So, you’ve been invited to a medical school interview. Congratulations! While it may be cause for celebration, this part of the application process often causes anxiety amongst applicants. With hundreds of interview questions to get through and a fear of the unknown, applicants are faced with an overwhelming amount of preparation. A med school interview is one of those milestones you’ll look back on when you’re finally a medical student.
Just as you would prepare for important milestones in the future such as the USMLE by taking a USMLE Step 2 practice exam, preparing well and long in advance can make all the difference in building your confidence.
Here are a few tips to push you closer to success.
Familiarize yourself with interview questions for medical school
Conduct mock interviews. A large portion of being a medical student boils down to practice. You practice your interview questions and you’ll practice for your residency interview, too. Practicing shouldn’t be mistaken for memorizing or ‘cramming’, though. It simply means familiarizing yourself with the kinds of questions you’ll come across, and deciding how best to answer them. This will help to build your confidence for the interview, while ensuring that you aren’t hit by too many surprises.
Don’t memorize your answers like a speech
While getting to know common interview questions and conducting your own mock interviews, your first instinct may be to memorize the answers you want to give. For many reasons, this is not advisable. First, you may be too nervous to remember every answer to every question the way you memorized it. This, in itself, can make you more anxious and prevent you from being articulate during the interview.
Secondly, your interviewers may want to discuss certain parts of your answers in detail, venturing in a different direction altogether. This can easily throw you off track. Instead of memorizing your answers word-for-word, take the time to understand the questions and the kinds of answers they require. This way you’ll be able to formulate thoughtful answers, even on the spot.
Preparing for an interview isn’t just about the questions themselves. In order to formulate well-considered answers, you’ll need to do a bit of research, too. Research the school you are being invited to first (even if it’s the school you’re in right now). Understand the culture, values, the medical school program and even the interview format. This will help you to ask good questions at the end of your own interview. It’s also the only real way to prepare for questions specifically pertaining to the school.
It is also helpful to research medical news, current events and trends pertaining to healthcare. Interview questions for medical school aren’t always straightforward. Your interviewers may want to know your thoughts on things that affect the medical world and medical education. Knowledge of these kinds of topics can show your interest and immersion in healthcare, and they’re also a great way to add context and nuance to your entire interview.