How to ACE Your Medical School Interview: Key Tips and Tricks

Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by Laura Turner

This is a transcript of How to ACE Your Medical School Interview. You can access the full session here.

Dr. Meng Yang: Hi everyone. And welcome to this webinar where Bemo and SDN will jointly talk about how you can ACE more medical school interviews. So, before we get started, I’d just like to ask that our audience does not record this webinar. We have lots of great information for you all and so, also just put away your distractions and take notes because this webinar may not be available later on. My name is Meng Yang, and it’s very nice to be here. I’m one of the lead admissions associates or experts at Bemo, and I’m super thrilled to be sharing this information with you. And we also have Ronza Nissan here. Ronza, can you say hi?

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Ronza Nissan: Hi everybody. I’m super excited to be here and share all the amazing strategies today.

Dr. Meng Yang: We also have Laura Turner. Laura, would you like to say hi and introduce yourself?

Laura Turner: Sure. My name is Laura Turner and I’m the executive director for Health Professional Student Association, which is the organization that publishes the Student Doctor Network. And we’re very excited to be partnering with Bemo today to give you this great information on how to do well at your medical school interviews.

Dr. Meng Yang: Excellent. Thank you, Laura.

Ronza Nissan: So a little bit about us before we get started. So Bemo was founded in 2013 and since then we’ve become a global leader in admissions prep. Now, the reason we started was that we believe everyone deserves access to higher education and that’s regardless of socioeconomic racial, or cultural background, we are very passionate about our mission, which is why we study research and live admissions 24/7. We’re fortunate to have become the most trusted with the most five-star reviews. And you can check those out on our website as well as Moreover, most of our books, including interview prep books are top sellers in their respective categories. In addition, we are listed by the University of Michigan, Emory University, University of Waterloo, along with McGill University. And we’ve also partnered up with over a hundred pre-med clubs across North America. So this is where we essentially set up workshops and help them strategize on different components of the application process. Now last, but certainly, not least our CEO and founder, Dr. Bruce Mamani was also invited to give a TEDx talk about admissions and how to make improvements. So you can certainly check that video out on our website.

Laura Turner: Okay, I’m going to take over and talk a little bit about the Student Doctor Network. So the Student Doctor Network was, originally founded and started in 1999 as a grassroots effort, providing free admissions, advising resources, tools, peer-to-peer support forums, to folks who wouldn’t otherwise have access to that information. Back in, back in the olden days in 1999, there was not really any information on how to get into schools on the internet. And so that was the purpose of the Student Doctor Network. And as I mentioned, it’s published by the Health Professional Student Association, which is a 501 C3 not-for-profit educational, nonprofit. And our vision is similar to what Bemo had expressed in that we really feel strongly that everyone should have the ability if they’re willing to put in the work to have the opportunity to go to a health professional school, including medical school, as well as we cover additional areas. We have a lot of resources available on student And so if you have interest, you can go ahead and check out the resources there, but now I’m going to turn it back over to Meng. So she can go ahead and get into the presentation.

Dr. Meng Yang: Thank you, Laura, and actually, I’m going to ask Ronza to just go over what we’re going to talk about today.

Ronza Nissan: Yes. We’re going to cover a lot, you guys. So as Meng mentioned previously, put away all the distractions, your phones, any social media, and just make sure to take lots of notes. So first and foremost, we’re going to cover the rationale behind medical school interviews. I think it’s very important to understand the why, we’re going to go over some admissions statistics on why you must ACE your interview. We’re going to cover the top three reasons. Most students fail the interviews. Of course, we’re going to go into how to prepare in advance. We’re going to cover the most common format. So the MMI panel is traditional along with virtual interview formats, we’re going to discuss the most proven strategies for approaching any interview question and most excited We’re going to go through some sample interview questions as well as answers. And we are going to leave some room for questions regarding interview preparation in the end. But we do ask that you wait to ask those questions in the end because we’re as we go along, we’re probably going to cover most of those during our presentation.

Dr. Meng Yang: Okay. Really exciting stuff. Before we dive in, I actually wanted to share with you all a study that we did comparing applicants’ interview practice scores before and after preparation, just in case you had any doubts that this is going to be effective. So we had 44 applicants with an upcoming multiple mini-interview or MMI, and they were selected randomly to participate in our study. We numerically scored their first realistic mock MMI using our prep program protocols, which are, you know, the very same ones used in real interviews. And we use the score as their baseline. And, you know, each applicant was then coached on what areas could be improved. And this went on for six to eight mock MMIS and importantly, neither the study participants nor the Bemo admissions experts were aware of the study in progress. And that’s of course because we wanted to avoid any bias.

Dr. Meng Yang: So let’s look at the results on the left. You can see the results from a similar cath or study we did, but for today, we’re really just going to focus on the results from the MMI study on the right, the light purple bar represents the average baseline score for these applicants and the darker bar on the right, represents the average practice scores after six to eight mock MMIs, which were all of course company accompanied with expert feedback. And you can see that there was a 27% increase in the practice score for these applicants and the differences of course, highly significant, which you can see from the very small P-value. We actually recently redid this study with a lot more participants and we found that the score increased in these students and then my practice scores were, you know, even greater. So all in all, we’re pretty confident that you can prepare for your interviews and you can improve your performance.

Dr. Meng Yang: And that comes of course, with the right guidance and the right strategies. Okay. So now that you know you can improve, we’re going to go right ahead and share with you the number one secret to acing your interviews ready here it is. Okay. I’m sure. Everyone’s like, what? Yeah. So if you’re wondering what this child on a bike has to do with interview prep, I just want you to keep this image in the back of your minds as we go through this webinar and it will become very, very clear to you. Okay. So just those ones I mentioned, it’s very important before you start prepping for your interview to understand the rationale, why are medical school interviews even used in the admissions process? And that’s going to really help you to set the right goals and understand what you’re trying to aim for. So let’s talk about this for a moment.

Dr. Meng Yang: They are claimed to assess things like emotional intelligence and non-cognitive skills, very important. These are things that, you know, they can’t assess based on your GPA or your MCAT score. They’re also trying to assess, the potential for future clinical performance and you know, how well you deal with complex issues and scenarios and you know, different personalities. So going along with the non-cognitive skills and they’re doing this in different types of formats, we’re going to cover some of these, multiple mini interviews, which is a very common one, which we’ll talk about in a bit panel or traditional interview, and also, becoming more popular is the virtual interview. Okay. Ronza you want to talk about why everyone has to ACE their interview? Why is it so important?

Ronza Nissan: Absolutely. And this is not to scare anyone, but just to get you going and prepare. So unfortunately there is less than a five percent success rate for some of the top tier schools, a lot of the students with excellent GPAs or, you know, any sort of the standardized test scores or MCAT scores do not get in. So that means it’s just more than grades. It’s more than the test scores, you know, as men, as men just mentioned earlier and alternatively, a significant number of students with less than perfect GPA’s and those standardized test scores actually do get in. So with that alone, we can conclude that there’s a lot of other contributing factors that are very significant and play a role in, you know, your application journey. And the one that we’re going to primarily focus on today will be the interview. So if you are fortunate, you prepare and you get an interview.

Ronza Nissan: You really have zero room for error at the interview stage. And you know, if you do happen to not do well, you fail the interview, you are guaranteed to get rejected. And primarily recall what Meng had mentioned is a lot of it is to assess some of those interpersonal skills things that they can not assess just by the scores or application any activities, anything that you’ve sent in, so very important, I think a major component of your application. So really do pay attention and please do ask questions in the end so we can help you, ace your interview.

Dr. Meng Yang: Okay, thanks Ronza. And just to make sure you’re not making some of those mistakes that are commonly made, we are going to talk about the top three reasons most applicants fail their interviews. The first one is actually inadequate preparation. Basically what we mean by this is not giving yourself enough time to build up interview skills and maybe even curb some bad habits. These are all behaviors that take time to learn and take time to undo. So you want to be giving yourself sufficient time to be able to achieve that. And based on our experience, no, it differs from person to person, but giving yourself two months to prepare for your interviews is a good amount of time. If you’re doing it consistently. The second reason a lot of applicants fail their interviews is that they don’t have any strategies. So not having a systematic way of preparing for your interviews can definitely hurt you because if that’s the case, then no matter how much you practice, you still won’t feel prepared for the next new question that you get.

Basically what we mean by this is not giving yourself enough time to build up interview skills and maybe even curb some bad habits. These are all behaviors that take time to learn and take time to undo. So you want to be giving yourself sufficient time to, to be able to achieve that.

Dr. Meng Yang: And what we find to be very effective for applicants is for them to have a structure to work with, for all the different types of questions that they can encounter and we’re going to get into this, of course in a bit, number one and two inadequate preparation and lack of strategies, both contribute to the third reason a lot of applicants fail their interviews, which is that they’re just lacking confidence. If you haven’t prepared enough, if you don’t have a good set of strategies in place, you’re going to be really nervous about what you’re going to encounter during our interview. And therefore all three of these compounded together will lead to poor performance. And before we leave this slide, I just want to talk about one more thing, which is not presented here, but still very important, And another reason why some applicants will fill their interviews.

Dr. Meng Yang: And that is that you know, you want to be on throughout your entire interview experience beyond the point where you sit down with the interviewer, this includes the moment you step onto campus. If you’re doing in-person interviews. So the moment you leave campus because you can encounter anyone during that time who might have a say in whether you get in or get, or get rejected. And, you know, that could be an administrator that could be a current medical student. All of these people are asked about their opinions about the candidates. And unfortunately, we have heard stories of people who have aced their interviews, but, but because they had a negative encounter with someone, who may not have been an interviewer at all, they ended up getting rejected from that school. So you don’t want to be making that mistake for sure.

Ronza Nissan: I think something to add here to Meng is just getting yourself in the right mindset. The moment you get on campus, you don’t want the first individuals that you’re actually talking to, to be the interviewers. Like you’re already nervous as it is. So, you know, holding the door for people, smiling that day, greeting, you know, the staff I’m here. My name is so-and-so, I’m here for an interview. Get getting going kind of with your delivery, your vocal skills, because it is pretty daunting. You’re scared. And then in addition to that, I think one thing that we want to remind everyone is if you know when you’re doing this in person, if you’re doing this in person, let’s be hopeful. You’re getting an invite, when you’re there in the waiting area, being respectful of other potential, students and applicants that have been invited, and ensuring that the communication with them is also professional and respectful.

Ronza Nissan: You know, a lot of times people can kind of get lost in the nervousness or get carried away. If you do find that, you know, you’re interacting with someone that happens to be very nervous and that’s impacting you taking a moment to kind of step aside, you know, go grab a drink of water, go use a restroom, standing up straight. We’re going to get into some of these strategies, later on as well. But a lot of this could definitely impact your confidence, which Meng just highlighted that all of that is connected, right? You know, you could prepare all you want, but if the confidence in the end, gets impacted negatively, your delivery will be impacted negatively. So, very important that your mindset is on from the moment you arrive and not just in the interview room. Thanks.

Dr. Meng Yang: Yeah. Yeah and just, I think this could be relevant for virtual interviews too. Especially if there are opportunities for you to interact with people outside of the actual interview setting. Sometimes there are, you know, events on zoom, or on other platforms and you want to be at your best then as well. All right. So let’s continue talking about, how to prepare for your interviews. And I want to start off by dispelling some myths, so that again, you don’t fall into the trap of you know, believing some of these and preparing inadequately. Myth number one is that there are no right or wrong answers. Ronza can you explain what this, what this means?

Ronza Nissan: Absolutely. I think that, if this was in fact true, everyone would either get in or it would defeat the purpose of the interview. And I think we’ve already established that there is a rationale behind the interview for the programs and that, you know, not everyone gets in. In fact, it’s a very low percentage there are certainly cases where you could have appropriate as well as inappropriate responses, things that are flagged potentially in situations where there’s ethics being questioned, professional boundaries being assessed. And we’re going to get into that with our samples, but this is simply not true. There are going to be right and wrong answers.

Dr. Meng Yang: Absolutely. You want to be the one, the person who’s giving the good, appropriate right answers to all of the questions for sure. Myth number two is that you can’t really prepare in advance for your interview. I’m sure some of you have heard this, but I hope that I’ve already dispelled this sufficiently for you just by showing you that study with the 27% increase on MMI practice performance, preparing in advance definitely can help you to improve on your communication skills to improve on your delivery, to facilitate your thought process as you think through each question and make sure that you are presenting your answers in a thoughtful, organized, strategic way. Not preparing, you’re not going to be able to do that when it comes to interview day. So you do want to prepare and it does help. Okay. The next and last myth is just to be yourself. This one sounds really, really nice. And I know everyone wants to believe it, but

Ronza Nissan: What are you telling the students?

Dr. Meng Yang: Yeah. I just wanted to remind everyone that when you’re at your interview you know, you’re in a professional environment, they want to know how you’re going to be conducting yourself around your future medical team, your future patients and that is very different from how you interact with your family and friends on a regular basis. So don’t just be yourself. You need to be your best self at these interviews. Okay. So you want to express yourself genuinely, of course, but you want to be your best behavior. You want to be on the moment you step onto campus for one of these interviews or the moment your camera turns on for one of these interviews.

Ronza Nissan: Okay. Absolutely. Okay. So continuing on that Meng, let’s look at some facts here, and then we’re going to get into some of the strategies which I’m excited for. So fact number one, it’s like riding a bike. So recall that image that Meng had mentioned. Now it’s going to come full circle. I promise you so perfect practice makes perfect. We know, I know that the common phrase usually is practice makes perfect, but here at Bemo, however, we feel it’s actually perfect practice makes perfect. And the reason we say that is because we want to ensure that you are instilling, you’re not instilling bad habits, but making sure that you’re set up with the right strategies, that no question intimidates you, because you know exactly what they’re looking for and you know exactly how to approach it and how to do so, where it’s personalized to you, because we’re going to talk about the structures.

Ronza Nissan: So recall that image that we had mentioned earlier and talked about the child, the training wheels, the helmet, all those things are put into place to ensure that the child could ride safely so ensuring that, that perfect practice to make it a perfect ride, right? To make it that perfect interview response that perfect overall interview for yourself. Excuse me, fact. Number two, the best way to practice is using realistic simulations. I cannot stress this enough. So this means timed responses. This means dress professionally, right? I don’t want you guys to be sitting up in the room, Netflix is in the back, you’re wearing your comfy sweater, your music and you’re like, let me practice some questions. That’s great if you’re doing it at a really informal level, but if you really want to get effective, I want you to be set up sitting up straight on a desk table, right?

Ronza Nissan: You want to simulate an interview, even if it’s going to be virtual, you’re going to want to have that interview set up. You want to be wearing, you know, a colored shirt, a blazer, and you might say, well, that’s uncomfortable, Ronza. I don’t really want to do that for practice. That’s great. I want you to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I want to see how that impacts your speech. I want to see how that makes you feel, start doing it right. Perfect practice makes perfect. Put the distractions away. Tell your family not to talk to you for the next hour, put your phone, time it, and just get going so that, that’s one thing I definitely stress to the students. Definitely start doing it with, you know, simulation and then fact number three, of course, it comes together. Sample questions are ineffective without proper feedback.

Ronza Nissan: How do you know if you’re getting good? If no, one’s telling you what’s good, what could be improved? So you do need that expert to pinpoint areas of weakness and waste to ensure that you’re strengthening your responses. This is how you can also avoid those bad habits, the filler words, right? Sometimes you get an answer and a response stuck in your head. I want to say it this way for telling me about yourself. This is why I want medicine. This is how I want to say it. And you can’t kind of get that out of your head and you’re kind of stuck on it, but there are better ways to reorganize it. Or maybe how you think the impact is going is not exactly as impactful as it should be. So you do need that right approach. And you need someone to pinpoint that out. So with all of that said, I think fact number four, you know, it goes without saying that books, guides, crash courses are just ineffective, just like riding a bike, right? You can’t just simply look at that image, watch one YouTube video, read one book, and say, Hey, I’m going to do this. I’ve never done it before. Um, it does take all these strategies and some of the strategies that Maggie is going to go into right now to make it a perfect practice.

Dr. Meng Yang: Yeah. Thanks. Ronza fact number five is that you have to have a strategy for any possible question. I’ve already hinted at this, but, once again, you never know exactly what question will come your way, but if you know, what types of questions are possible and you have a strategy for each type, then you are going to be able to navigate through anything that they throw at you. So key fact number six is that you should familiarize yourself with professional ethics. One trait that interviewers often evaluate is ethical decision-making and, you know, you don’t have to be an expert in ethics, but it is really good to be aware of the common ethical issues that might come up in medicine so that you’re prepared and you can look into governing bodies like the American medical association and the world health organization, which all have a set of guiding principles that you can read about just so you can familiarize yourself with this area and be prepared for those types of questions.

Dr. Meng Yang: And that those topics can come up in different types of questions as well. So it may not be one or the other. And fact number seven is that you must have a strategy to manage stress. Ronza already started talking about this, managing your stress and having confidence during your interview are very, very important in the long term. You can start with ensuring that, you know, you are staying healthy through nutrition, exercise, and rest physical health and mental health are very interrelated tied. So that’s very important as, as you’re approaching interview season, something that you can do closer to the interview is actually to visit the interview site. We always recommend our students do this because it removes some of the novelty of the whole experience and makes you feel a little bit calmer in a setting that you’ve now become familiar with. And then of course, during the interview, make sure you’re smiling and caring. A confident posture and deep breathing exercises are always recommended to help you to navigate before the interview. But also if you start feeling yourself, getting caught in a little bit of stress during your interview, it’s okay to take a moment, take a deep breath, and then continue because that’s going to ensure that the rest of your interview goes well.

Ronza Nissan: Okay. If I can also add to that, man, I think visiting the site also helps with ensuring just some logistics, like just ensuring, okay, how far is it? How’s traffic going to be? Where do I park? Oh, they have construction. A lot of these things that come that are impromptu and they come up and you’re just, again, the anxiety level starts going up. Your heart starts racing. It starts impacting that confidence. If you can just do this before, remove it quite a bit. And then the day before something I’ve seen often students doing, and I always say, try to navigate away from doing this as do not practice the day before the interview. Just make sure that you’re resting, go for a walk, don’t try a new restaurant, and try a different meal that you haven’t tried. You don’t want to get yourself sick, just stick to a kind of, you know, a healthy diet the day getting, you know, rest, making sure that you have some downtime and you’re not on alert. You know, again I really want you to consider also like your overall being and your mental health and ensuring that it’s prepared because as much as you practice if you’re not resting and your confidence is lacking, it’s going to hurt your delivery. So it’s very important to circle back to that.

Dr. Meng Yang: Yeah. Thanks for that addition Ronza, I absolutely agree. Fact number eight is that interview skills take a long time to develop. Hopefully, that’s very clear to you now, and there’s no magic pill. There are no shortcuts. There’s no way to cram for an interview and do well. So you simply have to start early and use the right strategies to prepare. Okay. So I think next Ronza is going to give us an overview of the structure of some of the common interview formats that you might see. And that just will, again, help you to anticipate what you can expect on the day of your interview.

Ronza Nissan: Absolutely. Then we’re going to kick it off with the multiple mini interviews. One of my favorites. So commonly known as the MMI. Now, this can be conducted in person or online, now it could be from anywhere from eight to 12 stations. Sometimes it’s fewer. If it’s conducted online and again, it’s really pending the program and that does get changed every year. So don’t just be reliant on what they did last year. Situational questions tend to be common in any real-life situation. So it does not necessarily mean it’s going to be pertaining to the profession, right to medicine, or to patients you’re given two minutes to read the station prompt and each station lasts about four to eight minutes. And again, that’s dependent on the program. You do not need to use the entire duration. You guys of the response time. If you follow the structure that we’re going to go through, and you are clear, you’re coherent, it’s actually more effective to be concise.

Ronza Nissan: And you want to leave that interviewer, you know, a few minutes, if they want it to have some follow-up questions, there is a break station, and here is not the time to reflect on the last station where you’re like, oh my God. I said something that was so awkward. Why did I do that? Do not do that. Don’t get in your head, right? You have the remaining stations to get through. You want to be confident. You can still do well. If you keep going, applicants are scored on a scale relative to other applicants. I know this confuses people Meng. So could you just tell us what that means?

Dr. Meng Yang: For the multiple mini interviews, once all of the candidates have gone through each station, the interviewer at that station can go ahead and adjust the scores for candidates depending on their impressions of everyone you know, someone might be the first person might have not done as well at that station, but then maybe it was a really hard station and all the subsequent candidates also didn’t do well. So the interviewer actually has the opportunity to go ahead and, and raise those points. And the same would happen if there was a really easy station and everyone does really well. They can also go in and adjust those points then but I think the thing to remember here is that you don’t want to be thinking about those other candidates while you’re in that situation

Ronza Nissan: Don’t be dependent on their failure.

Dr. Meng Yang: No, no, your job, as you do each station in an MMI, it’s to simply put your best foot forward and to make sure that your delivery for that station, your answer for that station is as good as you can make it. And then when you go on to the next station again, don’t let what you did in the previous station be on your mind, start fresh, give yourself a fresh start. It’s a new question. It’s a new interview. Everything is fresh. And you want to give yourself that chance to do well again,

Ronza Nissan: Absolutely. So some of the things that are going to be assessed are your communication skills, right? Of course. So how well you deliver your response, if it’s an acting station, of course, how well you’re conducting yourself in that acting station. If it’s a scenario, how well are you communicating within that problem solving or whatever issue that’s presented to you? So communication is very important in many ways the strength of your argument displayed, are you considering everyone impacted in your response, right? You want to ensure that you’re coming up with the most ethically sound decision that’s considerate of all parties that may be impacted at a micro level, at a macro level. And then lastly, your suitability for the profession, right? Which embodies all the above and even more interpersonal skills that are going to be assessed. Okay, next, we’ll talk about the panel and traditional interviews.

Ronza Nissan: So this is another common obviously interview style, is the panel on the traditional, and this can be conducted again, in person or online. Now the panel is conducted typically with a group of roughly two to five interviewers, depending on the program and traditional interviews are usually one-on-one, and sometimes it could be one-on-one that is back to back. interviewers could be faculty members, it could be students, it could be practicing physicians, alumni, et cetera. It could be open versus close. So real quick, if you have an open panel or an open one-on-one interview, that means that the interviewers have access to your application, right? Whenever you submitted your essays, your sketches, your activities, all that good stuff, they have access to it, and they can ask questions directly about X, Y, and Z. whereas closed it’s vaguer. It’s more, you know, tell us about a time, you had interacted with so-and-so or tell us about a time you know, you’ve potentially failed at something.

Ronza Nissan: So I would say both of these, whenever students ask me both of these could be daunting. Both of them have their own pros and cons open could have, but it’s beneficial in the sense that you’re being told what to reference, but it could also be limiting in that it’s putting you on the spot about an experience, whereas closed you’re left to your own memory. Right? Tell me about a time you did this and you’re like, oh, oh, oh dear. Where, where have I done it? So what I say for both of them is just really get acquainted with your experiences, your application, your components, what you mentioned, you know, start reflecting on those in your preparation, the interview of like, okay, what, when I was working here, what did I do? What did I not do? Well, why was it impactful? You know, just start thinking about that actively.

Ronza Nissan: I think that’s going to help you regardless for both open and close. Okay. Sorry. Went on a tangent, typical interview questions, personal, right? Of course, asking you about an experience. It could be situational. It could be policy. It could be quirky. And we’ll get into that later. And again, it’s meant to assess the same characteristics as any other interview. And this could last anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. And if it’s back to back, it could be two 15 minutes it could vary and last, but certainly not least, would be the virtual or online interviews. Now, these could be live. You know, this is where you have an interviewer there on the other side, or these could be recorded and this could be a recorded video of an interviewer or a prompt, on the screen. So you could get either, invited to a virtual MMI or even a virtual, panel, for example, essentially the same setup for those with, with respect to timing.

Ronza Nissan: Obviously a lot of them have testing software before. So just make sure that you do a run-thru of our practice. So you’re familiar, you know, you have all the extensions or whatever downloaded on. So there are no interruptions at that point. And most of those have an FAQ too. So you could go through like any sort of common issues that could arise that day if you’re kind of stressing about those, but regardless, those are timed and how you read and timed in how you respond or record on the platform. Very little difference in strategy compared to in-person as well. I would say, if anything, you have to be overly enthusiastic, you have to really try to connect because you know, with the other person you’re trying to gauge their interests. That’s another thing I’d have to say. You guys, it’s very hard to see how well you’re doing with the other person.

Ronza Nissan: So don’t take their reaction as an indicator. A lot of times with MMI, they’re just stoic. They’re not, you know, there can’t be biased they can’t be suggestive they can’t be like nodding to help you out. So don’t think I’m going to keep talking until the interviewer agrees with me. I would just say, you know, just be enthusiastic and be consistent and smile and you’ll do great. Of course, you still have to dress professionally even with these online platforms and act professionally. And most of the common questions are a combination of what we just talked about from a panel, as well as situational. And we’ll get into some examples, shortly, but the timing varies to 15, roughly to 45 minutes with the online interviews

Dr. Meng Yang: As well. Okay. Thanks. Ronza. And now that she’s talked about a couple of different interview types, I want to share with you another secret for preparing for your interviews. And that is the interview format does not change your strategy, not at all because your strategy is still to learn, to answer, have a strategy to answer any type of interview question. Now, some people might say, well, if I’m doing a panel or traditional then most of the questions I’m going to get are personal. So I’m going to mostly practice personal and not, and kind of neglect the other ones. Or, you know, if you’re doing an MMI, then a lot of people think that most of those are scenario-based. And that might be true in schools might even specify that they’ll mostly be certain question types or another, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be thrown a curveball.

Dr. Meng Yang: We’ve seen that happen. That doesn’t mean other question types can’t pop up. And, we’ve also seen in the last couple of cycles where schools will change up the interview format on their applicants with very, very little warning. So the best way to practice and ensure that you are prepared for any type of interview, whether it’s an MMI or a panel or virtual, whatever it is is that you just prepare yourself for any kind of question because it’s the same type across all the different platforms or all the different interview types. Okay. So, before we look at the specific strategies for those question types, I do want to share some very critical psychology hacks with you guys. And we have mentioned some of these, but let’s just take a moment to look at the appearance. It does matter. People do judge books by their covers, and that includes your interview.

Dr. Meng Yang: So, um, you know, make sure you are well-groomed and dress professionally. That’s true if you’re doing in-person or online, and also make sure you have a strong introduction. That means you want to smile once you see your interviewer, whether online or in the room, introduce yourself, confidently, shake hands, if it’s appropriate. And, you know, you can write them in there, thank the interviewer for their time and be sure to address them by name, to acknowledge them, the interview, we would really appreciate that you also want a strong conclusion, same thing, smile. At the end of your interview, don’t be thinking about what your answer was like or how strong your response was. Smile. Thank the interviewer again by name, thank them for their time, acknowledge them, and then say goodbye. And the introduction and conclusion are really important because of the premise and the recency effect, because, this is a well-known psychological phenomenon that basically says the first and last moments of your interaction with someone are particularly memorable.

Dr. Meng Yang: So you really want to make the most of that and that can really help your interview score. Okay. So I think it’s finally time for Ronza and myself to go into some, very simple processes, strategies to ace different types of interview questions. And we are going to start with scenario questions because I know that this one stumps a lot of people and it scares a lot of people. So for us scenario-type interview questions, these are the ones where you’re given a situation. You’re given a description of a situation you’re given a role to respond to when you’re asked what you would do in that situation, very straightforward. And what you want to do is start by identifying the type of question. So we know it’s a scenario question, but beyond that, there’s actually a lot of themes to scenario questions. And if you can narrow down the theme of the question, it can really help you to generate the right solutions, the appropriate solutions.

Dr. Meng Yang: So some themes might include, you know, conflict resolution or ethical dilemma or professional boundaries. And there are lots more, you know, there are 20 types or more. And, once you can narrow that down, once you can, once, you know, okay, this is, this is a scenario that has to do with, with a conflict resolution situation. Then you understand, okay, this is the right approach to go about this. Okay. The next thing you want to do is gather the facts and you want to do this in a nonjudgmental way. And the reason why this is so important is that a lot of scenario questions will leave out intentionally very important, critical information that leads you to make certain assumptions about what’s going on that may or may not be true. So you don’t want to be making those assumptions. You definitely want to just take a step back and acknowledge that there might be missing information and talk about how you would get that information, who you would talk to in what way you would talk with them, most likely in a private conversation to respect their privacy.

Dr. Meng Yang: but that just allows you to kind of assess the situation before jumping to conclusions or making decisions that are inappropriate for the situation. You’re going to see an example of this in a moment. So just hang on tight for a second. The next thing you can do is identify who is directly or indirectly involved. anyone who is a mature professional in a situation can be acutely aware of who is impacted in a situation and how their decisions might affect those people. Okay. So that actually leads me to the next point. This is something that you’ll definitely want to do explicitly when delivering your answer, you want to identify the most pressing issue. And this is easy. Once you’ve identified, who’s involved and who’s impacted because the pressing issue is most often the well-being the health, the safety of one of those people, one or more of those people.

Dr. Meng Yang: And it’s usually whoever is the most vulnerable party or the party that you, whoever you are in that situation that you are responsible for. So if you’re a physician, then that might be the well-being and the health of your patients. If you’re given the role of a teacher that might be your students, if you’re given the role of a government official, that might be a member of your community. So identifying those people and figuring out who’s most vulnerable, who you’re responsible for, will help you to identify the most pressing issue. And then of course you want to think about based on your assessment, that you’ve done before, what are your options? Okay. You want to go through a couple of hypothetical situations from best to worst case and consider how your decision in each case would impact those people. You’ve identified who would be impacted by the situation. And, and then once you’ve done what you want to choose in each case, the most rational decision that causes the least amount of harm to everyone involved, but especially to those that you’ve identified in your pressing issue. Okay. So now that I’ve gone through the strategy, I would like to ask Ronza, if you could walk us through a sample question and answer.

Ronza Nissan: Absolutely. Okay. Let’s get to it. So this is one typically found in any interview type, including virtual and in-person, but very common in MMIs. Do you see the prompt either online or outside the door, or you received this, maybe in any other interview format, you are the director of a financially struggling hospital. You’ve been unable to generate enough revenue to implement some very important initiatives at the hospital and at risk of inevitable service cuts if more funding is not secured immediately. The only secure source of funds that is being offered is by a cigarette company. They’re willing to provide your hospital with all the right resources required in exchange for advertisement at your facility. What will you, and should you do as a hospital director? So immediately let’s reflect back on that strategy that Meng just talked about, identify the type.

Ronza Nissan: So right now I can identify it. And by the way, it could be more than one that there’s a potential conflict of interest and ethical dilemma, the pressing issue, right? Who is the vulnerable party? Who am I most concerned about? I want to ensure the well-being of my patients, as well as the hospital operating. Now, first and foremost, what I’m going to do is gather more information. I’m going to have a private conversation with the company to get a full understanding of what is being discussed on one hand, so coming up with if, and then’s, on one hand, perhaps their advertisement is more so geared towards, highlighting side effects to cigarette smoking, which could be aligned with the mission values. However, being connected to a cigarette company could still be a conflict of interest. And I do need to discuss that with my team, my board members, on the other hand, you know, if they are advertising cigarettes, images of smoking, you know, encouraging, this will be very detrimental.

Ronza Nissan: One it does not align with our mission values, it could be contradicting to what we’re saying. It could encourage people to start picking up smoking. It could also be offensive to the individuals that potentially are suffering from some sort of side effects from cigarette smoking in the hospital, all in all, this will be negative. So in this case I would respectfully decline. However, now you don’t want to just leave it at a point where you’re just walking away. You don’t have any solution. However, I’m going to roll up my sleeves. I’m going to set up a meeting with my board members. So this demonstrates collaboration, and I’m going to ensure that we come up with some sort of plan. For example, could we partner up with another hospital? Is there a nonprofit organization that we could potentially reach out to, to help us out?

Ronza Nissan: Are there other initiatives, could we have fundraisers that could reach out to the community, to raise some funds? Are there potential, you know, administrative or cuts that we can make that will be least impactful? if so, then we will start implementing those, you know, moving forward to ensure that we’ve secured some funds, whether that be fundraising, whether that’d be budget cuts in some other areas. Now, also one other thing I’d like to add is if you want to go above and beyond in your answer is come up with a proactive or a preventative measure, in the end. And this is, if you have time, I don’t want you to stress about this. So here I’d say moving forward to ensure this does not happen again. I will want to make sure that we hire, a financial advisor that we are ensuring that we are looking at our budgets and looking at our spending throughout the quarter, throughout the year to ensure this does not happen again, moving forward. So here, as you can see, I’ve gathered information identified the issue, highlighted the compromise, a potential party here, it would be the patients, I’ve shown my ability to problem solve, and I’ve done it in a collaborative way. And I’ve also shown that I could potentially be preventative by looking at the future and coming up with a proactive plan as well.

Dr. Meng Yang: All right. Thank you so much Ronza. Ronza gave us a very comprehensive answer and you know, I think that shows us that there’s a lot that you could include in your answer but if, as long as you follow that basic structure, you remain nonjudgmental. You talk about a couple of different possibilities and, to show, you know, the breadth of your ability to handle different types of situations that might arise and newer solutions are ethical, professional, mature, then you’ll be just fine. And I actually wanted to look at just one more sample of a scenario question, because as well as I mentioned before they don’t always have to be related to your field at all. In this case medicine, they can be just everyday kind of situations because you know, the interviewer is still able to assess a lot of your traits through these scenarios.

Dr. Meng Yang: So we’re going to look at one here. This one says you are a third-year university student with a heavy course load and a new internship. One day you notice your friend who also happens to be in all of your classes, shows up late, looks completely tired and uninterested. And throughout the week, your friend continues to show up late to other classes. And on some days does not show up at all. Your friend has become completely dependent on your class notes. And on one evening, your friend drops by your place to borrow last week’s notes. What do you say to your friend? Okay. So just an everyday situation that I think a lot of students have probably encountered, or at least something similar. And so a possible response to this might sound like that, like this. And I’m going to just, pause from time to time to highlight the parts of the structure that I’m using.

Dr. Meng Yang: So, in this situation, I would be most concerned about the wellbeing of my friend, because I’m not really sure why they seem to be struggling to stay engaged in class. So there I’ve identified the pressing issue. I would invite them in, let them know that I’m worried about them. So there’s a display of empathy there. And I would ask if they’d be willing to share with me what’s going on. So I’m gathering information from my friend. And if I learned that they’ve been dealing with personal issues, such as trouble at home or the illness of a family member, I would be very understanding and let them know that I’m here to support them throughout this entire situation. I would, of course also do everything I can to help them succeed in their classes, without compromising my own academic integrity and compromising my own work. If however, there’s no good reason for their lack of effort in school, or I learned that they’ve been going out and, staying up late, and going to parties.

Dr. Meng Yang: Then I would have an honest conversation with them about the importance of school and why showing up to class and making their own notes is the best way for them to succeed. I would likely lend them my notes one last time, just on the condition that they commit to attending class and staying engaged. And just overall, I would approach the situation by first seeking to understand what was happening with my friend, why my friend was acting this way. And in each case, depending on what I find out, making a decision that would be best for their wellbeing and academic success. So after I gathered information in this answer, I went ahead and talked about just two, if-then scenarios, two possibilities, starting with one where I can be a lot more empathetic to their situation and really help them out to one where they’re less innocent and then, but still my solution kept them as my priority kept their wellbeing as my priority. Okay. So now that we’ve looked at two scenario questions, I also want to, just look at some strategies for personal questions, because I know a lot of you guys are wondering, how to answer these. A lot of these are a little bit open-ended, so let’s go ahead and look at the strategies for that. again, a five-step process, and I’m going to ask Ronza to walk us through these.

Ronza Nissan: Absolutely. Okay. So, first and foremost, you must understand the type of question being asked. As I mentioned, it could be pertaining to your experiences, your motivators, or program-based questions. Then you have to proceed to use personal experiences, right? Concrete examples. You really don’t want to be listing things off like your resume and going on and on about things you want to demonstrate strong one to two, maybe max three examples, depending on the question being asked, and you want to do this by showing, right? You don’t want to be telling, and you’re doing this on, and you’re showing how you’re gaining these soft skills or, skills that are appreciated by the program, right? Communication, collaboration, compassion. You can go on and on and you want to, inevitably tell the interviewer what you’ve learned, right? So what are your takeaways? What did you gain throughout that experience or that moment? And in the end, it’s good to connect the dots, right? Apply it to your future. Why are those soft skills that you learned at so-and-so examples important moving forward in medical school or when you’re practicing as a doctor? so that’s really it

Dr. Meng Yang: You can kind of simplify this one, also mainly you want to use personal experiences, to show, not tell about what you learned from the experience. So those are the takeaways and you want to connect them through application to your future profession of medicine in this case. So you can simplify it to three if you need.

Ronza Nissan: Absolutely. Okay. So let’s look at some examples. So I’ll go through one, a typical one found in any interview right, you’re anticipating this could be in virtual. This could be in person, panel, traditional would be, tell me about yourself. Seems rather direct, rather easy, but whenever someone asks you about that, you’re like, I don’t even know my name now for whatever reason I’m blanking on this. so basically your answer needs to be organized. It has to be genuine of course, and just recall the strategy so you can organize your thoughts and you’re not rambling, especially if you get nervous. And this is just an example. So don’t think that my potential experiences are going to be relevant to you, but a strong response would look like this. Thank you for that question. I think it’s important to highlight key significant moments that really shaped who I am as a person.

Ronza Nissan: So firstly, having immigrated as a child to the United States, leaving a war-stricken country behind what was really challenging for me to start all over, but it actually was a life-altering moment. I recall as a child, I was very curious about everyone’s story because of my own journey. I would often ask my parents about people and that innocence, that curiosity, turned into an understanding over time. Having met people from all over the world and through my travels and eventually an appreciation of cultures and just people in general. Now growing up, I was very active. I was fascinated by sports, whether I was good at them or not. I did end up playing competitive soccer, all my life, leading up to varsity soccer more recently in college, having played soccer I learned a great deal about self-discipline, waking up early for practices, being able to manage my studies and my social life, ensuring that I kept up the good grades.

Ronza Nissan: Of course, no, moreover, and more recent years having to become a team captain. I learned a lot about leadership and more importantly collaboration knowing when to play off someone’s strengths and working with someone’s weaknesses. Lastly, and more recently I have been an ambassador for War Child. War Child is a nonprofit organization that ensures children afflicted by war gain access to necessities along with basic education, I created my own committee as an ambassador for this cause. And I’ve had the pleasure of organizing and raising thousands of dollars towards this mission. This is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart. That really exposed me not only to the value of education but the importance of advocacy for it. Overall, my experience of immigration strengthened my cultural competence, which is very critical moving forward in my patient interaction where I will meet an array of individuals from all different backgrounds.

Ronza Nissan: My experiences in soccer allowed me to gain collaboration skills that I know will be beneficial while working in a multidisciplinary environment. And lastly, my involvement with war children has strengthened my awareness of disparity and motivated me to continue these advocacy efforts as a practicing physician. So all in all, I came up with three points. Now I know for you, like how did she even remember all that? But in my head, I had three guided examples and I had my immigration taught me a lot about diversity, cultural competence. Second, my sports taught me a lot about leadership and collaboration. And lastly, my involvement with non-profit taught me a lot about advocacy. So in my moment, I didn’t memorize my answer. I actually had those three guided points and I do welcome you to have guided points for this question, with the structure and do not memorize it.

Ronza Nissan: It has to be genuine. It has to be flowing. It’s okay if you trip on a word here or there, that actually is better than having like a very rehearsed, robotic answer, other common quick other ones, are, I’m not going to go through these, but I think it’s very important that each of you note these down, I know you anticipate them, but why this program and why medicine, same concept, obviously why this program, you have to do your research. You have to have an understanding of the program and reflect. it to your own personal experiences of where you’ve experienced that. why medicine very important. You’re going to see this in the application. You’re going to get this in the interview. Again. I say very quickly come up with two to three things that motivated you to pursue the journey. I usually tell students, start off with your moment of curiosity, then your moment of confirmation, then the reaffirmation. And I think that’s a really good setup because typically it goes in chronological order. So I think that would be your homework for this. If you could write those two down and practice it the way I just kind of told you to have those guided points. And if you want to record yourself to practice, I think that would also be a bonus because then you could see how you deliver.

Again. I say very quickly come up with two to three things that motivated you to pursue the journey. I usually tell students, start off with your moment of curiosity, then your moment of confirmation, then the reaffirmation.

Dr. Meng Yang: Absolutely. Okay. Before we move on to another type of question, I wanted to bring your attention to, kind of a different type of personal question. And this is what we call a quirky style, personal question. These tend to throw, interviewees off all the time. You might not get one, but if you do, it could stump you. And so here’s an example. What’s your favorite season? immediately you’re thinking, why are they asking me this question.

Ronza Nissan: Is there a right or wrong answer?

Dr. Meng Yang: Yeah. I don’t know how to approach this. Do I just say my answer? I’m pretty sure I have to say why, but then what does this have to do with, you know, my suitability for medical school and I think a good way to think about quirky style, personal questions is just that they’re a twist on personal questions and the purpose of any personal question is for the interviewer to get to know you and your suitability for the profession. So, you know, it’s not really enough for you to just say my favorite season is this because, you know, spring, because I love it when the trees come alive and it’s a perfect time to be outside with my friends and family, and that’s something I really enjoy doing, right? Those are good reasons and it could sound true to you.

Dr. Meng Yang: It is true to you, but it’s not very personal. And it doesn’t tell the interviewer very much about, um, you know, why you should be considered to enter their program as a medical student. So a stronger answer using kind of the same example would be something like this, My favorite season is spring because it holds a special significance for me. My father works all year long in China to support my mother and I, as we live here in the states and, he would visit once a year with my grandparents sometime in May. And that’s when, you know, I get to be reunited with my family again. And so spring is a season of renewal, but also hope for me. And that’s a feeling that I want to bring to my patients as a future physician. I think that through holistic and patient-centered care, I want to give them hope for a healthy and happy future.

Dr. Meng Yang: And that’s what spring reminds me of. So that’s my favorite season. So I’ve used the same. I mean, it’s the same season. Spring is my favorite season, but the reason that I’ve given is a lot more personal. I’ve used a personal example. Remember, that’s one of the points in our strategies for answering personal questions. And I’ve also at the end related it to the kind of physician I want to be in the kind of service I want to provide to my patients. So I know some people are a little bit hesitant to relate everything to medicine, and I hear you. I understand but you know, if you’re, if you’re thinking about this, as you prepare for your interviews, thinking about the relevance of all your experiences to your future profession, you’re more likely than not to be able to incorporate these ideas in a more natural way, and it won’t feel very forced.

Dr. Meng Yang: Hopefully my answer didn’t sound forced to any of you but yeah, there’s a sample question that is a quirky style personal question, and I hope this gives you a better idea of how to answer these, the next big type we’re going to tackle is policy questions. so if this is one that you’re, you’re a little bit apprehensive about, I also understand because this requires you to actually, do a little bit of research and studying before your interview, just to make sure you’re up to date with all the current news and you know, big topics in the field, in your area and also globally. So it will require you to stay up to date with the news, stay up to date with, you know, certain websites like the world health organization and the American medical association, just to make sure that you are aware of the issues that everyone else is caring about in this field, but here’s a three-step process that will help you to navigate these types of questions.

Dr. Meng Yang: The first thing you want to do is to demonstrate your awareness of the policy or the topic that’s been brought up and here You can talk a little bit about recent news if you know, of any or just, you know, existing policies within your area or in the jurisdiction where the medical school is located. If you know what that is, you can then go on. And this is probably the most important part. You can go on to talk about the pros and the cons. Those are the advantages and the drawbacks. if it’s just a topic that you’re asked to discuss, then it could be just, you know, one perspective versus another. In any case, you want to present a balanced approach to this type of question. You don’t want to appear to be one-sided and talking about multiple sides, multiple perspectives are how you’re going to do this.

Dr. Meng Yang: The next thing once you’ve done that, you can then safely go ahead and state your opinion. A lot of people are afraid of going ahead and, and talking about their actual stance on the issue. But as long as you’ve talked about the pros and the cons, then you can say, you know, based on my assessment of the pros and cons, here’s my opinion. And you’re going to sound a lot more evidence-based in your answer. You’re going to sound like, you know, you’ve actually considered a lot of different aspects before arriving at the conclusion. Once you stated your opinion, you can also provide some solutions. And what I mean by that is whether you’re in favor of, or you’re against a certain policy or an issue, you know, you’ve talked about pros and cons. So if you’re in favor of something and you’ve talked about cons, you do need to address those cons and you can do that by offering, by proposing some kind of a modification. For example, if you’re against the issue or the policy, then you’ve already talked about the pros, right? So you want to then go ahead and maybe propose an alternative that still brings the pros, but doesn’t come with all of the cons all of those drawbacks and in doing so you’re going to have a really well-rounded, well-balanced, non-judgmental answer. Okay. So let’s look at an example of a policy interview question so here’s the question.

Dr. Meng Yang: Can you discuss your thoughts on recreational marijuana? Okay. So definitely a topic that’s come up frequently in the last couple of years. So here’s a possible answer using the structure. I just outlined. So thank you for this question. I know that marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in Canada, for example, and certain states in the US. And that definitely reflects in increasing public support for legalization and for good reason as well. I think that some of the advantages of you know, recreational marijuana or legalizing it are that is that enforcing and the enforcement of marijuana prohibition. I think disproportionately targets people of color. We’ve seen that. So decriminalizing is a way to reduce bias in the criminal justice system. And that’s definitely been something that our communities have been striving for, especially recently, also money spent on marijuana can be redirected from the black market to the legal market and that confers a boost to the economy and of course, increases federal funds from taxation.

Dr. Meng Yang: So that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with its drawbacks. for example, there has been an increase in marijuana use in teens and youth and so these have shown that there are greater adverse effects of smoking marijuana in these populations, which are particularly vulnerable. And of course, legalizing recreational marijuana can lead to an increase in marijuana-related medical emergencies, such as car accidents and respiratory emergencies as well. So weighing the pros and cons my own personal stance is that you know, it is a good idea to legalize it, but we do need to have strict policies that are in place to protect the youth and young adults in our communities. And, as with many things, we need to increase the amount of research that’s done on these populations and populations in general to understand the long-term health effects. Okay. So of course you can bring up different points for this answer. You may know of others. I kind of just did two pros and two cons that you can see how generally the structure will help you to navigate this question. And any other questions that bring up a policy or an issue that’s being hotly debated at the time. Okay. So when coming up with the pros and the cons, I think one thing I always say to the students

Ronza Nissan: That help is if you can think of on like a micro level, right. If it’s pertaining to, patients and the physician, then the community at large, if you could do that, you’ll definitely have a very well-rounded, response as well.

Dr. Meng Yang: Yes, absolutely. And another way to go about it is to think about the pros and cons for the most vulnerable, the most impacted parties. Once again, taking a little bit from our scenario structure, and then thinking about the, you know, those who are indirectly impacted and what pros and cons there are for them. Okay. Yeah. So, so I hope that you know, in going through the strategies for scenario personal and policy questions, that gives you a really good foundation for starting to see the similarities between questions and to be able to tackle new questions that you may not have seen before, but you’re able to categorize into one of these major categories.

Ronza Nissan: Absolutely. Okay. So before we get into questions, if you’d like us to help you ace your interview, you can go to to schedule your free strategy call right now, or immediately following this webinar. I think I’ll have Meng just type it out for the chatbox, just to make it super easy for you guys. But during that call, essentially, we’ll answer any questions you may have about the programs and create a personalized course of action for you and a bonus If you sign up for any of the programs after this webinar and mentioned that you watched attended the SDN Bemo webinar, we’ll send you a free electronic copy of our med school interview book, along with the MMI book, which has tons and tons of samples in there as well but other than that, yeah, let’s, let’s take some questions. I, I don’t know if I’m getting them directly to me or Meng you are, or

Dr. Meng Yang: I can see the questions. And, there have been a couple that were sent in through the chat that I can go through. and I’ll start with the ones that were sent earlier. Hopefully, that’s okay. let’s see. Okay. So one participant asked if interviews are a major component of the application score, what is the indicator on the application that we would get an invite? And I’m assuming that’s an invite to interview. So, I think that I mean, every school has a different way of assessing the different components and they weigh each component differently. But, but for all schools that have interviewed two them, which is all of them, you know, there’s, there’s a pre there’s usually a pre-interview score and then a post-interview score. And so, you know, your pre-interview score obviously comes from your primary and secondary applications, the written components, as well as your GPA, your MCAT and you know, they will evaluate that and select a subset of candidates to then move on to the interview stage. Yeah. Does, does Ronza or maybe Laura do either of you have anything to add for that question

Ronza Nissan: No, I think that was spot on.

Dr. Meng Yang: Yeah. Okay. All right. hopefully, that answered your question. I’m going to keep going through, cause I do see quite a number of them. Okay. What about the interview declares to the admissions committee? We are ready for medical school? We start with the primary app and then secondary is the interview, the tertiary parts that lend to showing a holistic persona to the committee. So, there are, well actually, I’m going to give Ronza a chance to explain.

Ronza Nissan: Yeah. I mean, I think we, we did already, so depending on when this question came in, we did touch upon this, that, the interview allows them to assess things that they cannot assess on paper and to see those, interpersonal skills to see, you know, to put you through some behavioral questions, see how you navigate a problem. A lot of people can say things like I’m a leader, I am a collaborator, and then you give them a prompt and they don’t work with others. It’s a very me answer. So a lot of that is really delving deep into those interpersonal skills to really pull them out, to see if you are suitable for the profession to see if it does align with their program too. Right? Every program has its own mission that they want to thrive and move forward and they want to get appropriate applicants. So it really does draw out a lot of those interpersonal skills that have already been sort of assessed and somewhere or another throughout your application but it’s, it’s more personal now because you’re seeing them and you’re being able to demonstrate how you could kind of connect with those skills.

Dr. Meng Yang: I think communication is a big one. They obviously can’t assess your oral communication on paper. So that’s definitely one that they’re going to be looking for very closely during the interview. you know, you can be a brilliant writer and have a really well-written application, but if you can’t communicate verbally well with the interviewer, then that really hurts your chances. So that’s another, that’s one of the reasons why you need to practice and really fine-tune those verbal communication skills before your interview. Okay.

Ronza Nissan: Yeah. Those are indicators for future performance, right? You’re working with patients working with the staff, you’re working with other doctors, and that, that comes into handling.

Dr. Meng Yang: Yeah. And you’re not going to have months and months to think about the best way to navigate something or the best way to

Ronza Nissan: And you can’t tell a patient to pause for two minutes so you can reflect on your answer.

Dr. Meng Yang: Exactly. So, so they want to see, you can, you can really answer on the spot and be on your toes. Okay.

Ronza Nissan: Let’s answer a few more. And then I think, okay. Yes. You have to have any comments or questions herself.

Dr. Meng Yang: Yes. I, I want to see if there are any that are content-based. Okay. Is tell me about yourself the same question as, why do you want to be a physician? That’s a really good question. I actually get asked this a lot from students that I work with because it’s very easy to mix these up. We think of them as two separate questions because we know that students have been asked one and the other, both in the same interview. And so you also probably want to be thinking of them as separate questions. Then, tell me about yourself. Question is more of, you know, what else do you want to do you want the committee, the interviewer to know about you? That gives us an idea of who you are as a person. So if you met a stranger and you had to tell them three of the most important things about yourself, for example, three, one, or one, two, or three, what would you tell them? Right. And you want to, again, back those up with your experiences, but also relate to medicine. Why do you want to be a doctor is a little bit different? This is, this is what made you interested in the field of medicine. And you know, that could be completely separate from the things you would want someone to know about you.

Ronza Nissan: Absolutely. And I’d also add to that is I see a lot of students try to really put medicine in the, like about me. And I always say, it’s not just you, right? Like that’s not your identity. That’s something you want to pursue. That’s a passion, it’s noble. It’s amazing. There’s going to be a lot of inter lapping skills that contribute to medicine, but you want to diversify who you are as a person, right? You want to demonstrate that you’re dynamic, that there are, you know, different things that you could offer. When you go to medical school, you’re going to be involved in the community. You’re going to be doing a lot of different things. You know, you might have interesting hobbies that might spark a different conversation with the interviewer. So don’t try to like fit in that cookie-cutter about me and medicine don’t force it right.

Ronza Nissan: As you saw in my answers, some of that, the soft skills contributed naturally. And those are genuine things that I displayed through my own personal experiences. So try to diversify your candidacy and if it, and if it caters towards the journey, which more than likely it will because clearly, you’re pursuing it because you know, your lifestyle and who you are as a person is in line with the profession, or at least I’d hope. That’s why. so that’s my biggest suggestion for that is, do not make that cookie-cutter answer about me, turn into why medicine. They would directly ask that if that was the case. And because you’ve probably answered that and all those other questions, this is like a really fun opportunity to demonstrate different aspects of your personality because again, you guys, there’s a culture to their mission and their program, and they’re trying to foster and bring people that align with it. So don’t be afraid to show personality.

Dr. Meng Yang: I think we might have time for one more question but, and I know I can see that there are lots of other questions that have come in, so don’t, don’t worry you know, I would highly encourage you guys to use that link and book a free strategy with one of our admissions associates. And they would be very, very happy to work with you and answer your questions. Now, the last question that I’m going to just read out and we can all answer is who would you recommend practicing interviews with friends, family, what do you think Ronza?

Ronza Nissan: I don’t think that’s feasible. I don’t think my family would really, I don’t think they’d take me seriously. And I would just be laughing throughout the whole thing. if I could say neither, of course, I would say like a third party that doesn’t know me because I really want that criticism. And I don’t want my friends to say things that they’re comfortable with or also don’t want to hurt my feelings because they’re my friend. I do want that honest opinion, but I would navigate from either personally, if I had no other option, I would probably record myself and replay having the structure in mind and say, okay, did I do that? I think that to me would be more effective, but Laura, I don’t know what your answer be.

Laura Turner: I would probably say, you know, if you have access to your pre-health advisor, if you’re in a university, you know, I know that a lot of universities offer programs where they let you do mock interviews. And that’s a great resource if that’s available to you. You know, if you have a pre-health club at your university, there might also be an option to do mock interviews with other folks who maybe are your peers, but aren’t necessarily your friends who might be a little more willing to be ruthless in their assessments.

Dr. Meng Yang: Yeah. And I think this does go along with one of the facts that Ronza covered, which is that more realistic simulations are better for preparation. You’re not going to be interviewing with your family and friends or anyone that you’re familiar with. You’re going to be interviewing with someone you’ve probably never met before. So simulating that when you’re doing practice will really help you because it’s going to make you feel a little bit more stressed. So you’re going to be implementing those stress management strategies. It’s, it’s going to keep you on your toes and make sure that you’re delivering in a professional way. So definitely practice, with someone who’s less familiar and more objective.

Laura Turner: Okay. Yeah. thank you so much, Laura, for partnering up with us today and being here. I guess if you have any comments or last remarks yourself, I can give you the floor. Sure. Again, we’d like to thank Bemo and, Meng, and Ronza for joining us for this presentation. I, you know, there, there’s an amazing amount of great information in this presentation. We’re really happy that you all were able to participate in it again, I’m going to reiterate that we have tools available on there are, you know, lots of folks who are going through the same thing you are, and maybe you can meet up, you know, that would be someone you could practice a virtual interview with as a potential option, especially with the, you know, we want, we’re all hoping for in-person interviews in the fall, but we’ll, we’ll see what happens here. And I want again to thank Bemo for taking the time help to put this together. And we really appreciate that you have done this for students and thank you and have a good evening.

Ronza Nissan: Our pleasure. Thank you. Thank you to SDN. Take care, everybody. Bye.

Laura Turner: We hope you found this video helpful. If so, please like, and subscribe to the student doctor network YouTube channel for more helpful articles and information, please head over to the student doctor network website at