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10 Articles to Prepare for Med School Interviews

As med school interviews begin, the time to prepare is now. These ten articles will get you thinking about important issues in health and health care, and may just pop into your head at a critical moment in the coming months.

Whether the interview format is one-on-one, panel, or Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI), your interviewers want to know more about you than what is written in your primary and secondary applications. This is a simple fact that plenty of applicants forget when nervous or under pressure. By familiarizing yourself with influential authors and current events in medicine, you can broaden your mental repertoire in preparation for med school interviews.

You may find that you are better able to articulate “why I want to be a doctor” after reading someone else’s words. Referencing a writer from whom you draw inspiration demonstrates a level of engagement with the world of medicine that goes beyond your premed courses. Your knowledge of major issues in health and health care delivery may also help you stand out on interview day. Finally, citing a scenario you encountered in an article, particularly during MMIs, can help show that you are thoughtful and analytical.

These ten articles are a great place to start, but as your first interview day approaches, keep on reading!

1. Something Wicked This Way Comes

Dr. Atul Gawande discusses the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold “Obamacare” for uninsured patients in the US. Health care delivery is rapidly changing as a result the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama in 2010. It is important for any person entering the medical field to learn about the role of law and insurance in healthcare delivery and outcomes.

2. My Medical Choice

Angelina Jolie writes about her decision to have a prophylactic double-mastectomy after discovering that she was high-risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer due to a genetic mutation. Genetic testing is becoming increasingly important as a screening and diagnostic tool. Ethical considerations and patient autonomy are key issues accompanying genetic testing.

3. Better Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us

The cost of health care in the US represents over 17% of GDP, and is growing. We rank 2nd in spending per capita on healthcare, and yet out of 48 countries included in a 2013 Bloomberg study, we ranked 46th in efficiency. This article explores sources of high healthcare costs in the United States.

4. Letting Go

While we frequently think about heroic efforts made by healthcare teams to save and sustain life, an equally important role of physicians is to help patients cope with the end of life. Here, Atul Gawande shares his experience with important end-of-life discussions.

5. Some of My Best Friends are Germs

Our bodies have more bacterial than human cells. Studying the role that these bacteria play in our bodies may shed light on poorly understood disease mechanisms and provide new therapeutic avenues. This article addresses this burgeoning area of scientific discovery.

6. Reforming Premedical Education – Out with the Old, In with the New

Dr. David Muller presents a case for changing traditional premedical requirements, including the MCAT. This article is valuable in that it is essentially a thought exercise about what creates a well-rounded medical student and ultimately a physician, and discusses the role of education in this process.

7. Why doesn’t medical care get better when doctors rest more?

This opinion piece will get you to think about tradeoffs when making decisions intended to improve patient care: for example, what is more dangerous – a resident making decisions with a sleep-deprived mind, or the handing off of patients from one rested resident to the next?

8. In Treatment of Leukemia, Glimpses of the Future

Personalized medicine through genetic testing is a reality for some patients today, but is the wave of our medical future. This article provides a particularly poignant example of where genetics can be used successfully to discover unexpected treatment avenues.

9. In Ill Doctor, Surprise Reflection of Who Picks Assisted Suicide

“Death with Dignity” is legislation in several states that provides certain terminally ill patients the option to receive a prescription to end their own lives. This article explores the population of patients that invoke this right, profiling one man with ALS.

10. Think Like a Doctor: A Terrible Leg Wound Solved

This short blog entry presents an interesting and rare case that challenged a patient’s health care team to come up with the correct diagnosis. The important point highlighted in this article is the need for physicians to be lifelong learners. Unlike Dr. House, real physicians do not extract accurate diagnoses of rare diseases from thin air, but rather learn by continual exposure to new things.

||Read more for a list of common interview mistakes||

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ProspectiveDoctor.

Emily Singer

Emily is a writer for She graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is currently a general surgery resident at Ohio State University. She is a graduate of Stanford University, holding Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Russian Languages and Literature. After graduating in 2009, Emily worked as a research analyst at a health policy consulting firm and a research scientist studying green products chemistry at a San Francisco-based startup. Emily’s interests include health policy, medical education, and global health.

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