Each graduate school or professional program conducts interviews in a variety of formats. Some schools or programs may conduct one-on-one interviews between the applicant and an admissions committee member while others may elect to conduct group interviews in which multiple candidates interview in a setting together and still other programs may have candidates interview in front of a panel.
Many medical programs utilize the Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) method in which candidates complete six to ten very short interviews over a two-hour period. Find more information about MMIs at the AAMC website here.
It is important to remember that interviewing happens formally and informally. For example, every interaction matters from when you are emailing and calling schools with questions to when you are on a campus doing tours or interacting informally with current students.
Interview Tips and How to Prepare*
Do Your Homework: You must prepare for your interview. Most importantly, get to know yourself and how you relate to your chosen career. Prepare and practice answers to questions you anticipate. You may be asked if there is anything else that you want to add so it’s a good idea to plan a closing statement that you can present in answer to that question. Research each school you’re applying to and be able to discuss why you’re a good candidate given their mission, vision, and values.
Professionalism: Do you communicate clearly? Do you use correct grammar and avoid slang expressions? Do you maintain eye contact with the interviewer and avoid nervous mannerisms? Are you dressed appropriately – neatly, professionally and comfortably? Be genuine throughout the interviewer – good interviewers can detect insincerity.
Below are some general topics to consider as you prepare for your interview:
Motivation: Why do you want to go into this health care field? What and who influenced you to make this decision? Be prepared to share examples of your experiences in health care that taught you about yourself and influenced your decision to pursue this career.
Preparedness: Do you know what you are getting yourself into and where did you get your information? Are you ready to commit yourself to a demanding health profession career?
Extracurricular activities: What do you do besides study? What activities outside of the classroom have changed you or taught you about yourself and others? What significant contributions have you made to organizations with which you’re involved?
Maturity: What major decisions have you made on your own? What responsibilities have you had? How did you solve a difficult problem in your life?
Open-mindedness: Do you see both sides of a problem regardless of your personal opinion? Are you willing to change your mind if you learn more about a situation?
Sensitivity and Compassion: How have you shown that you have these qualities? How do you work with people who are different from you? What biases do you have and where did they come from?
Strengths and Weaknesses: What are strengths and weaknesses? Be prepared to discuss any poor grades you have earned or any inconsistencies in your application. Don’t make excuses or disparaging comments about yourself, rather, provide straightforward explanations of the situation. Has the experience made you learn anything about yourself that would make you a better health care provider?
Knowledge of the Field: Are you familiar with current controversies and “hot topics” in the field? Do you know some of the “buzz” words? What are your opinions on social, political, economic and ethical issues relating to health care? What do you see as the most pressing health care problem of today? Newspaper, magazines, and medical journals can provide good information.
Logical Thought: You may be presented with a hypothetical problem having no single correct answer. Your interviewer is evaluating your critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
*Adapted from Xavier University
AAMC Preparing for Medical School Interviews