The interviewers would like to know what areas of achievement are most important to you. Perhaps you have maintained an exceptional GPA or maybe you excelled in school while also working a part time job. Maybe you finished top of your class and received a special award for your achievements. Think of any accolades that you may have received along the way.
"The achievement that I am most proud of, so far, was completing my undergrad, top of my class. While maintaining very strong grades, I was also President of our school's Diversity Club, and I spent time volunteering at the local children's hospital."
The interviewers would like to know your stance on this controversial subject. Animal testing and animal research is a very large part of the medical industry. Breakthroughs and cures are found regularly, thanks to animal testing and research procedures. If you are an animal advocate then you may want to plan an answer that will be honest and true to your beliefs while showing your understanding of the necessity of this practice in the medical industry.
"Although I am a supporter of animal rights, I do understand that animal testing and research is required for most pharmaceutical testing and many other research platforms. In the U.S. it is the law for a pharma company to test on animals before a drug is distributed for human consumption. Will this change down the road? Perhaps. But for now - I do understand that it is a necessity."
The interviewers would like to understand the types of schools you are interested in. Knowing where you are applying will help them to better understand if their university will be able to meet your specific needs and educational desires or goals. You should be transparent when answering this question but be sure to avoid saying anything offensive such as 'this school is my last choice'. Pick out the number one reason why you want to attend their university and focus on that.
"I have applied to four other medical schools. Those schools are A, B, C, and D. My interest in your particular university is strong because you are highly regarded in the medical industry. The reputation of your school is unmatched. I would be so proud to say that I graduated from this school."
The interviewers want to know that you understand that facing death is a workplace reality for a physician. Assure the interviewers that you are capable of handling this tough reality on a regular basis.
"I recently read a paper by Dr. Lea Baider and Dr. Simon Wein on the realities of physicians facing death on a regular basis. The paper suggested that physicians who are successful in dealing with the fact of death at appropriate times do so by compartmentalizing the events of their day. The paper went on to say that if a physician is to split the mechanics of the problem from the emotional side, the physician can continue to function without the emotions getting in the way. I think this is a very good recommendation but it is also important to choose an appropriate time to address those emotions. For me, this would perhaps mean having a mentor or even counselor whom I could visit regularly. Also, not internalizing a death or placing blame on myself for the event."
Your life's inspiration can come from a book, a mentor, your family, a celebrity, an author - literally anyone! Talk to the interviewers about who has inspired your life and why.
"I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I would have to say that the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my grandmother. She always had a smile on her face no matter how hard she worked and she loved everyone. She was well respected and always gave more than she received. I try to live like her as much as I can."
It is very important that you come to your interview prepared with questions for the interviewers. Having prepared questions shows the panel that you are keenly interested in what they do at this university. Remember that people like to talk about what they know! By having insightful questions prepared, you are setting the stage for the interviewers to tell you many important and helpful details about their process, and their educational facility. Keep the majority of your question academically related. Asking too much about the culture, social life, and extra-curricular activities may cause you to appear unfocused. Here are some ideas: - If you could give me any piece of advice, what would that be? - Is there anything in my application, or anything that I said in today's interview, that I can clarify for you? - What is the most important thing I should know about my first week at your university, should I be accepted? - Can you tell me about some of the exciting opportunities I could take advantage of, should I attend your university? - What do you feel is the most unique offering at your university, compared to others in the area?
"I would love to learn more about this university, from your perspective. What is the biggest competitive edge your school has over it's competitors?"
This question is a stress test! The interviewers simply want to know if you are happy with your performance in the interview. There is always room for improvement; however, you want to avoid picking your interview apart. If you feel the interview went well: "I feel that I was well prepared for the questions that you asked me today and am happy with my performance in this interview. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Can I ask if there is anything I can clarify for you, or elaborate on, from today's conversation?" If you feel you could have performed better: "I feel that I was well prepared for the majority of the questions you have asked me today; however, I would like to clarify my answer on one particular point...." Then, return to the question you may have stumbled on and answer how you would have liked to the first time.
"I feel that I was well prepared for the questions that you asked me today and am happy with my performance in this interview. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Can I ask if there is anything I can clarify for you, or elaborate on, from today's conversation?"
The interviewers want to better understand where you feel healthcare could most evolve. Perhaps you feel that healthcare can best evolve through more patient focused care. Maybe you think that care coordination and synergy within administration is the fastest way to improving healthcare. Whatever your answer, be sure to maintain a hopeful stance and complete your answer by describing how you feel healthcare is currently evolving.
"I would like to see health based organizations and facilities put more efforts into putting their patients at the center of everything that they do. This could mean cutting down wait times, improving safety in hospitals, and even engaging with the community more often so there is a greater level of trust and comfort-ability. I do believe that we are evolving at a fast rate and I am happy to see how far this patient-centered attitude has come since I started my educational path within medicine."
The interviewers are looking for unique qualities and statements that make you stand out from the other students wishing to attend their university. Put yourself in their position. You are looking at multiple talented candidates, all have stellar grades, all have drive, and all have potential to be renowned alumni. What would be the primary reason to choose YOU over everyone else? Some things that make you a stand out candidate: - Recent volunteer work - An existing connection to the faculty or facility - A memorable and personal story of struggle and triumph - An unusual skill such as speaking multiple languages, or knowing sign language - An additional degree, diploma, or certification - Proof that you continually focus on personal and professional development
"I believe I am the strongest student for your medical program because I am incredibly dedicated to my professional and personal development. Since beginning my undergraduate program I have committed to taking a personal development workshop twice per year. The topics have included communication, person-ability, multi-tasking, organization, and even persuasive writing. I plan to take these skills and apply them to my graduate studies as well."
The interviewers want to be assured that you will be able to afford the tuition associated with medical school. Medical school is an investment and you need to be sure that you can handle the financial requirements associated with your acceptance. Keep your answer brief, and to the point. Simply let the interviewers know that you have a solid financial plan for your medical schooling.
"I have been making arrangements for many years to afford attendance to medical school. My finances are in good order."
The interviewers want to know that if you were accepted into their university that you would have the support required for your heavy and challenging work load. Discuss a bit about your family such as anyone who lives near you or how your family expresses their excitement for your career. You can also mention anyone in your family who may have had a similar path in the medical industry.
"My family is incredibly proud of me for attending medical school. My father is especially keen as he also graduated from this university. Both of my parents, as well as my older brother, live in the area so I will have a very strong and encouraging support system should I be accepted here."
This question is meant to start up a meaningful conversation between yourself and the interview panel. They want to see a bit of your personal opinion, your critical thinking skills, and your ability to be diplomatic when it comes to hot topics. Avoid any offensive answers! It's best if you can provide an answer that appeals to both sides while not appearing wishy-washy.
"I believe that the basic concepts of socialized health care and privatized health care are good by nature, and speak to a range of patients. Some of my peers have expressed their love for socialized health care because, although they pay a higher tax rate, they are not caught in an expensive whirlwind when they face illness. Privatized health care on the other hand can offer significantly shorter wait times which is very important for those with potentially critical or debilitating illness. I believe it is important to have options for both so that people can choose."
The interviewers would like to understand what drives your pursuit of a career in the medical field. Your core passion is what will keep you going on the toughest of days while attending medical school. For the interviewers to understand how to motivate you, they need to know what fires you up! It is okay to share a personal story when answering this question. Perhaps you can discuss what initiated your interested in attending medical school to begin with. Whatever drives you, make sure the interviewers can feel your passion!
"There are a number of factors that drive my passion for a career in medicine. If I had to pinpoint one main driver, I would say that saving the lives of others, every day, is the most significant for me. Everyone deserves great health care and I plan to live that mantra by being the best at what I do, and giving my all to my patients, every day."
Questions like this can be tricky! Be sure to take note of the wording here as the interviewers are looking to see how you navigate controversial topics versus directly asking your opinion on these topics. This is the time to discuss how you remain tactful when controversial topics arise.
"When it comes to controversial topics such as abortion, euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, and cloning I will certainly give my opinions more freely in a social setting with friend versus a workplace setting or around patients. If at work, I would try to keep my personal opinion to myself or at the very least - remain diplomatic by expressing how each side has their right to an opinion."
With this question, the interviewers are questioning your knowledge, character, and ethics at the same time. You should have a well-versed answer for this question as it may come up many times during your time in medical school, and all the way through into your career. Research the concept of "therapeutic privilege" and then create a canned reply from there. Your answer should be brief, clean, and not convoluted.
Being an aspiring medical student means that you need to take a keen interest in current events by closely following the challenges the medical industry faces. The interviewers want to see that your interest is deep and that you spend time learning, and understanding, the challenges you will face in your future career as a physician. Discuss what you feel to be a primary concerning issue, and be sure to ask the interviewers what they personally see as the most concerning issue in the medical field today. This is an opportunity to start a very insightful conversation.
"I feel that the most concerning issue in the medical industry is the continual rise of drug prices. The best medications should be accessible to anyone, regardless of their financial or social status, and there has been a rising concern with big pharma creating drugs and then pricing them so high that they are unattainable to most. What do you feel are the most concerning issues facing the medical industry today?"
This honesty based question is meant to test your character and ability to deal with awkward or uncomfortable situations in a mature way. If you have found yourself in a situation like this, you can certainly draw on that situation for your reply. Be careful not to name any names, or throw anyone under the bus as you can rarely recover from unsavory behavior like that in an interview.
"In my opinion, an honorable person will do what is right even when nobody is looking. The medical industry deserves only honorable graduates and so, for that reason, I would tell a superior if I found a classmate to be cheating."
The interviewers want to see that you are confident and mature enough to accept feedback and criticism in a positive way, even when it is unsolicited. Not all feedback will be delivered in a friendly, easy to absorb manner. Think to a time when you received feedback or criticism that was bit hurtful or surprising. Discuss how you reacted in a productive way. It is important that you highlight for the interviewers that you were able to take the criticism and learn from it. Talk about how you successfully implemented change.
"Last year I received a low grade on a chemistry project. When I approached my professor about the low grade, he said to me 'You can do better. I expected more from you'. I was taken aback at first but once I had time to absorb what was said, I realized that he expected more from me because he had high expectations of what I was capable of doing. It was a compliment, and a challenge, all rolled into one! I re-did the assignment with more gusto and passion the second time around. My grade improved significantly and I did thank that professor for holding me to a higher standard."
Alternative medicine can be a controversial subject. Some love it, some hate it, and there are a few that are in-between. Just like you would answer a sensitive question surrounding politics or religion, it's best to support both sides in one way or another. Interviews are not a good place to voice a highly one sided opinion.
"Although I am a supporter of traditional medicine, I do understand that alternative medicine can offer great benefits for some. I agree that there is a science behind alternative medicine; however, I feel that alternative medicine should be more strictly regulated. People need to educate themselves better before jumping into 'all-natural' therapy. Prescribed teas and herbs can be dangerous if taken in the wrong dosages. Even though it is natural, it doesn't mean that your body will like it. Just like with all types of medicine and practices, research and education is very important."
When a medical student receives federal assistance through loans, or grants, some may see it as an unfair advantage for them to also have first pick of where they practice after completing medical school. On the other hand, some people don't care...so long as the best talent is being put to good use. You can share with the interviewers your thoughts on this but remain positive and try to show your ability to see both sides of the coin.
"I believe that, because there is such a huge shortage of physicians in rural areas, that students receiving federal assistance should do their part by practicing in these areas for a certain amount of time. I do understand that this may seem unfair; however, there could be exceptions for certain rarer specialties or medical students who have exceptional grades, for example."
The interviewers want to know that you see the importance of community involvement. As a physician, your knowledge and help will be greatly needed and appreciated, by your community. Show that you are willing to be generous with your time and knowledge. Some ways that a physician can benefit their community: - Teach your community about the health resources available to them - Offer free or reduced fee services to low income families - Hold free workshops on topics such as sexual health or addiction - Volunteer regularly and be an advocate for volunteering
"Bettering my community is going to be a big part of what I do as a physician. I already spend a great deal of my time volunteering at the local children's hospital and I plan to continue that work after medical school. One specific way that I plan to benefit the members of my community is by holding free workshops on a monthly basis. The workshops will tackle tough issues that the community is facing as a whole."
This is a loaded question, indeed! The interviewers would like to know if you are ready to face tough decisions like this while maintaining the integrity and code of ethics expected of you as a physician. You may not be able to answer this question completely correct as there are many policies and legal requirements that you may not even know about yet. Answer to the best of your ability by displaying that you would make the soundest choice possible, while maintaining the integrity of the patient.
"From what I understand, if the patient is of sound mind and they understand the risk they are taking by refusing medical assistance, I do not have the right to override her religious choice. There are many factors that could change this, such as a patient who was unconscious, under the influence of a narcotic, or perhaps had a language barrier. In these situations, it's best to refer to your facilities' leaders and ethics community. This is a decision I would not feel comfortable making entirely on my own."
The interviewers want to see that you have a keen interest in continually learning your craft. The medical industry is ever changing! Talk about how you stay up to date on industry trends, new breakthroughs, social concerns, and more. List a couple of medical journals that you like to read and discuss how often you dive into medical related news. Perhaps you subscribe to a particular magazine, blog, or follow certain social media accounts. It's also a great idea to ask the interviewers about their favorite ways to stay in touch on medical related current events. Asking this question in return can make for a great dialogue, and you never know what you will learn!
"I am sure to read PLOS Magazine, and The Lancet, on a regular basis. In addition to these medical journals, I also subscribe to Kaiser Health News and The Wall Street Journal Health Blog. It's important to diversify where your news comes from and I would love some fresh suggestions. What are your favorite places for news on current trends?"
The interviewers want to know that you will be able to handle the difficult sights and experiences that you will come across in your career as a physician. You can keep your answer simple by discussing your ability to handle events involving blood, and other bodily fluids.
"I have never been a queasy individual and I fully understand the types of cases that I will see in my career as a physician. Currently, I work part time at our local drop in shelter and have seen a wide range of situations involving blood, and such. I don't think about the gore, but more about the fact that it's a human being who needs my help. I believe this mentality will get me through any gruesome or undesirable situation."
Do you feed your mind on a regular basis? What kind of literature do you prefer, and why? Talk to the interviewers about a book that you are currently reading. If you are not currently reading a book - talk about one that has impacted you the most.
"Currently I am reading 'Ego is the Enemy' by Ryan Holiday. It is a book about ambition, resilience and success. I feel that everyone should read it - it comes highly recommended."
The interviewers would like to get to know you apart from what is written on your CV and school transcripts. You are certainly not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewers that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate! For example, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewers to ask you to perform your skill on the spot when its possible! (This will make you unforgettable!)
"I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last 3 years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."
The interviewers want to know which considerations you put in before sending your application to their university. What they really do not want to hear is that you blindly sent out a million applications, hoping that something would stick. Share with the interviewers the consideration you put into your application. Some methods of consideration could have been: - Talking to / interviewing alumni of their university. - Attending an open house at their school. - Extensive online research. - Researching who the most renowned graduates of their medical program are. - Meeting with a career counselor and asking for recommendations. - Speaking with a current student at their university, specifically someone in the program you are interested in.
"I was sure to conduct a great deal of research before applying to your university. I started by interviewing some alumni that I know, and I also spoke with a couple of your current students who are in the medical program. Last year I attended the open house here as well. Your school left a very positive impression on me which is why I chose to apply here."
Pick a weakness that is not a core skill for your success as a medical student. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness. Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject in question, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our own weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!
"I believe I could improve on my written and verbal communication skills as I tend to be more blunt than I would like to be at times. I have enrolled myself in a week long workshop this summer with the goal of becoming a more eloquent communicator. I hope to gain skills in this workshop that I can continue to utilize during my university career."
It's likely that the interviewers have seen hundreds of applicants, so a question like this is an opportunity for you to stand out. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, make some effort to conduct research on the school. You don't need to be an expert on their entire history, but you do need to be knowledgeable on their programs, culture, and recent accolades. Start by searching their website and take special note of any recent news articles, events or contributions they have made to the community or student body. Identify their mission and values so that you can be clear on what they stand for.
"The passion for community and elevated learning at your school really jumps out to me. It is probably why you are the longest standing university in the entire state. I also love the effort that your school puts in when it comes to residencies and placements for your medical school graduates. It is very obvious that your faculty goes beyond the general expectations of a university to ensure it's students' success."
By understanding your strongest areas of interest, the interviewers are able to predict which of the courses you will enjoy most at their university, and how you will fit into their student population and culture. Talk about where your strongest interests currently are, when it comes to the medical field.
"At this point in my studies, I am most interested in Pediatrics as I have always had a passion for helping children. I bring a compassion that is required for that area of medicine. Also, the majority of my volunteer experience has been around children's issues. The area of medicine that I find to be my least favorite so far is Pathology. I have not excelled in the area of bio-science; however, I have hired a tutor to ensure my grades remain above average regardless of my natural interest."
Are you satisfied with your current GPA or would you change it if you could? Talk to the interviewers about your undergrad experience. If you were satisfied with your GPA: "I graduated top of my class and am very proud of my accomplishments during my undergraduate studies. The experience taught me to study hard and set attainable goals for myself." If you were not satisfied with your GPA: "I feel that my GPA could have been higher; however, I was working full time while attending classes. All in all, I did learn a lot about discipline and commitment."
"I graduated top of my class and am very proud of my accomplishments during my undergraduate studies. The experience taught me to study hard and set attainable goals for myself."
The interviewers want to see that you have some insight into the desired qualities and characteristics of a physician. This is an opportunity to give a unique answer, so try to dig deeper than 'good bedside manner' or 'strong attention to detail'. Some ideas for you: - Unrelenting drive - Desire for improvement - Accountability - Patience and Fortitude - Integrity - Optimism - Self Confidence
"I believe that the most important quality for a physician to possess is integrity. A physician with integrity is a physician who will always put their patients first. They will treat all attending staff with respect and they will be dedicated to bettering themselves in their craft. Integrity is a very important quality to me and I strive to reflect that in everything I do."
The interviewers want to know how your undergraduate program has prepared you for attending medical school at their university. Discuss what interested you the most, and where you had the biggest challenges. While attending undergraduate studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to your time in medical school. Think about what you learned: - Time Management - Creative Thinking - Proposal Writing - Public Speaking - Presentation Building - Independent Learning - Academic Research - Self-Motivation
"I am very proud of my achievements during my undergrad education. Those courses added so much value that I will bring to my graduate program. My best courses included X, Y, and Z. I feel that I excelled in these because they are related to the medical specialty I plan to end up in. As far as areas of improvement, I think that I can better myself in terms of time management. I overextended myself last semester with volunteer opportunities and my study time suffered slightly. Now that I have identified the reason behind my time management challenges, I will only see improvement, moving forward."
A medical school (often spoken as med school) is a tertiary educational institution or part of such an institution that teaches medicine. In addition to a medical degree program, some medical schools offer programs leading to a Master's Degree, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Bachelor/Doctor of Medicine (MBBS, BMed, MDCM, MD, MBChB, etc.), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO-USA), or other post-secondary education. Medical schools can also employ medical researchers and operate hospitals. Medical schools teach subjects such as human anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, immunology, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, anesthesiology, internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, psychiatry, genetics, and pathology.