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How to Prepare Answers to These Tricky Medical School Interview Questions

While medical school interviews can be quite conversational, thinking in advance about the questions you will face can help you articulate your unique story more effectively. Most interviews revolve around the interviewer getting to know you better, but there will likely be a number of questions that give the ill-prepared applicant pause. Below are several strategies to help you prepare answers to these tricky questions:
“Why do you want to study medicine?”
This question will be asked at almost every medical school interview that you attend, but it can be difficult to answer unless you have reflected on your goals ahead of time. Clearly explaining why you wish to become a physician—without being cliché—is paramount to distinguishing yourself. To prepare for this question, review your personal statement for inspiration. Aim to incorporate details that are not mentioned in your personal statement, but that are related to experiences or endeavors that you have described in your essay or in the remainder of your application. This can add depth to your admissions portfolio outside of what you have already explained on paper. In addition, truly attempt to define the type of medical career that you want (i.e. community medical practice, medical education, research, etc.). Weave in your career aspirations when you answer this question to connect your pursuit of medical school to your ultimate goals.

“What is your greatest weakness?”
This question may not be asked in all of your interviews, but when it does arise, it is important that you offer a constructive response. Prepare for this question by honestly assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Most medical school applicants are high academic achievers with solid time management skills, a strong work ethic, a sense of altruism, and desirable leadership qualities. However, we all have our flaws, and it is important that you present your greatest weakness as something that you not only recognize, but that you are also actively working to improve.
“Why do you want to attend medical school here?”
Medical school admissions committees recognize that applicants interview at several schools, and they also realize that their program may be first or last choice for a given applicant. In order to gauge your interest in attending their school if offered admission, interviewers will often ask why you are interested in their program specifically. Prepare for this question by thoroughly researching every medical school that you will be interviewing at. Most programs’ websites list information on the curricular structure, facilities, affiliated hospital systems, faculty, student body, and extracurricular opportunities available at their institution. Review these materials, and identify several unique features for each medical school that you are interviewing at. If you see yourself joining specific student organizations, working with certain faculty members on research, or meshing well with the clinical opportunities available, be sure to state this in your interview, as it will help your interviewers visualize how you will fit into their school’s community.
“Do you have any questions?”
Most interviews will end with the interviewers asking you what else you would like to know about their school. Ensure you have several specific questions prepared for this portion of your visit. Though you will likely have been inundated with basic information regarding the school, it is important for you to ask follow-up questions on anything you would like clarification on. You can also ask questions about topics that were not covered. This serves two purposes. First, it will genuinely help you better understand the school, and it will aid you in your decision of whether or not to attend the program if you are accepted. Second, it demonstrates to your interviewers that you are enthusiastic and interested in their program.

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Anubodh “Sunny” Varshney is a professional MCAT tutor with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Washington University in St. Louis and attended medical school a... Anubodh “Sunny” Varshney is a professional MCAT tutor with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instr...