5 Steps to Ace a Medical School Interview
If you have made it this far, then you probably had a killer personal statement, extensive extracurriculars, and stellar scores. You also knocked your secondaries out of the park. But an interview will test your interpersonal communication skills in a way that the other steps did not. We'll go over some things you can do to prepare for your interview day.
Note: Most medical schools will make applicants sign a nondisclosure agreement. While you will not know the specific questions you will be asked, you can and should still prepare beforehand.
- Know your application. Your interviewer is trying to determine if you will be a good fit for their school. Depending on the school and interviewer, they may or may not have read your application. However, you should assume they know everything in it. That being said, your interview is your chance to plug yourself. Highlight your best features in your application as you answer their questions. This is your chance to go into more detail and to convince your interviewer that you will be an asset to their school.
- Have an answer to the basic interview questions. Although you may not know the exact questions each school will ask, you can bet on having a few of the following: What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses? Why do you want to be a doctor? Why do you want to attend X school? Tell me about yourself. Have an answer to these questions, but also back up your reasoning with concrete examples.
- Get reading! Interviewers sometimes ask about current events and ethical issues. It is a good practice to stay up to date on major healthcare news; and make sure you can navigate a conversation about current topics. If you don't already, start reading books on healthcare in America or on medicine in general. The more you know, the better you will do.
- End with engaging questions. Don't forget, you are also interviewing them! This is the time to get in any questions you may have about the school. Do not ask questions that can be easily answered on the school's website. You want to convey your interest for the individual school, but also see if it will be a good match for you.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. If you have an advisor, schedule a practice interview. Ask an accepted student to help you with your answers. You should practice until you can answer all questions with confidence, while still getting in the points you want to highlight in your profile. Have your practice interviewer make notes of any jittering, foot tapping, or an excess of "umms."
Be proud that you have been selected for an interview, but do not take it as an acceptance. You may look good on paper, but you still need to prove your worth in person.