview, you must first understand yourself, your decisions, and your motives.
You might anticipate hearing standard med school interview questions like "Why medicine?" The dreaded "Tell me about yourself" question and "Why do you want to be a doctor?".
These are not questions that can be addressed on the spot. Instead, they require extensive brainstorming and careful consideration.
10. Prepare Questions for the Interviewer in Advance
If the interviewer asks you if you have any questions for them, always be prepared with questions to ask. This is crucial to demonstrate your commitment to their program and your study of the school, program, teachers, and curriculum.
Be careful not to ask questions that can be answered by conducting basic online research or visiting the schools' websites. Instead, ask them specific questions about features of their programs that relate to your abilities, areas of interest in research, aspirations for your future job, etc.
You can consult them for guidance on your future career, medical school, admission procedure, etc. You could ask a more entertaining or individualized inquiry if you still have time.
What To Do on the Day of Medical School Interview
The big day has arrived, but do not freak out! There are only a few more things to consider.
The interview should feel natural or even illuminating for you and your committee. If you have kept a wise and consistent preparation plan up to this time, you should be good to go.
Here are a few tips on what to do on the day of your medical school interview.
1. Arrive on Time
The last thing you need on the day of your interview is additional tension, which will inevitably occur unless you give yourself enough time.
So, you should attend the venue the day before your interview. This allows you plenty of time to acclimate to your new surroundings, especially if you have flown in for this interview.
To feel confident and at ease during your interview, you should tour the campus and locate your specific interview room (and what awaits you inside). It also gives you time to unwind, settle down, and get a decent night's sleep if you arrive the day before.
On the day of your interview, you should arrive about 20 to 30 minutes before registration. Give yourself more time if you are driving solo so you have time for parking and navigation.
You can even do some meditation or, at the very least, sit quietly and calm your breathing before the interview to prevent looking hurried or uneasy.
2. Dress Professionally
To dress professionally is to dress appropriately. Remember that your evaluators will determine if you are qualified for the position.
Therefore, you send a message that you do not care about the interview or maintain minimal decorum if you arrive in pajamas or jeans.Suppose you are still determining what might look good with a suit – put on something comfortable, and take it to the interview to see if it would work. The first impression is essential. Purchasing a suit that fits properly is advised for regular use and interviews.
3. Maintain Eye Contact
Try your best to maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Understandably, given the time constraints, you may become sidetracked during an interview.
As a result, you may look away from the interviewer and toward something else, stopping that from happening.
Focus on what the interviewer is saying and repeat it to them in your own words if you feel you need more time. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you comprehend their inquiry.
4. Be Humble
Even if you have the top MCAT score in your state and the highest GPA in your class, you will probably kill your chances of admittance if you come across as arrogant and haughty.
Being a doctor requires a certain confidence level, but this should never be mistaken for conceit. A doctor is far more likely to err when they are haughty.
Never assume that you are an expert in anything. Being a doctor also needs a commitment to lifelong learning.
5. Be Mindful of Your Body Language
There is a rationale for avoiding crossing your arms during interviews. Crossing your arms suggests that you are "closed off" or that you are not interested.
Instead, find something to do with your hands that is relaxing and not distracting.
Usually, your portfolio will contain documents. Therefore, it is typically a good idea to latch onto it first. Then, keep your legs and feet "silent," just as you would your hands.
Nothing is more distracting than the room shaking due to your faster than Thumper ground hammering.
6. Be Genuine
Being authentic in your interview is our top advice for medical school candidates.
Beyond your academics and MCAT results, interviewers want to know more about you. Therefore, please prove that you possess the traits they are looking for in their prospects.
Be genuine; do not portray someone you are not. You must be sincere in your interview, whether it has an open or closed file format. They are aware of your lies; if they are not, they will become aware of them. If that happens, you will not be granted admission.
7. Ask Great Questions
A conversation with significant give and take makes for the ideal interview. Do not treat the interview as a question-and-answer session.
Avoid asking a question that you might easily find the answer to on the school's website or in one of their pamphlets because you should already be well-informed about it.
Instead, when evaluating a medical school program, take the chance to learn more about the professors, research possibilities, availability of internships, or anything else that is essential to you.
8. Ask for Clarifications…If Needed
Many students would have liked to have done this but were too anxious to do it. Ask for clarification if you are given a question you need help understanding.
Even if you think it is foolish, it is better to ask than to stumble through a whole response to have the interviewer point out that it is not what they requested.
Be engaged! Avoid letting anxiety keep your mouth shut. Because you are the interview's main subject, feel free to participate fully.
Be friendly and attempt to let go of all that depends on this interview so you can converse with the person.
For example, suppose you genuinely care about medicine and the institution you are interviewing with. In that case, you should use this emotional connection to help you ask the right questions and give a complete answer.
Additional FAQs – Preparation Tips for Medical School Interviews
How Long Should I Prepare for a Medical School Interview?
When Should I Start Preparing for Medical School Interviews?
Some medical schools only offer you a couple of weeks' notice, so it is a good idea to start getting ready for a potential interview as soon as you submit your application.