Interview season is upon us – both for medical school and residency. The interview is arguably the most important aspect of the application process – if you crush it, you have a great shot of getting accepted.
If you want to maximize your potential, we offer interview practice and personalized feedback. Learn more about our Interview Preparation services. Each purchase comes with a free copy of our “How to Ace the Interview” guide.
Onto the high yield tips to help you crush your medical school or residency interviews:
1. Prepare for Common Questions
There are certain questions that are very likely to be asked. Know how you would answer these questions. Do NOT to memorize your answers as you want a genuine natural answer – not something that comes across as rehearsed.
1. Tell me about yourself
2. Why do you want to become a physician (for medical school)
3. Why do you want to be an internist/psychiatrist/plastic surgeon (for residency)
4. Why are you interested in this school or program specifically?
5. We have more example questions, example answers, and other considerations in the Med School Insiders interview guides.
2. Research the School/Program
To answer the question above regarding why you are specifically interested in a program, it’s critical that you research the school.
This is a common point where many applicants falter. Be sure to know about the curriculum, research strengths, and other opportunities you may be interested in. It also doesn’t hurt to read up on some faculty and their areas of interest – both clinically and with regards to research.
Once you know the factors that make this program special and suited for your interests, mention it during your interview. Even if this is your last pick and more of a back up, you still need to act interested and know about their program. Show your interest through the background research you have done about the program.
3. Know Your Application Inside and Out
Absolutely anything on your application is fair game for the interview. It reflects poorly when an applicants is unable to discuss something on their application – this is a major red flag! More specifically, be sure to know your research, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities well. Often times interviewers are interested in your research and also want to see how you think. Being able to talk at length about your research is a must, especially at highly ranked academic institutions that prioritize research capabilities.
4. Practice with Mock Interviews
Don’t forget to practice! Answering interview questions in a formal environment is not always as straightforward as one may think. Be sure to practice with peers, colleagues, or a mentor. Career centers often offer free mock interviews to students. This is a time to work on your body language, verbal language, length of answers, and other factors. To take your interview skills to the next level and stand out from the rest, visit our Interview Preparation Service page to learn how you can practice with real doctors that have served on admissions committees and conducted hundreds of medical school and residency interviews.
Even though it’s practice, be sure to treat it like a real interview. Dress in your suit, answer questions like it was the real thing. It will help you tremendously come interview day.
5. Be Prepared to Discuss Current & Relevant Topics
Many medical school and residency applicants overlook the importance of being informed on important and relevant topics. Given the implications of health reform on our future practice of medicine, it is critical that you have at least a general understanding of recent changes in healthcare. Specifically, be able to discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA, otherwise known as “Obamacare”). You don’t have to be a political expert, but be able to speak intelligently about current events in medicine. If you are applying to residency, think about current issues and directions of your specialty. What is changing most rapidly in your field?
Going on that note, be careful not to mention political views as you do not know your interviewer’s stance. Always try to be as neutral as possible and avoid conversations regarding your political affiliation, whether liberal or conservative.
There’s a lot more that I couldn’t cover in this post. If you want to maximize your chances of acceptance and put your best foot forward, be sure to check out our Interview Services. There’s a lot more information including tips on scheduling, example questions and answers, financing the trip, thank you letters, dealing with anxiety, body language, and more.
Good luck with your interviews!