Medical School Interview

If you get invited for an interview, you know your application passed the preliminary screening. Your test scores, academic record, recommendations, and personal statement are at least minimally acceptable. However, medical schools interview many more students than they can accommodate. You may be interviewed by one or several people; interviewers may be a faculty (clinical or basic sciences), admissions’ officers, or students. The invitation to interview at a medical school usually includes orientation, a tour of facilities, lunch, and two to three 30-60 minute interviews. Dress nicely and look your best. This is a professional, not a social, occasion.

The most important advice to follow is also probably the hardest: be yourself and relax. While you should try to anticipate questions the interviewers are likely to ask, you should not prepare "pat" answers for questions. Be honest in your answers. Many times the interviewer is less concerned with your answer than with the reasoning which prompted it. 

A short list of the many personal qualities that admissions’ committees seek includes: integrity, motivation, altruism, self-discipline, stamina, communication skills, and individuality. They try to summarize your total accomplishments--academic record, honors and awards, extracurricular activities, employment, hobbies, community service, and demonstration of leadership skills, to name a few--and to get a feel for your personal qualities. It is easy to claim a particular quality, but that claim is verified only through actions and accomplishments.

The following is a list of questions typically asked in a medical school interview and the underlying purpose of the questions.


Why do you want to be a doctor?


(Motivation, evidence of sincerity, a realistic outlook, goals, ambition)


Tell me about yourself!


(Diversified background and interests, record of achievement and accomplishments, commitment, maturity, priorities, self-confidence, medical  experience/exposure, communication skills, a self-concept, realistic outlook)


What are your strengths and weaknesses?


(A self-concept, realistic outlook, handling of stress, difficulties, or success, honesty, creativity)


Tell me about your family.


(Influence of your environment, priorities, commitment, diversified interests)


How did your undergraduate education prepare you for medical school?


(Ambition, commitment, planning goals, well-rounded interests and experiences)


What are some the major problems that medicine faces today, and how would you solve them?


(Medical experiences, exposure, knowledge of current events and medicine as a profession, reasoning and analytical ability, creativity)


What do you think about abortion, euthanasia, animal research, confidentiality, etc.?


(Personal ethics, reasoning ability, priorities, communication skills)


Why did you select our school?


(Commitment, planning, priorities)


What medical experiences have you had?


(Knowledge of the profession and its demands, rewards, problems, planning and commitment)


Why should we accept you over another applicant?


(Unique qualities, personal characteristics, expectations, self concept)


What will you do if you are not accepted?


(Commitment, a realistic outlook, goals, planning)


How will you finance medical school?


(Planning, a realistic outlook)


What do you think about socialized medicine/National Health Program/financing medical costs, government intervention in medicine?


(Knowledge of current events in medicine, priorities, future expectations)


What specialty do you plan to pursue?


(Planning, motivation, sincerity, outlook)

The interviewer will invariably ask you whether you have any questions. Be prepared to ask questions; review any brochures and catalogs available and ask about those subjects that interest you.

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