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The Medical School Interview

The medical school interview is an important part of the applicant's profile, and is often a nerve wracking experience for pre-medical students. There are a number of different medical school interview styles, and it is important to be familiar with them. The best advice one can give is "be chill and be yourself" - you want to present the best version of yourself.

The Styles

The "classic" open interview - this is what most students have in mind. Those who are interviewing you have read/have access on hand to your application file (your GPA/MCAT, undergrad info, extracurricular info, etc), and will base questions from that. For example, an interviewer may find your degree, or one of your hobbies, interesting and ask you questions about it.

The closed interview is the opposite, your interviewer has not been briefed on you/does not have access on hand to your application. This form gives you greater freedom the guide the interview - they'll only know what you tell 'em. This is the form that you need to be really comfortable with the"tell me about yourself" question. This is a bit of an art - you don't want to tell to little, but also do not laundry list your application. 

The Multiple Mini Interview, or MMIs, has become very popular in medical school interviewing over the past years. Stemming from McMaster University, this form puts applicants in a series of scenarios where they are posed a situation and asked how they would react (for example, working in a team where one team member isn't pulling their weight). This style is about "on the fly" thinking, and working to think about the situation presented through multiple perspectives. 

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  • Know your application, and know the school.​​

    • Schools have different mission statements, and it is a smart move to present how your application fits in with the school's overall goals.

  • Be natural.

    • It is important to practice answering questions, but don't practice in order to have a canned answer to as many questions as possible. Be natural and conversational in your answers. Get comfortable with answering questions, not memorizing answers for questions.

  • Be yourself.

    • You want to sell yourself, it's not about what the interviewer "wants to hear". Know your application and what you think stands out about yourself. Everyone in medicine wants to help people, but why do you want to?

  • You're also interviewing them.

    • Even though the majority of the time you are being asked questions, it's also important to remember you are assessing if the school is a good fit for you. At the end of the interview, you'll be asked "do you have any questions?". You should use this as an opportunity to learn more about the school, their culture, and the interviewers. 

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