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Success on the Medical School Admission Interview

Success on the Medical School Admission Interview

A successful interview is an important step in securing admission to medical or other professional schools and programs. Although the process differs from school to school, certain basic features characterize the various programs. Most admission committees attempt to understand the "person" applying better in such areas as motivation, ability to work with other people, intellectual curiosity, values and empathy. Interview techniques vary, but most schools use low key, low pressure approaches to place the applicant at ease.

"Common Sense" preparation will improve your interview skills and increase chances of leaving a favorable impression. Certain types of questions are highly probable. (listed below are some typical questions.) Think out your answers. Practicing for your interviews helps if done properly.

    1. Tell me about your decision to pursue medicine? Who has been instrumental? Who - When - Why?
    2. What will you do if you are not accepted this year?
    3. Describe any experience in health care which will influence your career. (most meaningful)
    4. Have there been significant health events in your own family's life?
    5. Outside the classroom, what experiences and activities have helped you prepare for a career of service to others?
    6. What problems do medical students and residents face? Have you thought about how they might affect you and how you will deal with them?
    7. What problems loom in the years ahead for the profession of medicine and how might they affect you?
    8. Tell me about your hobbies and leisure time.
    9. What courses have you enjoyed most in college? What extra-curricular activities? Why?
    10. Do you have future plans about location or type of practice, residency training, research?
    11. What can be done to improve health care in rural areas?
    12. Describe three people who have profoundly influenced you (and through you will have an impact on your patients).
    13. Tell me what you feel is the strongest aspect of your academic preparation.
    14. Other questions may be likely - prepare answers to explain.
      1. changes in schools or majors
      2. low grades in key courses
      3. gaps in education or employment
    15. What attributes, based on your own health care experience, are desirable in physicians? Give examples:
    16. If policies are adopted at the national level to address deficiencies in our health care system they might affect the way you practice medicine. How?
    17. Discuss an ethical issue which will likely confront you as a physician.
    18. What role should the profession (you will join) of medicine play collectively in the future to promote quality health care?
    19. What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?
    20. Tell me some important things about yourself which do not appear in your application materials.
    21. What are the driving forces in your life?
    22. If you were the physician of a young college patient, how would you go about convincing him/her that an amputation was necessary to cure a condition just discovered?
    23. Discuss a crisis in your life.
    24. Who are your heroes?

Some interviewers allow you to ask questions about the school. Prepare for this.

    1. What programs/policies are being implemented to correct deficiencies disclosed by faculty, students or testing results?
    2. Tell me about opportunities for primary care, rural practice experience and research.
    3. What aspects of this school do graduating seniors rank as the most outstanding?
    4. How is an emphasis placed on problem - based - learning in the curriculum?

Think about additional likely questions and your answers. Dress conservatively. Maintain a cordial demeanor. Keep eye contact. You want to leave a favorable impression that you are a motivated, reasonable, caring person who will be a "good physician". It is ok to say you appreciate the opportunity of an interview and would appreciate the support of your interviewer as the committee considers your application.

In September of each year, BSC conducts mock interviews for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The simulated interviews are led by local health-care professionals, some of whom have served on admission committees. Following the interview, the student is provided both written and verbal feedback on interviewing techniques and suggestions for improvement. BSC strongly encourages you to participate each year in this activity.