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Medical School Interview
Questions

37 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 37
If you could meet anyone in the history of medicine, who would you choose and why?
View Answer
How to Answer
This is more of a personal interest question, and you really cannot give a wrong answer here. Think back to any of the' founding fathers' (and mothers!) of medicine. Who has a story that resonates with you the most? What did they overcome, and how can you relate? What did they discover / create / invent that you admire so much? It's also a great idea to think of the most burning question you would have for that individual. Be sure to add passion to your answer so that the interviewers can sense a true interest.
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Top 35 Medical School Interview Questions with Full Content
1.
If you could meet anyone in the history of medicine, who would you choose and why?
This is more of a personal interest question, and you really cannot give a wrong answer here. Think back to any of the' founding fathers' (and mothers!) of medicine. Who has a story that resonates with you the most? What did they overcome, and how can you relate? What did they discover / create / invent that you admire so much? It's also a great idea to think of the most burning question you would have for that individual. Be sure to add passion to your answer so that the interviewers can sense a true interest.

Rachelle's Answer
"If I could meet anyone in the history of medicine, I would go back to the very beginning and meet Hippocrates. I find it fascinating that he was the first person to ever believe that disease and death were not a result of the anger of gods. I would ask him what that first conversation sounded like...when he first said to others, that disease is not caused by superstitious belief. He would have had to have faced so many roadblocks, yet, he continued to believe in his work."
Anonymous Answer
"It would be my great grandfather, who was a physician during World War One. I admired his strength while he treated patients in a time when people were starving and dying of treatable illnesses. I would love to know how he encouraged his patients to keep trying for their life during a time when things seemed hopeless."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is so heartfelt and memorable, a stand-out response. Very good approach.
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Anonymous Answer
"I really would like to meet Jean-Martin Charcot due to his interest in neurological conditions. I have had extensive experience with Alzheimer's disease, and it would be interesting to pick his brain on the affects or prophylactic measures of dementia. I would love to hear his feedback about how culture has changed since he studied neurological cases and today."
Rachelle's Answer
Perfect response! You show a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm for his work.
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2.
What is your plan if you are not accepted into medical school this year?
The interviewers want to know that you have thought out all options, and scenarios, in the event that you are not accepted into medical school.

The way that you answer this question will also show the interviewers that you have an interest in the medical field that goes deeper than your acceptance into medical school.

If you are not accepted, show that you will then take a different path into Nursing or Medical Science, for instance.

Or, you can let the interviewers know that one rejection won't stop you at all! Talk about your plan to reapply, if rejected.

Whatever the path you would choose, it's important you show the interviewers that you have confidence, and drive. It'll take more than one rejection to keep you down!

Rachelle's Answer
"Should I not be accepted into medical school the first time, I plan to reapply the following year. I would take that year to upgrade any required courses and prepare an even stronger application. My life's goal is to become a physician and I certainly won't take one rejection as a final answer."
Anonymous Answer
"I still want to pursue medicine. I am interested in applying again but might look into getting a BSN in the meantime. My main goal is to work in the medical field as a physician, and I will continue to work at it until I get there."
Rachelle's Answer
You certainly know that your career path is in medicine, which is great! Your determination and willingness to expand your education/knowledge is apparent :)
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Anonymous Answer
"If I am not accepted into medical school this year, I plan on reapplying next year and gaining some more hands-on patient experience in the interim. I'd like to refresh my OEC certification and work as a ski patroller during the winter and shadow a few more doctors. I'd use these new experiences to better prepare myself for medical school and craft a more compelling application."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is perfect because you are so specific on the action you will be taking should this situation occur. The interviewer should be happy that you have a strong plan in place.
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3.
When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. When you work in the medical field, those setbacks can be amplified. While attending university, even more so because your grades can greatly determine the success of your future career. Discuss with the interviewers how you typically cope with setbacks.

Rachelle's Answer
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be very disheartening, especially when involving a project that I have put a lot of time and effort into. I understand that setbacks happen often, and to everyone - despite their level of expertise or years of experience. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to internally debrief, get some fresh air if possible, or discuss what I could have done differently with a mentor. Then, I move on. Rather than dwell on my mistakes, I choose to learn from them."
Anonymous Answer
"Setbacks can be hard, but I like to use it to my advantage in my work. Emotionally for me, I do take it to heart and like to evaluate what is going on, but I don't want it to affect my work unless it is positively. I do talk to my family about everything, and I have great supporters who listen to me and help me through it."
Rachelle's Answer
It seems you handle setbacks very well. Try also providing an example of a time when you overcame a setback. This will bring your response to life a bit.
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Anonymous Answer
"When I suffer from a setback, I do become emotionally frustrated. However, when I feel these emotions arise, I take a little 5-10 minute break to take a walk outside or breathe. Usually, after a breathing exercise, I am calm and can focus on the next set of actions I need to do. I think by giving myself this break to it allows me not to let my emotions override the work I need to get done."
Rachelle's Answer
It's wonderful that you can recognize this in yourself and have a method for keeping your emotions in check when professionalism is required.
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4.
We believe in the continual development of our students, both professionally and personally. What is your self-development plan?
Having a self-development plan is incredibly important for anyone. The interviewers want to know what your plan is, and how attending their university will be beneficial to that plan. If they are going to invest in you, they need to know that you have a plan in place for investing in yourself also.

Some ideas for self-development:

- Listening to an inspiring podcaster
- Attending personal development workshops
- Spending time volunteering in a capacity related to your career goals
- Utilizing a mentor
- Hiring a tutor
- Learning another language
- Reading books associated with success

Rachelle's Answer
"I agree that self-development is crucial for continual growth and achievement. I am committed to investing in myself and some of the ways I do this is by attending personal development workshops, and meeting with my mentor once per month."
Anonymous Answer
"I think it is important to continue to become a great leader. Nothing can be done alone, and I enjoy listening to podcasts that help me learn better ways to lead. I want to make sure I carve out time each week to pay attention to developing my leadership skills further, whether that be through mentorship, listening to podcasts, or reading books."
Rachelle's Answer
Very good! You are keen on self-development and offer up many ways that you can pursue this growth. Now, to turn this answer into one that is more actionable - how will you find a mentor? Which podcasts and books do you currently dive into? Which do you plan to explore?
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Anonymous Answer
"I'd say my self-development plan would be dependent on whether I get into medical school or not and where that path takes me. Should I get in, I want to pursue medicine and stay up to date on the latest innovations through reading and studies. If I am declined, I plan on gaining more experience, then apply again. Personally, however, I am currently working on reducing my body fat percentage from 11-12% to 8-9% and slowly transitioning into a more vegetarian diet to keep myself healthy. For mental growth, I enjoy reading and creative outlets like DnD."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds like you are an incredibly well-rounded individual. Your answer is well thought out, and any interviewer should be happy to hear that you have such a positive range of interests.
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5.
What achievement are you most proud of, so far, on your path to medical school?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I think my proudest achievement is winning a scholarship for my research. When I started in my lab, I never thought my PI would let me take on a project of my own, so when he came to me with the opportunity, I was ecstatic. I created an outline for my project, wrote the proposal, and won a Scholars Award. I have since been working on my project. It had its ups and downs, but I've learned an incredible amount about myself and how research is conducted over these past few months."
Rachelle's Answer
Wow - you should be so proud! This is a wonderful example of taking the reigns on a project and seeing a successful outcome.
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Anonymous Answer
"I am most proud of is my work in running a clinical trial as part of my research project in my master's program. Being solely in charge of running this trial on the clinical side and the laboratory side, I learned to be a better leader, improved my interpersonal skills, and management skills. For example, I had to learn how to effectively communicate clear expectations and actions to the clinical coordinator team and students working under me. My success in managing a team to recruit, pre-screen, and enroll over 10 people to participate in this trial is one that I am very proud of."
Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic answer, and it's crafted very well. You should be very proud of your hard work and achievements!
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6.
What are your thoughts on animal research and animal testing in the medical field?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I think animal testing is important for the medical field. While we don't want to treat animals inhumanely, we also don't want to test something on a patient without knowing what the outcome could be. Animal testing can be done correctly and efficiently to better the world of medicine."
Rachelle's Answer
You bring up an important distinction between animal testing and animal cruelty. You could strengthen your answer by providing a specific example of when animal testing, as it stands now, is the only option.
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Anonymous Answer
"I think it isn't ideal for anyone involved but is nonetheless necessary. Animal models, though similar to humans, are often inadequate for scaling drugs and pharmaceuticals. Being anatomically different, they are also ill-suited for anatomical models. Animals are living creatures that feel pain, and we subject them to extreme conditions until their death every day. It's easy to see barbarism on animal testing, but as of now, we have no better options. Hopefully, with the advent of 3D printing, we can begin testing human tissue samples effectively."
Rachelle's Answer
3D printing is such a great example of innovations that will help us evolve from these practices. Your answer is very well thought out.
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7.
What other medical schools have you applied to and where does our university rank?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I have applied to many medical schools, but have interviewed at three. I am particularly interested in this medical school because I know Doctors who have graduated from this school and they told me about the amazing support they received, and how the people they met here are still some of their best friends today. I also feel that I would fit well into the problem-based learning pathway that is offered here."
Rachelle's Answer
Your reasoning is great! I like that you mentioned the research you have done, and the conversations you have had with past graduates.
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8.
As a physician, you will be faced with death on a daily basis. How will you professionally cope with this reality?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"It is important as a physician to know when to take things personally and when they need to stay professional. I have been faced with a lot of death in my personal life, and I have learned how to cope with that. Although it is not easy, I am confident that I will be able to stay strong in the profession."
Rachelle's Answer
You give a nice personal touch here. Try to take your answer a step further by offering up what your coping methods/mechanisms have been when dealing with this trauma in your personal life. What piece of advice would you give to someone facing this type of difficult situation?
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Anonymous Answer
"As a physician, I would strive to compartmentalize my job from my emotions. I realize that there will be times where a person's life or death will be out of my control, and to cope with that, I will face the fact that such events are not my fault; that they are natural. Physicians must separate their emotions from their work to care for patients properly. As for ways of dealing with these emotions, I think fostering strong support systems with family and friends to talk through such feelings would be integral for me."
Rachelle's Answer
You approach this question very well, and your professionalism shines through. Great answer.
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9.
Who in your life mentors, or inspires you?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"My mother, because one of the many things she taught me was to always look for the good in people. I think when we apply this to people that have wronged us, we are capable of incredible understanding and change."
Rachelle's Answer
Very nice! Your mother sounds like a smart and kind woman. This is a great philosophy to live by.
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Anonymous Answer
"I would have to say that my mother is who inspires me. She has been a nurse for thirty-five years, and listening to her stories in the hospital is what initially sparked my interest in medicine. She has a passion for people and its one that I share as well. She made sure I understood how incredibly demanding and challenging the field of medicine can be but also what a fantastic reward it can be as well. She was my inspiration to pursue my journey in medicine."
Rachelle's Answer
You sound highly equipped for a career in the medical industry! Very genuine answer. Well done :)
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10.
What questions do you have for us about our university?
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?

Rachelle's Answer
"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?"
Anonymous Answer
"What are the outcomes of board testing, and what measures do you take to allow for adamant preparation? What is the student to professor ratio? What is your best piece of advice for a new med student? Is there anything in my application that you need some clarification on?"
Rachelle's Answer
These are fantastic questions! Very thoughtful and important - Bravo.
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Anonymous Answer
"What do you think is the strength of your school and what you feel like the school is doing right? What do you think you could approve of in the school? What are your positions working for the school? What do you love most about your job? What type of person thrives in your school's environment?"
Rachelle's Answer
These are fantastic questions - great approach.
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