We often speak of why a mock medical school interview is important for your preparation, but how are mock medical school interviews conducted and how do they really help? In today’s article, we will discuss how mocks can help you develop life-long skills, and share real testimonials from students who prepared for and aced their medical school interviews using mock med school interviews. If you are still wondering why practicing with sample on your own is not enough, this article is for you!!!
Before we get into the testimonials, let’s quickly talk about what you should expect to learn during your mocks. Remember, participating in mocks should leave you with more than a medical school acceptance letter – it should leave you with new skills and knowledge. It is an investment in your future as a professional. So, what can you expect to learn?
First-Hand Experience with Interview Format
Many students are intimidated by interviews, no matter what format they take. This is often due to the many unknowns associated with the interview. For example, you may not know how to behave in a certain interview format or what kind of interview questions you may face. Different med school interview formats dictate different behavior and incorporate a variety of question types. For example, your interaction with evaluators in an interview will be slightly different from your interaction with an interviewer in a one-on-one traditional interview. Learning the nuances of each interview format you will participate in will be very helpful in alleviating the stress of the unknown.
Most importantly, you must know the types of questions you might encounter and how to handle them. Notoriously, the MMI interview format can incorporate a variety of very intimidating stations, such as collaborative, acting, and . If you do not experience this firsthand before your real interview, you might be in for a rude awakening. These stations are almost impossible to ace without proper experience.
Participating in mock medical school interviews will allow you to experience your interview format personally. You will be able to practice behaviors expected from the interviewee and learn how to handle yourself in any med school interview format.
Are you wondering what different types of interviews you may face? This video covers what you need to know about all different types:
The skills you develop by participating in mock interviews are hardly ever taught anywhere else. We are typically not taught these skills in school or college, and the only other way to hone these skills is to go to hundreds of interviews, and nobody wants to go through that. Participating in realistic mock interviews is really the only way to gain interview skills and experience. The feedback you receive via mocks is also the only real way to improve.
In a realistic mock, you will be able to practice and improve many skills required to succeed in a real interview and other professional settings, starting with your communication skills and ending with your body language. If you are participating in mocks led by a professional , you will receive personal, customized feedback that can help you become more articulate, keep your answers to a time limit, and develop analytical skills to quickly formulate answers to any question type you may encounter.
The skills you will develop during mocks are perhaps the most valuable investment you will make into your future. As a future medical professional, you will face many interviews, including interviews for residency positions, workplace interviews, and more. The skills you develop now, as a future medical school student, will be useful to you throughout your career, so it’s important to establish these interview skills now, as they will dictate your interview behavior and success for years to come.
Practice Your Answer Strategies
Medical school interviews are infamous for putting their interviewees on the spot with the most difficult interview questions out there. For example, are becoming more common every year. Not only are you evaluated on your communication skills and critical analysis skills, but also your decision-making abilities and your values. To do well on these and other medical school interview question types, you must have solid strategies and practice them regularly while receiving feedback.
If you are preparing for a traditional or panel interview, you might be under the impression that you dodged the , but do not celebrate yet. MMI question types, such as scenario, policy, or personal questions, can all be incorporated into a traditional or panel interview.
Similarly, if you are applying to , you may want to prepare for answering some specific interview questions. A proper mock interview will help you prepare for an and get ready for DO-specific interview questions.
Learning the answer strategies online is a great first step, but you must apply these answer strategies to make sure you can actually execute the answer. This is why mock interviews are so important. Only in a realistic mock can you apply the answer strategies you learned and receive feedback that can help you approve your approach. This is invaluable for your interview prep!
If you would like some advice on how to effectively answer common med school interview questions, this infographic will help:
Experiencing your interview format is one of the key approaches to eliminating stress before an interview. After your experience the interview firsthand and know what to expect, your real interview will not seem as intimidating.
Must Mimic the Format
First and foremost, mock medical school interviews totally mimic the interview format you will face in the real interview. Whether your real interview is in-person or virtual, a mock will reflect all the most important aspects of the interview format.
For example, if you are facing an MMI, check out an MMI interview mock station we provide below:
Notice that even though this is a virtual MMI, it mimics the format exactly. The student is presented with a prompt and gets a certain amount of time to read it and formulate his answer to , just like in a real MMI station. The interviewee then “enters” the station when his evaluator becomes visible. Their interaction perfectly reflects what your interactions would be like in the real MMI. In an MMI, the evaluators are instructed to show no signs of approval or disagreement as you answer the prompt. This can be off-putting for students, but a mock interview will help you prepare for this interesting nuance of the MMI interview format.
Not only should the mock interviews mimic the format, but you must be completely immersed in the interview as if you were in a real one. What do we mean by this? Your interviewer and you cannot break your roles. You cannot simply pause and say: “I need a few more minutes to gather my thoughts” or “Can you help me with this one? I promise I will not do this in the real interview.” The interviewer should also take on the role of the evaluator and strictly keep to their role. This can be especially hard with MMIs.
As I already mentioned, the MMIs can incorporate stations where you will be required to take on a specific role or face a challenge that you may have never faced in your real day-to-day life. For example, in an , you may be asked to confront and appease an angry patient or unsatisfied customer. In a collaborative station, you may be required to work with your peers to complete a task you have never performed before. In a policy station, you may be required to discuss a policy you may be completely against, but to do it professionally. All these situations will require you to adjust to the interview format and to do it, your mock interview and the admissions consultants running it must be able to immerse you in the environment completely.
Essentially, the mock must be as close to the real thing as possible. When you are looking for an or a traditional interview course to help you get ready, make sure to research whether their mocks are reflective of the real experience.
Must Include Professional Feedback
Your mock medical school interview must be conducted by admissions professionals who know the medical school interview process like the back of their hand. While you can certainly organize a mock interview with your friends and family members, they will not be able to provide you with customized feedback that can help you improve your answers and interview behavior.
In our mock example, the admissions expert is seen providing thorough constructive feedback to the student, noting what he did well and identifying areas of improvement. This will help him solidify appropriate behaviors and answer strategies and work on some weaker aspects of his interview performance. Professional feedback is really the key to your success. Without this personalized feedback, you cannot improve your interview skills.
Must Challenge You
This is closely tied to our previous point about feedback. A great medical school advisor will be able to detect what you can and should improve in your interview performance. For example, instead of sticking to asking you questions from a category you clearly ace every time, an advisor will present you with question types that you struggle with. This is not done to trick you – this is done so that your weak spots are eliminated. Since your mock must be as close to the real things as possible, it must also challenge you. Only with challenge comes growth. A good mock medical school interview will put you on a spot with questions and stations that are hard! To prepare for the real thing, you must be prepared for the unknown, and a good mock interview will help you learn how to adapt and go with the flow of the interview without losing your nerve.
Would you like to see a recap on mock med school interviews and how they work? Take a look at this infographic:
Many of our students ask . Many factors determine how long you should take to prepare, including how much of a notice you get from the schools but typically, we would strongly advise you to leave yourself around 8 weeks. This number is not universal, as each student’s interview prep is individualistic. Some students will be ready for their interview in a week or two, while others may take longer.
If you are wondering how many mock medical school interviews you should participate in, my answer may disappoint you again, as this number is also very individualistic. A lot will certainly depend on how hard you work on your own, practicing with sample questions and applying the feedback you receive from your . However, we would strongly advise you to do at least 2 or 3 mock sessions before your real interview. This way, you can test the interview format, receive feedback, work on incorporating it before your next mock, and see whether you improve. The consultant conducting your sessions will be able to see if you are ready for the interview.
Final advice: try to take one last session that mimics your interview format a couple of days before the interview. This way, the interview expectations, and format will be fresh in your mind.
We have often discussed and what sample questions you can use to get yourself ready, but these methods are only supplementary. I want to emphasize that practicing with questions and reading up on the interview formats is a great way to start your preparations, but only mock interviews can truly help you prepare. To ensure your success, make sure to incorporate mock interviews into your interview prep plan.
If you are still wondering how a mock medical school interview can help you with medical school admissions, make sure to watch stories of students who used medical school interview mocks to get ready for the real thing. These testimonials demonstrate how every student is different, and how mocks helped them with specific challenges and setbacks. Some students needed help with building confidence, some needed help getting used to the interview format, while others were working with practicing answer strategies for different question types. So, check out how mocks can help you ace your interviews:
Growth Through Challenge
MMI Prep Help
1. What are mock medical school interviews?
A mock medical school interview is a preparation tactic that will help you experience the required interview format and questions firsthand. If you would like to see an example of a mock med school interview, please scroll up to view our realistic MMI mock interview.
2. Who conducts the mock interview?
Your interview should be conducted by medical school admissions experts.
3. How can a mock medical school interview help me prepare for the real thing?
Since they mimic the real interview, mocks help you experience the format and apply answer strategies that you may practice on your own. Since your mock is conducted by professionals, they will be able to identify your strengths and areas of improvement. This will help you get better with each mock.
4. What kind of skills can a mock interview help me develop?
Mocks help you develop all of the skills required in any real interview, such as communication skills, attention to detail, appropriate body language, time management skills, and critical thinking skills. They will also help you grow confidence.
5. What kind of questions will I be asked in a mock medical school interview?
Depending on your interview format, your mock will adjust the type of questions you are asked to meet the needs of the interview format. However, most will include common questions like “”, "why medicine?", "what is your greatest strength?", and more.
6. What kind of mock interviews are available?
You can find mock medical school interviews of any format, including MMI, traditional one-on-one, panel, MPI, and so on. A good medical school admissions consulting service will personalize its services to meet your needs.
7. What else can I do to prepare for my interview?
Throughout your prep, continue to practice with sample questions and apply the advice you receive from your admissions consultant.
8. How many mocks should I do?
This number is always very individualistic, so it’s difficult to give a definitive answer to this question. You should start with at least one to see what kind of feedback you receive from the advisor. They can assess how many more you will need.