Tips to prepare for a successful interview at the Medical School
After completing the MCAT, a major obstacle has finally passed, but that does not mean that this path becomes less problematic. You are at a point on your journey where you are beginning to experience stress for an extended period of time. There is anxiety and apprehension as the interview season approaches. Do not be afraid, the more you progress in medicine, the more stress you actually build, but this period of your life is a new feeling that is not very pleasant.
Hopefully, your MCAT application and grades were adequate enough to attract a little interest for the Medical Admissions Board members and you have been cordially invited to an interview to join the program.
Although it is true that if you have received an invitation, you are qualified and must find placement somewhere in the United States for the following year, this may not always happen. It is your job to take this interview very seriously, because this is the final chapter of your undergraduate life. If you do well, you can begin your dream of becoming a doctor, but if you fail, you could leave a red flag on your application that could threaten your opportunity to receive another invitation to interview elsewhere. Here are the 3 essential tips that you should have properly prepared for interviews.
1: do intensive simulated interviews
No matter how well you may feel about introducing yourself or how you might talk about potential branding against your application, if you do not conduct interviews at least daily for a month before your first interview, you may find yourself floating with Board Members. It is helpful to seek help from a medical consultant in your undergraduate program as they will be able to present you with difficult questions that you should be able to adequately answer the day of the interview. You need to be able to have a complete answer for some general questions like "why do you want to get into medicine?" I guarantee that if you have a generic answer like "my dad was in medicine so I always had a passion for it" or "I really want to help people," you will not get a high score on your interview component.
If you have a weak answer, the Admissions Board will pick that answer aside and lose all composure. You may be able to recover, but you may endanger the quality of the rest of your interview if you do not have a strong psyche to forget a negative event. You have to remember that there are an excess of interviewers compared to the number of slots available for the incoming class and the Admissions Council.
Another point is to expect the unexpected. A friend was asked about why he decided to take a business while completing his medical track during one of his interviews. The Board of Admissions considered this negative and suggested that the candidate was only interested in the financial aspect of becoming a physician.
Two Most Essential Tips for Surviving the Day of the Interview
2: Investigate the School of Medicine as completely as possible.
When you go to an interview, you need to be a walking encyclopaedia of facts about the medical school you are applying to. You need to make sure you can ask smart questions and be as enthusiastic as possible about the school. In most cases, you will receive information about who will interview you and which students may have to show you around the campus during your interview.
This may seem uncomfortable to those of you who are not familiar with "playing someone's ego," but realize that most students do this on the day of the interview already. Even if you feel superficial, you do not want to stop using everything you have to do to make a good impression. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the research so you are able to "fake" an interest (in some cases) to make your research a topic.
3: Be as enthusiastic as possible (without going too far)
When you are doing your interview, you may be surprised at how many people actually have input into whether you are a viable candidate or not. Even if you are walking with a medical student, this is not a time to drop your professional behavior and talk to them as if they were your friends. These students are "pseudo-spies" for the Admissions Board and will give recommendations that may influence their placement in the program.
You have to be as excited as you can to convey that you are interested in the program. Ask as many useful questions as possible to find out how your student life is, what your workload might be, and what opportunities there might be for volunteering at a clinic or getting involved in the research. You need to be able to pass on to everyone you come into contact with as soon as you receive confirmation in the program, you will get involved in multiple projects.
Another important thing to remember is talking about medical schools. There are no school rivalries in professional schools and most directors of medical schools are friends with each other. Among the normal gossip, these principals will also talk about potential applicants and how the students conducted the interviews received in each other's schools. If a principal points out some negative points about your interview at your school, that may jeopardize your opportunities at another school, so during the interview season, do not let your guard down until you receive a letter of acceptance. It may also be advisable to delete all questionable Facebook photos and even disable or change their profile names before submitting the applications. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it could also help a Medical Director to discard it if he sees a controversial picture, which can affect his chances of doing so in his program.