Some Med School Interview Tips to Really Reel Them In

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • During my time in medical school, I had the pleasure to interview applicants for seats in the incoming class.  During the three years I did this, I interviewed some amazing candidates in which the 30 minutes we had flew bye, and I interviewed some candidates where this wasn’t necessarily the case (30 minutes can be a very long time).  After a while, I started noticing things those great candidates did that really made them stand out.

    Four Top Med School Interview Tips to Help You Shine: 

    1. Don’t repeat your CV!

    In a traditional interview, the person sitting across from you has read your application (or at least was supposed to).  That means they know what your activities entailed and how much time you spent doing them. The interviews where an applicant just recited word for word what they wrote on their CV became very boring very quickly.  The interview is a time to elaborate on those activities and how they led you to medicine and shaped you to become a great physician.

    2. Know your CV! 

    This one seems obvious, but be prepared to talk about any and I mean ANY of the activities or hobbies you put on CV.  I am an avid fly fisher and I once interviewed an applicant who put fly fishing as one of his hobbies. It was the first thing I asked him about.  He then preceded to tell me he had only been fly fishing once. IF YOU DID SOMETHING ONCE, IT IS, BY DEFINITION, NOT A HOBBY. Needless to say, the rest of the interview was exceedingly awkward.  Re-read your interview CV before each interview and be ready to talk about anything your wrote, even the small stuff.

    3. Always come prepared with questions, even if you already know the answers.

    At the end of the traditional interview, your interviewer will inevitably ask you “so what questions do you have for me.”   Odds are, you looked at the school’s website and you have a pretty good idea about the program. However asking personalized questions to your interviewer shows that you have spent some time researching the school and are truly interested.  I would always be impressed with the students who asked very thoughtful questions.

    4. Once your interview is finished, the application process isn’t.

    OK, so this one isn’t really about the interview, but I think applicants too often look at the interview as the last step of the process, which it shouldn’t be.  Many schools will give out their interviews in late fall and early winter but not make decisions until many months after that. Update schools on any new accomplishments or activities over the course of the year!  Even a brief email to committee about a new volunteer experience you just started can go a long way. Not only does it provide just one more activity to your CV, but it shows schools that you are interested and still thinking about then, so they will keep thinking about you.

    The interview trail can be long, tiring and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.  If you follow these four tips I guarantee your interview season will be a breeze. And finally, if you don’t fly fish, DON’T PUT FLY FISHING AS YOUR HOBBY