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Preparing for a Medical School Interview

The most common questions:

Tell me about yourself.
A chronological history is a good way to answer this; be sure to include any unusual characteristics or activities that bear on your suitability for medicine/dentistry/etc.
Why do you want to be a doctor/dentist/vet?
This is a chance to tell your story. Practice it on a friend to see how it sounds to them.
What do you see yourself doing in 10-15 years?
Make sure you include both your personal goals as well as professional ones so you don’t look like all you see yourself doing is working. They are trying to get information about the specialty you see yourself practicing as well as the type of environment where you hope to practice, e.g., small town, city, region, etc.
What are your strengths and weaknesses (positive/negative qualities)?
Pick one of each. Don’t spend a lot of time on either one. Make sure that you pick a weakness that you have improved on and tell how you have done so; that is, try to make the way you dealt with your weakness one of your strengths.
Why do you want to come to our school?
Inform yourself about the specific focus and characteristics of each school and think about why you want to attend there.
What other schools have you applied to?
They don’t know. They are trying to find out if you are applying to other schools like them to figure out if you would really come there. Answer honestly. Again focus on what features of these schools appeal to you.
What questions do you have for me?
You absolutely must have at least two or three questions to ask at this point in the interview. See below for some suggestions.
Other questions:
Expect a current events question about health care, on topics such as Health Maintenance Organizations, universal health insurance, assisted suicide, medical marijuana, and so forth.

Questions to ask the interviewer:

Try to make a personal contact with the interviewer by asking his/her opinion on some aspect of the school or of his career. This will make the interviewer feel better about your interpersonal and communication skills - the main objective of the interview.

If the interviewer is a physician:
(You can adapt the questions for other health professions.)

  • What is your typical day like as a pediatrician/surgeon/etc.?
  • Where did you go to medical school and how would you compare it to the medical education here?
  • Why did you decide to become an oncologist/family practitioner/etc.?
  • How has medical practice changed during your career? What further changes do you foresee?

If the interviewer is a student:

  • What attracted you to this school?
  • How well do you feel you are being educated here?
  • How well do you feel you are being educated here?

Practice your answers. Do not bring up anything in the interview that you do not want the interviewer to pursue. Do bring up things that you want to talk about more, giving them the chance to pursue that topic. You have more control over the interview than you think. Use it.

Would you like help in practicing for an upcoming interview? Contact one of the following Pre-Health Advisors to arrange a mock medical school interview:

Todd Watson, PhD
Assistant Professor
Psychology
toddw@lclark.edu

Adonica De Vault
Associate Director
Center for Career and Community Engagement
devault@lclark.edu