Last Updated: 03/18/15
So, you’ve received a medical school interview invitation? Congrats! On this page we’ll cover how you should prepare for your interview and what you should expect on interview day.
Preparing for a Medical School Interview
The first thing you should do is research the school where you’ll be interviewing. You should have already done this when writing your secondary application. You want to get a good idea of what’s important to the school. Is it focused on research? Primary care? The underserved? Does the school have any special programs or a unique curriculum? These are excellent things to keep in mind for possible talking points during your interview. You should also think of a few things you can ask the interviewer about the school.
Next you should find out what types of questions the school’s interviewers normally ask. You can typically find feedback from students who previously interviewed at the school with a quick internet search. Some schools are notorious for asking certain types of questions, such as ethical questions. Also find out whether the school normally has conversational interviews or if they’re more high-stress. Some schools have "open file" interviews, meaning the interviewer has already read your whole application and some schools have "closed file" interviews meaning the interviewer knows nothing about you. If your interview is open file, be sure to review your AMCAS application and your secondaries before your interview day to refresh your memory on what you wrote.
Once you have all of this information compiled, you should practice answering questions that you think will likely be asked. Have a friend or family member sit down with you and simulate a medical school interview. Their feedback on your answers can be very valuable and with practice you will be much more comfortable and confident on your actual interview day. Many large colleges offer mock interviews through their Career Services office. Find out if your school offers this service and ask if you can set up an appointment.
Finally, you need to have professional clothes to wear for your medical school interview day. If you don’t have any, purchase some in advance or make a reservation for a rental.
Medical School Interview Day
Dress professionally and arrive early. Get to the interview location around 15 minutes early so you have plenty of time to check in. You don’t want to be late as it leaves a bad first impression. It is a good idea to arrive in town the night before your interview so you can check out the location of your interview, scope out the best route to get there, and find the proper place to park.
Every school has a different format for their interview day, but it generally includes information about the school, a campus tour, lunch, and the interviews themselves. Most schools have 2 interviews with a faculty member. Some schools might have a 4th year student interviewing in place of one of the faculty members.
Try not to have your interview answers sound scripted or rehearsed. This makes you look fake. You want to do your best to have a normal, flowing conversation with the interviewer. Ask a few questions that are relevant to the school so the interviewer knows you’ve researched the school and you are truly interested in going there.
After Your Medical School Interview
Many schools will give you the contact information of your interviewers. If you feel comfortable, send them a quick thank you note after the interview. This is not mandatory but it’s a nice gesture.