If you’ve made it to the interview stage of the medical school application cycle, congratulations! Most schools only offer interviews to candidates they are seriously considering for admission. And, final admission decisions usually weigh heavily on your interview performance.

But don’t stress! Remember, admissions committees already know your credentials. They do interviews to know what kind of person you are, and so they can discover how you communicate with others. In addition, they want to identify candidates with maturity, empathy, and superior interpersonal skills.

Interview policies and processes may differ from school to school; but overall, most committees are comprised of faculty members and maybe even upper-level medical students. You may interview alone or in a group- but either way, we have compiled a list of 5 tips to help you prepare for a successful interview.

Here are 5 essential medical school interview tips…

1. Be prepared. This is #1 for a reason. We can’t stress enough the importance of being prepared! You can’t predict all of the questions they’ll ask, but be ready to address basic interview topics such as:

  • Your academic background
  • Extracurricular, employment, service, or research experience
  • Views on current medical problems or ethical issues
  • Why do you want to become a doctor?

2. Take your time. Your interview can be a tool to help demonstrate how well you function under stress. They may deliberately put you in an uncomfortable position to see how you communicate under pressure. When you find yourself stressed or anxious, relax and take your time. Interviewers don’t expect you to have an immediate answer ready for every question, so take a minute to formulate an answer before you open your mouth. This will allow you to give well-thought-out and well-spoken responses.

3. Be enthusiastic, respectful, and courteous. Interviewers look for applicants who are enthusiastic about becoming a doctor, and who demonstrate passion, drive, and excitement. Keep your head up, make eye contact, and avoid speaking in a monotonous voice. Be gracious and thank your interviewers.

4. Ask questions. Approach the interview as a Q&A instead of a one-way dialogue. Be careful not to ask questions you can easily find out about the school beforehand, but take the time to learn more about faculty, research opportunities, unique training benefits the school offers, and anything else that’s important to you.

5. The first impression counts. Remember, the interview begins from the second you enter the room before you even open your mouth. The tone is set within the first few minutes and it’s important to be early and look the part. Dress conservatively and have all of your documents in a portfolio. Greet the committee with a firm handshake and smile. Stay positive and if you interview in a group setting, be interested in what other fellow applicants are saying. Stay alert, interested, and respectful of everyone’s time.

Learn more about how to prepare for the unexpected during your medical school interview here.

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  • Video tutorials about communication techniques, what to wear, etc.
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