Interview Prep

Wondering if anyone would like to comment on how they went about preparing for the med school interview. For example,

Efficient methods of becoming conversant on hot topics in the medical profession, medical science, medical ethics, current events, etc.

Approaches to getting info on schools and programs prior to the interview.

Questions to ask during the interview.

Books that proved very useful in preparing for the interview, etc.


The best way to learn about schools is: - attend an open house event (if you can! I only went to open house in one school I ended up interviewing), talk to people who went there or are studying there, and look at their website!

If you want to get an idea about type of questions particular school tends to ask during interview, SDN interview feedback forum is a great place.

I personally studied SDN before my interview, made a list of questions that appeared most often and tried to answer every single one of them. If I got stuck on something (one of the schools I was applying to was really concerned with medical ethics) I talked to people, or did some research online. I also found it helpful to ask my pre-med friends why they want to go to med school, or why they did things the way they did. It helped me a lot to listen to other people talking about their experiences. Some of them gave me ideas of how to improve my ‘interview’, and others showed me what to avoid ;).

After all I think that the best advice is to… know your application and be yourself!!! It’s as much (or even more) about who you are and how you interact with people, as it is about your knowledge of healthcare problems with uninsured or ethical dilemmas faced by doctors.

hope it helps,


Kasia has some great advice. I also found that the interview feedback section on SDN to be very helpful. At a couple of schools, I was asked exactly the same questions that were on SDN’s forum.

There are a couple of medical ethics websites out there that might be helpful for those types of issues. There was one we used in Med 2 that discussed the concerns on different sides of some common issues - if I can find it/think of it, I’ll post it on here. The big key on ethics questions is that you are able to articulate your point of view and defend it and (I think) that you aren’t too militant about it - i.e. “While this is what I believe, I understand that some people have a different view and I am open to rational discussions on the issues.”

great advice, thank you both.

I went to the school’s web site and printed out all the info: curriculum, staff, calendar, student handbook. Sometimes it was 20-30 pages of stuff. Then I would read it the night before the interview, on the plane or in the motel.

I also brought a printout of my AMCAS/ACOMAS application and secondary essays and made sure I was familiar with everything I had sent them.

I did read SDN interview feedback but it was not always similar to my experiences. But it was interesting just to read others’ impressions, and it’s food for thought. I read a whole bunch of interviews from lots of schools, not just the target school, to get more perspective on the process.

Lastly I just made sure to understand my reasons for applying and attending medical school and where I wanted to go with my education. I have heard from many people that sounding vague or undecided about one’s goals is a red flag for interviewers.

I also brought my sense of humor and my compassion for the interviewers, who have to talk to an awful lot of people. I wanted them to remember me as a human being, and not as just another black-suited drone trying to infiltrate their school.

I’d agree with the previous posters: absolutely, no question, the most important things are to be yourself, and to share yourself. I can’t sincerely recommend doing research for the sole purpose of becoming conversant on some topic or another; however, if it interests you, please pursue it. Similarly, I’ve found SDN feedback to be a valuable resource - but I don’t know that I’d trust the kid who learns about those topics only for the sake of the interview, and says only what he feels the AdCom wants to hear.

Ach, I should step back a moment. Please forgive me - my intent wasn’t to overgeneralize or belitte anyone, certainly not the OP. I think I’m just leery of those who look into things solely for the sake of “knowing what to say,” if that makes sense.

To get back on topic, I do believe that being yourself - and being comfortable with yourself - are the true keys to presenting yourself well (interview or not). My school also provided a mock interview, and I think watching the video of myself was a great thing for me to do. If your school doesn’t do this - whip out a digital camera and a friend, and see how you really present.

It’s good to be familiar with the school, if not for the interview, for your own understanding. At your interview, it’s not bad to say “I hear you have a good neuro program” - but I have to imagine it’s better to be able to say “I’m really fascinated by Dr. Babin’s work on the effect of tryptophan loads on serotonin levels and concurrent stress response during public speaking-induced stress response.”

As mentioned, SDN was a useful tool, though IMO one to be used in moderation. I do believe it’s more important to be familiar with your own AMCAS app than to be familiar with “what questions this school might ask.” The latter is only useful if it makes you think - which is half the point of the interview process, I suspect - to give them a chance to see how you think. Overpreparing kind of defeats the purpose of that, I think.

So in the end, I think the best answer to “how do you prepare for an interview?” is “Have fun with it.”

One thing that I found helpful was to have a mock interview and video record myself during it.

Later that day, I sat with a notebook and noted some issues that I needed to work on that I would have overlooked:

  1. I was very stiff. There was no movement during the interview

  2. I kept saying “ummm” during the interview

  3. I answered the questions too quickly and did not answer some of them very intelligently.