How To: Prepare For Panel Interviews For Medical School

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For many medical schools, the application process involves an application and an interview.

In the traditional style of interview, the applicant is interviewed by a member of the faculty or a panel comprised of faculty members and upper-year medical students. Being invited to interview is significant. Based on your application, the admissions committee believes you can succeed as a physician and this is your opportunity to prove to them that you can.

So, given how crucial this is, how can you prepare?

Confirm your attendance as soon as possible

calendar (1280x780)Once you’ve received the interview invitation, sign up for a time slot immediately! The earlier you do so, the greater the availability of times you have to choose from. But before you pick a time, you need to consider a few factors. First, if you choose a morning interview time, can you get there on time? Think about how long

First, if you choose a morning interview time, can you get there on time? Think about how long the commute will take, how long you’ll need to get dressed, how long you’ll need to eat breakfast, etc. Second, you want to be at your best during the interview, so consider your own preferences. Are you most alert in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Once you’ve decided, immediately snag that interview time.

Figure out transportation and accommodations

plane (1280x824)If you’re driving, make sure you know the route and nearby parking lots. If you’re taking public transportation, make sure you know exactly which train, bus, and/or subway you’ll be taking (and in which order). If the school is in another city or country, getting there is slightly more complicated. If you’re flying, make sure that you have an up-to-date passport,

If you’re flying, make sure that you have an up-to-date passport, the right currency, and clear directions to the school. On top of transportation, you may need to find a place to stay. Check with the school, they may have students who are willing to host you for a night or two. An added bonus – this is a great opportunity to get a current student’s feedback on the school!

Practice interview questions

Startup Stock PhotosThe medical school’s website may have a few sample questions for you. If not, look online for practise questions. Book resources are also available: consider buying or borrowing them from the public library. The ultimate goal is to convince a stranger or strangers that you will make a great physician, so while you may feel comfortable practising with a friend or family member, consider practising with a someone who is not personally familiar with you. This could be a co-worker, a teacher, and someone who works at a clinic you visit. Provide your interviewer with a list of possible questions and let them choose what to ask. At the end of the interview, ask them how

The ultimate goal is to convince a stranger or strangers that you will make a great physician, so while you may feel comfortable practising with a friend or family member, consider practising with a someone who is not personally familiar with you. This could be a co-worker, a teacher, and someone who works at a clinic you visit. Provide your interviewer with a list of possible questions and let them choose what to ask. At the end of the interview, ask them how comfortable they would feel if you were their doctor.

Research the program and the school

window-770535_1920Medical schools are not all the same. Each one has their own culture and unique approaches to education. It is likely that, at some point in the interview, you will be expected to explain why you chose to apply to this particular school. You want to give honest answers that show you have done your research. Is there something unique about the medical school? About the school’s history? Make sure to mention this in your answer!

Demonstrate your uniqueness

womens-882616_1280This doesn’t mean wear something out-of-this-world. You should demonstrate how you are different from the hundreds of other applicants. Avoid clichéd answers that your interviewers have probably heard a dozen times already that day. Instead, focus on a highlight from your past work or academic experiences that you feel really stands out. Since it’s your story, with its own circumstances and background details, it’s unlikely that another applicant would give an identical answer. And if you speak truthfully and with meaningful specifics, you won’t run the risk of coming across as arrogant.

Since it’s your story, with its own circumstances and background details, it’s unlikely that another applicant would give the same answer. And if you speak truthfully and with meaningful specifics, you won’t run the risk of coming across as arrogant.

Traditional medical school interviews can be challenging but think of it as a conversation. You may be speaking with one person or multiple people, depending on the school, but the above tips still apply. The time between receiving the interview invitation and the actual interview may be short (a couple of months), so you need to use that time wisely. Not being prepared will negatively affect your chances of admission.

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