I'm feeling generous this evening, so I thought that I would begin a thread for matriculating MD/PhD students to pass down some MD/PhD interview advice. I'm sure that once med school begins many of us will be too busy to visit here often... Here's some helpful hints that I can think of... 1. BE PREPARED TO EXPLAIN WHY YOU WANT THE DUAL DEGREE!! You will be asked this question so many times that it will begin to haunt you in your sleep. Think of different ways to answer it so that you don't begin to sound like a robot. The key to this question is that THE COMBINED DEGREE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS If you have a stronger research background, be prepared to address the question, "Soo, it looks like you're mostly interested in research; why do you want an MD?" A good answer is "I think that an MD will give me an insight into clinically-relevant research that I wouldn't get if I pursued the PhD alone" If you have a stronger clinical background, be prepared to answer the opposite question. They may also ask you why you don't just do a research fellowship after med school. A good thing to point out if asked this question is the greater depth of research experience/savvy you will gain by also doing the PhD. 2. KNOW YOUR RESEARCH!! Understand what you have done. Interviewers will range from not wanting to know a single thing about your research to asking you to go up to the board and diagram it out in painstaking detail. Be prepared for everything. I was a total nerd and brought along some laminated visuals from a poster I had done; a lot of interviewers liked that. Be familiar with the literature. Some (though most likely few) interviewers may ask questions to see how current you are with the literature that surrounds your project. Still, a grasp of the literature demonstrates an enthusiam towards your research and suggests that you played a role in the development and direction of the research, rather than having just been told what to do. Know what the next step is. Many interviewers will ask this question to get a feel for your problem-solving skills as well as how well you understand the experimental techniques that relate to your project. 3. KNOW WHO YOU ARE INTERVIEWING WITH!! Be familiar with your interview schedule, and note whether you will always be with the MD/PhD applicants or will be thrown into the MD-only pool as well. Make sure to have a watch, a map and a game-plan for how you will get to point A, B, C..... The most important people to impress are those who sit on the MD/PhD selection committee! These will probably be your toughest interviews, particularly because it's very hard to know what to expect. ALL will ask you why you want the combined degree, you can count on that. Some may pick over your application/essays, so be prepared for that too. Some may want to talk about your research, and others will want to talk about theirs. In short, be prepared for anything, be on-time, and be awake (you will soon learn how difficult this is). Know whether this is someone who interviews MD students only. If it is, be prepared to answer the more typical interview questions (and to have your application scrutinized as well). Some may know that you are applying to MD/PhD, others won't (i.e. U-Mich). My advice, don't mention this up-front as it can sound snotty. If you mention research when asked what your interests are, most will then mention the MD/PhD or at least the research opportunities available for doctors. Then you can say, "Actually, I AM applying for that!". Don't ask me why, but it really seems to work this way. If the person is a researcher only, be laid-back and lab-like. The full "ON" med-school interview personality often creeps these people out. These will probably be your easiest interviews, so cherish them. This is a time to relax (relatively speaking) and maybe even enjoy yourself. Let them dictate the interview. The biggest way you can go wrong here is to force too much about you and your research into the conversation when they really just want to talk about theirs. You don't have to go nuts studying up on their research beforehand, but a general idea and a knowledge of the background never hurts. This is particularly true if this is someone that you requested to meet with. Be prepared to describe why you wanted to meet with them, and be prepared to answer THE question! 4. PREPARE SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR PROGRAM Believe it or not, some schools think of interviews as a "recruitment" event rather than the nerve-wrecking experiences they actually are. As a result, most interviewers will be interested in selling their program to you and will want to answer any questions you might have. Have some, even if you already know the answers. 5. CONTEMPLATE YOUR FUTURE This is a no-brainer. Try to have an idea about what fields of medicine and research you might be interested in, and how you could merge them. DO NOT make it sound like you already have everything figured out!! Apparently many MD/PhD students' interests change. Most interviewers don't mind getting the response, "I'm not exactly sure, but right now I'm interested in..."; in fact, many interviewers prefer this answer. Alright kids, that's all that I can think off for right now, and my brain is beginning to shut down just like it did when I was on the interview circuit!! I certainly hope that this helps. I would be more than happy to answer any questions that you have until, oh say, the beginning of August. I hope that some of the other beginning students add to this list and even let you know if they disagree with any of it. Good luck to you all!! Congrats to my fellow matriculating students who never have to worry about this stuff again!!