How Do I Prepare for the Medical School Interview?

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OPM 32n

Session 32

Your questions, answered here on the OldPreMeds Podcast are taken directly from the forums over at where they pull a question and deliver the answers right on to you.

Today’s question is about preparing for the medical school interview being a nontraditional student. Ryan lays out some relevant pieces of advice to help students rock the interview come interview day.

OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

Poster is a nontraditional re-applicant who applied very late in the cycle and had a mediocre MCAT score, being her two biggest hurdles. Since then she has worked to improve on several areas of her application and applied early in this year’s cycle. She chose to apply to 12 schools and received an interview to interview at a school in August. How do you prepare for interviews particularly for nontraditional students?

Here are the insights from Ryan:

Know who you are.

Know what your future is going to look like. Check out Episodes 192, 19, and 91 of The Premed Years Podcast to get more tips about the medical school interview process.

Diversity is key.

What does your nontraditional background bring to your classmates and add to the diversity of the class?

Diversity is a huge buzzword these days with holistic admissions processes at medical schools. But you have to be able to tell that story as to why you’re diverse.

Do a mock interview.

Talk with somebody who knows the process. Record yourself (audio or video) to see and hear yourself. Make it as real as possible and go through it so you can watch yourself. Get feedback from the person you’re talking with on the answers you gave to see how it sounded like to the interviewer.

Links and Other Resources:

Session 192

Session 19

Session 91



Dr. Ryan Gray: The Old Premeds Podcast, session number 32.

You’re a nontraditional student entering the medical field on your terms. You may have had some hiccups along the way, or you’re changing careers, you’re now ready to change course and go back and serve others as a physician. This podcast is here to help answer your questions and help educate you on your journey to becoming a physician.

Now as always, questions that we talk about here on the Old Premeds Podcast are taken directly from the Old Premeds forums over at If you’re not already a member I highly encourage you to go sign up so that we can answer your question here on the podcast, but also so that you can start interacting with a set of peers that are super collaborative which is what I talk about on our- my main podcast, my other podcast, The Premed Years; collaboration not competition, and Old Premeds is the poster child for that.

Interview Preparation

This week’s question from a student who is asking about interview preparation, and the last couple weeks I talked about interview preparation because as this post is going out, right around as this podcast is going out, I will be releasing my first book on Kindle, Kindle only to start, called ‘The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview.’ It is a comprehensive guide that will successfully prepare you to be successful- I said successful twice, that’s how successful you’ll be, on the interview process. And so I’ve taken everything that I’ve learned from guests on the show, including Dr. Wagoner who was a three time Dean of Admissions at three different medical schools, Christine who was the Dean of Admissions at University of California at UC Irvine, from Dean Rivera talking about MMI stuff, to Dr. Polites talking about application stuff. So many awesome guests I’ve had on the show, and I’ve compiled all of that information as well as mock interview transcripts that I’ve done with students and have put that in the book so you can see real examples of answers that students are giving, and the feedback that I give them based on their answers.

So that’s why I’m talking about interviews so much. I would be so appreciative if you would go check out If the book isn’t out yet as you’re checking that, you’ll be able to sign up to be notified when it does come out, which I encourage you to do because it will be on sale at the launch, and so you’d want to know when we launch it ASAP, and if the book is out by the time you get over there, again, we’ll tell you how to get the book, where to buy it.

Alright so let’s dig into this.

It says, ‘Hi everyone, I am relatively new to this forum and to Dr. Gray’s podcast which are fantastic.’ Thank you. ‘I am a nontrad re-applicant this year. Two years ago I attempted to apply and did not get far with a few secondary invitations and no interviews. I applied very late in the cycle and had a mediocre MCAT score which I think were the two biggest hurdles. Since then I’ve worked to improve several areas of my application and applied early in this year’s cycle.’ Shocker, I know, early. It’s amazing. Alright back to the question. ‘I chose to apply to twelve schools and just completed my last secondary app yesterday. To my pleasant surprise I have received an invitation to interview at a school in August.’ Awesome. ‘But now I am in unfamiliar territory. Any advice on how to prepare for interviews, particularly for nontraditional students. Thanks.’

So I would highly recommend listening to The Premed Years podcast that’s coming out the same week as this podcast, that’s session- I forget, so many podcasts. It’s session 192. So I talk a lot about knowing who you are and being able to answer those questions that I talk about will help you prepare very well for your interview. You need to understand what your strengths, your weaknesses are, you need to understand all the experiences you’ve gone through and be able to talk about them. You need to be able to tell me about yourself without sounding rehearsed. You need to know what your future is going to look like. As a nontraditional student you’re going to need to answer those types of questions. What does your nontraditional background bring to your classmates? How does that add to the diversity of the class? Diversity is a huge buzz word these days with holistic admissions processes. Medical schools want to have diverse classes, and so being a nontraditional student kind of automatically makes you a little diverse, but you need to be able to tell that story on why you are diverse.
Obviously the best way to prepare is to do a mock interview. You need to be able to sit down with somebody that knows the process, have them ask you questions, record yourself, take out your iPhone, your smartphone, whatever it is- the majority of people have smartphones these days. Take out your smartphone, record yourself. If you can’t do video just do audio so you can hear yourself, but I highly recommend doing video. Make it as real as possible, go through it, and then you can watch yourself. Get feedback from- and this is why you need to go through it with somebody that knows the process because the best part of a mock interview is the feedback. That’s where you actually learn to grow. You get the feedback on the answers that you gave, what it sounded like to the interviewer, how they took it. Did they take it the wrong way? Did it sound negative? That type of feedback is what you really need to grow instead of just going from interview to interview, or mock interview to mock interview, without any big feedback and you’re just listening to yourself, and really not knowing if what you’re saying is good or bad, you’re- as Einstein says you’re doing the same thing over and over again without expecting a different result, you really need that feedback.

So obviously go check out The book will help you successfully prepare for the interview as well. And the last thing that you can do- well not the last thing, but we talked about the mock interview prep, but I offer mock interview prep with students and I’ve started doing mock interview prep for this cycle, this 2017 cycle. If you go to and in the menu there find Our Services, and what that will do, it will take you to mock interview prep that you can see different options of working with me.

Final Thoughts

So that’s what I got for you. I hope that helped. Go check out for this week’s The Premed Years episode. You can go back to past episodes that I’ve done with other guests., 91 I believe, and there’s one more in there as well. But I’ve talked about the interview process a lot, and that’s why I wrote a book about it. So
Alright that’s it for this week’s Old Premeds podcast. I hope you got a little bit of information, hopefully a lot of good information to help you on your medical school interview journey. Congratulations for getting that interview, I’m excited for you, let us know how it goes.

And next week, join us here back here again at the Old Premeds Podcast.

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