nabilesmail

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Hey guys, one feedback I've gotten consistently was to be more succinct in my answers during my mock interviews. Sometimes I talk for a while responding to a question, and I understand that by the time I'm done talking, the interviewer may have forgotten what I said lol. Seeing as this is my only interview as a reapplicant, and my interview is on Friday, I'm trying to fix this.

What is the ideal time limit (i know this is arbitrary) to respond to a question.

Would someone, who has been successful so far, pretend they were asked say... "Why do you want to be a doctor" or another question you were asked and how you responded, and translate their response here so I can see what constitutes a normal amount. I tend to say three reasons (to why I want to be a doctor), and then go into detail with each one and yeah it gets kind of messy lol.

Don't worry, I'm not trying to steal anyone's ideas! I just need a tangible example of a thorough yet succinct answer.

Thanks!
 
May 10, 2013
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Well, the 'why medicine' question is a relatively big question, so it will require more time. I would say 3-4 minutes. Make sure to practice this. You don't want to sound rehearsed in your actual response, but you do want to show that you've thought about this and can articulate your thoughts clearly.

I would also say 1-2 minutes for 'tell me about yourself,' and then about 1 minute for other questions (not a hard rule, some questions will need slightly more and some may need slightly less).
 
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nabilesmail

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See I did 3-4 min for why medicine before, and I think people thought it was much too long lol.

I also have trouble finishing the answer, like I tend to summarize everything I said in an akward fashion at the end lol, how do people end their answers? Especially on big questions like why medicine etc
 
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May 10, 2013
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Well, if your answer doesn't have a clear direction and is just kind of going around and around--- it will seem like it goes on forever.

I'm sure people answer (and end) this question in different ways. There is no 'correct' way to end the question. My advice would be to respond in a way that is clear and has direction, I think this will give you a natural ending point. Your entire response is really an overview/summary of why you're choosing to enter medicine, so there is no need to summarize your answer at the end.
 

MedMinded

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Jul 13, 2013
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It sounds like you need to just be more conversational in your responses. As AquiVoy13 said above, your response should have some direction and shouldn't require a summary. Think about when you tell a friend a story... you don't summarize it at the end. Otherwise, it sounds like you're writing an argumentative/persuasive essay or something. The more natural your response sounds, the more personable and genuine you'll appear to the interviewer.
 
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Jan 11, 2012
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Hey guys, one feedback I've gotten consistently was to be more succinct in my answers during my mock interviews. Sometimes I talk for a while responding to a question, and I understand that by the time I'm done talking, the interviewer may have forgotten what I said lol. Seeing as this is my only interview as a reapplicant, and my interview is on Friday, I'm trying to fix this.

What is the ideal time limit (i know this is arbitrary) to respond to a question.

Would someone, who has been successful so far, pretend they were asked say... "Why do you want to be a doctor" or another question you were asked and how you responded, and translate their response here so I can see what constitutes a normal amount. I tend to say three reasons (to why I want to be a doctor), and then go into detail with each one and yeah it gets kind of messy lol.

Don't worry, I'm not trying to steal anyone's ideas! I just need a tangible example of a thorough yet succinct answer.

Thanks!
This is a problem I realized I had while interviewing for jobs. The problem with approaching interview questions this way is that it leads to rambling and possibly revealing unnecessary information or information that shouldn't be revealed in an interview. I agree that you do have to know ahead of time the main points you want to make and how you're going to make them. I found that I actually needed to write my points down before an interview. This is something I do before timed presentations, to make sure I won't go off on a tangent or off track. Also, just because the interviewer is nodding or smiling as you speak, doesn't necessarily mean that he or she wants you to continue talking. I think that the signals you receive from your interviewers sometimes encourage you to say more than you've already said or to explain yourself further, even though what you've said doesn't really need more explanation. At least, that was the case for me. Just say enough to answer the question and say what you need to say to get your point across. Allow yourself time to think before you speak and listen to what you're saying.
 
Oct 27, 2013
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You need to try to say, or write, what you want to convey in fewer, more succinct, words. Even what you wrote above seemed "long-winded".

Here's an example. I've edited you original post:
I'm a reapplicant and the one feedback I got was to be more succinct. I think I'm probably too wordy so that the interviewer may even have forgotten the question. I have an interview this Friday and need some suggestions!

Is there an ideal time when responding to a question? Sometimes I can't quite answer one of the most basic questions, "Why medicine?" without going into tangents. Some specific ideas would really help.
 

lobo.solo

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May 4, 2011
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First of all, good luck. Don't memorize your answer, but remember what you're trying to get across.
 
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nabilesmail

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Thanks for the advice guys, working on it. Anyone mind sharing a question and their response, much appreciated!
 

nemo123

5+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2011
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Also try to take cues from your interviewer. I have heard that some interviewers will stare at the clock if you start talking too much. And good luck to you! I hope you get in this cycle!
 
Oct 27, 2013
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Anyone mind sharing a question and their response, much appreciated!
You keep making this request and it's not going to happen. Besides, it's really the wrong direction for you to understand the issue. It's not the exact words someone says that make a difference, it's the way it's said. The word choice.
The body language. The confidence behind the words. How the conversation progressed from there. How you picked up what's important from the interviewer. BTW, when you prepare for the interview, DO NOT write out your response word-for-word.
 
Jan 3, 2013
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A real, assertive go-getter-type would cut off the interviewer before they finish the question and take time to elaborate. You want to appear strong, not clueless and meek
 
Aug 8, 2013
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At one point there was a list of SDN members who were happy to Skype interview applicants for practice. Maybe some of those medical student members can help you out?
 
Oct 19, 2013
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I tend to have the opposite problem. I appreciate succinct answers and often I don't elaborate when I should. It's a difficult balance between being professional and conversational. I'd say try not to get so caught up in your own story/answer that the interviewer can't get a word in edgewise.
 
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May 10, 2013
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I gave "Why Medicine" 3-4 minutes for my first interview to non-ideal results. Maybe it's just how I delivered it but my interviewer was almost about to interrupt me before I quickly interjected-overall, this did blah blah blah and ended it.


Whether we like it or not, the average attention span of a person is closer to 30 seconds. Maybe take a minute or two for why medicine. Some interviewers won't adjust to it but it's always good when the interviewer talks a lot as well. For example, I started talking about an issue in medical malpractice and the anesthesiologist looks delighted and interrupts and was like, brrrrrrrr just the other day I had this happen (proceeds to go on a 5 minute rant) but once he was done he seemed much more comfortable with me.
Yeah I think it depends on what you say, how you say it, and on the person listening. I took about 3-4 minutes and it went quite well for me overall. There's no correct amount of time though, and everyone will do it slightly different.

OP, a good way to practice is to video record yourself answering this question. Remember not to actually memorize a scripted response, but do know the main points of what you want to say. If you start to lose focus or get bored while listening, your response is probably too long or rambling/has no clear direction.

Anyways, I hope all this discussion hasn't made you nervous. Know what points you want to get across and believe in yourself. Good luck tomorrow!