How to prepare for a medical school interview? Whether you’ve been invited to a panel, traditional, conversational, or multiple mini interview for med school, the key to performing well is to be prepared. In this blog, we’ll provide expert tips to help you prepare for your medical school interview, from the day you receive your invitation to the interview itself. 


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Article Contents
12 min read

How Did MDs and DOs Prepare For Med School Interview? Before the Interview How To Prepare For Med School Interview: Day of the Interview

How Did MDs and DOs Prepare For Med School Interview? Before the Interview

1.    When should I start preparing for medical school interviews?

Your interview for medical school requires copious preparation, but if you get started early, you can have a pleasant and productive experience that leaves your committee with a clear sense of your fit for their program.

“One thing that I wish that I had done that I didn't think about was start preparing for interviews before you even get an invite … that first interview invite showed up and of course it was a moment of excitement but then it was a moment of oh my god, the reality set in. I was like someone's going to be deciding my future in two weeks and I haven't even started I don't even know how this works.” – Allison, former BeMo student and current student at Dell Medical School.

 

2. When should I respond to interview invites?

How to schedule medical school interviews is part of good prep and organization. Some schools send out more interview invitations than available slots, so promptness will in some cases make or break your chance to attend the interview at all. More importantly though, responding right away will allow you to choose an optimal date and time for your schedule, ensuring that you’ll be able to travel to and attend your interview as comfortably as possible.

“Medical schools often use the time an applicant takes to respond to their interview invite as an indicator of their interest in the program. Remember that medical schools have ALOT more applicants than the number of seats available. This is why it is important to not take your interview invite for granted, even if you have multiple, and to respond in a timely manner. The time you take to respond can also be indicative of other traits such as your organization skills and your ability to prioritize tasks, all of which are crucial to the role of a future physician” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

 

“Replying right away through the portal or email really ensures you get your desired interview date. There was a risk that if you got an interview and did not respond right away there would not be interview spots available when you went to sign up.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD


3. What medical school interview format will I have?

There are a few different types of medical school interviews:

  1. The panel/traditional medical school interview is a relatively straightforward interview format that involves a typical formal interview with one or more interviewers.
  2. The multiple mini interview or MMI is a situational judgement test involving multiple interviewers, each of whom independently evaluate every applicant.
  3. The Modified Personal Interview or MPI shares characteristics of both MMI and traditional interviews. In this type of interview, you visit 4 different stations, each with a different interviewer, who will question you on specific aspects of your application and candidature.
  4. A hybrid interview combines various medical school interview types into multiple different sessions.
  5. Virtual or video interviews are now being offered as a convenient option for students, but they come with their own set of prep challenges.

Most medical schools provide this information on their website. You can also check MSAR, which is AAMC’s official resource for information about medical schools in the US and Canada. And you can always write to the medical schools admissions email (provided on their website) to find out further details about the interview format.

4. Did you prepare for a medical school interview with mock interviews?

Mock med school interviews provide the closest experience you can get to the actual interview and are therefore the best at bringing forth the real emotions you will experience including stress, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. The goal is to get these emotions under control through preparation, as well as familiarize yourself with the format and get personalized feedback on what to work on.

Excellent realistic mock interviews with expert, personalized feedback from a medical school advisor will let you know exactly how you come across and give you insight into the strength and quality of your responses.

“[In] my practice or my mock interviews with my expert I realized I touch my face a lot and I play with my hair and all of those other super distracting things that were taking away from the words I was actually saying and I would never have known that I did those things if I didn't number one record myself and number two work with my [BeMo] expert during those mock interviews and I think that all along with everything else really contributed to the success I had during my interview cycle.” – Allison, former BeMo student.

 

Want to see what a virtual MMI interview is like? Check out our mock interview below:

5. What medical school interview questions can I expect?

Practice questions, like our MMI questions or medical school interview questions give you the opportunity to prepare for commonly asked questions and will give you an idea of what type of questions you can expect.

“[MMI] is very different from traditional [interviews] where you are mostly talking about your application. In an MMI, there are not only ethical scenarios, but also instructional exercises, patient simulations, and creative discussions. Just having a better sense of the questions was really helpful in preparing so that I could match different topics with multiple types of questions.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD.

 

Check out some medical school interview questions to practice with:

6. Should I memorize my med school interview answers?

“When answering the question, remember to have a proper structure and organize your response so that it flows well. In addition, remember to use the interview strategies you may have practiced. It is very likely that you did not prepare for this exact question, but you may have prepared for a similar question while practicing. Use your prior experience and practice to your advantage.” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

 

Students sometimes think that the best way to prepare for an interview is to memorize their answers. They think that when they’re asked a question for which they’re copiously prepared, they can (re-)state a well-memorized response and dazzle their interviewers. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are two main problems with relying on a catalog of memorized responses:

  • A canned answer will always sound postured or fake. Evaluators listen to dozens if not hundreds of students give answers to these questions every year, and can tell a memorized answer from a genuine one.
  • If you receive a slightly varied version of a question for which you have a canned response, it’s very difficult to modify your burned-in response in the moment.

7. How do I deliver strong medical school interview answers?

8. What should I talk about for personal medical school interview questions?

Preparing for your interview takes a lot of self-reflection. You have to understand yourself, your choices, and your motivations in order to share them with others, which is exactly what you’ll do in your interview. And don’t be afraid to think about who you are beyond medicine!

“Be yourself in these in these interviews … because sometimes the thing that you find weirdest about yourself or that you think oh that has absolutely like no place on my application—for me I got really into building furniture and woodworking—every single one of my interviewers brought that up and they wanted to talk about it and hear about that.” – Allison, former BeMo student.

 

9. How do I prepare for medical school interview policy questions?

You need to be in the know about hot topics and current events in the field of medicine, as you may be asked policy type questions.

“You should be prepared during interviews to discuss challenges facing the medical field. A thoughtful answer is giving some current initiatives or program that work to address these challenges, while acknowledging the setbacks. Broadly, you should be familiar with legislation that affects medical practice … You should make sure to brush up on current events.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD.

 

10. How do I prepare for medical school interview ethical questions?

“Brushing up on the basics and principals of medical ethics is a great way to prepare for MMI ethics stations … One tip of advice is that you should try to see each situation from all sides. Most ethical questions do not just have one right answer and one ‘right’ side. Try to show that you are considering each situation from all sides and not just taking a blanket approach.” – Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD.


You should prepare for these types of questions by increasing your awareness of professional and medical ethics and analyzing how to apply them in various real-life situations. You can boost your understanding by reading a few books on this topic. We recommend:

  • Meaningful Work: Rethinking Professional Ethics by Mike W. Martin
  • Doing Right: A Practical Guide to Ethics for Medical Trainees and Physicians by Philip C Herbert

11. Should I prepare questions for my med school interviewer?

“It is advisable to ask at least 1-2 questions after the interview. This can be questions about the program, about the interviewers themselves, or both … The best questions to ask after the interview are those that are not readily available on the institution’s website or anywhere else. Doing so makes your question seem genuine rather than making it seem like you are asking for the sake of it. Often, the best questions are ones that make the committee think.” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD.

 

Always have questions prepared to ask the interviewer in case they ask you “do you have any questions for me?”. This is critical to show that you’ve done your research about the school, program, faculty, and curriculum, and you are committed to their program.

“Good questions to ask interviewers are: what does the patient population look like at X institution? What support is there for students interested in research? What mentorship opportunities exist? Where do students rotate during third year rotations?” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD.

 

Check out the different types of questions you can ask your interviewer:

How To Prepare For Med School Interview: Day of the Interview

The big day is here, but don’t panic! Provided you’ve maintained a smart and consistent preparation schedule up to this point, there are only a few more things to keep in mind, and the interview itself should feel natural or even illuminating for both you and your committee.

12. What do I need to do on the day of my med school interview?

The last thing you need on your interview day is more stress, which is inevitable if you don't give yourself enough time and end up running late. You should try to arrive roughly 20-30 minutes before on the day of your interview.

“I read the interview day itinerary multiple times to make sure I would be on time and knew where I needed to go. My interviews were in-person so I often was travelling and arriving a day early to get settled before the interview day. On the actual day I would make sure to arrive early, so that I had time to navigate to the specific room where I needed to go. Often they would have breakfast and time to chat with current students as well. The day’s itinerary is usually well put together, so there isn’t much pre-planning you need to do other than show up.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD


“The night before, I planned everything for interview day, including what I was going to wear, what time I was going to leave hotel, and when to arrive for the interview. Planning ahead of time and mentally envisioning the process unfold can help calm the nerves for the big day.” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD.


“Since both my interviews were far from my actual home, I flew down a couple of days in advance (just in case there were any delays; I didn't want to panic if my flight was late), and I made sure to scout out the actual building locations before to help ease my nerves. On the day, I woke up, had my usual breakfast routine, slipped on my professional business attire, and arrived at the venue well in advance. From there, I followed the instructions provided by the institution about signing in (I always made sure to bring an official government ID and whatever else was instructed by the school), watched the medical school's PowerPoint presentation, and then proceeded to the interview. Overall, it was a standard interview day!” – Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, DO


13. How should I dress for a medical school interview?

Check out some tips on what to wear to a medical school interview

“Professional dress would be most appropriate. It may be personal preference, but I do not believe one can be ‘too formal’ in their dress during interview season.” – Dr. Tony Huynh, DO

 

“I mostly just wanted something I would be comfortable in and be able to handle wearing all day. For me, this was a black skirt and jacket. I decided to wear a comfy pair of heels. Most other women were in similar attire either pants, skirt, or dress and jacket. The men tended to all be in suits.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD.

 

“Overall, it was tidy, professional, and, most importantly, comfortable! In deciding what to wear, I had seen YouTube videos posted by some medical schools on what to expect for interview day. These showed me glimpses of what other candidates had worn in previous sessions, and I just made sure to emulate this. In terms of advice, as long as you look neat and professional, that is the main goal.” – Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, DO.


14. How do I make a good first impression on my medical school interviewers?

My strategy was usually to go into the interview with an agenda but focus on being personable. Most of the time I knew who I was interviewing with in advance, so I would look them up and see if we had any similarities to highlight. When I was talking to a student the most important thing was seeing if this was someone I vibed with and making sure we had a friendly/jovial conversation. That impression tends to stick more than anything you say, so focus on being relaxed and happy.” – Dr. Monica Taneja, MD.

 

“I often read cliche phrases online or even by medical schools posting 'Just be yourself.' Although this is very true, it is still important to prepare and establish a sense of confidence and calm from that preparation. For me, preparation meant having a solid grasp of the interview format, researching the medical school, reflecting on my life experiences (and extracting lessons applicable to a medical career) as well as ensuring I was well informed about current issues. Having gone through all of these numerous times, I was then able to blend my personality with a competent and professional response, which (I think) aided me in making a more substantial first and lasting impression!” – Dr. Shaughnelene Smith, DO.

 

“It is normal for you to feel nervous or overwhelmed on the day of the interview; however, use this as an opportunity to meet others. Chances are, many of the people you meet on interview day might be your classmates for the next few years. Focus on being genuine and getting to know others, including the Faculty and staff … Doing this will help you stand out as much as possible and form a good overall impression during the interview.” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD.

 

“It’s important to be yourself and to approach the medical school interview sincerely. While this may seem like obvious advice, during my experience interviewing medical school applicants, many allow nerves and anxiousness to hinder their performance. They can often come off as distant, rigid, and insincere because of that.” – Dr. Tony Huynh, DO.

 

15. What do I do if I am asked a question I’m not prepared for?

“You can prepare for weeks and months but still come across a question, on the day of, that may appear to be ‘outside the box’. That is normal. If you are asked a question that you have not prepared for, do not let your nerves get to you. Perhaps have a sip of water and ask the interviewers to repeat the question – doing this will give you a bit more time to think.” – Dr. Neel Mistry, MD.

 

Be engaged! Don't let nerves glue your mouth shut. You're the focus of the interview, so feel encouraged to actively participate in it. Be conversational and try to let go of all that's riding on this interview, and instead engage in an actual dialogue.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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1 Comments

Khush Shah

Can I get help for framing my answers to common interview questions?

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BeMo Academic Consulting

Certainly! Schedule your free initial consultation with us by clicking Contact Us in the top right corner of the screen or the Free Strategy Call buttons in the blog or on the right side of the screen.

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