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Medical School Interview Questions Related to COVID-19

Sample Pandemic-Related Interview Questions

This year’s medical school interviews are likely to go virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, travel restrictions, and general safety concerns. For 2020, here are COVID-19 interview questions that could pop up.

Medical schools will still evaluate a student’s performance on the virtual interview as a large part of the selection criteria. We’ve outlined several potential COVID related interview questions for you to consider as you practice for your interview, as well as a strategic approach to each answer.

How has COVID-19 affected you?

This question is pretty open-ended (and mostly apolitical), so it’s a sure bet it’s going to be asked at least on a few medical school interviews. Think about answering this question in a way that doesn’t just talk about the fact that your MCAT was canceled or that your school went virtual. It may be helpful to think about how you see COVID-19 affecting your future, rather than your past.

What do you think about the US response to COVID-19?

This question is a bit trickier, but the reality is that the vast majority of physicians in the medical community realize the grave failures of the U.S. response from protecting our providers with PPE to preparing communities to stop the spread. While we wouldn’t recommend bringing in politics per se, speaking about the U.S. response with facts and having potential solutions would be helpful.

If you were president, how would you handle COVID-19 or the next global pandemic?

This question could be skewed as political, but the reality is it isn’t. It’s a very legitimate question that requires you to understand what has gone right and wrong around the world as we struggle to contain COVID-19. As a medical school applicant, you will be on the front line soon and must have ideas on how to handle global crises.

Do you think masks should be mandated for all?

Of all the questions so far, this one feels the most political in today’s climate. However, answering it doesn’t have to require too much finesse. Since almost all medical professionals agree that masks are important to contain the virus, you should be safe with an answer such as: “Yes. Since it’s proven that masks can limit the spread of pathogens such as COVID-19, I think it’s incredibly important that all citizens do everything they can to protect themselves and others by wearing one.”

Does COVID-19 make you more or less in favor of a single-payer healthcare system?

This question would be a way for an interviewer to test your knowledge of the healthcare system (something you should be intimately familiar with) as well as incorporate your understanding of how COVID has impacted the system. Interviewers are always interested to test your knowledge of health care. A few years ago, questions on the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) were very popular. While those questions may have been considered political then, the reality is today we are in a much more polarized world, but potentially in need of healthcare reform more than ever.

Also read: 4 Things You Should Know About Obamacare.

If you were in a situation where the ICU was full or resources were becoming scarce, how would you decide who to give care to?

This ethical dilemma played out in Italy, the United States, and other parts of the world this year. As a future physician, ethical dilemmas will be present in your work on a day to day basis. While this question is skewed towards COVID-19, the reality is that similar ethical questions have been asked during medical school interviews for years. It feels a bit more real now though because it is!

Also read: How to Approach Ethical Questions on an Interview

Additionally, here are some helpful links for those of you starting the interview process:

Sahil Mehta

Sahil Mehta M.D. is an attending physician in the Department of Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Founder of MedSchoolCoach. Dr Mehta is one of the world’s experts on medical school admissions having founded MedSchoolCoach in 2007. MedSchoolCoach provides admissions consulting to premedical students in the form of interview preparation, essay editing and general advising. In the past 10 years, he has had a hand in over a thousand acceptances to medical school.

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