AAMC introduces VITA, a new video interview tool for admissions

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14_karat

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COVID-19 has undeniably impacted the professional practice of medicine, while significantly limiting how we interact and engage as a society. These limitations pose a unique set of challenges to the medical school admissions process, which uses the in-person interview to provide critical information regarding your professional experiences, competencies, and details about your overall journey to medical school. We recognize that it is essential for you to have an opportunity to share this information with the institutions to which you are applying.

Introducing the AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions (AAMC VITATM)

After considering the needs of applicants and engaging in ongoing conversations with our member medical schools about the need for alternatives to in-person admissions interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to launch the AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions (AAMC VITATM) for use during the 2021 application cycle. This tool was developed on behalf of our member institutions to support their ongoing efforts to seek viable options for admitting, educating, and training future medical professionals at a time when our nation needs competent and compassionate health care providers more than ever.

AAMC VITA provides medical school admissions staff and applicants with the opportunity to gather the important information captured during the traditional in-person interview while adhering to social distancing guidance, prioritizing the health and safety of all and at no cost to you.

Timeline of next steps:

As of June 25:
  • For more information about AAMC VITA, including details on how the interviews will be conducted, other frequently asked questions, and virtual interviewing resources to assist you as you prepare, please visit aamc.org/VITA.
  • If you need to apply for accommodations, please submit your application as soon as possible. A link to the accommodations form is available on all AAMC VITA web pages (on the right-hand side).
Mid-July:
  • U.S. medical schools are still deciding how to approach virtual interviewing. We plan to begin listing participating schools on our website in mid-July. In addition, we plan to provide more resources to help applicants prepare for the AAMC VITA interview.
Early August:
  • U.S. medical schools will begin to send AAMC VITA invitations to applicants via email.
We will provide more information in July and August as AAMC VITA resources and school participation lists become available. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

Sincerely,

AAMC VITA Team
Association of American Medical Colleges

What Do AAMC VITA Questions Look Like?
The interview consists of six questions and is a combination of:

  • Personal experience questions, which ask you to describe your journey and/or the experiences that led you to pursue a career in medicine.
    • Sample: Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?
  • Past behavior questions, which ask you to describe previous experiences that demonstrate your level of knowledge and skills related to the various competencies.
    • Sample: Describe a time when you experienced a conflict with a classmate or a coworker. What did you do? What was the outcome?
  • Situational questions, which ask you to demonstrate your level of knowledge and skills related to the various competencies by describing what you would do in different hypothetical situations.
    • Sample: Imagine you are working in a group project and one of your teammates is not doing their share of the work. What would you do?
Interview Format
The AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions is a one-time, online, unidirectional interview. Six questions are presented in text prompts, and applicants record an audio/video response; there is no human interviewer. You will have one minute to read and reflect on each written question and up to three minutes to record a response. You may complete all six questions in one sitting, or you may complete any number of questions you choose, as long as all questions are completed by the required medical school deadline. The break between questions may be as long as you choose.

You will have up to 60 seconds to read and reflect on each written question and up to three minutes to record a response. Once you are exposed to a question, there will be no pauses until the time to record the response has elapsed. Therefore, ensure you are in a disruption-free environment for at least four minutes after launching a question to ensure you have time to read and prepare a response and respond. After recording a response, you may choose to progress to the next question or take an untimed break. You will not be able to view your video responses during or after you complete the AAMC VITA interview.

 
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AegonTargaryenVI

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lol of course AAMC adds another hoop for applicants to jump through during an already messed up cycle in the middle of a pandemic and social crises. You'd think the people running this have some common sense or empathy for applicants. But of course "seller's market" I know.
 
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Med16484

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I’m curious what admins think of this. It sounds like a horrible idea to me and just another Casper
 
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The "one-time" element of this is really getting to me as well... So, any and all schools that opt into AAMC VITA and offer us an II will receive our answers to those same 6 questions, rather than a separate invitation and set of questions per school? Really hoping I am misunderstanding that, but if so, that's a pretty important 35-40 minutes. Removes the possibility of having one bad interview day and moving on (in addition to eliminating your chance of having an actual conversation with someone).

Curious to see how many schools opt in.
 
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mdpls!

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This is just a spoken-word CASPER. It's horrible the entire medical school admissions process and I would never once be able to speak to an actual person from the school. Please tell me most schools won't be using this??
 
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lol of course AAMC adds another hoop for applicants to jump through during an already messed up cycle in the middle of a pandemic and social crises. You'd think the people running this have some common sense or empathy for applicants. But of course "seller's market" I know.
This is just a spoken-word CASPER. It's horrible the entire medical school admissions process and I would never once be able to speak to an actual person from the school. Please tell me most schools won't be using this??
The "one-time" element of this is really getting to me as well... So, any and all schools that opt into AAMC VITA and offer us an II will receive our answers to those same 6 questions, rather than a separate invitation and set of questions per school? Really hoping I am misunderstanding that, but if so, that's a pretty important 35-40 minutes. Removes the possibility of having one bad interview day and moving on (in addition to eliminating your chance of having an actual conversation with someone).

Curious to see how many schools opt in.
I am restraining a rant. I'll just say this:
Many institutions are unable to prioritize excellence over mediocrity (especially when it comes to process) and cloak laziness in the gown of "innovation."
 
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14_karat

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The "one-time" element of this is really getting to me as well... So, any and all schools that opt into AAMC VITA and offer us an II will receive our answers to those same 6 questions, rather than a separate invitation and set of questions per school? Really hoping I am misunderstanding that, but if so, that's a pretty important 35-40 minutes. Removes the possibility of having one bad interview day and moving on (in addition to eliminating your chance of having an actual conversation with someone).

Curious to see how many schools opt in.
This is also what I want some clarification on. At first, I thought it was a virtual solution to the MMI-style of interviews. However, it actually looks like schools will not create the questions, rather, the AAMC will. : /
 
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gyngyn

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This is also what I want some clarification on. At first, I thought it was a virtual solution to the MMI-style of interviews. However, it actually looks like schools will not create the questions, rather, the AAMC will. : /
I gather that they are "standardized" questions.
 
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GameOfZones

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So, a virtual CASPER of sorts? Just perfect.

I hope that schools are smart enough to either decline using this tool, or not place much weight on it if they do use it. And, of course, I hope they are smart enough to actually have a real (video/zoom) interview with a human on the other end.
 
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AegonTargaryenVI

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It also not only seems like something that schools could use to replace their typical interview format but more annoyingly, they can make this a requirement IN ADDITION to secondaries, Casper, SJT, and etc. @gyngyn said it best. A needless pain in the neck. Wonder how other adcoms feel about this
 
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GameOfZones

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I gather that they are "standardized" questions.

Based on the sample questions they posted on the website, it seems like these are fairly common questions that you'd also see in a secondary, and potentially in a real interview. Do they expect us to have specially crafted, unique, and different answers each time they ask it?
 
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Med16484

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Some guy on reddit said he emailed a few top schools and almost all replied saying they won’t use it. He said most have their own virtual interviews. Maybe most schools realize it’s stupid?

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LizzyM

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Zoom offers quite a few features such as "breakout rooms" with timed periods that I could see working for interview days with live human interviewers. With "shared screen" administrators could also present a pitch for "why our school" and even give a video tour.

VITA is a great acronym but I don't see it flying at schools that like their own way of doing things.
 
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I’d be most concerned by the one-way nature. Just seeing another human across the table during an interview is enough to have their non verbal communication enhance or modify different parts of your answer. The one time aspect (to reduce answer contemplation) is for some reason also harder than human to human, just think of how many people stumble leaving a detailed voice mail etc.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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Zoom offers quite a few features such as "breakout rooms" with timed periods that I could see working for interview days with live human interviewers. With "shared screen" administrators could also present a pitch for "why our school" and even give a video tour.

VITA is a great acronym but I don't see it flying at schools that like their own way of doing things.
Seems more like PITA :) I hope it's OK to say that.
 
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Ramona Flowers

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This is a really disappointing move that I sincerely hope most schools will have the sense to not use. It completely removes the humanity and dialogue from the interview process as well as the chance to ask questions of the school faculty/students themselves. "Why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?" As if that isn't the primary essay question. What about personalized questions for the interviewee, clarifications about experiences beyond generic questions? It was extremely upsetting and dystopian to read this new plan as a prospective student.
 
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akg0119

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Is this supposed to be a replacement for MMIs/interviews this cycle or is it being rolled out as a potential video CASPer-like integration for AMCAS?
 
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AegonTargaryenVI

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Is this supposed to be a replacement for MMIs/interviews this cycle or is it being rolled out as a potential video CASPer-like integration for AMCAS?
Seems like it could be both by the additional information provided online. Could be used in lieu of whatever interview format a school had planned or could be an added hurdle to use to screen applicants pre-interview without using it as the actual interview itself
 
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Apparently the company that administers this (HireVue) uses microexpression, voice inflection, etc algorithms to compare candidates to "ideal/successful" employees and is under fire for possible discrimination. This is a really tone-deaf addition to this cycle.
 
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stayathomemom

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Just when I thought this cycle (and year in general) couldn't get any worse, now I have this to look forward to.
I mean, that is, if the AAMC would RECEIVE MY FLIPPIN TRANSCRIPTS THAT I'VE SENT MULTIPLE TIMES SINCE THE FIRST WEEK OF MAY and I ever get to submit my primary to even have a chance at an interview invite.
 
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Maimonides1

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Utter nonsensical idea ill conceived by a Covid19 quarantined mind that will ultimately be rejected by all sensible schools, applicants who will choose other better ways of communication “humanly possible” in order to decide if they will be working together on the same team for the next 4 years taking care of real “PATIENTS”!

NO VITA = Dead
Eliminate Casper
Asses optional usability of SJT after a valid pilot study.
 
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I for one, am looking forward to my interview with Hal 9000 :lol:

latest


This cycle is going to be one for the books, what a nightmare.
 
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If they make a centralized interview system that allows schools to make their own questions, interview with actual admissions people, lets applicants keep track of their interviews, records the interviews for schools to look over, and have better organizational features than Zoom, I could see it being great... But I know that's asking a lot from AAMC.
 
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If they make a centralized interview system that allows schools to make their own questions, interview with actual admissions people, lets applicants keep track of their interviews, records the interviews for schools to look over, and have better organizational features than Zoom, I could see it being great... But I know that's asking a lot from AAMC.

Let's not forget May 7, aka "the day MCAT registration crashed so hard AAMC did not have a working website for 10 hours". If AAMC is in charge of a centralized interview system, and if interviews run on similar days/times with many different schools and many different applicants, I would be a little concerned that there is a significant possibility of serious technical issues or delays. I realize Zoom isn't exactly the greatest thing ever, but at least the worst thing I've experienced on a Zoom call was a slight lag, not a blank screen for 10 hours that said the website was "under maintenance."
 
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aduuubacsi

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Sound like another great scheme to make money off applicants and they consider themself “non-profit”.
 
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KnightDoc

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I wonder if you can give me some directives. I submitted my AMCAS application, transcripts, letters, etc and am wondering how I should approach the online interviews considering I am deaf. I use cochlear implants and have received accommodations from my university during this online COVID-19 era because they recognize Zoom meetings and similar technology put me at a disadvantage. The director of my university disability office has counseled me to not mention my disability to medical school admissions staff until they offer me an interview. At that time I was advised by this director to either communicate with the “contact“ person for the interview, disclose my deafness / CI and request accommodation. The other option was to contact the disability officer at the medical school and ask them for assistance with the interview. It was recommended I go the second option since staff who work in university disability offices tend to be advocates for those who are disabled. It is somewhat disheartening that one would need an “advocate” but that’s the way it is.

One problem: the director of my university disability officer has never dealt with medical school interviews and has never had this issue presented.

Either way I am scared that making any request will kick my application out of the pool of applicants because the law is one thing, but discrimination still exists. The latter happened to me recently with a tenured science professor at my university who refused to provide closed captioning for their video online lectures. It was finally resolved after I received demeaning emails from this professor, and I contacted the disability office at my school. They immediately contacted the Dept Chair of the science dept, who intervened somehow, and suddenly the captioning was provided by the professor. The Dept Chair later apologized in writing for what I had experienced from the professor. However, the professor ignored my emails afterwards when it came to asking questions about material, tests, etc So, the ADA is one thing, but peoples attitudes, including at university admin / faculty level don’t necessarily reflect the laws. How would you counsel me? Request face to face with the interview committee while abiding my social distancing / 6 feet, or something else? as you can imagine I read lips and masks are a definite problem for people like me when speakers wear masks.

On a side note, i was very encouraged by a recent article about a medical student at the University of Florida who is deaf and uses cochlear implants, and appears to be doing well. So there is hope...at least at UF. Thank you

I'm not an accommodation expert, or an adcom, so I can't give you authoritative advice, but I am certainly capable of pointing out the obvious.

You have to go through AAMC to receive an accommodation, like you would for the MCAT (although you probably didn't need one for the MCAT, did you?). Your problem is going to be that if you don't submit VITA, you probably are not going to receive IIs at schools that are requiring it, so you're going to either have to show your cards before the II or forget about those schools altogether. Do you realize that VITA is a video of you responding to written prompts? I don't think hearing is going to be an issue just to submit the videos, although, again, I am not an expert.

If you are asking about virtual interviews in general rather than VITA, which is the topic of this thread, then please disregard everything I just said! :)

Good luck!!!
 
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14_karat

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I wonder if you can give me some directives. I submitted my AMCAS application, transcripts, letters, etc and am wondering how I should approach the online interviews considering I am deaf. I use cochlear implants and have received accommodations from my university during this online COVID-19 era because they recognize Zoom meetings and similar technology put me at a disadvantage. The director of my university disability office has counseled me to not mention my disability to medical school admissions staff until they offer me an interview. At that time I was advised by this director to either communicate with the “contact“ person for the interview, disclose my deafness / CI and request accommodation. The other option was to contact the disability officer at the medical school and ask them for assistance with the interview. It was recommended I go the second option since staff who work in university disability offices tend to be advocates for those who are disabled. It is somewhat disheartening that one would need an “advocate” but that’s the way it is.

One problem: the director of my university disability officer has never dealt with medical school interviews and has never had this issue presented.

Either way I am scared that making any request will kick my application out of the pool of applicants because the law is one thing, but discrimination still exists. The latter happened to me recently with a tenured science professor at my university who refused to provide closed captioning for their video online lectures. It was finally resolved after I received demeaning emails from this professor, and I contacted the disability office at my school. They immediately contacted the Dept Chair of the science dept, who intervened somehow, and suddenly the captioning was provided by the professor. The Dept Chair later apologized in writing for what I had experienced from the professor. However, the professor ignored my emails afterwards when it came to asking questions about material, tests, etc So, the ADA is one thing, but peoples attitudes, including at university admin / faculty level don’t necessarily reflect the laws. How would you counsel me? Request face to face with the interview committee while abiding my social distancing / 6 feet, or something else? as you can imagine I read lips and masks are a definite problem for people like me when speakers wear masks.

On a side note, i was very encouraged by a recent article about a medical student at the University of Florida who is deaf and uses cochlear implants, and appears to be doing well. So there is hope...at least at UF. Thank you


I would say apply for an accomodation.

 
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LizzyM

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Hi LizzyM. Perhaps you can address my question considering less than a third (~ 46) of MD schools will be utilizing AAMC VITA. of the 15 MD schools to which I am applying, only 1 is using VITA. I just applied for an accommodation with AAMC for VITA

thanks

If you get an interview, contact the disability office of the medical school, indicate that you have received an interview invite and would like help in receiving an accommodation. I highly doubt you will get face-to-face interviews if the school is doing virtual interviews this year. And if you get face-to-face interviews, I can imagine that the interviewer will insist that you wear a mask and the interviewer will do so as well.
 

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Looks like a clunky, needless pain in the neck to me.
I agree with you. The only way a distant interview could try to compare to an in-person interview is if you can be speaking to a person, on Zoom or some other portal, and have a conversation. Speaking back to a blank screen will be too odd, and once the questions get around through social media everyone's answers will be too rehearsed and generic.
 
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KnightDoc

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I agree with you. The only way a distant interview could try to compare to an in-person interview is if you can be speaking to a person, on Zoom or some other portal, and have a conversation. Speaking back to a blank screen will be too odd, and once the questions get around through social media everyone's answers will be too rehearsed and generic.
Please check out the link in this post below. The endgame is not the substance of our rehearsed answers, particularly not to questions that might not even be relevant to any specific school. The secret sauce here is having the algorithm score us (body language, tone, pitch, eye contact, etc.) and tell the schools, in conjunction with stats, diversity, unique ECs, etc., who to bring in for interviews. Like pasta is merely a vehicle to bring sauce into your mouth, the prompts and responses are merely the vehicle to bring the candidate into the black box.


Whatever schools will or won't do with this during this introductory phase, the end game here is NOT to develop a substitute for interviews, either in person or virtual. It's to develop a screen for IIs that does not involve humans and their biases, preconceptions, and opinions on what is or is not a good, rehearsed or generic response to a prompt.

Your observations are 1,000% spot on, but neither AAMC nor HireVue are that stupid. The responses are irrelevant to what they ultimately seek to do with this technology. If this was meant to be just a one-way video interview, it would be totally unnecessary, given that schools have always insisted on actual, interactive interviews, and nobody on the school's end would have any interest in wasting their time with it.
 
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Here I was hoping for some prison style interviews - the whole opposite sides of the glass using a phone type thing.
 
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KnightDoc

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I propose that you applicants as a group decline to do this optional VITA thing, so that there will be so few participants it will be meaningless!
Who said it was optional?
 
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KnightDoc

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Show me a school who says it’s mandatory, @KnightDoc
The following is directly from the AAMC document "The AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions: Essentials for the 2021 Application Cycle":
"The scheduling process for the AAMC VITA interview is initiated by a participating medical school. An applicant selected to complete the AAMC VITA interview will be invited in a series of emails. ... Once an invitation is issued, the AAMC permits an applicant to complete the interview at any time before April 30, 2021, 11:59 p.m. ET. However, each participating medical school has the option of setting its own deadlines for how quickly the school wants the applicant to complete the interview after the invite is issued. If you have questions about deadlines, please contact the participating medical school directly."

Nowhere in the document does it either imply or explicitly state that participation is optional if you have applied to one of the participating schools. Please show me a participating school that has said it is optional. I am pretty sure it's as optional as submitting a secondary or attending a regular interview, assuming one is invited. Participation in VITA itself is optional, and the vast majority of schools have opted out this year. It defies logic that it would be optional at schools that have chosen to opt in.
 

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So, are there any schools that have said it is optional, as you described it above?

Having it be optional is just my wishful thinking.

AAMC has said it will make a list of schools using it sometime in August. I don't think it is published yet.
No med schools have said they will use it to entirely replace virtual interviews, so I see it as "one more hoop" an applicant would have to jump through in an already complicated application system.

There is an extensive Q&A page on VITA on the AAMC site which is not displayed in a linear, factual, fashion but requires one to open up many drop-down questions. I am making my way through this annoying display style to learn more.

A few gleanings:
-It's free to applicants in 2020-2021 cycle
-You can't "take it" until at least one school invites you to take it, but your same VITA will be sent to all schools you're applying to that use it.
-You can't see your own videos, or re-do them, or get any results (similar to the video secondary at Dell or the audio interview at TCU)
- You can't "void or cancel" it if you feel you messed up during your taping, only if technical difficulties occurred.
-AAMC will not score the VITA in any way, nor will HireVue, the platform providing the test, score them in any way. The videos will be "supplied" to the participating med schools to watch them and score them as they see fit.
-Specifically addressed in the Q&A ,and I quote here:
"Is AI technology being used to score the AAMC VITA interview?
No. Neither the AAMC nor its delivery administrator, HireVue, will use AI technology to score videos."

-Yes I know that HireVue does use AI analysis for employers who use it as such. I'm sure that service is much more expensive and that the med schools/AAMC did not spring for that service feature.
-Yes I know some of you won't believe that AAMC isn't doing this too, but when they come out and state it directly I do believe them.
 
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KnightDoc

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Having it be optional is just my wishful thinking.

AAMC has said it will make a list of schools using it sometime in August. I don't think it is published yet.
No med schools have said they will use it to entirely replace virtual interviews, so I see it as "one more hoop" an applicant would have to jump through in an already complicated application system.

There is an extensive Q&A page on VITA on the AAMC site which is not displayed in a linear, factual, fashion but requires one to open up many drop-down questions. I am making my way through this annoying display style to learn more.

A few gleanings:
-It's free to applicants in 2020-2021 cycle
-You can't "take it" until at least one school invites you to take it, but your same VITA will be sent to all schools you're applying to that use it.
-You can't see your own videos, or re-do them, or get any results (similar to the video secondary at Dell or the audio interview at TCU)
- You can't "void or cancel" it if you feel you messed up during your taping, only if technical difficulties occurred.
-AAMC will not score the VITA in any way, nor will HireVue, the platform providing the test, score them in any way. The videos will be "supplied" to the participating med schools to watch them and score them as they see fit.
-Specifically addressed in the Q&A ,and I quote here:
"Is AI technology being used to score the AAMC VITA interview?
No. Neither the AAMC nor its delivery administrator, HireVue, will use AI technology to score videos."

-Yes I know that HireVue does use AI analysis for employers who use it as such. I'm sure that service is much more expensive and that the med schools/AAMC did not spring for that service feature.
-Yes I know some of you won't believe that AAMC isn't doing this too, but when they come out and state it directly I do believe them.
I 1,000,000% agree with you that the end game is to use HireVue's AI technology. I said so in previous posts, and was roundly criticized for not knowing what I'm talking about (as just an ignorant pre-med)! If you look in the Interviewee Agreement, that is exactly where this is going:

"I further agree and give permission for the medical schools that select to view my VITA interview to release my relevant school records to the AAMC and any third-party service providers under contract to the AAMC to conduct research on the relationships between interviews, admissions decisions, and medical school performance. My medical school records released to the AAMC may include admission decisions, grades, ratings from courses and clerkships, performance on USMLE exams, professionalism, and graduation."

P.S. The school list has already been published. It is available here: Medical Schools Participating in the AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions.

Sorry, but it wasn't clear from your first post that you were expressing wishful thinking! :)
 
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wysdoc

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Having it be optional is just my wishful thinking.

AAMC has said it will make a list of schools using it sometime in August. I don't think it is published yet.
No med schools have said they will use it to entirely replace virtual interviews, so I see it as "one more hoop" an applicant would have to jump through in an already complicated application system.

There is an extensive Q&A page on VITA on the AAMC site which is not displayed in a linear, factual, fashion but requires one to open up many drop-down questions. I am making my way through this annoying display style to learn more.

A few gleanings:
-It's free to applicants in 2020-2021 cycle
-You can't "take it" until at least one school invites you to take it, but your same VITA will be sent to all schools you're applying to that use it.
-You can't see your own videos, or re-do them, or get any results (similar to the video secondary at Dell or the audio interview at TCU)
- You can't "void or cancel" it if you feel you messed up during your taping, only if technical difficulties occurred.
-AAMC will not score the VITA in any way, nor will HireVue, the platform providing the test, score them in any way. The videos will be "supplied" to the participating med schools to watch them and score them as they see fit.
-Specifically addressed in the Q&A ,and I quote here:
"Is AI technology being used to score the AAMC VITA interview?
No. Neither the AAMC nor its delivery administrator, HireVue, will use AI technology to score videos."

-Yes I know that HireVue does use AI analysis for employers who use it as such. I'm sure that service is much more expensive and that the med schools/AAMC did not spring for that service feature.
-Yes I know some of you won't believe that AAMC isn't doing this too, but when they come out and state it directly I do believe them.


Edited to add:
Here is the link to the list (so far) of schools that will use VITA. If one of them is a school you're applying to, go visit their web page to see if it is optional or mandatory.
 
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