Interview Question Tips

Remember – the interview can count between 35 and 65% of an applicant’s total score – it is an opportunity for the program to assess face to face what an applicant is “made of” – What are many schools trying to assess --- the future successful student A Possible Profile of Successful Applicants and a future successful student Interview questions are typically designed to identify strengths and weaknesses for all of these criteria. The often probe the following five areas through an assortment of question types: a) Clinical experience - students who have been exposed to the reality of medicine and the exhaustive commitment that is required. Ideal candidates usually have experience working in an emergency room, in a doctor's office or in another hands-on position with patients. Be prepared to discuss your experience, including volunteer work, and how it shaped your understanding of medicine – if you have specific or unique experiences, share these with the interviewer – leave an impression of an understanding of your experiences b) Knowledge of the field. Be prepared to discuss different specialty areas in medicine and their responsibilities. Interviewers will also expect you to discuss current issues in medicine, including managed care, malpractice concerns, ethical issues and challenges in the field. c) Personality. Doctors must have the ability to communicate clearly, handle life and death issues, manage stress and successfully interact with people from all walks of life. Be prepared to demonstrate that you are a happy, healthy, well-adjusted person with a strong commitment to helping other people and a clear ability to communicate – a comfort in speaking with other, clear diction, eye contact, confident but not overbearing posture. d) Motivation. For too many years, applicants flooded medical schools because they wanted to make the "big bucks". Others were pushed into the field by well-meaning parents who were also successful physicians. Neither motivation is adequate during difficult times if your heart is not truly committed to the field. Medical schools carefully screen out applicants who are unable to clearly articulate why they want to be a doctor and what contribution they hope to make to the field. Be prepared to discuss your specific interest in medicine and to demonstrate a path of increasing responsibility in a health care environment. e) Balance. The also seek applicants who are well-rounded and well-adjusted. There's nothing more disheartening than an applicant who looks great on paper who can only talk about their grades. There's much more to life and medicine than memorizing facts and

It's ok not to know the answer to a question. Understand that some interviewers may not have read your application or may not recall it. This is reflected through knowledge of current events. Read the catalog beforehand and use it to create questions. what you found. Good questions demonstrate your enthusiasm and intelligence. Try to relax and enjoy yourself. If it isn't one of your top choices. research opportunities. but don't be overly self-confident. • • • • • • • • • • • • • Prep For The Following Questioins: . sustained interest in hobbies and outside interests and a strong interactive role Pointers and Theoretic Question Areas • Be enthusiastic about the school. Try to strike a balance between self confidence and humility. but don't practice too much because you don't want to look like you've rehearsed too much. but your questions should show that you are familiar with the school. Always emphasize that you are seriously considering the program even if it isn't one of your top choices. friends and the world around them. full of life. Successful applicants are animated. If you did research. Bring up your strong points. Be prepared for an interviewer to bring up your weak points or ask you for your input on your weak points. with enthusiasm for their family. Know why you want to go there and be able to provide 4 or 5 reasons when you're asked. don't say so. When asked why you applied. and why it's important.regurgitating them. Have questions to ask. be prepared to talk about it. don't say that you applied because you thought you had a good chance of being accepted. Listen carefully to the interviewer and often you will get clues or hints as to what they are interested in. Be prepared to fill them in on your qualifications and experience. Just say so. Dress appropriately. Be neat and comfortable. methodology. Consider your responses to questions beforehand. You should know the overall goal. Be able to discuss your part and contribution to the research. and so on. Ask about unclear aspects of their curriculum.

“mission trip”.How do you describe yourself? What do you view as your strengths? Your weaknesses? Why do you want to be a ______? How do you see yourself contributing to this field? What steps have you taken to acquaint yourself with what a _________ does? Which aspects of your life’s experiences make you a good candidate for this profession? How do you see yourself in 10 to 20 years? In what kind of setting would you like to practice or work? Do you have alternative plans should you not receive an acceptance? What factors have influenced your decision to become a __________? What are the traits of a good _____________? How would you describe your undergraduate experience? How have you benefited from these years? What do you do during summers? Tell me about your non-academic interests – hobbies. sports. leisure time or community activities? Tell me something about your experience with people. etc…. What was your level of involvement? Describe your “research project”. What are the advantages of being a professional in this field? How do you handle ethical dilemmas? What are the most pressing problems facing health care/education/business/research in this country? How do you deal with stress? Why is there a discrepancy between “your GPA and your admission test scores”? Do you have any questions about this school. its programs. or anything in particular? .

hard working. include some of these qualities as qualities which you posses and like to put to good use by being a physician. What kind of experiences do you have in the medical field? This is an excellent opportunity to discuss some of the strong points in your application. Other questions within the same category would include: 1. career plans. Spend some time in developing your answer to this as a poorly stated answer can really demote you in the ranks." This answer incorporates compassion and desire to help with your search for an intellectually fulfilling career. after a few interviews.. Keep in mind . Always say the truth. Do you have family members who are doctors? What do they think of the field? How has their lives changed over the past few years with the changes in medicine? Do you want to follow in their footsteps? (be careful with this one. say the truth: I am not certain which field of medicine I will be best suited for. you should keep in mind that many medical schools are having a push towards primary care. In formulating your answer. Did anyone you know influence your choice of career? 2. you will have developed your own unique answer. POSITIVE. extracurricular and research experiences. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – YOURSELF!!!! Greet you interviewer. I hope to find the answer during my clinical rotations!) 3. For example.Be prepared to talk about ANYTHING in your personal statement. I have always looked forward to a career that would allow me to make a difference in other people's lives. engage them in conversation. etc. This does not mean that you should be dishonest and lie about what you want to do. Even if you don't. academic. application. keep in mind that many schools have been pressured into graduating more students interested in primary care specialties! 4. my response was "I like the intellectual challenge of being a physician. compassionate.e. You should think about what a good physician possesses. i. Which field of medicine are you interested in? Again. This question may be a disguised way to ask you "what specialty you are interested in?" In answering this type of questions. look them in the eye. If you are uncertain about what you will want to do. ENGAGING. etc!!! IMPORTANT!!! BE PREPARED. he needs to be intelligent. remember to present a confident posture – don’t wait on all the questions – don’t give short answers and wait on the next answer – engage a discussion and conversation but do not dominate conversation and “chatter on” What might you be asked? One common question is "why do you want to be a doctor?" The admission committee knows that you have a preplanned answer for this question.

their early clinical training. Similar questions would include: 1. and I can see that your institution is interested in genetics of cancer development. Usually they are trying to see if you are practical enough to have applied to back up programs in case you fail to enter an elite program. However. Does that concern you? Why? Why not? What other interests do you have? Like answering all other questions. I have also shown a practical approach in dealing with difficult issues. I can not make a final decision until I have completed all my interviews. I was involved with qtl analysis of osteosarcomas. Would you go to our program if I gave you an acceptance letter now?-. Where do you see yourself in 15 years? (what specialty will you be in/ where do you plan to practice) are all the same questions! Why did you apply to our school? This is when having done all the reading and research about the school becomes very handy. Relate your strengths to those of the program. --I love doing research. What other programs have you applied to? Why? Would you prefer to stay on the East or West Coast? --list the programs for them. Be prepared to . 2. I have shown my interest in their program. stating that you want to return to your country will unquestionably count against you. I am not rushing into making such a significant decision in my life. etc. Discuss two or three hobbies. You have lived in Hawaii for the past 20 years. why would you consider moving to NY now for medical school? 5. you want to be concise and specific. Discuss the excellent research programs. Our school is now looking for a new dean (a new hospital or any other issues with an uncertain future). The state/federal government (depending on the school you are applying to) is partly funding your medical education. Why should we choose you? Discuss you strengths. 6. 3. the pass fail system.You need to be both enthusiastic as well as practical in answering this question. Where do you plan to practice? If you are a foreign student. My approach would probably be to say that I love their program. Certain programs will prefer to train physicians who will work in the undeserved areas of the country. What are your goals in medicine? Answer this one in a similar fashion to why you want to be a doctor. you may want to ask the interviewer about his hobbies. 7. 4.that some interviewers do not have time to read all of your submitted information (but some will read everything in detail and will ask you questions to double check some of your statements!) 5.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? What would you change about yourself? 9. you like to convey that you get along with most people well. What was the last book you read? What did you think about it? Would you recommend that I read it? The last movie you saw? What did you think of it? 4. You may even want to bring up this subject when you are asked "do you have any more questions?". One good book that I had used in undergrad was the Merck manual which discusses most common illnesses. you need to depend on other residents to get many tasks accomplished. think about what you will discuss very carefully. you depend on your scrub nurse and assistants. think of something similar for yourself. however. 5. Make sure that your enthusiasm is at its highest when you talk about medicine! 6. What was the last medical book that you read/studied? If you have not studied one. Is there something about you that would make it difficult to get along with you? What type of people do you get along with well? --good physicians have to be able to work with all types of personalities throughout their training. everyone has looked at medical books when someone in the family has been sick.) event of your life? 11. add that you have been successful in working with these types of people (by putting forth more effort on your side)! This is what I honestly felt when I was asked this question. Use it to your advantage. If you had one day to do anything. Imagine that you find a lamp that gives you three wishes? What would they be? . what are your strengths? 7. You should. In general. Describe the most exciting (scary. would you want to know which plants were poisonous? 8. 1. State the obvious like the need for increased studying. 10. your studies! Always keep in mind that your studies come first.defend yourself if you are asked about your time commitment to these hobbies vs. As residents. you may discuss that working with people that do not give their best effort may be difficult. As surgeons. what three books would you want to have with you and why? --think of practical books or possibly spiritual ones. etc. unusual. Do you plan to continue your hobbies through medical school? 2. you may want to add that you can handle this sudden increase in your workload based on some previous quarter or semester in which you took 5000 units. 13. etc! 12. what would you do? 3. How would your friends describe your personality? --AKA. If you were stranded in an island. To show that you are hardworking (hopefully one of your pre-planned strong points). Which classes did you enjoy most? Why? --talk with great enthusiasm when you are talking about things you like in general. What do you think will be the most difficult aspect of medical school? --don't come up with multiple answers which would convince the interviewer that you would have a tough time in medical school. You want to maximize your chance of survival in the island. For example. But usually. etc. don't lie. Why did you do so poorly in bio 191? --this is a good opportunity to defend or explain bad grades.

If you are held up at gunpoint with you wife (mom. you must ensure that fraudulent data does not get published. who would it be? --family members (like your dad) would be an easy way to go. 4. What qualities would you look for in your patients? 16. the patient health comes first! --I was shocked to see this actually happen in our class. lost. etc.). In this example. Describing his good qualities and comparing them to your own qualities is yet another opportunity to sell yourself. You need to show your compassionate side with this question. You can discuss making a web page for children with cerebral palsy. 15. what would you be and why? 17. Would you get out of you car in a highway to help an accident victim? Exactly what would you do? --you may want to call 911 immediately and get out and help as much as you can subsequently! Don't forget to be practical. maybe talk to the student or some higher authority. What would you do? 5. What would you do if you saw a fellow med student cheating on an exam?--Keep in mind. Tell me about something that you know a lot about? --this could be a hobby or anything you feel like you are an expert in. 18. Have you always put forth your best effort in every situation? --you need to balance being modest with guaranteeing that you will do your best at all times in medical school. What are your thoughts on abortion? Euthanasia? 3. Who do you admire the most in your life? If you could chose one figure in history to have dinner with. What qualities would you look for in a doctor? --think of all your strength and stress the importance of possessing them as a doctor! You need to remind the interviewer that you possess all these strengths.14. You need to ensure that this does not happen again. Falsified data may support the wrong conclusions which can hurt the health of many people. Don't let the data get published! 1. computer data being changed. Use these opportunities as the interviewer may not ask you about your strengths and weaknesses. you may want to speak to the chairman or dean. What do you think of affirmative action? 6. always.). Talk for a few minutes and pause to see the interviewer's reaction (this holds true for all the answers!) If you find that the professor with whom you have done research has changed some of the data before publication. And. If you could be any animal/body organ/cell. what would you do? These are the infamous ethical questions that you will undoubtedly be asked in some form or other. If you get out to . etc. etc. How would you tell your patient that he has cancer? --this is one of the most difficult aspects of bedside manners. Don't forget that you want to be concise. You may want to discuss the matter with your professor to ensure that an honest mistake has not occurred (somehow. 19. keep in mind that you are obligated to do no harm to the patient. 2. If you have no luck persuading you professor to change the data back. Always do the right thing and not the politically correct thing.

If an Aids patient were bleeding profusely from a laceration. How would you improve access to care in this country? 5. 1. HMO's. Think of some plausible responses and be concise and specific. ALSO: . What do you think of herbal/alternative medicine? Should people choose them over traditional medicine? What would you do if a family member decides to solely depend on alternative medicine for his treatment of a significant illness (cancer. State that your answer is only one of many possibilities.? 3. etc. your presence may be a complete waste unless you can perform trauma surgery! 7.)? 2. You will find out how you can improve your application and apply again. 7. etc. How would you control the cost of healthcare? --hay. PPO's. what would you do? What if you do not have gloves? What if you have an open sore on your hands? This was probably the most difficult question that I was asked during my interviews. What do you think of the doctor shortage/oversupply in different areas? How would you improve this situation? 9. Do you think doctors are getting paid too much? Too little? Do you think that decreasing the salaries of physicians can solve our healthcare cost issues? How about socialized medicine? 8.D. to yourself! What is the most difficult issue facing the medical community? How about doctors in general? Your reading of the newspapers keeps you up to date with the current issues in medicine. nobody has figured that one out yet. degrees. Try to list the different possible scenarios for the future of medicine. Do you feel that the government should be involved with mandating insurance? Subsidizing insurance? 6. How would you improve our preventive care settings? 4. etc. You need to balance your obligation to the public vs. You should feel comfortable discussing the health cost and access issues that have been raised. Don't pretend like you know all the answers.help and never call 911. get your master or Ph. What are your thoughts on Medicare reform? Capitation. Why do you think the number of applicants has been growing every year despite the problems we face in medicine? What would you do if you do not get into medical school this year? You need to convey that you will not give up. You may want to do an extra year of research.

eth program you are applying for and its location. www. “um”. and words such as “like”.Use the student doctor network and the Pre-Health Interest Groups to find out about student experiences www.Practice interviewing by answering questions in front of a mirror.net for MD. What to do after the interview . handwritten thank you notes to each person who interviewed you .us/reviews for MD/PhD programs. newspapers. dental and pharmacy feedback. ..Please fill out the questionnaire from the advising center to help other students in the future . . journals. Work on delivery and answers – watch for overuse of hands. friend or family member.) . city. DO.Send personal.intransit. etc.Think of questions you would like to ask the interviewer – be prepared for questions that might result from the interviewer in response to your question.Do your homework about the schools you are interviewing with – know about the school.Brush up on current issues in your area of interest (check websites. etc.studentdoctor. “and” .

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