Seven keys to being ready for your medical school interview
The interview is the last step between you and that oh so sweet acceptance to a medical school! If you were offered an interview at a medical school, I would like to congratulate you on that accomplishment. Getting offered an interview is not easy and is a great sign that the school is interested in you. Once you are offered an interview, you have a much higher chance of getting accepted to that medical school. That is why it is really important that you are prepared and do everything you can to put your best foot forward. In this article I will go over the most important keys to being ready for any medical school interview!
1. Research the school
This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your interview goes the right way. Its an absolutely necessary step and one that will completely ruin your interview if you don’t do it. Make sure to research the school you are being interviewed at thoroughly. You want to be able to give a presentation on that school if you have to. Also knowing some interesting things about the city that the school is in can be a nice touch to many interviewers. Its super important to have specific reasons why you want to attend their school. I repeat myself, make sure you know exactly why you want to go to their school. Is it their awesome clinical locations? Is there something about their curriculum you like? Do you value their mission statement as a school? It is up to you to convince the school that you love their school for what it uniquely is!
2. Study your own Primary and Secondary application
Often times you will have to do an open-file interview, which means that you will be asked questions about either your primary or secondary application. Anything written in there is fair game! So make sure you know everything you said and be prepared for any questions. That is also why its important to only add things to your application that you are passionate about and can talk about with confidence. If you dont remember something you put on your application, that actually could be the difference between you getting accepted or not depending on what it is. You don’t want to give the admissions committee any reasons to not accept you.
3. Prepare for common interview questions
This one seems like a no brainer but many people dont actually practice for common questions they might be asked. Would you give a powerpoint presentation without ever practicing? Probably not. You want to be prepared to answer any question they might ask you in a professional way. Of course you dont want your answers to sound like they are canned and rehearsed, but by practicing them ahead of time it will actually come out way more professionally. When you answer these common interview questions, give answers that have some real substance to them and if possible relate it to specific things about that school.
Here is what I suggest: To prepare for common interview questions, check out our list of interview questions and copy them into a word document. Then type out the best answers you can to each of them. Then once you have answered all the interview questions, practice them.
Check out 45 common interview questions that medical schools might ask you!
4. Prepare proper clothing attire ahead of time
This also seems obvious but you would be surprised at how some of the other candidates dress to their interview. You dont want to be that one candidate who comes wearing something that is too casual. You are here to impress and be professional. There really is no downside to dressing as professionally as you can. Make sure you try on any suit or dress before taking it to the interview. If possible get it fitted to you. You want to do this several weeks ahead of the interview date if possible. Having your proper attire read ahead of time also allows you to do more realistic mock interviews, which we will talk about in a bit. If you dont dress to impress then you are hurting your chances!
5. Create a list of questions you want to ask
This is one of the things that is least considered by pre-meds who are interviewing. Having a list of questions to ask not only helps you to learn more about the school, it also shows the interviewers that you have took the time to come up with questions and that you are serious about their school. Make sure the questions are not too broad but instead are very specific to their program. Once again, showing that you have researched their school looks good on you.
6. Create a medical school interview cheatsheet for that school
This is actually my personal secret to medical school interview success! I make a “cheat sheet” for each school I am interviewed at that helps me be prepared for that specific interview. This cheatsheet is supposed to help you remember the most important things about that school and to say. A medical school cheatsheet would be a document that contains the answers to all of the common medical school interview questions specific to that school, important facts and information about the medical school, questions to ask during your interview, and any other relevant information. For more information on making a good medical school interview cheatsheet read this article!
7. Do mock interviews
The last way to be prepared for your medical school interview is to do a mock interview! You should do this after you have done all the other steps, especially after creating your interview cheat sheet. Now is the time to put it all together and learn what you need to fix for interview day. Are you too fidgety as you sit? Do you make good eye contact? Do you speak with confidence? How well do your answers come out? Make sure to identify your weaknesses and fix them before your interview! Make sure that your mock interviews are done in as realistic environment as possible. Find a formal location to do it at, wear your business attire, and have your interviewer also act and dress professionally. The more realistic the mock interview, the more of a benefit.
If you do all of these preparations, I am confident that your interview will go smooth! Its all about preparation. Never ever underestimate the value and power of preparation. You will know when you are ready for your interview. You will feel prepared and confident going into it. So until you feel prepared and confident, keep preparing more! And remember, you deserve to be at this interview! Now go and let those schools know why you are going to be an incredible doctor!