for those who have interviewed...

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


your favorite fatso
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2008
Reaction score
I have read the SDN Interview Feedback, but I wanted to know specifically what I can expect at the interview ---

How many questions do they typically ask? How long are responses supposed to be? What's a typical interview look like, in terms of format, questioning, interaction, etc? Any details would be appreciated.

Also, to what extent do they ask you about what you are currently doing, and what your plans are for the rest of the year? Or do they not typically ask that?


Members don't see this ad.


psychiatrist (private prac)
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2008
Reaction score
It depends on the school, honestly.
I've been to 3 interviews, this is my experience:
The number of questions depends on your interviewer. You might go off on a tangent. Most of the time in my interviews, the questions branched off of my answers. You can't really expect any set number of questions.

What does a typical interview look like? The interviewer asks you questions that have to do mostly with your character, personality, and relationship to healthcare (they already KNOW that you're academically capable if you've gotten to the interview stage). You answer them in a way that is honest, straightforward, and defendable.

The ones I've had so far have been more conversational than interrogatory (is that a word?), and have involved the interviewer asking me about why I want to go into medicine, what I've learned in my clinical experience, what my ideal practice would be, why I wouldn't rather do _____. Basically, know yourself. Know why you want to go into medicine, know what life experience has taught you that you do want to go into medicine, know why you don't want to go into research/law/education/extreme sports/etc. If you can't answer something, be honest about it. It's okay not to know everything, it's not okay to give false information or pull an answer out of your bum for the sake of not looking dumb (it really makes you look dumber).

They basically want to get a feel for you as a person, so as to better determine if you will: fit in with their school, make a good physician, represent their school well, be pleasant to be around.

I've gone in to each interview as a person, not as a candidate for admission, and it's worked well for me in minimizing my stress. If you concentrate more on knowing yourself and why you're going into this field, and less on what is expected of you, you will feel more comfortable and you will appear more genuine and "human" to your interviewer.

Do a search for "medical school interview questions" on google, you're bound to find something. Get a feel for what MIGHT be asked, so you'll have some things to think about and reflect on beforehand. Don't prepare answers to questions, but do prepare for interviewing. What I mean by this is: work on speaking clearly, eliminating words/phrases like "uh.." "um.." "and, like" "well... let's see" from your immediate vocabulary reserve, and standing up straight and looking confident (even if you don't feel confident). Find the happy medium between appearing wimpy and appearing cocky.


R U Still Down?
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2008
Reaction score
after completing all the secondaries for these schools, you should know yourself and your applicaiton well enough to be fine in any/most interviews... so i wouldnt stress too much. Just know yourself, and you'll be fine.
I went into my interview not expecting anything and thinking up my answers on the spot -- which was easy enough since I had already given most of the (general kinds of)questions some deep thought during the secondary writing process.
Members don't see this ad :)


Full Member
Volunteer Staff
15+ Year Member
Sep 1, 2008
Reaction score
You can prepare all you want, but every interview is COMPLETELY different. I had one interview that resembled a game of 21 questions where the physician actually told me that if I guess wrong - I shouldn't wait for an acceptance letter.

A friend of mine who played the piano well was asked to go downstairs with the physician to the lobby and play him a song on the piano.

One of my interviews was completely political.

One of my interviews stayed on the topic of reptiles for 30 minutes (I have no background in reptiles either).

One physician at my school has you analyze a photo and a poem.

One of my interviews involved ethical situations completely.

One of my interviews began like this: Your numbers are good enough to get you into this school alone, how can I convince you to come here. Literally, me asking questions for 1 hour.


Aegis of Immortality
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2008
Reaction score
Here's a good advice that someone gave me last year on the interviewing trail:

After you get the name of the person who is interviewing you, ask around about that person. What kind of faculty is he/she? research? clinician? family practice? specialist? If you get the chance, find an internet connection and do a quick look-up to see what that person does for a living. What areas of research has this person published in? This will prepare you to have an idea on what kind of question you can be expecting.

Generally, for me, if the interviewer is a gun-ho researcher, expect grilling of your research topics because that's what they know best. Expect to defend your academic weaknesses if you have any. Expect to talk about your dedication to academic medicine and your outlooks on the impact of research on medicine.

If they are a clinician, be prepared to talk about why you want to do medicine and how you think you will make a difference in patient's lives. Be prepared to talk about life style commitments. Be prepared to get into some ethical discussions and answer some tough ethical dillimas. Be prepared to talk about the healthcare in America.

This is very vague, but you get the picture. Find out what you can prior to the interview and you will be better prepared for whatever they fling at you.


And yes, remember to prepare for all the times when **** will go wrong and they throw all kinds of oddball questions at you. Remember, take your time if you need to, but don't throw out a quick answer that is untrue.