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Medical School Interview
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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.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 37
How would you like to see the delivery of healthcare evolve?
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How to Answer
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.
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Answer Examples
1.
How would you like to see the delivery of healthcare evolve?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I would like for the delivery of healthcare to be more patient-focused and less profit-focused. After working in a corporately owned hospital, I have experienced many situations in which the administration is more worried about how much money they will make than if the patient is being taken care of or not. While it is still a business and money will help it to continue running, the patient should be the top focus so that we don't lose any patients. The more patients we end up having will help with the money situation."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a sad situation, indeed, when profit is put before care. You offer up a caring, thoughtful answer with a very reasonable approach for repairing the disconnect.
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Anonymous Answer
"I would like compensation for primary care physicians to increase to incentivize more people to enter this field. I believe that having more primary care and family medicine doctors will allow for more physician-patient interaction. Currently, an interaction between patients and physicians is approximately 15 mins due to a shortage of PCPs. With more time to evaluate, diagnose, and talk to patients about treatments, I believe that the quality of healthcare being delivered will increase."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a fantastic answer, very detailed, and you support your thinking very well. Nice work!
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2.
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
"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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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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3.
Tell us something that we would not know about you from reading your CV.
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!)

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I am big into traveling and also love photography. Traveling is a great way to capture my love for photography and get to see the world through a different lens. I recently learned to perfect my photography skills and am still learning as a fun hobby."
Rachelle's Answer
Very cool! What started your interest in photography, and what is your favorite topic to photograph? Try to bring this answer to life just a bit more, to create a personal connection and better engagement with the interviewer.
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4.
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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5.
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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6.
What are you reading right now?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
7.
Should medical students who receive federal funds spend time practicing medicine in a less desired area, to give something in return?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I am indifferent either way. I think if they feel like they should give back, then that would be a great place to serve, but if they have talents that would be utilized elsewhere, then it would be unfair to hold them back from using their abilities."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is completely fair, and shows very balanced thinking. Good response!
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8.
What are your thoughts on alternative medicine? Which aspects do you agree and disagree with?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I think some aspects of alternative medicine can be helpful. I am not someone who wants to take medications for every problem I might have. I like to take the preventative approach even if it may take longer than a medication would. However, alternative medicine can be a problem, especially when looking at cancer. I know many patients who only want to take vitamins and minerals to cure their cancer, and as we know in almost every situation, that is not going to get rid of the cancerous cells."
Rachelle's Answer
You make an important distinction here re: when an alternative approach may be appropriate, and when it certainly is not.
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Anonymous Answer
"I think that in conjunction with traditional medicine, there is a place for alternative medicine. Some alternative medicine, like acupuncture, has worked for many people. I support alternative medicine; however, I want more research studies done on the science behind alternative medicine. With more research, we can better understand it and what it can be used for."
Rachelle's Answer
It never hurts to have more research! Your answer has nice balance - good work.
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9.
How would you react if you discovered a classmate cheating?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
10.
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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11.
Why do you want to be a physician? What appeals to you about working in the medical field?
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!

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"Physicians have an amazing capability to be with patients in the first and last moments of their life and the most vulnerable as well. Being able to impact someone at their worst is so humbling. I also love the learning aspect of the role of a physician. Medicine is always evolving, which in turn leads to continual learning. It is so important to be up to date on new topics and ideas for the best treatment for each patient."
Rachelle's Answer
It seems that continuous learning and making an impact are the most important to you. Try giving a bit more background if you can - as in, what piqued your initial interest in pursuing this career path.
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Anonymous Answer
"I want to become a physician to improve the health of those disproportionately affected by Alzheimer's. When I was a teenager, I watched my grandmother suffer from Alzheimer's disease. My family and I did not know what Alzheimer's disease was and did not have the resources to cope with how the disease affected my grandmother and family. As I learned more about the medical field, I saw how health education, along with resources, can improve the well-being of people, especially African Americans. The life-long learning and improving the health of communities around me is what gravitates me toward medicine."
Rachelle's Answer
Your mission is so heartfelt, and your genuine nature shines through—a perfect answer.
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12.
How well do you think you have performed in this interview today?
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.
Rachelle's Answer
"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?"
Anonymous Answer
"I feel as though I was well prepared for the questions you asked me, and I am happy with how it went. I am so honored to have been asked to come in for an interview and am thankful for your time."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is nice and confident and positive. If you feel comfortable, and depending on the tone of the interview, you may want to also ask if there are any areas where the interviewer(s) would like clarification.
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Anonymous Answer
"I believe I genuinely tried to put my best self forward and answer each question and scenario confidently. I have no regrets, and I'm excited to learn more about this school and hopefully attend here. Is there anything else you would like to know about me?"
Rachelle's Answer
Well put :) You leave the door open for further inquiries while also remaining very confident in your performance.
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13.
Are there any situations when a physician is justified in lying to a patient?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"therapeutic privilege"
Anonymous Answer
"I think it is more important to be honest in any situation, even when it is hard because it keeps the autonomy of the patient. Consent is a big factor in treatment, and when the patient doesn't know everything involved, that isn't true consent."
Rachelle's Answer
Bringing up consent is very important, and this is a thoughtful answer.
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14.
What is your opinion on socialized health care versus privatized health care?
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.

Rachelle's Answer
"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."
15.
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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37 Medical School Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. How would you like to see the delivery of healthcare evolve?
  2. Who in your life mentors, or inspires you?
  3. Tell us something that we would not know about you from reading your CV.
  4. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
  5. As a physician, you will be faced with death on a daily basis. How will you professionally cope with this reality?
  6. What are you reading right now?
  7. Should medical students who receive federal funds spend time practicing medicine in a less desired area, to give something in return?
  8. What are your thoughts on alternative medicine? Which aspects do you agree and disagree with?
  9. How would you react if you discovered a classmate cheating?
  10. What achievement are you most proud of, so far, on your path to medical school?
  11. Why do you want to be a physician? What appeals to you about working in the medical field?
  12. How well do you think you have performed in this interview today?
  13. Are there any situations when a physician is justified in lying to a patient?
  14. What is your opinion on socialized health care versus privatized health care?
  15. If you could meet anyone in the history of medicine, who would you choose and why?
  16. What is your plan if you are not accepted into medical school this year?
  17. We believe in the continual development of our students, both professionally and personally. What is your self-development plan?
  18. What are your thoughts on animal research and animal testing in the medical field?
  19. What other medical schools have you applied to and where does our university rank?
  20. What questions do you have for us about our university?
  21. Why should we accept you over another medical student with the same qualifications?
  22. Medical school is expensive. Have you made a solid financial plan for tuition costs, and beyond?
  23. How does your family feel about you attending medical school? Do you have a great deal of support?
  24. How do you express your opinions on controversial topics such as abortion, euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, and cloning?
  25. In your opinion, what is the most concerning issue facing the medical industry today?
  26. How do you respond to feedback and criticism? Describe a situation where your work was criticized. What was your immediate reaction to the situation?
  27. As a future physician, how do you plan to use your role to benefit members of your community? Do you think volunteering is important?
  28. A woman comes into the ER after a car accident. She needs a blood transfusion but she states that her religion is against blood transfusions. What decision do you make?
  29. Which medical related newspapers, journals or publications do you read to stay in touch with new medical discoveries, and current events?
  30. Talk to us about your experience and thoughts on handling blood and other bodily fluids. You will be subject to difficult scenarios in your role as a physician. How do you feel about this?
  31. What research did you conduct before choosing to apply to our university?
  32. Tell us about an area of weakness that you would like to improve on.
  33. What do you know about our university?
  34. What is your favorite area of medicine so far? Which is your least favorite? Why?
  35. Talk to us about your current GPA.
  36. What do you feel is the single most important quality a physician should possess?
  37. Tell us about your overall academic performance, so far. Where have you excelled, and where could you improve?
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