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Today, I talk about the 9 biggest mistakes made during the medical school interview and how to fix each of them to help you go through your interviews successfully.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
My Book on the Medical School Interview
Since this episode was recorded, I’ve published a book all about the medical school interview. Check it out for even more interview prep tips, way beyond what I cover in this post: The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview.
Mindset Going into the Medical School Interview
The medical school interview is a key part of the application process which, unfortunately, many students take for granted. So they end up making a lot of mistakes.
Interview spots are limited and precious. If a medical school is offering you an opportunity for an interview, that’s your opportunity to show them who is on the application and who is written about in the letters of recommendation and personal statement. They want to make sure what they see on paper is who you are in person.
So here are the biggest mistakes you should keep away from during the medical school interview, as well as some strategies to help you do well.
9 Biggest Medical School Interview Mistakes
Sounding too rehearsed
- Your interview should be conversational.
- It has to flow back and forth.
- Don’t sound like you’re reading a script.
- Following a script makes it hard for you to find your place in your head if the interviewer throws you off.
- Rehearse what you want to say enough so that you can bring up the key points without sounding scripted.
- Use our Medical School Interview Question Generator or even our Anytime Mock Interview Platform to practice answering common questions.[click_to_tweet tweet=”Rehearse what you want to say enough so that you can bring up the key points without sounding scripted.” quote=”Rehearse what you want to say enough so that you can bring up the key points without sounding scripted.”]
Sounding like you’re reading your application or resume
- Tell them something exciting.
- Tell stories.
- Show them what you’ve done, and share memorable things about you (favorite hobby, sport, coolest place you’ve ever been to).
- Bring up subjects that other students won’t.
- Wear a suit.
- For men, shave.
- Dress neutral.
Not taking the time to think before answering the question
- Don’t answer the questions so quickly that you’re not taking the time to think.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Take a pause after the interviewer asks the question.
- Ask yourself, did you understand what he/she just asked you? If not, ask for clarification.
- If you need to pause, tell the interviewer you need to think about it for a second.
- What should you do if you don’t have an answer to a question?
Not staying on topic
- Some students go down off-topic rabbit holes.
- If you refer to things you’re not sure about, stuff you’ve only heard about second hand, the interviewer might ask follow-up questions.
- Answer what the interviewer asks and no more.
- Don’t blame other people.
- Don’t be negative about former bosses, classmates, or teachers.
- If you’re a nontrad career changer, don’t focus on the negative reasons you left your former career. Focus on the positive things pulling you toward medicine.[click_to_tweet tweet=”If you’re a nontrad career changer, don’t focus on the negative reasons you left your former career. Focus on the positive things pulling you toward medicine.” quote=”If you’re a nontrad career changer, don’t focus on the negative reasons you left your former career. Focus on the positive things pulling you toward medicine.”]
Not putting on a smile
- Understand your nervous tics and gestures that get in the way of the interview.
- Breathe and smile.
Not having good, informed questions to ask
- Be prepared.
- Show that you care by asking informed questions.[click_to_tweet tweet=”Show that you care by asking informed questions.” quote=”Show that you care by asking informed questions.”]
Not doing mock interviews
- Prepare for your mock interviews like they’re real interviews.
- Get your mock interviews recorded to see your vocal pauses and nervous ticks.
- Understand your stress level so you’re able to control your responses.
One-on-One Mock Interview Prep
I’ve been doing mock interviews with many students over the last few years. Last year, every student I did a mock interview with got into medical school.
If you’re interested in mock interview prep, go here!
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my book about the medical school interview: The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview.
- Related episode: Preparing for the Medical School Interview.
- Related episode: Medical Ethics Questions You Can Expect in Your Interviews.
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!