Interviews: Tips and Trick Needed

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by Az1698, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Az1698

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    I have received several interviews from BS/MD programs, so I am wondering about interviews. Do you guys have any advice? Any way to prepare?

    One point I wanted to bring into my interviews was that both of my parents are doctors, so I understand the commitment and dedication you need to be a doctor. Are there any other things that I could say to boost my interviews dealing with how I am more suited for a seat at their program than others because my parents are doctors (experience, ect.)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Local

    Local Stop the Shananigans!i!i!
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    Maybe try doing some mock interviews to get more comfortable with them.
     
  3. bailey42

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    Congrats!!:thumbup:

    I personally have very little interview experience, but IMO, I would literally practice saying some answers to anticipated questions out loud, such as "Why are you interested in a combination/accelerated program," "Why do you want to be a doctor," or "how do you feel about (insert controversial medical topic here)?"

    This is only based off of what I've read about typical questions for a BS/MD interview...so feel free to correct anything I have said.

    good luck:luck:
     
  4. DrYoda

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    *I haven't interviewed for BS/MD programs but I have for regular MD, jobs and scholarships. So this is just general interview advice.

    -Definetly do mock interviews so you are more comfortable in the real thing.

    -I would imagine being able to explain well how you know you want to be a doctor, and exibiting knowledge of what your getting yourself into will be very important.

    - make sure you are prepared to answer standard interview questions such as: what are your strengths/weakness, tell me about yourself, what are three words to describe you, ect.

    -Do some research so you can show you know stuff about the school, hospital or program.

    -Have some questions prepared

    - Have a short (mental) list of the things you would most like to portray to you're interviewer (you seem to be off to a good start on this). If all your points are not hit on during the course of the interview, you usually will have a chance at the end, as "is there anything else you want us to know" is a common interview ender.

    -My brother interviews younger college students (17-19) for jobs and has cited chewing gum and forgetting to shake hands as the two most common behavioral interview mistakes he sees. Be sure not to do stuff like that.

    -Know what information is on you application and be able to expound on it, if asked.

    - It's hard not to stress out, but try not to.


    Congrats on the interviews and good luck.
     
  5. tennisball80

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    Damn nice. Several interviews ?? Damn ! ! ! ! ! ! :thumbup:
     
  6. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    Rehearse answers for the "big three": "Why here?" "Why medicine?" and "Tell me about yourself." By "rehearse," I don't mean script an answer. Just get a feel for how you want to answer each of those questions and nail them.
     
  7. Depakote

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    It wouldn't hurt to look through the interview feedback for the school you'll be interviewing at:

    http://more.studentdoctor.net/schoollist.php?type=2

    Most of the feedback is filled out for the standard MD program (not BS/MD) but you can still get a feel for some of the questions you might be asked and a general about what might happen.
     
  8. Depakote

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    also, I wouldn't focus on your parents being doctors as a big selling point.

    You want to focus on your accomplishments, your achievements and your experiences.
     
  9. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna
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    The fact that your parents are doctors doesnt make you a better applicant. Thats not what is going to impress anybody. You need to talk about what YOU have accomplished, why YOU want to go into medicine, and why YOU are a competitive applicant. If I was interviewing someone and their most convincing argument to be accepted was "my parents are physicians so therfore I'm better than other applicants," I wouldnt be too impressed.

    Sell yourself, but dont be fake and dont answer a question because you think its the "right" thing to say. Things should just flow. Relax and enjoy the experience.
     
  10. WellWornLad

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    Oi vey, DO NOT try to use your parents as a selling point. Unless you've been rounding with mommy and daddy (and no, career day doesn't count), your parent's occupation does not grant you any special insight into medicine. When you tell adcoms that you know about medicine because your parents are doctors, you're really telling them that 1) you haven't spent a lot of time exploring medicine outside of the context of your parents, and 2) your decision to enter medicine is most likely reflexive, not premeditated or thoughtful. I can think of no way in which having doctors as parents makes anyone more "suited" to medicine; the thought just drips with entitlement. Statistically, med students are more likely to drop out of med school if one or both parents are doctors. Try selling that one to the adcoms.

    The best, and toughest, thing you can do is not be nervous. That only comes with practice. Second, don't ever be arrogant, condescending, or presumptuous, especially as a high school student. It's hard to balance humility with confidence, but it can be done. Third, don't ever panic. I'm not sure how hard they'll be on high schoolers, but if you get a tricky or non-standard question (e.g., "tell me a joke," ethical scenario, etc.), they're not interested in your answer, they're interested in seeing how you handle a curveball. If you just stay calm and speak in complete sentences, you've won.

    As for everything else, just think about the basic questions - think about, as distinct from memorizing something (you think) sounds good. Some have been posted. Just google for the rest.
     
  11. Az1698

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    Thanks for the advice.

    Let me clarify: I have done over 500 hours volunteering, 150 hours shadowing (not parents), 100 hours of research.

    What I meant by my parents thing was that I know what its like to be a doctor outside the hospital. For example, whenever we travel and someone gets sick on the airplane (once or twice), they are in charge of the situation. I understand what it means to be on call and know firsthand the commitment it takes to be able to leave the family because the hospital called and needed a doctor ASAP.

    I don't know, but I think that many volunteers or people who shadow doctors haven't experienced stuff like that.

    I did not mean to say b/c my parents, I am going to become a doctor. ^ That is what I meant. Keep the advice coming, and if you can see through my perspective now, offer some advice based on that.
     
  12. Depakote

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    This should be your selling point.

    Mentioning that your parents are docs and you know the hours they pull, the call schedule, won't hurt but it definitely shouldn't be your primary argument (or anywhere close to it).
     
  13. WellWornLad

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    I don't think you get my point. Just leave your parents out of it, seriously. If it comes up, go ahead and address it, but don't volunteer that information.

    If it does come up, show and don't tell. Don't say

    "I understand what it means to be on call because..."

    say instead:

    "...it was a real eye-opener for me watching my mom taking charge of the situation on the plane," or "call was really demanding on our family sometimes..."

    Do you see the difference? Don't say you "understand" call when you've never actually been on call. Do impart your own insights and perspective, it will imply understanding on a much more authentic and meaningful level.

    Also, it's pretty tacky to roll out your "stats" at the drop of a hat. When you say "I volunteer every Saturday," or "I spent about 2 months doing research on X" it comes across as natural. When you express your accomplishments like one might Pepsi Points, you sound like just another hyper-competitive pre-med jumping through hoops. When I read that, I feel like you would have 100 hours of banging your head against a wall if adcoms were looking for it.

    Not that you're worse than any other pre-med your age, but if you want to be exceptional or stand out, think about how your message comes across.
     
  14. pressmom

    pressmom Third year!
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    I agree with many of the above posters' comments.

    Also, make sure you dress nicely. Well-fitting suit, dress shirt and tie (if you're a dude), and shined shoes. You're banking your future on these interviews, so this isn't the time to wear something old and ragged.

    As far as practicing interview, which is I think a really good idea, get a guidance counselor at your school to do it (if you have a good one at your HS) or a friend of your parents who has done interviews before. (Perhaps someone who interviews people all the time for jobs.) It's important that you try with someone other than your parents. Print out some of the common interview feedback questions from SDN and get them to ask those. Like other posters have mentioned, it's not so much what you say, but how you express it. Work different wordings out with people and just get used to expressing things naturally, but getting across the flavor of what you mean. Expect to answer questions about your research. They may not feel it's fair game to ask you in depth questions in the sciences since you haven't been to college yet and HS education varies widely, but anything in your research is probably fair game.

    Above all be honest. If you don't know an answer, don't make something up. I'm non-traditional, and they asked me as I was leaving the last time I went to school full time. I said I didn't remember, but took the opportunity to remind them how I had gone to school full time and worked full time in undergrad. So I answered honestly but spun it to a positive. An "I'm not sure, but I look forward to futher educating myself on that topic." is better than pulling something from your posterior.
     
  15. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    They're not going to buy that. I'm pretty sure I know what you mean, but you'd really hurt yourself if you said "I understand what it means to be on call." Wait until you've actually been on overnight call in a hospital to say that. Seriously.

    I strongly strongly recommend doing mock interviews. For you, your best bet might be a co-worker of your parents, or a teacher at your high school (the more advanced degree, the more likely they know how these interviews go).

    Definitely know how to answer a question like "Why medicine?" but don't have a scripted answer, especially because they might ask it in a different way.
     
  16. Az1698

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    Thanks for the help guys, this is the kind of help I was looking for. Wellwornlad, thanks for the tip on how to word that stuff.
     
  17. dexmed6414

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    I dont have any experiance with this stuff but I would just like to say good luck on your interviews, AZ1698.
     
  18. Az1698

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    Thank you!
     
  19. Az1698

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    Bump...other tips from experienced people?
     
  20. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Have you read through all the interview articles and reviews already on SDN? Take a list of those questions that frequently appear in interviews and have someone ask you all of them.
     
  21. Az1698

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    Got another interview today, beginning to practice now. Any ways I should dress?
     
  22. perplexedpixel

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    I went through the Bacc/M.D. process and actually got accepted into a program. When I interviewed, I wore a suit and tie. Definitely look professional; a tuxedo is overkill, but a nice looking suit should be sufficient for guys. For girls, some of them wore nice blouses and a knee-length skirt or dressy pants. Overall, you want to make sure that you look well-groomed and presentable (do not wear jeans and a t-shirt).

    For your interview, remember to be respectful and calm. It can be scary experience because some interviewers can grill applicants, but it is important to remain calm and answer questions thoughtfully. I highly recommend doing practice interviews beforehand and preparing responses to some commonly asked questions (Why do you want to be a doctor? Why this program?). The last thing you want to do is overthinking and drawing a blank during an anxiety-ridden interview. However, I do not recommend that you memorize your responses because you do not want to sound stale and robotic; keep a general outline of your responses in your head. Be sincere and personable. In my interview, I used specific personal anecdotes from my voluntering experiences to justify my responses. There will be questions that may throw you off, but remember to remain calm and answer them to the best of your ability.

    Good luck. Be yourself and you'll be fine.
     
  23. WashMe

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    just a nice suit. simple. tie, jacket. i've tried a red tie and a green tie without an acceptance. maybe try a blue tie; the tie makes or breaks you.

    but really though, wear a suit and you'll just blend in with everyone else (whether that's good or bad...)
     
  24. CScull

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    Be yourself and try your best not to get nervous. Look presentable, firm handshake and try to smile and look interested the entire time. It's also good to have some questions of your own to ask after he's finished interviewing you. It might be easy to slip some of the things you wanted to say in but didn’t have a chance with the questions s/he asked you... for instance if you played a sport and it didn't come up you could say...

    "I play for my club soccer team in ___ are there any teams here I can participate in?"

    Of course don't lie about anything... but that's a given.

    Oh! And make sure to ask some questions that relate specifically to their program so the interviewer knows you've done your research on it, it'll make you look more prepared and interested in the school.

    ... hope this helps! Good Luck!
     
  25. Az1698

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    I have an interview next friday at Albany medical school. Anyone know where I can get past asked questions?
     
  26. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
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    http://more.studentdoctor.net/interviewlist.php?school=23

    The majority if not all of that feedback is for the standard 4 year program, but I suspect the interviewers for the programs are the same people. We don't have a dedicated BS/MD program interview feedback database so this is probably the best preview you'll get for the interview day.
     
  27. Az1698

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    Thanks Depakote!
     
  28. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
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    good luck with your interview. :luck:
     
  29. Az1698

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    Is there anything I should read up on? Any links to articles, topics? My interview is on friday! I am sooo nervous
     
  30. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
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    I think the NEJM has these up for free (I'm on campus so I can read them either way)...

    Take a look at this if you can.

    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/360/2/101

    I'll pass more on if I can find them...


    Edit: also worth a read for some perspective on issues.

    http://www.studentdoctor.net/pandabearmd/

    Topics worth searching out (among many):
    -Socialized Medicine
    -Life in medical school
    -Residency reform/residency experiences
    -Futile care

    ^feel free to take it with a grain of salt, he is very opinionated on many issues

    I would absolutely recommend against quoting him verbatim in an interview, but feel free to discuss some of the topics
     
  31. Az1698

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    The the journal, it says I need to sign in...
     
  32. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
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    was afraid of that... I'll try to find something similar.

    In the mean time check out Panda's blog.
     
  33. SouthernSurgeon

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    This may sound dumb/obvious - but make sure you know the basic structure of medical education (i.e. 2 years classroom basic science, 2 years clinical), and the specific types of coursework you'd be taking, etc. Also read a little bit on the schools' websites about the specific curriculum at that school.

    I have helped with the interview day for some of the BS/MD applicants in the past, and I have been consistently shocked by how little they knew about the MD programs they were applying to.

    I don't think that an applicant can know "exactly" what they are getting into, but I mean these kids (I use that term intentionally in their cases) really had no clue and it made them come across poorly on the interview day. From my perspective, I was thinking - how can you commit to a 6 or 8 year program when you know so little about what that program entails?
     
  34. Narmerguy

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    When I went through my BS/MD interview stuff my goal was to decide what I wanted my "theme" to be (I did end up getting accepted).

    Try to figure out what you want to be your common theme(s) and make sure you bring all your activities home to that theme over and over again so that you hammer in your point. However, the challenge is in doing this without seeming redundant or one dimensional.

    Good luck. :thumbup:
     
  35. Az1698

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    What should I bring to my interview? Anything in particular? I am sooo nervous
     
  36. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist
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    Dress nice (sport coat with a tie or a suit if you have one).

    If they didn't tell you to bring anything specific, you don't have to bring anything. I would occasionally bring a leather portfolio with a note pad in it but this isn't required and the school will give you a folder with handouts. Also, taking notes in an interview might not be the best idea, you want to focus on the interviewer and not seem distracted.
     
  37. Az1698

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    I was asked this question: What would you do if you caught your freind cheating on a test.

    I was wondering what answer they are wanting to hear.

    Also, what are some things to say at an interview regarding a school for primary care physicians?
     
  38. huskerdye

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    I had an interview for a BS/MD program and found that most all of my questions were pretty straightforward. What are your strengths? Why do you want to be a doctor? Etc..

    Try to think of creative answers and be yourself!

    Also mock interviews can do wonders.
     
  39. Depakote

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    One of my friends is on my school's adcom. We ask this question... He tells me about a third of people say they'd turn them in. About a third of people say they wouldn't and a third say some sort of quantified answer (I'd tell the professor someone cheated, but I wouldn't say who... or something like that).

    People from all 3 groups get in. There's no "right" answer to that question, they just want to see what your values are and what your support for the choice you make is.
     
  40. Az1698

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    Well, based on those values, what do colleges want in a student? Which of the three types?
     

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