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Medical School Interviews: 10 Commonly Asked Questions

Discussion in 'Medical Students Cafe' started by Riham, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. Riham

    Riham Bronze Member

    Jan 13, 2016
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    You have taken the MCAT. You have applied to the perfect number of medical schools. You are now ready for the medical school interview process.

    For a pretty comprehensive book on Medical School Interviews, check out Medical School Interview Guide: Preparation and Practice for Medical School Admissions 7514f7ea61f1519ecfe4afa2fcd5b818._.gif .
    The following questions are often asked and you should have answers prepared for each of them. Ask a friend, advisor, teacher or parent to sit down with you to practice answering questions. It is not a bad idea for you to try to record yourself so you can get feedback.
    • Why do you want to be a doctor?
      • Be honest. Unless of course you only want to be a doctor because of money. Which you shouldn’t, but that’s a whole different topic.
    • When did you decide that you wanted to go to medical school?
      • Remember to make this unique to you. Do not make up a story, but try to add “You” to the story. Many fellow applicants will have similar stories about family members being sick and spending time in the hospital. Try to give a personal twist on why you decided that you to want to be a doctor.
    • Why do you want to go to our medical school?
      • The answer might be simple in your mind – “Because you’re the only school that is interviewing me!” Please don’t say that. Do your homework about the school. Look at the school’s website and their residency match list and pick out things you like that you can talk about. Do some research about the hospitals that they are affiliated with. Try to find well known alumni of the school and discuss their paths to medicine and how you may want to follow.
    • Why do you think our medical school would be a good fit for you?
      • This will take some time on your part, similar to the last question. Learn about the school, learn about their faculty, their facilities and their affiliated hospitals. Do they have a nice quiet location that will help you study, or are they in a busy city? In which environment will you be able to study effectively and succeed?
    • What would you do if you weren’t accepted to medical school?
      • Know your application. If there are weaknesses, interviewers might point them out and tell you that it will be hard to get in with those flaws. Be prepared to discuss how you will try to strengthen your application if you weren’t accepted the first time around. As an example, some applicants do research or get a job in health care as an EMT or medical assistant and then reapply. Also have an answer prepared for whether or not you would consider another profession if you didn’t get into medical school.
    • What do you think are the biggest problems with our current health care system?It is very important to stay abreast of current events in health care when on the interview trail. With all the debate over health care in the US today, there may be national news that interviewers want you to talk about. Being a physician today requires a lot more business savvy than ever before. Knowing how health care works, and having ideas about how could be fixed are great talking points during the interview.
    • What do you think are the most important characteristics of a physician? You might think “everything about me, obviously,” but again this is not the right answer. Think about what you would want in a physician treating one of your family members. Would you want a hard worker, someone who is the smartest person around, or maybe just somebody who cares? Whatever you think it is, answer honestly and back it up with WHY you think that.
    • Discuss your clinical experiences. If you are like me, then you won’t remember much (my wife tells me I don’t have the best memory). While you are shadowing or volunteering in a clinic, at some point each day, write down everything you did and everything you saw. Was there one particularly interesting patient? A rare diagnosis? Did the doctor let you do anything for the first time – how did that make you feel? Not only are these great experiences to talk about during your interview, but they make also be memories which you can draw upon for your personal statement.
    • Discuss your research experiences.
      • Similar to the tip for the last question, write down all of your research accomplishments. Don’t just talk about the results. Discuss the journey. Discuss any mistakes that you were able to overcome. It is easy to look at the end result of research, but it is the path to that result that will be memorable and make you stand out.
    • Expect some ethical questions concerning topics such as abortion, euthanasia, and stem cell research.
      • This is all on you. These are some of the more popular questions to ask because they allow the interviewer to get a sense of your thinking and your beliefs. There are no right answers here. Remember though, as a physician you may be treating people with different beliefs than you. You need to be able to communicate that while you may have your beliefs, you understand that not everybody shares them, and you can still respect and treat those patients equally and to the best of your ability.

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    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016

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