Preparing for the Medical School Interview

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Preparing for the Medical School Interview

Session 91

Back again for the fourth time, Dr. Greg Polites graces today’s show.

Dr. Polites is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. He serves as Chairman of the Central Subcommittee for Admissions to the School of Medicine and is the former coursemaster for the Practice of Medicine for the 1st and 3rd-year medical students there.

In today’s episode, Greg and I talk all about preparing for the medical school interview. Before we get started, I also want to mention my book all about the medical school interview. Check it out on Amazon: The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

9 ways to prepare for the medical school interview:

  1. Research about the school before you show up.

Explore their website and learn more about them to show your genuine interest in the school.

  1. Be prepared for specific content areas.

  • Know the hot topics in the news related to health care, enough to intelligently discuss them.
  • Be able to form an opinion and discuss it in a way that shows respect toward people with different opinions.
  • Don’t give the interviewer answers you think they want to hear. Answer based on information you’ve researched and understood.
  • Go through some of these difficult areas and think about them enough that you won’t be thrown off guard (ex. stem cell research, medical malpractice, abortion).
Going into your medical school interview, you should know the hot topics in the news related to health care. Know enough to intelligently discuss them.Click To Tweet

[Related episode: Medical Ethics Questions You Can Expect in Your Interview.]

  1. Your application picture has to look professional.

  • Dr. Polites has seen very quirky applications when it comes to the application picture.
  • One student applied using a shirtless picture for their application.
Dr. Polites has seen a student apply to medical school with a shirtless picture in their application. Don't do that.Click To Tweet
  1. Attend an event that the school offers the night before or day of the interview.

  • This will allow you to learn more about the school and meet some students to see if you’re a good fit for the school.
  1. Don’t hesitate to ask questions during the interview.

Avoid asking questions that are too analytical. It should be an effortless conversation.

  1. Do a mock interview to prepare.

A mock interview is important to help you polish your interview skills. Record yourself when doing mock interviews to watch out for nervous ticks, fillers, etc.

I offer 1-on-1 mock interview prep, as well as an anytime mock interview platform. Be sure to check out one of those if they appeal to you.

  1. Be relatively conservative in your appearance.

Dress professionally. Don’t wear anything that will raise questions. Be clean and appropriate. Male applicants have to dress in a suit and a tie, and females have to wear their Sunday best.

  1. Assess your communication skills.

Work on your communication skills because communication is an important part of being a physician.

Communication is an important part of being a physician. So if your communication skills need work, work on them before your interviews.Click To Tweet
  1. Be yourself.

Be affable. Let them see your personality and why you’re a good fit. The admissions committee wants to know you as a person.

More Dos and Don’ts During the Medical School Interview

  • Pose some questions at the end, but not too many.
  • Avoid one-word answers.
  • Don’t ramble.
  • Do not interrupt the interviewer.
  • Don’t blurt out answers if you don’t know what you’re saying. Take a minute to think about it.
  • Know your research and activities well, and be prepared to discuss anything on your application.
  • Be honest and straightforward.
  • Never curse.
  • Don’t bring up inappropriate topics which could make your interviewer uncomfortable.
  • Don’t bad-mouth another professor, a past boss, or another school.
  • Don’t be arrogant.
  • Take time to listen to the other person talking. Listen to the question.
  • Be positive and friendly.
  • Don’t cry.
  • Don’t speak too fast.
  • Smile.
  • Don’t be overbearing when expressing your interest in the school.
When you show up for your medical school interview, be prepared to discuss anything on your application.Click To Tweet

Is it okay to send your interviewer a “thank you” letter?

Yes. Email is fine. A thank you card is appropriate, too.

Links and Other Resources