Here is an overview of what you will find in this interview prep guide:
Please note: We highly recommend that you read everything on this page before proceeding to sample mmi/panel interview questions to allow for proper preparation for your interview.
A medical school interview is intended to provide the admissions committee with further evidence that you are well prepared to enter their rigorous training program. Furthermore, the admissions committee wants to ensure that your personality in person matches your personality on paper. In other words, are you the person you claimed to be on your application? More importantly, medical school interview questions allow the admissions committee to have a better understanding of the candidate’s soft skills. By soft skills we mean an individual’s Emotional Intelligence Quotient or “EQ” and those personality traits such as, communication skills, social and interpersonal skills, friendliness, empathy, etc., that are critical to performing effectively as a physician. Interestingly, when medical licensing and regulatory bodies receive a complaint with regard to a physician, it is primarily with respect to these soft and non-cognitive skills (i.e. personality, professional conduct, ethics) rather than the competence of the physician and his/her hard skills. Thus, it is crucial for a medical school to select the ‘right’ individual for their program.
A medical school interview can take on different formats. It can range from a one-on-one interview to a traditional panel interview, where a group of four or five individuals (Medical student, faculty member, public member, department head, etc.) sit together and ask the candidate a series of questions. These medical school interview questions can be based upon your own personal experiences, or consist of moral and ethical dilemmas that are designed to test your maturity and decision making capacities. These traditional styles of interview have been shown to have only a moderate predictive capacity when it comes to future medical school and career performance (1). For this reason, other methods, namely the Multiple Mini Interview or MMI, have been devised in order to increase the predictive capacity of the interview and help medical schools make a more informed decision when selecting future medical doctors.
To learn more about multiple mini interviews including the official MMI training manual and score sheet developed by McMaster medical school, click here.
To learn more about Modified Personal Interviews (MPI) at UofT, click here.
As already mentioned earlier, a professional school interview is your opportunity to show the admissions committee who you truly are and why you should be considered amongst the many other applicants. The scientific evidence clearly indicates that the most effective way to prepare for a medical school interview is by performing “Mock” or simulated interviews organized in the same format and style as the school of your choice, in the presence of professional guidance.
In fact evidence suggests that simply reviewing sample questions found on the internet, prior to your interview can actually negatively impact your performance (2). Just like a professional athlete who constantly simulates game situations at practice in order to get prepared for the big showdown, you must also get prepared by performing as many “mock” interviews as possible, and have experts provide you with important feedback, advice and insight about your performance.
BeMo also recommended that you review your personal CV, letters of intent, autobiographical sketches, etc., a few days prior to the actual interview and become intimately aware of how each personal experience can demonstrate a certain quality or characteristic that a medical school admissions committee is looking for (i.e. professionalism, ethics, social responsibility, compassion, leadership, etc.).
For further and more detailed information with regards to the qualities and characteristics desired by medical schools please consult the appropriate associations in the US and Canada. For example, CanMEDS Framework provided by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. And for the US, refer to AAMC guidelines for physicians. We also recommend that you refer to MedlinePlus and Medical Protection Society to learn more about medical ethics.
Although simply looking at standardized interview questions prior to your interview can hinder your performance (2), BeMo recommends that you review frequently asked interview questions and have a general idea of how you want to approach each answer. Do not memorize and rehearse your answers. Simply know the general ideas that you want to discuss. The admissions committee wants to know if you can provide a thoughtful response under the given conditions. It is your ability to be articulate, thoughtful, mature, ethical and compassionate that will impress the committee, not how well you rehearsed your answers.
During your interview it is important that you keep the following information in mind:
Evidence shows that professionally-guided mock interviews are the way to go and BeMo is here to help!
Did you know?
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Be prepared to answer the following questions on your interview day:
We now recommend that you click here to learn about different possible categories of interview questions and how to best formulate a response before proceeding to sample interview questions.
1. Eva KW, Reiter HI, Rosenfeld J, Norman GR. An admissions OSCE: the multiple mini-interview. Medical Education, 38:314-326 (2004).2. Griffin B, Harding DW, Wilson IG, Yeomans ND. Does practice make perfect? The effect of coaching and retesting on selection tests used for admission to an Australian medical school. Med J Aust. 2008 Sep 1;189(5):270-3