5 Ways to get through trap questions during your Medical School interviews


Med School Interview Questions

Probably everyone’s biggest fear in a medical school interview is getting blindsided by a trick, or “trap” interview question. Nobody wants to be that person who freezes up when asked a weird or tricky question!


Today let’s take a look at a few weird or trap questions, and then look at 5 ways you can get through them if you find yourself feeling stuck during your interview…


First off, the best way to prepare for your interview is to know your application and story and be confident talking about it. Don’t try to BS and makeup answers, but stay true to yourself and your experiences described in your application, personal statement, etc. When sharing examples of yourself, don’t choose examples that draw attention to your weaknesses or make your morals appear dubious.


You’ll likely confront a weird or tricky question or two, designed to trip you up. This is a common tactic in interviews, not because they want to embarrass you, but because the truth usually comes out when someone is blindsided. 


Here are 20 weird, tricky, trap questions to be aware of:

  1. Tell me a funny story about your childhood.
  2. How do you plan to pay for medical school?
  3. Why do you think we should be sending our tax dollars to aid other countries?
  4. Tell us why we shouldn’t choose you or how other candidates might be more qualified than you.
  5. Discuss an ethical dilemma you have faced.
  6. Are you a square, circle, or triangle?
  7. How would you sell yourself in three words?
  8. How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
  9. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
  10. How would you time 10 minutes without a watch?
  11. What is a challenge you have overcome?
  12. Discuss a time when you failed.
  13. What is your greatest passion in life?
  14. What are some pros and cons of the American health system?
  15. What profession would you choose if not medicine?
  16. Give me a song, book, and movie recommendation.
  17. What’s your role in the family?
  18. How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
  19. If you could be any age, how old would you be and why?
  20. In a recent book you’ve read, what character would you be and why?


These are just a few tricky questions you might face, however, you won’t know all the curve balls coming. So here are 5 good interviewing tips to help you tackle trap questions…


    1. Stay calm. You’re going to be asked tricky questions to see how you perform under pressure. Stay calm, take a deep breath, and focus on calming yourself. Interviewers will watch your body language, so it’s a good idea to do mock interviews to work out any funny twitches or nervous habits you have when asked questions.
    2. Realize that there’s no right answer. With trap questions, there’s usually no right answer. So don’t worry about that. Be honest, speak from experience, and just answer the best that you can.
    3. Ask for time. If you need a minute to gather your thoughts or think about the question, ask for a minute. Don’t feel like you need to immediately fill in silence after a question is asked. Gather your thoughts and give them a concise answer. Don’t ramble or repeat yourself.
    4. Think about why the question was asked. There’s always a reason behind why they ask certain things. For example, if you are asked “If you could have coffee with anyone from the past, who would it be?”, they’re looking to see who you admire or hold in high regard and why. They’re also looking to see how creative in your thinking you can be. 
  • Stay up-to-date on medical news. Be sure to stay up-to-date on major medical news and hot topics in medicine. Keep your answers logical and neutral and don’t take an extreme or politically based view. 


It’s good to prepare for your interviews–to know what you will and what you could be asked. Schedule mock interviews and practice your mock interviews like a formal interview. Dress the part and go through all the motions as if it were a real one. Many university career centers offer mock interviews so check that out!


Our exclusive Interview Genius online course is also a resource that can also help you strengthen your interview skills.


Interview Genius includes:

  • Online course
  • An interactive platform where you can create mock interviews on demand
  • Recorded interviews where you answer questions and get personalized feedback from an expert physician
  • Proven question bank of real medical school interview questions

Learn more about 3 ways to stand out during your medical school interviews!

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