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Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA) by AAMC: What Applicants Need to Know

Everything pre-med students need to know about the new VITA interview.

What is the AAMC VITA Interview?

The AAMC VITA interview is made to give admission officers information regarding your journey to medical school and five of the major competencies for entering medical students. The AAMC collaborated with experts in the medical school community, including faculty, admissions officers, and student and diversity affairs officers, to create the interview for medical schools.

In addition to your journey to medical school, the interview questions focus on the following major competencies:

  • Social skills
  • Cultural competence
  • Teamwork
  • Reliability and dependability
  • Resilience and adaptability

Even though each video interview is designed to assess the same general domains, the particular questions asked may be different. The questions are made to be unrelated to medical experience; therefore, the lack of medical-related experience should not impact your ability to answer those questions.

What Questions Are on the VITA Interview?

The interview is made up of six questions:

  • Personal experience questions: 
    • You will be asked to describe your journey and/or the experiences that led you to chase a medical career. For example, “Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine”?
  • Past behavior questions:
    • These questions will ask you to describe past experiences that show your level of skills and knowledge related to the different competencies. For example, “Describe a time when you experienced a conflict with a classmate or a coworker. What did you do? What was the outcome”?
  • Situational questions:
    • This question asks you to show your level of skills and knowledge linked to the different competencies by explaining what you would do in various hypothetical conditions. For example, “What would you do if you were working in a group project and one of your teammates is not doing their share of the work?”

What Does the AAMC VITA Interview Look Like?

The AAMC Video Interview Tool is a one-time, online, unidirectional interview. It presents six questions in text prompts, and applicants record an audio or video response; there is no human interviewer. You will have sixty seconds to read and reflect on every written question and up to three minutes to record a response. 

You may complete all six questions in one sitting, or you may complete any number of questions you select, as long as all questions are completed by the needed medical school deadline. The break between questions may be as long as you decide.

How Do I Prepare for the AAMC VITA Interview?

Prepare by submitting responses in the video technology platform to official interview questions written by the AAMC. This resource will be available later in the summer of 2020.

  • Identify examples of your experiences:
    • Highlight situations you either participated in or witnessed that demonstrate your knowledge or relevant competencies. Reflect on your experiences and learning. Take note situations (for instance, at school, at work, in a social situation) you were part of that exemplify your competencies.
  • Practice describing your experiences:
    • Carry out mock interviews to practice developing responses using specific behavioral examples from your life and experiences.
    • As you practice your responses, ensure you discuss the situation or task you encountered, the actions you took, and the outcome of your actions. Also, if you cannot identify a past experience where you showed competency, state a situation you witnessed or speak about what you would do in that situation.
    • When practicing responding to situational questions, discuss the actions you would take, why you would take those actions, and what you would expect the result of your actions to be. You may draw on your past experiences to describe why you should take particular actions.
  • Practice with technology:
    • Practice replying with the device you’ll be using and without an interviewer. When you complete the AAMC VITA interview, you will do so alone with your device. Look at the camera of the device — not at the screen — and keep your head and shoulders centered in the view of the camera.

What Set Up Do I Need for the AAMC VITA Interview?

  • Technology:
    • It is recommended that you use a tablet or computer with a good microphone and webcam. Even though a mobile phone may be used, a tablet or laptop gives better stability. Also use a device that will not accept phone calls while you take an interview, because a phone call will interfere with your ability to complete your response.
    • Double-check to ensure your camera and microphone are working well; also shut down all programs on your device so no alerts, notifications, or other electronic interruptions distract you.
  • Environment:
    • Get a quiet, private, and well-lit space where you can complete the interview on your own, you are free of potential distractions, and you can speak freely. Admission officers will have access to your videos. While you should aim to complete the interview in a neutral setting, medical schools understand that it may not be possible because of constraints from the pandemic.
    • They will be instructed to ignore the background in which you complete the interview and focus on the content of a response. Also, the AAMC will provide them with training to minimize the potential for bias.
  • Making an impression:
    • Wear professional clothes, just as you would for an in-person interview. Medical school admissions officers will watch your videos. Take the interview when you’re rested and focused. You want to be able to focus on understanding the questions, crafting meaningful responses, and presenting your best self.

Completing the VITA Interview

Read the whole question before you respond. Ensure you respond to all parts of the question. Remember that questions are created to confirm competencies unrelated to medical experience. They do not evaluate your medical knowledge. You do not need to have prior medical experience to answer the questions; other life experiences may serve as appropriate examples in your responses.

Respond in a detailed manner, and avoid generalizing. One strong example is better than several weak or tangential examples. Do not give information that could be used separately or in combination to identify someone, such as, name, title, or location — who you portray negatively.

Eligibility for the VITA Interview

Applicants to the 2021 medical school application cycle who have been selected to interview by a participating medical school are eligible to take the AAMC VITA interview. The invitations will be sent from the HireVue system, which is the platform you will use to complete your interview.

VITA Interview Fees

Due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no fees for the AAMC VITA interview for the 2021 application season.

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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