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Common Medical School Interview Question: #9 Why Should We Choose You Over Other Applicants

Medical School Mock Interview

Resist the urge to humblebrag here. It can be tempting to talk yourself up, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do so. Speaking in superlatives and exaggerated language may inflate your ego, but this will definitely deflate the interviewer’s opinion of you. You need to find the appropriate balance when answering this question. Remember, everyone who has gotten to this stage including you is accomplished and worthy, and its not necessarily a winner-takes-all situation.

Before the interview day, come up with a list of qualities you like about yourself. Pick ones that are easy to remember and that can relate to medicine. They do not need to be medial per se , but should be able to tie into the theme of a medical doctor. Perhaps you are an excellent communicator and believe that communication is key to dialogue between patient and physician. Whatever you choose, keep it short and sweet. The point of having this quick list of traits is to be able to easily recall them and use them to explain why they should pick you.

Why Do You Want To Attend This Medical School

This question is meant to test how intimate your knowledge is of the program. The interviewer is looking for details about why youre attracted to the school and why you believe its a good fit for you specifically. You cannot give a solid answer without a thorough understanding of the schools values and offerings.

It is vital that you do ample research about each school youre interviewing at. What are the schools strengths? Whats unique about the school? Is there a physician there youre eager to study under? Intertwine your knowledge of the program with your own personal strengths, attributes, and interests to demonstrate how you are a good fit. How do your own experiences and dreams for the future complement the school? How will the program help you achieve your personal and professional goals?

Why Do You Want To Become A Physician Or Why Are You Interested In Medicine

A common misconception: Applicants routinely tell us that theyre worried about sounding clichéd when answering this type of question. For example, they shy away from discussing their passion for the sciences or for helping people. Moreover, theyre concerned about sounding repetitive with their personal statement.

How to approach the Why medicine? question: Retelling stories from your personal statement is actually a good thing because youll be consistent about your reasons for wanting to pursue medicine. On the other hand, if you tell an entirely new story, the interviewer may wonder whether or not youre being authentic. In addition, its important to remember that if we distill medicine, its essentially applying science to improve peoples health. Therefore, your interviewer hopes that you enjoy the sciences and helping people. How could this be a bad thing?

Heres a sample response that works:

When I arrived to college, I really wasnt sure what career to pursue. All I knew was that I enjoyed the sciences, so I signed up to work in a biology lab during my freshman year to study olfaction in mice. After a semester in the lab, I started thinking a lot about how the work I was doing could be applied to humans. I also found myself increasingly wanting to work directly with people. That feeling led me to apply to volunteer at the university hospital. Right from the start, I was helping patients in the neurosurgery department recover from their tumor procedures

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What Will You Do If You Dont Get Into Medical School

This is by no means an easy question. The best course of action is to say you will reapply to medical school after you take the time to strengthen your application. Its vital you demonstrate to the interviewer that you have a realistic and comprehensive backup plan in place, as this shows your maturity. If you say you want to grow your research or clinical experiences to enhance your application, detail exactly the steps you would take to achieve that.

What’s Your Favorite School

Medical School Interview: Strong Applicant

Question: At my last interview, my interviewer asked me what my top choice school was. What is the appropriate way to respond in this case, should I be asked the same question at a subsequent interview?

Answer: You want to be diplomatic and truthful. It’s okay to say that you’re early in interview season and that you don’t want to make a firm commitment until you’ve had a chance to learn more about the schools as you visit them and speak with faculty, staff and students and then reflect on the best fit for you. You can then highlight the aspects of the school you’re visiting that appeal to you, or share some of the characteristics that you’re looking for in your medical school and ask a follow up question that might help you learn more about an aspect of the school that you’re interested in.

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What Are Your Biggest Weaknesses Or Flaws

Yes, this is a bit of a trick question. Dont think you can get around it by saying that youre a perfectionistinterviewers have heard that response 1000 times. Be honest, but be positive.

No one is perfect, and your interviewer knows this. Everyone has weaknesses what matters is what you learn from them and how you are able to address any professional shortcomings. This shows maturityan extremely appealing quality in a prospective medical student and future doctor.

This is not an opportunity to highlight your personal insecurities its best to keep the focus on your professional and academic development. If you struggled with research and it shows on your application, what have you done since to rectify that gap in your knowledge? If you have trouble saying no to opportunities, you can be honest about that, but specify how you are learning to prioritize.

How To Run A Mock Mmi

The interview is one of the final stages in the medical school application process and the most common interview method used by medical schools is the multiple-mini interview . “How to run a mock MMI”, created by University of Exeter medical student Olivia Eguiguren Wray and published by the Medical Schools Council, is intended to be a complete guide to running a mock MMI session. It includes tips for students and interviewers, a step-by-step guide to running a mock MMI and debrief session, practice stations and mark schemes.

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Common Medical School Interview Question: #8 Have You Completed Any Research Projects Or Are You Interested In Research

While you might find this question redundant, as you would have listed it in your application, not every interviewer is going to have read your application, or at least not in full. They get thousands of submissions and may just know your name as youre walking into the interview room. This may seem obvious, but if you have completed research, be prepared to talk about it. You need to know the entire project in detail. Know the statistics, sample size, results, and type of study. Be honest about your involvement in the project. They will know by your answer how involved you were with the project. So, if some time has passed since you submitted your research, read through your abstract again. Refresh your mind and have clear talking points.

Assessing Your Noncognitive And Communication Skills

How to Answer Any Medical School Interview Question
  • Describe your style of communicating and interacting with others.
  • Give an example of a situation in which you had to utilize effective interpersonal skills.
  • Describe a situation in which you were dependable or demonstrated initiative.
  • Describe one in which you were not as dependable as you would have liked.
  • How do you handle stress?
  • Describe how you can effectively deal with someone in crisis.
  • Tell me about a time when you demonstrated initiative.
  • Tell me about a time when you faced a conflict or anger with another individual.
  • How do you make important decisions?
  • What do you do when you are not at work or school?
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    Questions About Your Motivation And Goals

  • When did you decide to become a physician and why? What have you done since then to investigate the field and confirm your choice?
  • What are your specific career plans and what led you to these decisions?
  • What do you feel is the purpose of medical school, and what do you hope to gain from this experience?
  • Why did you decide to choose medicine over other fields that involve helping others, such as nursing, social work, education, or psychology?
  • What will you do if youre not accepted to medical school this year? Do you have alternative career plans?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10-15 years?
  • What does success mean to you? After 20 years in the medical field, what sort of success would you like to have achieved?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share about you or your interest in becoming a doctor?
  • University Of Birmingham Interview

    Normally sent out between December and January
    When are interviews held?
    – dealing with personal and ethical challenges – communication skills
    Remote? Yes

    The University of Birmingham scores your application and then invites around 1,300 candidates to interview. Theyll make offers to around 850 students.

    This year, the interviews will take no more than 30 minutes and will be conducted online via Zoom. It involves two stages: the first interview is broken down into two six-minute stations, one of which will involve a role-play scenario. Youll get two minutes to prepare for each station. The second stage is an online calculation station that takes 10 minutes and will be done on a different day.

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    Medical School Interview Invitations Us: Considerations And Perspective

    As the U.S. has the most variable application evaluation system, by far, and the longest time period during which interviews are conducted , it’s worth taking a moment to discuss some important considerations to bear in mind, so that you can maintain perspective during this waiting period.

    In the U.S., there are nearly 200 medical schools, to which upwards of 50,000 aspiring medical students apply each year, and quite frankly evaluating that many applicants just takes time. Consider the sheer volume of material youve had to submit as an applicant: your CV, transcripts, test scores, application essay, letters of recommendation, medical school secondary essays, and so on. Now, multiply that by 50k to get a grasp of the scope of the task application reviewers face! Thats a lot of information for the admissions committees to review, and its in your best interest to have it reviewed carefully and thoroughly. Trust that theyre getting through all that information as quickly as possible, while still giving everyone the evaluation they deserve.

    Questions About Your Background

    How to Prepare Your Child for the Medical School Interview
  • Why did you choose to major in ? How has it prepared you to work in the medical field?
  • If youve had undergraduate research experience, how has it prepared you for a medical career?
  • How have your extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences, and jobs youve had prepared you to perform the duties of a physician?
  • Throughout your undergraduate experience, what skills have you learned to help you manage time and stress?
  • What experiences have you had in a medical or clinical setting, and what have you learned from these experiences?
  • Do you have role models or family members in the medical field?
  • Does your academic record reflect any major challenges? If so, what were they and why did they happen?
  • What was the most memorable achievements of your college career?
  • Also Check: How To Answer Hard Interview Questions

    What Is The Difference Between Primary Careand Secondary Care

    Primary care is healthcare provided locally by General Practitioners . GPs are the first point of consultation for all patients and make up the overwhelming majority of doctors in the UK.

    Secondary care is healthcare provided in a hospital for life-threatening emergencies and specialist treatment. Almost all surgeons work in secondary care.

    Why Not Nursing/social Work/education

    Your interviewer may say something along the lines of, So, you want to help people.

    • In that case, why not nursing, social work, education, or psychology?
    • Simply helping others cant be your sole motivation for becoming a doctor, because there are many other helping professions.

    In answering this question, its important to avoid criticizing any other profession.

    • The best way to do so is by emphasizing what appeals to you about being a physician more than anything else.

    Using an anecdote is a great approach to this question. Is there a moment where youve seen medicine change someones life?

    Describe the moment and your desire to create similar moments for others.

    What is it about being a doctor that is more appealing to you than any other career?

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    Interview Procedures And Formats

    Interviews vary depending on the medical school, so find out as much as you can about what to expect. Ask at open days, and look at the medical schools prospectus or website. Interviews generally take place from November to late April. When youre invited for an interview bears no relation to how favourably your application is being considered.

    Interview formats vary. For example:

    • there may be a panel of around three people . Such interviews usually last for about 20 minutes
    • you may have mini-interviews held at several stations with one or more interviewer at each. You could be asked particular types of questions at each station. If you attend an interview like this, find out what some of the themes for the stations are and what they might require. You can try to find this out from the medical school
    • there could be a mixture of the above

    Why Medical Schools Interview You

    How to Answer Any MMI Question (Medical School Interviews)

    Many premed students with whom we discuss interviews want to jump straight into the nitty-gritty of how to answer certain questions or to whom they should send a follow-up thank you letter .

    Before we get into those details, however, we take a step back and ask our students, Why do you think med schools want to interview you in the first place? After all, medical schools can learn so much about you from your application materials, including your:

    • Demonstrated longstanding commitment to medicine

    • Likelihood to gel with a particular schools culture and offerings

    The answer is straightforward. Medical schools want to learn the following three pieces of information through your interview:

  • That youre sociable and easy to get along with. Youll be interacting with peoplepatients, nurses, colleagues, etc.every day as a physician, so you have to be likable and personable.

  • That you dont have significant interpersonal difficulties, such as arrogance or major social awkwardness. Few people want to be around someone who is incredibly full of themselves or unable to hold an engaging conversation.

  • That you seem as polished and fit for medicine in person as you come across on your application. With unlimited opportunities to write, rewrite, and edit your essays, its possible to submit error-free application materials. On the other hand, its much more difficult to cover up obvious flaws during a live in-person interview.

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    What Do You Think About

    Stay on top of current affairs during your application cycleespecially if they pertain to healthcare. You dont need to have a strong opinion about the issue in fact, its better to appear informed and diplomatic than overly opinionated.

    For example, a few years back, the Affordable Care Act came up in interview questions. More recently, you might get questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.

    What Made You Decide To Become A Doctor

    Essentially every admissions board on the planet is going to ask you this one, so make sure youre ready for it. Technically, there isnt a right or wrong answer. The board just wants a glimpse into what motivates you.

    Often, the road to becoming a doctor is rough. If your reason for being on the journey wont sustain you, the odds that youll abandon the path go up. Admissions boards want to focus on students who will stay the course, hence why they dig into your motivations.

    Ideally, you want your answer to point at your intrinsic motivations for becoming a doctor. So, avoid talking about prestige, paychecks, or family legacy. Instead, dig deep and get personal.


    Initially, I was focused on biochemistry. My goal was to enter the pharmaceuticals field, allowing me to develop medications or treatments that would improve the lives of people in the throes of an illness or dealing with chronic conditions. However, as I pursued my education, I discovered that I preferred a more personal connection.

    Communicating with individuals, understanding their unique perspectives, and searching for ways to ensure they could live their best life became equally important. By becoming a doctor, I could make a difference on a personal level. Plus, my biochemistry background uniquely positions me to understand the pharmaceutical industry in a different way, ensuring I can guide patients more effectively while working with them to achieve their goals.

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    Med School Interview Handshake

    While we may currently be in the era of COVID-19, it is still essential to develop a strong handshake for future medical school interviews and beyond. Starting off with a confident, firm handshake, eye contact, and a smile as you greet your interviewer when you first enter will go a long way in establishing a positive first impression. Regarding the handshake itself, try not to make it too limp or overly firm, this is not a competition, and you should try to be as natural as possible. It would also be in your best interest to shake hands with the interviewer at the conclusion of the interview, smile, and thank them for their time. This will again cement a positive impression of you as a potential MD/DO candidate at their school.

    Should the interviewer for any reason decline to shake your hand, do not feel awkward or sheepish. Keep a focused mindset and sit down in preparation to ace your interview!

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