Medical

Commonly Asked Med School Interview Questions

Find a list of commonly asked med school interview questions, along with some other help tips to prepare for your med school interview.


Well, you arrived on time, and your suitcase managed to make the connecting flight too. Your dress clothes are only a little wrinkled, and you even know how you’ll get to the campus in the morning. Now all that’s left is…the actual med school interview. Good thing you read this blog and came prepared because you definitely don’t want to walk in without a plan.

Here’s the thing about med school interviews. How you answer questions is just about as important as the answers themselves. Read on to find out ways to prepare for the big day and leave a positive impression.

 

commonly asked med school interview questionsPractice, Practice, Practice

Start preparing for med school interviews early by practicing. And we mean actual practice—speaking out loud to a friend, family member, peer, cat, goldfish, or your favorite plant. When it comes to which interview questions to practice with, there are several different categories that you’ll want to pull from.

 

commonly asked med school interview questionsTypes of Questions

First, there are the med school interview questions specifically about you. Examples of these types of questions include:

      • Tell me about yourself.
      • Why do you want to be a physician?
      • What do you view as one of your greatest accomplishments?
      • Have you ever experienced failure?
      • Who was your best teacher? Why?
      • Why did you choose your undergraduate major?
      • If you didn’t go to medical school, what would your plans be?


Then there are interview questions related to the field of medicine:

      • What characteristics do you feel are important for being a physician?
      • If you could choose one problem to solve in the healthcare field, what would it be?
      • In the next decade, what are likely to be the greatest challenges in medicine?
      • What type of career do you hope to have in medicine (e.g. rural practice, academic center, research focus, primary care, specialized)? Why?
      • Why choose medicine instead of another professional career in which you could help others and have a significant impact?


Beyond these broader interview questions about medicine, be ready for questions that connect to each unique program:

      • Why are you interested in our program?
      • Which of our program’s opportunities do you plan to pursue while studying here?
      • What do you know about our program’s curriculum?
      • Do you think medical education curricula should be competency-based instead of time-based?

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If you are also considering applying to a joint degree program, a research role, or specific service opportunities be prepared for related questions.

And finally anticipate some questions that get more directly at thought processes and perspectives:

      • Do you think physicians should have an active role in shaping healthcare policy?
      • From your perspective, how does the US healthcare system compare to those of other countries?
      • Tell me about a time you experienced conflict when working as part of a team. How did you respond?
      • What do you anticipate being some of your greatest challenges in medical school?

 

Also, be prepared for questions about frequently debated topics within healthcare. As with all multifaceted issues, there is no clear-cut right answer to these med school interview questions. Especially with questions like these, the interviewer is looking more at your thought process in tackling a complicated topic than a “correct answer.” So don’t be afraid to think out loud!

Of course there are a whole lot of other questions you might be asked. But even if you never get asked one of the med school interview questions on this list, practicing with a variety of prompts will help you organize your thoughts and responses for unexpected questions.

Alright, with all this in mind, consider how you are going to answer questions. Regardless of the question, think about how you might connect your responses to specific, personal experiences that you’ve reflected on and learned from. What challenges have you faced? How do you respond to the unexpected? In what ways have you grown from an experience? In what ways are you still growing? It’s okay that not all of your experiences are directly related to medicine. It’s also okay that you haven’t figured out the answers to all the problems in medicine. You can still share how you think about some of these problems and how you might go about addressing them—even if only on a small scale.

 

commonly asked med school interview questionsHave a Conversation

Though you might feel like you are “on the spot” during a med school interview, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have a conversation. An interview is your opportunity to get to know the med school too. And while you should definitely be ready for that final question—Do you have any questions for us?—you also don’t have to wait until the very end. Throughout the interview you can ask questions or for more clarity about areas of particular interest as they arise. You might ask different questions of different interviewers as well. Admissions, faculty, and current students can all give you unique perspectives on their program. And when the interview concludes, don’t forget to thank everyone for their time, conducting hundreds of interviews is a lot of work!

Well now that your goldfish knows all about your future goals in medicine, you can walk into your medical school interview with confidence! Unless of course, he steals your answers…

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