Medical School Interview Questions: An Overview

In Education, Physician, Psychiatrist & Psychologist
September 23, 2016

Medical School Interview Questions

Medical school interview questions can be difficult to decipher if you go into the process blind. Make sure you prepare adequately for your upcoming interview by reviewing the potential questions that’ll be asked of you.

Why Medical Schools Interview Candidates

Unfortunately, medical schools don’t have an unlimited number of spots in their classes to include everyone who applies. In an effort  to eliminate some candidates and boil down the pool of potential students to those they believe will be the most successful, rigorous interviews are held.

Those over the medical school admission process are tasked with delving into individual candidate’s experiences, motivations, goals, personality, and professionalism in order to evaluate them and their likelihood of being successful within their chosen program.

Typically, admissions counselors want to know what has led you to them in the first place. They want to uncover and understand your reasoning and desire for pursuing medicine and if your expectations are aligned with the reality of the career path you’ve chosen.

Preparing for Your Interview

While brushing up on medical school interview questions should definitely be a core element of your preparation, there are several other factors to keep in mind before the day comes. For example, be sure to look your best on the day of the interview by dressing conservatively. Use your best judgement based on the school in which you’re interviewing, but remember that overdressing is much better than underdressing in these circumstances. Be sure to cover tattoos and piercings (other than ears) if possible as well. You don’t know the people who will be interviewing, so mass appeal is your best bet for success.

Above all else, have solid answers prepped for the questions found below, and an even better one explaining why their institution is the right one for you. They’re interested in you holistically, but they prefer to admit students who want nothing more than to go to their school and no other. Be sure to thoroughly research the school, the faculty in which you’re likely to interact, and anything special that they’re known for and be ready to show your knowledge off. It can be particularly useful to conduct practice interviews with someone willing to hold you to your answers and conduct.

Interviews can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on the school and the amount of time they have available. Your interview could be conducted as a series of smaller interviews, a group interview, or a traditional, longer interview with multiple interviewers. Much of the time, this information can be found online.

Related: Interviewing Guide

Medical School Interview Questions:

Character & Personality Questions

  • Explain your methods of communicating with different types of people such as your superiors, peers, and patients.
  • Healthcare is one of the most stressful industries to delve into. How do you go about managing day-to-day stresses?
  • In crisis situations, what steps do you take to resolve them as efficiently and effectively as possible?
  • Everyone fails at some point, with something. How do you go about managing failure and moving forward?
  • Tell me about a time you were let down by a peer, co-worker, or superior, and what you did to address the problem.
  • How well do you adapt to rapid changes? How do you manage it?
  • How would your peers, superiors, and patients describe you?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strength? Greatest weakness?
  • Why should we choose you over the other candidates?
  • How will you continue if you aren’t admitted into medical school?
  • Describe your personality.
  • How do you think the environment in which you practice effects your perspective?
  • What publications do you regularly keep up with?
  • Would you prefer an academic in medicine or to practice?
  • Do you prefer research or working with people?
  • Who do you go to first when you have personal problems or issues you need to address?

Educational Questions

  • What extracurriculars were you actively involved in during undergrad?
  • What made you choose your undergraduate major?
  • If you could go back and start your college career anew, would you choose a different path? Why or why not?

Ethical Questions

  • Do you think a physician should tell a patient when they only have a certain amount of time left to life?
  • Would you help the victims of an accident knowing that it could lead to a malpractice suit against you?
  • If you could save either a 20-year old drug addict or an elderly member of the community who has contributed to society throughout the entirety of their life, who would you choose and why?
  • If you found out one of your peers was cheating or doing something else unethical, how would you handle it?

Medical-Related Questions

  • From your perspective, what are the main issues with our current healthcare system?
  • What aspect of the medical field to you find most exciting?
  • Do you believe it’s ethical for medical professionals to strike for a better bargaining position?
  • What do you believe are the most important health-related issues that U.S. citizens currently face?
  • What do you feel are the most restrictive elements as a healthcare professional?
  • Explain the Hippocratic oath.
  • Would you violate a patient’s religious, or other, beliefs in order to save them?
  • What is your view of euthanasia?
  • Do you see yourself involved in medicine 10 years down the road? 20 years? 30 years?
  • Why did you choose medicine over another healthcare career?
  • Why do you find medicine rewarding?
  • What aspects of medicine do you believe to be the most negative from a practice perspective?
  • What kind of impact do you want to have on the healthcare industry?
  • What initially drew you to medicine?

Medical School Questions

  • What do you believe is the reason for high-level medical education?
  • Which aspect of the program do you believe will be most challenging for you?
  • What do you ultimately hope to gain from your time in medical school?
  • What elements of your life thus far do you believe make you a good medical school candidate?
  • How will you be financing your medical school education?
  • Where does our institution fall on your list of medical schools?

Motivational Questions

  • What has led you to pursuing a career in healthcare and choosing our institution?
  • What’s driving your interest in this particular program?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • What elements do you consider when making difficult decisions?
  • Who has been the most inspirational person in your life?
  • What stimulated your interest in medicine?

Diversity-Related Questions

  • What types of experience do you have working with people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds?
  • How do your cultural experiences influence you and your decision to practice medicine?
  • Do you feel as though you owe a debt to those less fortunate than yourself?
  • How might you best relate to those of differing cultural and ethnic backgrounds?
  • How has your gender had an affect on the choices you’ve made and your decision to pursue medicine?

Societal Questions

  • How do you believe becoming a physician translates into your role in your community?
  • How have your experiences in your community influenced your choice to pursue medicine?
  • How do you keep in touch with your community’s needs?
  • What is the biggest issue facing the U.S. healthcare system and what, if you had the power, would you change?
  • What are the differences between the U.S. and Canadian healthcare system? Which do you find better and why?

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