A necessary stage in the admissions process is the medical school interview. Unfortunately, a lot of qualified candidates do not succeed in being accepted since they do not prepare for it. That is why we at founderactivity have compiled a comprehensive list of medical school interview questions that you should expect and be able to answer. Candidates should take the time to research common interview questions, practice their answers, and make a good impression on the interviewer. A good way to prepare is by doing some research on the medical school and reading its mission statement. Often times, these statements will include words like “caring” and “helping others”.
The chapter you are learning today is going to save someone’s life tomorrow. Pay attention.
Before deciding if a career in medicine is a good fit for them, medical school professors and administrators advise aspiring physicians to accept the amount of coursework and training needed to become a licensed physician. According to experts, pursuing a medical degree is a significant commitment that must not be taken lightly. It should also be the start of a lifelong commitment to wellness promotion and illness prevention.
What is Medical School?
The average length of medical school is four years, however after graduating with an M.D. or D.O., most people continue their education by completing a residency in their chosen field of medicine, such as surgery or radiology. Aspiring sub-specialists will typically complete a fellowship in addition to a residency program if they want to concentrate on a specific area of a medical specialty, such as developing expertise in treating a particular type of cancer as opposed to becoming a practitioner oncologist who treats various types of cancer.
A medical student may need to spend a total decade or more in training to become a doctor if they go on to finish a residency and fellowship.
What is a Medical School Interview?
A medical school interview is an opportunity for prospective students to learn more about a particular school and to get to know the admissions committee. It is also a chance for schools to get to know the applicants better and to assess their potential for success in medical school.
Interviews are used by medical school admissions examiners to evaluate whether applicants possess qualities that are important in the medical field. Such as empathy, communication skills, presence, compassion, and resilience. However, it is easy for the candidate to feel like they are on the other end of a interrogation, with the interviewer asking question after question without giving any opportunity for the candidate to talk about themselves.
For this reason, it is important to prepare an effective list of questions that you can ask your interviewer. Your preparation will ensure that you get the chance to show what makes you stand out from the rest of the applicant pool and why you would be a good fit for the school’s program.
Medical School Interview Questions
Our list of standard questions for a medical interview covers everything from your decision to become a doctor to your opinions on universal healthcare. The secret is to prepare your answers to the most challenging questions here before entering the room.
Common Medical School Interview Questions
1. How would you describe yourself?
It is possible that many of your medical school interviews will begin with a sentence similar to this one. On the surface, it can appear to be the most straightforward question, but for some people, it is the most challenging to answer.
Being strategic is key. Since they have already looked over your CV, now is not the time to repeat everything on it. Instead, think about using this time to highlight some of the unforgettable events that inspired you to become a doctor, as well as your personal and professional objectives. Think of this as your own “elevator pitch” — how would you summarize who you are in 30 seconds to a complete stranger?
2. Why do you want to be a doctor?
Despite being popular, this medical school interview questions frequently complicates students. Pre-med students frequently express a desire to assist others. However, the Medical School Headquarters notes that many other professions enable workers to provide a hand. You’ll need to look a bit farther for your response to this one if you want to differentiate yourself from the other applicants.
A common reason given by interviewers for choosing to specialize in medicine is the loss of a loved one. Although entirely admirable, it adds that these motivational factors don’t always show that a candidate is aware of the fundamental characteristics of a doctor, such as having a deep interest in the sciences, an insatiable desire to find solutions, and a quick analytical mind.
3. What was your favorite college class?
Due to ongoing research projects or the need for continued education, working in the medical sector requires you to continually learn new things. In light of this, medical schools want applicants who are fully committed to studying.
When responding to a medical school interview questions like this, you have the chance to talk about the various ways that learning is essential to you by describing the classes that had the most effects on you as a student. Highlighting classes that gave you abilities you can use in your future medical profession is also a good idea.
4. How do you handle stressful situations?
It is no surprise that going through medical school and residency may be challenging at times, but working as a doctor can also be demanding. Admissions committees aim to choose students who can manage the hard situations that come with working in medicine when they are looking for bright future doctors.
You can describe the techniques you employ to maintain your composure under pressure in answer to a question like this. However, it will be even more powerful if you can give specific instances in which you have used such abilities. This tactic will give your application vitality and enable you to highlight the educational benefits of your extracurricular interests.
5. How would you manage a scenario that requires ethical considerations?
It is no surprise that going through medical school and residency may be challenging at times, but working as a doctor can also be demanding. Admissions committees aim to choose students who can manage the difficulties that come with working in medicine when they are looking for bright future doctors.
You can describe the techniques you employ to maintain your composure under pressure in answer to a medical school interview questions like this. However, it will be even more powerful if you can give specific instances in which you’ve used such abilities. This tactic will give your application vitality and enable you to highlight the educational benefits of your extracurricular interests.
6. What are your greatest weaknesses?
Avoid rambling off answers since your interviewers will probably pick them apart. It is preferable to focus the things you’re already doing to get better, since this will demonstrate your self-awareness and willingness to learn.
You can highlight any areas of your application that feel a bit weaker than others in this medical school interview questions. It might be beneficial to confront these issues head-on because interviewers frequently admire applicants who are able to acknowledge their own faults.
7. How would you propose addressing a current health issue?
Medical school interview questions concerning current events will be quite detailed, much like with ethical-based questions. Share your ideas, for instance, on HIV prevention and care.
This answer requires understanding of the subject’s sociopolitical context in addition to the disease and recommended course of therapy. You must show the interviewers that you understand how changing public perception and improved treatment choices have improved the outlook for those living with HIV.
You’ll probably get inquiries today about the COVID-19 epidemic. It wouldn’t hurt to participate in current conversations among medical professionals concerning viral treatment and statistics, the forecast for the future, and other relevant topics.
8. What do you know about the state of the US healthcare system?
Do not be startled if you get questions about the nation’s healthcare system in general, beyond specific current events. Any system modifications might have a significant impact on both patients and providers. Being knowledgeable about the healthcare sector is essential for physicians, therefore you should anticipate doing the same as a student.
Although interviewers will not expect you to be an expert, it is a good idea to at least have a working understanding of both the present situation and what experts in the field are predicting for the future. This is an opportunity for candidates from outside the US to evaluate and contrast the variations in healthcare systems.
9. Why are you interested in our medical school?
Each school has its own set of ideals, and they all strive to have their students share those beliefs. Always conduct advance research. Highlight a few value propositions that stand out to you from the program’s website or social outlets. Make a list of the things you are most enthusiastic about. This might be exclusive clinical encounters, clubs, groups, or success stories from previous students. Just be out not to dramatize your excitement.
Be sincere in your excitement and specific when describing what attracted you to the school.
10. Do you have any questions for us?
In a job interview, this question has been posed to all of us, and the standard response is “Not at all.” But be sure to have questions ready for your medical school interviews, as well as follow-up questions to your first questions.
The interview panel will remember a student who is focused and initiates a conversation rather than just answering a series of questions.
Also keep in mind that during interviews, you have the chance to discover useful information by asking questions. You may learn more about the course outline, the program’s instructors, how they respond to student comments, or about any upcoming changes they may be planning.
Questions about your Education
- Why did you decide to major in that field in college?
- How have you made an effort to make your undergraduate program more diverse?
- If you have any undergraduate research experience, how did it help you prepare for a future in medicine?
- How have your previous occupations, volunteer experiences, or extracurricular activities helped to better prepare you for the obligations of becoming a doctor?
- What possible uses do you see for your medical training?
Questions about Your Character and Personality
- What would you consider your main strengths and weaknesses?
- Which places have you been and what other cultures have you encountered?
- How would you rate your empathy and compassion, considering instances from your recent past?
- What techniques have you developed as a pre-med to assist you in managing your time and unwind?
- What would your three wishes be, and why, if you could make the world, society, or your town a better place? Alternatively, if you had a million dollars to spend on three objectives, what would you focus on and why?
- What do you enjoy doing for fun?
- What do you consider to be “success”? The type of “success” would you aspire to have after 20 years as a doctor? Please elaborate.
- What characteristics do you want in a doctor? Can you give an instance of a doctor who exemplifies one or more of these principles? How do they achieve this?
- What sort of dealing with ill people experience do you have? Have you learned anything new as a result of these experiences?
- Do you have any relatives or role models in your family that are doctors?
- Who among your family, friends, or other people has influenced your desire to become a doctor?
- Whom would you call for dinner if you could choose four persons from the past, and why? What would you discuss?
- Does your academic history indicate any significant difficulties? If so, describe them and explain why they happened.
- Which aspects of medicine in general interests you?
- What are the current developments in the healthcare system in our country?
- What do you think are some of today’s most important health issues? Why?
- What do you consider to be the harmful or restrictive features of medicine from a scientific perspective?
- Which medical discipline, if either clinical or academic, would you like to pursue professionally? What do you think you may lose if you were to make a decision?
Society Related Questions
- What do you think a doctor’s social obligations are?
- What do you think is a significant/the most major societal issue now affecting the United States, and why?
- Which impact do you believe universal health care will have on doctors, patients, and society as a whole?
- Do you follow current events in any particular way or to any significant extent?
- What examples of books, movies, or other media spring to mind as being particularly significant to your education in the sciences or other subjects?
- Are there any instances in our culture where access to healthcare is a right? If it’s a privilege, when? When is it not clear?
Work Experience Related Questions
- What did you learn from your work experience?
- From your work experience, can you tell me about a difficult situation you observed/had to deal with and what you learned from this?
- What qualities did you learn are important from the doctors and nurses during your work experience?
- Which aspect of your work experience did you find the most challenging/difficult and why?
- What did you like most about the work experience you undertook?
- Why do you think we ask candidates to undertake work experience?
- Reflecting on your work experience, what event, if any, changed your views on modern medicine?
- Give an example of an interaction between a doctor or nurse and a patient that you observed during your work experience. What skills did you find to be important for this type of communication?
- During your work experience, did you learn or see anything that did not appeal to you about being a doctor?
- During your work experience/shadowing, what three skills did you observe and could you rank their importance?
- How did your work experience help you confirm your desire to pursue a career in medicine?
- Tell me about the roles of the allied health professionals that you met.
Questions about Ethics
- Do you know of any ongoing debates involving medical ethics? List a few of them and debate them.
- Have you ever personally faced moral dilemmas? Of what kind?
- What do you feel about assisted suicide or euthanasia?
- What unique emotions and problems could you confront when caring for a patient who is near death compared to other patients?
- How would you feel about attending to a patient whose HIV status was confirmed?
- What are some of the moral concerns our society has with respect to teen pregnancies?
- Assume that there are little resources available and that you must make choices in the midst of a serious emergency with a diverse group of people from various origins, ages, and damage levels. Consider that there are both thoughtful and careless replies to this issue, not that there is a “correct” approach. Whom and why would you instruct to undergo therapy first?
Diversity Related Questions
- If you are a minority applicant, how do you believe your upbringing specifically qualifies you to be a doctor and how will it affect your work?
- How has being a woman affected your decision to pursue a profession in medicine?
- How can you effectively serve the requirements of a multiethnic, multicultural patient population if you are not a member of a minority?
- What impact has your economic disadvantage or insufficient financial resources had on you?
- How much do you believe you owe to the rest of humanity? How much do you owe to others who are less fortunate than you? Please elaborate.
Questions about Medical School
- What distinguishing characteristics do you believe you have over other applicants to medical school? What distinguishes you as a prospective medical student?
- Which medical schools are you submitting applications to, and why?
- Tell the interviewer about the medical school of your choice if you are applying to one in particular. What attracts you in particular to this school?
- What broad and focused abilities would you like to gain while attending medical school? How would your ideal institution accomplish that goal?
Motivation Related Questions
- Describe why you chose to become a doctor. When and why did you decide to pursue a medical degree?
- Why did you pick medicine compared to a career in nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacology, psychology, education, or social work, for example?
- How have you put your desire to become a doctor to the test? Please elaborate.
- If you do not get into medical school this year, what will you do? Do you have another career in mind?
- Is there anything else you believe the interviewer should be aware of about you or your desire to become a doctor that we have not discussed?
Refer the mock video below to learn how to properly answer for your medical school interview questions confidently.
What should you do if a question is inappropriately made to you?
Even though the goal of an interview is to learn more about a candidate, some interviewers are looking to assess how well you handle pressure. They could purposely ask you challenging medical school interview questions to see how you respond while under pressure. Your communication style will have a big impact on the interview, but that doesn’t give the interviewer the right to put you to the test by asking you inappropriate questions.
Although interviewers are trained by admissions officials on what constitutes an unfair or discriminatory pre-admission inquiry and are subject to federal rules in this respect, it is possible that an interviewer will occasionally ask a question that is inappropriate. In order to assist stop such incidents in the future, it is your duty to report this. In order to allow applicants to report such occurrences in a confidential manner, medical schools must set up procedures for doing so. Applicants should be made aware of these procedures prior to interviews, and medical schools must reassure them that disclosing an incident will not affect their assessment.
Report the interviewer’s identity and the question(s) they asked to an admissions officer during the interview day in confidence if a medical school did not tell you of its procedure and an incident occurs. If this is not attainable, send an email including this information and details about the incident, including the date and time, to an admissions official within 24 hours after the interview. Additionally, you have the opportunity to request a second interview to guarantee a fair assessment of your application to the medical school.
Examples of inappropriate questions
- What is your ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, religions, sexual preferences, political preferences, marital status, earnings, house value, credit score, etc.?
- What are your thoughts on euthanasia and/or abortion?
- Are you planning to start a family while in medical school?
- Do you suffer from any disability?
- Do you need any particular arrangements?
- Have you previously been put in jail?
- Do you currently use drugs?
Tips for your Medical School Interview
During the interview process for medical school, admissions staff look for applicants who exhibit maturity, empathy, and exceptional interpersonal skills. They already know who you are with your academic credentials. They are now interested in your personality and interpersonal skills.
1. Be Prepared
You cannot anticipate every question that will be presented to you. You may still arrive at the table prepared for the most likely interview questions, though, despite this. Prepare to talk about your:
- Educational background
- Extracurricular activities and hobbies
- Job history
- Research experience
- Opinions on important medical issues or ethical concerns
- Why do you want to be a doctor
2. Take Your Time
Some colleges use the interview to determine how you handle pressure. They intentionally place you in an awkward situation so they can see how you behave and communicate under pressure. Common strategies include bringing up personal concerns, rambling off a list of knowledge questions like to those on game shows, or expressing disagreement of practically everything you say.
Try to relax if you find yourself in this situation. While interviewers do not anticipate that you will have a ready response to every medical school interview question, they do anticipate that you will be able to think quickly and provide a thoughtful response. If a question takes you off guard, do not be afraid to think it out for a second before responding. Ask for clarification if a question appears clouded in confusion. If you take the time to make sure that your response is well-planned and well-spoken, you will come across as clever and expressive, two traits that are vital in a qualified doctor.
3. Ask Great Questions
A conversation with significant give and take makes for the ideal interview. Do not treat the interview as a question-and-answer session. You should already be knowledgeable about the subject, so avoid asking questions that you could likely find the answer to on the school’s website or in one of their brochures. Instead, while evaluating a medical school program, take the chance to learn more about the professors, research possibilities, availability of internships, or anything else that is essential to you by asking open-ended questions.
Example questions to ask your interviewer:
- What stands out for you from your medical school?
- What are the opportunities that exist for student research?
- What tools do you provide for students to handle stress?
- Do you provide financial help or scholarship opportunities?
- How did your school’s students perform on the National Board Exams?
- How are students graded on their academic performance?
- Can you elaborate on the culture and diversity of your medical school?
- What about your medical school do people not know that you wish they did?
- How does your medical school strive to better the neighborhood?
4. First Impressions Matter
Typically, the opening few seconds of an interview establish the tone. Remember that you are there because your presence is highly valued. Be on time and presentable. Dress tastefully. Carry a portfolio of your paperwork. Make eye contact and shake hands firmly. Be happy and smile. When the committee is dealing with many applicants at once, you will be observed not just while you react to a question but also when your fellow candidates are speaking in a group setting. Be attentive and involved. You never know what information you could gather that will be useful for your next interview.
5. After the Interview
After each interview, do not forget to write a letter of appreciation. You can address one letter to the full committee or multiple separate ones. It’s a good idea to jot down a few quick notes immediately before you leave, including the names of the interviewers and some of the subjects you discussed.
The school will add your name to a hold list if they are still unsure about their decision to admit you. This indicates that before admitting you, they want to observe how the rest of the application pool looks. A brief (less than one page) explanation of your most recent academic or extracurricular accomplishments that weren’t included in your application should be sent to the institution.
The long and time-consuming procedure for applying to medical school comes to a close with the interviews. They are the last step, but they are also one of the hardest. A poor interview might jeopardize your chances of getting the job. You will be subjected to a number of challenging interview questions for medical school, and if you are not properly prepared, you run the danger of appearing unprepared in front of the medical school interview panel.
It takes some guts to be an organ donor.