Step 2: Preparing
Define Your Message
Identify the key attributes and experiences that will enable you to achieve success in medical school, and that demonstrate your suitability for the profession. Think about specific examples you can use to support what you're saying without providing a laundry list of your achievements. Look for questions that provide opportunities to incorporate your points into your answers so that you maintain control over the message you are sending to the interviewer.
The 4 Types of Interviews
Planning what you will say during the interview will depend in large part on the specifics of the interview itself.
In general, there are four types of interview you’re likely to encounter:
- Open – The interviewer has already reviewed and is familiar with your entire application.
- Semi-open – The interviewer has read and is familiar with your personal statement and perhaps your secondary essays but nothing else.
- Closed – The interviewer has not read any part of and is not familiar with your application.
- Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) – The duration of the interview is typically 2 hours long and consists of a series of 10-minute "mini" interviews. For each mini interview, you will be given approximately 2 minutes to prepare an answer to a question/scenario before participating in the 8-minute scenario with an interviewer/assessor. The interviewers will evaluate your thought process and ability to think on your feet.
One of your interviewer’s primary responsibilities following the interview is to act as your advocate with the admission committee. If you are granted a semi-open or closed interview, it is up to you to bring to your interviewer’s attention anything concerning your application that you believe requires further discussion. That way, the interviewer will best be able to address questions posed by the admissions committee about your application.
Review Your Application
Look at your entire AMCAS and secondary application objectively. You should be very familiar with everything you included and be prepared to talk about it at length. As you study your application, ask yourself questions like:
- What impressions or pre-conceptions would you have about the person being described?
- Why have you chosen the clinical, community service, and research activities on your resume?
- Do you see any areas of potential weakness?
- Are there any red flags that need explaining?
When reviewing your application, pay particular attention to your essay as many interviews use it as a source of questions. Try to look at it objectively and try to imagine what additional information you would like to know about the writer. Be ready to discuss in depth anything you’ve written about in the personal statement. If your interview answers and personal statement don’t back each other up, then you may come across as insincere or even dishonest.
Research the School
Look at things like first year class statistics, curricular structure, timing of clinical rotations, extracurricular activities, school news, student life, financial aid, housing, current projects, and future plans.