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How To Prepare For a Medical School Interview

Do you know how to prepare for a medical school interview? Here are a list of helpful tips that you can follow:

Get a suit, preferably one that fits well

Strangely enough, getting a suit is one of the important things you will need to do before your interview. Women do not have to wear suits but they must dress professionally. Having the proper attire is incredibly important because interviewers simply will not take you seriously if you are not dressed properly.

Read read read

For interviews, knowledge really is power. As you read more, you will become smarter, and becoming smarter will make you not only more confident, but also better prepared to answer any question. When you do read, read books and articles that provide relevant information in an efficient way. Here are the three categories you should focus on:

1. Current events

Stay in touch with current events, especially politics that may pertain to health care, by reading articles on CNN, New York Times, or even Google News.

2. Medical issues

Reading about medical topics will probably be the most directly relevant to your interview process. Read to learn about bioethics, new research and technologies, policies, life as a doctor, and medical/scientific thinking. Books and articles by Dr. Atul Gawande are incredibly helpful and entertaining when trying to learn about issues facing medicine. How Doctors Think, is a great book to read. Reading biographies about doctors, aside from spending time with an actual doctor, is probably the best and most personal way to learn more about being a doctor. Having a subscription to the New England Journal of Medicine is useful as well because you can learn about the latest research, bioethical issues and policies.

3. Personal interest

Read any books or articles that you find interesting. It can be about anything as long as you find joy in reading them. You never know when you and your interviewer could have the same favorite book!

Create a list of interview questions and have answers to most of them

Here are lists from ProspectiveDoctor and HarvardMedGirl that are extremely useful. It may not be possible to have answers to every question. But no matter what, make sure you can coherently and convincingly articulate why you want to be a doctor, why you want to attend a specific school, and why you would make a good doctor.

Do mock interviews and practice talking about yourself

Ask friends, colleagues, doctors, research supervisors, professors, or anyone else you trust to help you do a mock interview. Try to simulate the real thing as well as you can. Try to do at least 2 or 3 mock interviews before you go into your first interview. In addition to mock interviews, make sure you are comfortable talking about yourself. You should be well aware of your personality, tendencies, accomplishments and experiences. Strangely enough, sometimes talking about yourself can be the hardest part about the interview.

Research each school’s interview format and tendencies

Know what to expect from each school before you interview. Generally there are three different interview formats with school specific variations. You should know what type of interview you are walking into. Also learn more about each school so that you could tailor your answers to be more appropriate for each school. The best way to learn more about a school is to talk to actual medical students who attend that school. Other ways would be to go on the schools website or learn from studentdoctor.net.

Take care of logistics

You should be in your best mental and physical condition during your interview. This means you should get enough rest before the interview, schedule travel that gives you sufficient time to mentally and physically prepare, and eat and drink properly.

Have questions ready

Interviews will almost always ask if you have questions for them. It is very unwise to say that you have no questions. Interviewers may take that as a lack of interest, creativity, or attentiveness. Have a list of different questions you can ask your interviewers. Try to avoid being too specific because your interviewer may not know the answer to your question.

Here are some good questions for you to ask:

1. What is your favorite or least favorite thing about this school?

2. Why did you choose to work at this school?

3. Can you tell me more about X program?

4. How do you think I should decide on which medical school I should attend?

5. Do you have any advice for me?

6. What is your favorite or least favorite thing about being a doctor? (if your interviewer is a doctor)

7. What are your thoughts about X issue? (You could ask this question if X issue was already discussed during the interview)

Read through your entire primary and secondary application

You must know your application very well before you attend your interview. Remember what you said and why you said it for both your primary and secondary application. Your interview is the final part of your application story. Therefore, if you cannot recall the previous parts of your story, your interview may be disconnected from the rest of your application. For example, if you give a reason why you want to be a doctor in your personal statement but give a completely different reason on your interview, that might be a red flag.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ProspectiveDoctor. Follow ProspectiveDoctor on Twitter @ProspectiveDr 

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Edward Chang

Edward Chang is the Co-founder and Director of Operations of ProspectiveDoctor.com. He graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is currently a urology resident at the University of Washington. He also attended UCLA as an undergraduate, graduating with a major in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. If you are interested in contributing to ProspectiveDoctor.com, please contact him at edwardchang@prospectivedoctor.com. Follow him on Twitter @EdwardChangMD and Prospective Doctor @ProspectiveDr.

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