How to Prepare for a Medical School Interview?
What is a medical school interview?
Before we discuss how to prepare for a medical school interview, Let us take a look at what is a medical interview first.
A medical school interview is one of the most crucial parts of the medical school application. Waiting to hear whether or not you have been invited to participate in an interview is among the most nerve-wracking aspects of the entire process of applying to medical school. It is even more stressful than writing your personal statement, the AMCAS Work and Activities section, and those pesky secondaries.
Because of this, when you are finally extended an invitation to an interview, you typically let out a sigh of relief and experience a sense of validation for all of the hard work you have put in throughout your time in college and possibly post-baccalaureate studies.
Nevertheless, the anxiety returns not long after the brief celebration that you just had. What can you tell me about a typical interview day at a medical school? How do you plan to respond when asked common questions such as “Why do you want to be a doctor?” or “What type of career do you intend to pursue?”? How will you handle challenging Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) questions or questions regarding the current state of the healthcare system in the United States?
There is, fortunately, a methodical approach to distinguishing oneself during medical school interviews, just as there is for every other component of the application process. In this guide, we will show you exactly how to prepare for a medical school interview.
What is the importance of a medical school interview?
For you to be able to know how to prepare for a medical school interview well, we need to know why medical schools interview you. After all, they can learn a great deal about you from the materials you submit with your application, including the following:
- Academic readiness (GPA and MCAT score)
- Desire and fitness for becoming a physician (personal statement)
- Demonstrated longstanding commitment to medicine (AMCAS Work and Activities)
- Likelihood to gel with a particular school’s culture and offerings (secondary applications)
The response to that question is simple. During your interview, medical schools are most interested in learning the following information from you:
- That you have a friendly personality and that you get along well with others.
As a physician, you must be likable and personable because you will be interacting with people on a daily basis, whether they be patients, nurses, colleagues, or other medical professionals.
- That you don’t have significant interpersonal problems like arrogance or major social awkwardness, for example.
There aren’t many people who would want to spend time with someone who is either extremely full of themselves or unable to hold an interesting conversation.
- That you give the impression, both in person and in your application, of being polished and well-suited for a career in medicine.
It is possible to submit application materials that are free of errors if you are given an unlimited number of chances to write, rewrite, and edit your essays. On the other hand, it is much harder to cover up obvious flaws during a live in-person interview because the interview is happening in real time.
In line with this, it is evident that a medical school interview creates a big impact on how you’ll be able to stand out among medical school student applicants.
How to prepare for a medical school interview?
Below is the most basic but most important things you need to know about how to prepare for a medical school interview.
Studying your AMCAS and secondary application thoroughly is the first thing you ought to do in order to get ready for the interview you will have to take place at a particular school. If you mentioned a particular experience or covered a detail related to that experience on your application, you should be prepared to talk about it in greater depth when you go in for the interview.
If you’re going to be asked why you want to be a doctor or why you want to go to a specific school, you should aim to respond in a manner that is consistent with how you presented yourself in your application. While it is acceptable to add new information, stating reasons during your interview that is significantly different from what you wrote on your application may raise red flags.
Once you are familiar with every aspect of your application, you should go to the school’s page on the Student Doctor Network (SDN) and click on the “Interview Feedback” tab. This will show you a list of questions that interviewees have been asked at that school, as well as information such as whether interviews are held one-on-one or in a group format, whether interviews are held the open file or closed file, and so on. You should not only practice answering general questions, but you should also make it a point to study and practice answering the questions that students at that institution have been asked in the past.
The next step is for you to go online to the school’s website and thoroughly read through the numerous pages of content there. Pay close attention to the aspects of their school culture or programs that are highlighted multiple times on their website. This is because those are likely to be the areas that the institution is most proud of or most well-known for, and demonstrating that you are a good fit with those aspects will help you be seen as an excellent candidate.
Moreso, if you are given the names of the people who will be interviewing you in advance, you should absolutely look them up on the internet. If they are faulty, you should spend a few minutes reading through their research and clinical interests before the interview in case you want to ask questions about their work or how to get involved in research. Even though neither of these questions absolutely needs to be asked, it’s a good idea to have them both in your back pocket just in case.
Before going on your first real interview, it is highly recommended that you take part in a number of practice interviews first. However, you should exercise caution when choosing who to interview you and pick only the most qualified candidates. Candidates who would do well in mock interviews include the following:
- Your advisor in premedical studies
- The premedical advisory committee of your institution
- A friend of yours who has navigated their way through the med school admissions process with flying colors
- A consultant specializing in admissions to medical schools
Ask the person who is conducting the mock interview to provide you with feedback on the content as well as your social skills, such as eye contact, speech volume, speed, clarity, and ease with which you carry on a conversation.
In addition, when people give you feedback, you shouldn’t simply jot down notes for the future. Instead, role-play the situation while it’s happening in order to reinforce the feedback you receive.
There is such a thing as practicing something to the point of exhaustion. To be more specific, some students who overly practice particular responses or who are adamant about learning their responses by heart may give the impression of being robotic during an interview. It is highly recommended that you come up with a solid idea and flow for what you are going to say, but you should also make sure that you are conversing in a natural way.
In addition, One strategy for advanced practice is to conduct at least some of your mock interviews under conditions that simulate the presence of stress. Students typically conduct mock interviews in the convenience of their own bedrooms or in other settings that are already familiar to them. They also dress casually and ensure that they have had enough sleep before doing so.
On the other hand, the interview itself can be a very nerve-wracking experience. It’s possible that you got less sleep than usual, which would explain why your mind is racing and you’re feeling jittery. You will be able to recreate the experience of your actual interview day more faithfully if you practice under stressful conditions.
The following are some methods that can be used to make your practice interviews more stressful:
- The night before, purposefully get less than six hours of sleep.
- Have a significant amount more caffeine in your system than you normally would.
- Put on clothing that is just a little bit too tight.
- The act of watching a tense movie right before will cause your heart rate to increase.
- Conduct interviews in a setting that is unfamiliar.
It is common knowledge that preparation is the most important factor in determining success, and interviews for medical school are not an exception to this rule. Keeping to deadlines that are frequently overly stringent or overlapping can be one of the most stressful aspects of student life.
This can lead to cramming for exams, staying up all night to write essays, and many other unpleasant experiences that involve competing against the passage of time. Your interview for medical school will require a significant amount of preparation, but if you get a head start, you can make it a positive and fruitful experience that gives the committee a distinct impression of how well you would fit in with their curriculum.
We at AdmissionSight are well-versed in the criteria used by admissions officers. Successfully navigating the interview process can be the deciding factor in acceptance or rejection at the undergraduate level.
We assist you and teach you how to prepare for medical school interview inquiries in order to leave a favorable impression on the admissions committee. The one-on-one coaching that we provide can give you the self-assurance you need to ace the interview. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.