Medical Schools will often invite those applicants they are most interested in, to interview at the school. Like a normal job interview, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the school. This list of common interview questions should help prospective interviewers prepare. The questions are divided up into types of questions one might expect, such as warm-up, leadership, general, personal, assessment, education, stress, qualifications/experience, decisiveness, teamwork, creativity, med school specific, research experience, health care issues, ethical, behavioral, and problem solving. These categories might be helpful in outlining the topics and themes of the interview that will be important for you to know for the interview (and to be a doctor!). While this list is not exhaustive, it might be a good start. Supplement this list of interview questions with my helpful hints to getting into medical school. If YOU have interviewed at a medical school, please let me know of any questions that I can add to my list!
COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED IN SCREENING INTERVIEWS
- Who are you?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Tell me about your family.
- Is you family supportive of your going to school?
- I know very little about Lamar University, tell me about the school, why you chose to attend Lamar, and your experiences as a student?
- What made you apply to this school?
- Who is your hero and why?
- What were your favorite and least favorite courses in college?
- Of all the people, dead or alive, who would you most like to have dinner with and why?
- What are you passionate about?
- How can you tell if someone is compassionate?
- What negative experiences from your background made it clear that you wanted to pursue medicine?
- What are you most proud of about yourself?
- Is there anything that you want us to know about you that we haven’t asked you and is not apparent in your application?
- Describe yourself in three words.
- How would you describe yourself as a person?
- How would your friends describe you?
- If I were to ask your academic advisor about your ability as a candidate for this school, what would he/she say?
- What academic extracurricular activities were you involved in during your undergraduate education?
- What organizations do you belong to?
- What leadership positions have you held in organizations?
- Tell me specifically what you do in the civic activities in which you participate. (Leading questions in selected areas. i.e. sports, economics, current events, finance.)
- What do you do in your spare time?
- In what kinds of activities have you been involved?
- What are your hobbies?
- What was the last book that you read?
- What newspapers do you read on a regular basis?
- As a woman, how would you mesh your career with family?
- What makes you laugh? Why?
- Tell me about a significant event in your life and how it shaped you?
- Which of your qualities would you want to pass down to your children?
- What about yourself would you change if you could?
- What three material objects are most important to you?
- What kind of things do you feel most confident in doing?
- Can you describe for me a difficult obstacle you have had to overcome? How did you handle it? How do you feel this experience affected your personality or ability?
- Describe your greatest strengths and weaknesses.
- What do you think are the most important characteristics & abilities a person must possess to become a successful doctor? How do you rate yourself in these areas?
- Do you consider yourself a self-starter? If so, explain why and give examples.
- What do you consider to be your greatest achievements to date? Why?
- What things give you the greatest satisfaction in school and in your life?
- What special aspects of your education or training have prepared you for admission to this school?
- What courses would you recommend that all students should take as an undergraduate?
- What was your favorite and least favorite course as an undergraduate?
- Explain why your grade point average or MCAT scores are lower than what we expect for applicants?
- Do you think that your grades are a good index of your abilities?
- What was your toughest subject in college?
- What causes the most stress in your life?
- What things frustrate you the most? How do you usually cope with them?
- Advanced professional school is a high pressure situation, how do normally handle and relieve stress?
- What would you do if a head of a hospital department screamed at you?
- What would you do if a physician or professor humiliated you in front of others?
- What has been the highest pressure situation you have been under in recent years? How did you cope with it?
- When you need counseling for personal problems, to whom do you talk?
- What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
- Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE
- What work experience have you had?
- What health care experience have you had?
- What clinical/hospital experiences have you had?
- How have you contributed to your community?
- Do you like to work alone or with other people?
- Are you able to function independently and without supervision?
- Do you use a prioritization scheme to complete tasks?
TEAM AND TEAM WORK QUESTIONS
- Do you feel you work more effectively on a one to one basis or in a group situation?
- Have you ever worked as part of a team?
- Give me an example of a time that you contributed to a group effort?
- What approach do you take to get people together to establish a common approach to a problem?
- If you were the team leader and there was a conflict between team members, how would you attempt to resolve the conflict?
- In your experience, what have you done that you consider truly creative?
- Can you think of a problem you have encountered when the old solutions didn’t work & when you came up with new solutions?
- Of your creative accomplishments big or small, at work or home, what gave you the most satisfaction? What kind of problems have people recently called on you to solve? Tell me what you have devised.
- Do you consider yourself to be thoughtful, analytical or do you usually make up your mind fast? Give an example. (Watch time taken to respond)
- What was your most difficult decision in the last six months? What made it difficult?
- The last time you did not know what decision to make, what did you do?
- How do you go about making an important decision affecting your career?
- What was the last major problem that you confronted? What action did you take on it?
- Have you held a leadership position in an organization?
- What approach do you take in getting your people to accept your ideas or goals?
- What specifically do you do to set an example for your co-workers?
- What sort of leader do your people feel you are? Are you satisfied?
- How would you describe your basic leadership style? Give specific examples of how you practice this?
MEDICAL SCHOOL SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
- Why do you want to be a doctor?
- If you want to help people, why not social work?
- Explain your interest in medicine, start at the beginning (be specific)?
- What major influences in your life led to your decision to pursue medicine?
- What will you contribute to the profession?
- Do you know what a real doctor’s life is like?
- What qualities do you look for in a physician?
- You have very little experience in a medical setting, therefore, how do you know you want to get your hands dirty and become part of the medical world?
- What experiences have you had in the community that demonstrates a commitment to medicine?
- What scares you the most about medical school?
- What makes you think that you can succeed in medical school?
- Why study medicine when you have so many talents?
- What is different or unique about you as a candidate for medical school?
- Why should we let you into this medical school?
- How would you help people who did not want to be helped?
- In what field do you think the next major advancement in medicine will come?
- What do you need to work on to be a good doctor?
- Do you read any medical journals?
- What is the one thing that would prevent you from going to medical school or practicing medicine?
- What specialties interest you?
- What are your career goals in medicine?
- What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
- What are your standards for judging the success of a physician?
- How are you going to finance medical school?
- What will you do if you don’t get into medical school this year?
- To this date, what is the most important medical development in the last 25 years?
- Have you been accepted into other medical schools?
- Which schools have rejected your application?
- How many interviews have you had?
- Tell me what your think of our medical school curriculum.
- Where do we stand in your list of medical school preferences?
- Tell me about your research experiences.
- Tell me how you would design an experiment to test the null hypothesis.
HEALTH CARE ISSUES
- What problems do you see in health care now and the next ten years?
- What would you do to remedy the health care issue in the United States?
- What do you think about the advantages and disadvantages of managed health care?
- Who do you think is responsible for rationing of health care in the United States?
- How does the U.S. rate in birth mortality? Why is it ranked worst among industrial nations?
- Do you think that there should be mandatory HIV testing for couples wanting to marry?
- What do you think is the biggest issue facing medicine in the next ten years?
- Why do you think many physicians are unhappy practicing medicine?
- What are your feelings about euthanasia?
- What do you think about national health insurance and its impact on the patient and the doctor?
- What are the differences between the Britain’s Health care delivery system and ours?
- Do you think that patients should be allowed to purchase prescription pharmaceuticals by mail from Canada or Mexico?
- Do you think that medical students receiving federal loans should spend time practicing medicine in rural areas to give society something in return?
- What is your opinion about stem cell research using fetal tissue?
- What are the advantages of a teaching hospital versus a private hospital?
- What are the differences and similarities among HMO’s, Pop’s and third-party providers?
- Do you think that DRG’s (diagnostic reading groups) are a help or hindrance to medical delivery?
- What are your opinions about team based delivery of medical care?
- What do you think are a doctor’s social responsibilities?
- Are you aware that there is going to be a surplus of doctors? How do you feel about it?
- How do feel about the debate over the hours residents are forced to work?
- How would you advise patients who are interested in visiting an acupuncturist or a chiropractor?
- What so you think about medical advice being available on the Web?
- Give me your opinions on genetic engineering.
- Give me your opinions on abortion.
- Give me your opinion on the role of spirituality in healing.
- Give me your opinion on animal research.
- Have you ever cheated on an examination?
- What would you do if you caught a close friend or room-mate cheating on the MCAT examination or an application to medical school?
- Would you prefer to provide less effective treatment to more people or more effective medicine to fewer patients?
- If you gained admission to all the medical schools to which you have applied, what would you do?
- Would you share your religious beliefs with your patients?
- What do think of the priority system for organ recipients?
- Would you work in an AIDS clinic?
- Would you prescribe birth control pills to a minor without parental content?
- What are your opinions about supplying condoms to schools?
COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED IN A BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW
- What would you do if you caught your room mates cheating on a test or the AMCAS application?
- Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
- Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
- Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
- Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
- Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion.
- Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.
- Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made in the last year.
- Give me an example of a time when you tried to accomplish something and failed.
- Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
- Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
- Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
- Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
- Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.
- Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
- Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
- Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low).
COMMON QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS USED DURING A STRESS INTERVIEW
- With your lack of experience, how do you expect to perform well in this institution?
- You don’t seem mature enough to handle responsibilities.
- That is absolutely the worst answer we’ve ever heard.
- What makes you think we would ever choose you?
- I don’t think that your grades are high enough to be considered for admission
COMMON PROBLEM SOLVING EXERCISES
- A patient who has been in an accident needs a blood transfusion to survive. She states that her religion does not allow them. You are the physician in charge. What will you do? Would you override her strong opposition? Why/Why not?
- If you have the choice of giving a transplant to a successful elderly member of the community or a 20-year old drug addict, how would you choose?
- Tell me about a problem you encountered in school or your life and how you solved it.
- You are embarking on a wilderness expedition. You can only take ten items that are absolutely necessary to survival. What ten items would you take with you?