The Medical School Interview: How to Talk About Yourself

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The Medical School Interview: How to Talk About Yourself

Session 192

Today’s episode is another interesting discussion on the medical school interview, particularly about knowing yourself. For most premeds, this is a huge challenge. If you struggling with knowing how to talk about yourself, this is the episode for you.

I’m going to address how you can best come to know yourself, as well as some questions and scenarios you can use as prompts to prepare for your medical school interview.

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

7 Self-Awareness Tips for the Medical School Interview: How to Talk About Yourself

  1. Know how to answer the “Tell me about yourself” question.

Know what the highlights are in your life. What are the interesting things about yourself? What do you do for fun, and what are your hobbies? Which places have you traveled to? If someone was trying to make a movie about your life, which scenes would have to be included?

To answer the 'Tell me about yourself' question, you have to know what the highlights are in your life. What are the interesting things about yourself?Click To Tweet
  1. Understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Try this exercise: Email your family and friends and ask them what they think are your biggest weaknesses.

  • You might not get the best answers back. Tell them to give you the brutally honest truth because you need it.
  • Do not just leave your weaknesses at that. Be able to address them in a positive way. So talk about what you’ve learned from those weaknesses, how you’re trying to overcoming them, and how it won’t be an issue in the future.
When asked about your weaknesses, be self-aware enough to identify them, but also address what you've learned from them. Address how you're trying to overcoming them, and how they won't be an issue in the future.Click To Tweet
  1. Understand and know your stances on specific topics.

Be able to talk about abortion and euthanasia. You have to have a side, and you have to understand why you’re taking that side. Be thoughtful about it, and do some soul searching.

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

  1. Be able to talk about your different experiences.

You have about 15 spots for extracurriculars in your application. You need to be able to talk about all of those experiences, as well as the most memorable clinical experience you’ve had.

Ask yourself what questions the interviewer might ask you about the extracurriculars you listed, and think about how you’re going to respond to those. My book about the interview, The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview, includes around 600 different potential interview questions to help get you thinking.

[Check out our Medical School Interview Question Generator for more brainstorming and practice.]

  1. Be able to talk about lessons learned.

There should always be a lesson learned from each experience you’ve had. So what have been the lessons you’ve learned? Go through your application and make sure you can speak to what lessons you took from each experience.

  1. Be able to talk about your future.

Have an understanding of what you hope your life will be like years from now. What kind of population do you want to serve as a physician? What kind of setting do you see yourself in?

Come into the medical school interview with an idea of your future as a physician. What kind of a setting do you see yourself practicing in?Click To Tweet
  1. Know why you want to go to that school.

Know why you’re sitting in that chair to interview for a spot in next year’s class. Why are you hoping to take a seat from somebody else who might know better why they want to go to that school? Can you cite specific opportunities that are unique to that school or values in their mission statement that you agree with?

Use the MSAR and CIB, along with the schools’ websites, to gather specific data on each school. Be prepared to ask informed questions about details specific to that school.

Links and Other Resources