Goro’s guide to YOUR interview questions-2018 edition

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Goro’s guide to YOUR interview questions-2018 edition

Many thanks to Affiche for prompting this!

Congratulations to all of you who have interviews! With them coming up, I know a lot of you are focused on doing well and getting accepted. But keep in mind that the interview process is a two-way street. You need to interview the school as much as they need to interview you. You’re going to dump what, $200K-500K into this school…are they deserving of your money and four years of your life? So I’m thinking like a dad...I'd want to know all this stuff if my kids were heading off to an interview!

Here are the two greatest posts on this subject, from Med Ed and SouthernSurgeon. These are MUST READS!:


see post #2 from SouthernSurgeon in the above


Here are some things to consider asking when you interview. I can’t begin to stress enough that you especially ask these questions of the students, since they made the choice already. You’ll want to hear something other than “it’s the only school that accepted me!”

Campus life

If the current students turned down other acceptances, why?

How tight are the students? Do they lose the gunner mentality? (Mine lose theirs as soon as they set foot on campus).

Are the Admissions folks nice? Helpful?

Is it hard to get loans? Easy? Help with the process available? (probably!) How about scholarships???

How's the anatomy lab? Stink of formaldehyde??? (Ours is great, BTW)

Faculty have open door policy? Why are the Faculty there and not at some other med school (or college)? Is teaching a nuisance that they have to get out of the way before they can run back to their labs? Do Faculty teach more about their own research than stuff you need to know for Boards??

Cost of living

People say location is everything. You should find out how easy it would be to get a place to live, where do most students live? Any places to avoid? Any resources for finding a place to live? How are commute times? Is the locality friendly to minorities or GBLT?


Do students have time to do research? Volunteer with community? See patients? For help with studying? Tutoring available?

Type of curriculum: PBL? Classic Flexner? Systems based?

Attendance? Required? I would shy away from schools like these. Adult learners can figure out their best learning style. Mandatory lecture can be a time sink. If lecture works for you, great, but it's nice to have the choice to not attend too.

Dress code? Again, you're adults...you don't need prompting for playing the part.

Tuition. There's a reason why people put up with the dress code at LECOM.

Lectures taped?

Grading: P/F? ABCDF? 1/2/3/4.0?

Textbooks? How much required reading? Any Faculty who exclusively test from the textbook(s)?

Are textbooks available a ebooks via the Library?

Class size?

Research opportunities? Some schools are definitely better at this than others.

Exam scheduling? Every week? Every other week? Blocks? Midterm + final only?

New school? Students tend to have a harder time on rotations because the Clinical Education people are new at this. Sometimes rotations get lost and students are left holding the bag for rent, or training, and have to scramble. This is less of a problem at established schools.

Further, a graduate of a new school may be an unknown commodity to PDs. However, some people like being pioneers and helping shape something from the ground up. New schools can also change bad policies faster than the older schools, which tend to have the mindset of "that's how we've always done it"!

Board prep time? If you can dig up the school's academic calendar, you can figure out the time for Board prep by looking at when their MS2 class schedule ends. My own students get about 4-6 weeks, depending upon when they schedule their exams. Weaker students take longer.

Step I scores and pass rates? Are they posted anywhere? The DO schools are now mandated to post their 1st time pass rates for COMLEX, FYI.

What Board prep resources are available to students?

I know that lots of people look at match list and get all starry-eyed. But Keep in mind that match lists are like reading tea leaves.

And where do their graduates go? For example, how many PCOM grads do residencies in MA??? How about Drexel grads in FL? Keep in mind that many students do have regional preferences.

Here's the most important thing to consider for those of you considering DO schools: Rotations. Preceptor or ward based? The former damage the profession because students need to learn how to DO things, not merely sit at the feet of the master and hear how to do things. This poorer training reinforces the poor perception of DO graduates that some PDs have. it's not the "cult of Still" mindset anymore...it's about how ready you are for residency.

- Do students feel like an active part of the team during their rotations? This question is best for MS4s. Are students mostly shadowing (bad), or actually assisting?

- What kind of "scut" work is there and how much of it are students doing on rotations?

Consulting patients and wheeling them around is "good scut", but being a fax mule is "bad scut".

- Are there scheduled electives during 3rd year, or are they only available 4th year?

- Are there mandatory away rotations? If you're near family/married, this can be hard.

- Are students getting clinical experience in both community and university hospitals?

- How are rotations graded? Is there a standardized grading rubric?

- Is there a limit on how many students can earn honors in each rotation?

- Is location of rotations up to a lottery?

I strongly suggest that you go through the school specific thread and see what the current students are saying about their school. I've noticed that in a good number of threads someone will post a negative, which then gets refuted in detail by current or former students. Some students are also very honest about the plusses and minuses of their schools.

From the wise LizzyM:

How, and how often, is feedback provided from your preceptor? Is there peer and/or self-assessment built into the clerkships? How is that operationalized? Is there a system for evaluating the preceptor? Is the school responsive to negative reports about preceptors?
Is there a mechanism for advising and mentoring that pulls what one is learning during various clerkships, helps to identify gaps in competency, and helps you plan to fill those gaps?

Are there enough slots in the most desirable electives for students to get what they want or is there stiff competition for elective rotations?
How "hands on" do you get to be? Is the student given sufficient opportunity to "do" or are students most often off to the side while residents and fellows engage in tasks that could be done by the student with supervision?

Are there opportunities for students to decompress and speak about experiences on clerkship with a faculty member who is not responsible for assessment?

BTW, don't ask these questions at an admissions interview... ask them at second look.

I'll probably think of more...but search through the forums........plenty of people have been through this already! But trust your gut first and foremost.

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You sir are a god.

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