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Preparing for interviews

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by zengle, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. zengle

    zengle New Member

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    Does anybody have advice on how to prepare for interviews, get some perspective on medical issues?

    Do you just surf the web? Any books you recommend?

    Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Cydney Foote

    Cydney Foote Senior Member
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    The absolute best preparation I've seen is here at Student Doctor Network. Their database is excellent, with questions for just about every school.

    My rec is to go through these questions so you can find out the most commonly asked questions as well as some of the special ones asked at specific schools. Work out your answers and PRACTICE - with your friends, with a mirror, with a tape recorder - until you are comfortable with your answers. You don't want to sound "canned" but the better you know what you want to say, the more comfortable and confident you're going to sound - and be!

    Good luck!
     
  3. AD2020

    AD2020 Member
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    I never really practiced for interviews because I didn't want my answers to sound memorized or anything like that. My advice, have something to talk about for any possible question, know your application, know a lot about the school where you're interviewing, and don't bullsh*t too much. I think the most important thing in an interview is for your answers to ring true to your interviewers - if they think you're saying something just because it's what they want to hear, that will hurt you. Good luck. :thumbup:
     
  4. Benjo

    Benjo Senior Member
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    Yea, I agree--have an idea of how you would respond to most questions, but definitely don't rehearse or memorize answers. These people interview a lot, and they can smell BS a mile away. Also, don't give run-of-the-mill answers--aim for distinctiveness without being controversial. If they ask why you want to be a doctor, don't respond with a diatribe about your desire to cure disease and wipe out human suffering, even if it is true. Be a little witty with your remarks, but don't make jokes--just show them you are a real person, and not a pre-med drone. I never got asked about health policy or public health issues, partly because every interview was exactly the same for me--senior thesis talk, and then about my volunteering--and partly because I steered the covnersation to waht I wanted to highlight. Know your strengths and your weaknesses, and guide the topics towards the former. This is all common sense--likewise, just be yourself. If you are stupid or dull, nothing you do will make them think otherwise; but if you are charismatic and will be a great doctor, you'll be hard pressed to screw up an interview--they are almost universally very laid back.
     
  5. Adapt

    Adapt 2K Member
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    I would advise otherwise. To prepare for my interviews, I typed out every possible question imaginable that they could ask. I then typed out particular points for each question that I wanted to reply with. Then I practiced my answers with friends, relatives, and even to myself in the mirror. This helped me tremendously.

    The reason I did this was because I'm a pretty bad interviewee. After doing this though, it gave me some confidence because I knew what I wanted to say when I was asked the same standard questions and I wasn't as nervous as I would have been. To be honest, even though it sounds weird, what helped me the most was practicing in front of a mirror.

    Also, after you interview a lot, you start to get the hang of it and you won't be nervous anymore. Good luck. :)
     
  6. fullefect1

    fullefect1 Senior Member
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    Go to Best Buy and interview for a job. They have a bunch of wierd questions they ask you. Maybe it will give you a little practice.
     
  7. umass rower

    umass rower Insert clever phrase here
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    Most of my interviews were fairly casual. Mostly I had to elaborate on ECs, which is easy as long as you actually did what you say you did. I got asked a couple of somewhat tough questions in one interview, but I think at times like that they want to see that you can think through the answer to something. So basically, the most important thing is to just be familiar with the things on your application. After that, have a good idea on vague topics that could come up-- qualities a physician should have, ways you could describe yourself in limited words, etc. Lastly, at least have a clue about current topics in medicine- HMO's, malpractice insurance, patient care quality, etc. You shouldn't have prepared, scripted answers to questions, but make sure you know what direction you'll go in if you get asked something.
     
  8. LionInTheDark

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    I think the best help I had was doing a mock interview with a friend. She grilled me harder than any of my real interviewers, and I found that, while I enjoy interviews, I needed a little brushing up on being clear and concise with my answers.

    For a quick brush-up on medical issues and some unique viewpoints, check out 'Brave New Bioethics.' I can't remember the author offhand, but I think I may have originally heard about it on SDN too...
     
  9. rgporter

    rgporter Senior Member
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    You know I had these same ideas last year when I was applying. There are some good threads on SDN if you'll do a search for medical ethics. I reccomend you spend some time on the interview feedback sight, so you'll know what to expect. Washington University has a good medical ethics sight. But also spend some time doing whatever you need to do to relax. The interviews that yielded acceptances and not waitlists for me were always more conversational. They already know what kind of student you are, they know you're bright or they wouldn't be interviewing you, they want to know what kind of person you are. It's important to understand the issues, but if you nail every question while coming off as a know-it-all prick you're not going to get in. Be friendly and not timid, it may be more important than anything else you do in your interview. Good luck.
     
  10. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    Best prep.....

    1. Read interview feedbacks on SDN, link is listed above in Cydney Foote's post

    2. Read over all your application stuff and what you wrote on your secondary to that school. Know your answers and why you wrote them. BE VERY SURE YOU KNOW WHY YOU WANT TO BECOME A DOCTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. read over your classes and make sure you remember the classes you took and be ready to explain or talk about those class grades.

    4. Be yourself and don't try to over analize anything. It is not expected of you to know about everything in the news. And above all don't try to BS them into thinkig you know about a topic when you don't. Just be honest and say... I am not familiar with that topic.

    5. Don't let the interviewer twist your answers around and make you start changing your answers or opinions during the interview.

    Good luck. Remember, interviews are great things, don't stress about them. Be confindent in yourself and your ability to make a great medical student.
     
  11. beriberi

    beriberi Senior Member
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    I think most of the above advice is right on target. I will say that I practiced a lot of interview questions (talking to myself, in the car) over and over again. I think if you practice something a few times, it will sound rehearsed, if you practice it 25 times, it will sound natural.

    The other thing I did was read up on my interviewers whenever possible. People were flattered I knew about them, and it made dead spaces in the interview disappear. Not all schools tell you who you are interviewing with, but it they do, it doesn't take much time for a google search.

    I also read (and have put my collection of "pre-med" books up for in the For Sale forum.) I think it is important to have fluency with health care structure and opinions on most major things in medicine (stem cells, etc.). It matters less what those opinions are, as long as you have them. I had some very specific questions about right-to-die, withdrawal of care, Jack Kevorkian at one of my interviews. Another interviewer was very focused on finding out where I stand on rationing health care to the mentally/physically handicapped (not totally out of left field, it was related to something on my PS.)

    I think the fact that you are thinking about these things and asking these questions means that you will do just fine.
     
  12. gschl1234

    gschl1234 Senior Member
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    I interviewed at 3 schools and they were all very casual. I read parts of a book (about health delivery) I borrowed from my premed advisor but I soon realized that I was way over-prepared for the interviews. They don't expect you to know the ins and outs of health delivery. They only expect that you know as much as hits the mainstream media. If you're a person who reads the Sunday paper every week, you'll be fine. Someone here mentioned that he did't do any mock interviews because he didnt' want his answers to sound memorized. I think deciding to do mock interviews is a very personal choice. I did 2 myself and they helped me a lot. I don't feel like my answers were every "memorized" but they did help me in phrasing. Sometimes you have bullet points in your head about what you want to say but practicing helped me to come across articulately. Also, one of my mock interviews was at the career center and they video taped it. I found the video to be very helpful because during the intervew I felt like I was pausing to think for way too long. After watching it, I realized that I only paused for a few seconds and it only SEEMED long to me. It made me a lot more relxed during the real thing when I did have to take pauses to think things through. Good luck with applying :)
     
  13. skiz knot

    skiz knot Legendary Dr. X
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    My advice is know what is in your application and then relax!

    If you can form coherent responses to a question you will be fine. You are smart enough to get into med school, and you have opinions. All you have to do is relate those opinions and the facts about your application to your interviewer and you'll be fine.
     
  14. mikedc813

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    So this is my spin on interview preparation....

    Basically it's very simple. I was really nervous for my first one and looked at the SDN interview feedback, but didn't find looking at the school's website to be very helpful (but should be done to familiarize yourself briefly with the school in general). I spent a couple of hours simulating with myself how I would answer the typical questions that almost EVERY interviewer asks like "tell me about yourself," "why medicine," "why are you qualified," "what is the biggest problem in medicine today"? Then before my second one I relaxed and basically went through the typical questions again and the interview went great.

    What I learned from the interview process was that the interviewers really don't care a whole lot about what your say. One of their main goals is to see what your personality is like. If you're able to easily converse with others and put forth an amicable personality then that's more than half the battle. There were plenty of times when I had no idea what to say to answer a question but just said whatever came to my mind and worked it into whatever else I was saying. Obviously you have to sound intelligent, but they really aren't so interested in what you say, just how you compose yourself and say it.

    Hope this helps.
     

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