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So how do you prepare for an interview if you only have one?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sarahl86, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. sarahl86

    7+ Year Member

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    I don't know how many other people are in my situation and have or will have what (at this point) appears to be only one interview this season...and as the interview gets closer and closer it is increasingly difficult to not flip out.

    How do you prepare for it if you know its going to be your one shot? I've looked through tons of other threads and Interview Feedback, which isn't very helpful for the school I'm interviewing at. I had an interview last year and didn't get in at this very school (maybe due to low stats, I don't know). I've gone through the questions and prepared answers and each time I look at them I think they are worse and worse.

    What suggestions do you have? What did/would you do??
     
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  3. CarrieBad

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    Take this with a big fat grain of salt, because I am in a similar situation and am still waiting on the results of my last interview (I got into the school from my first interview, and I've only had two). The best way to prepare is to look over your application. Be prepared to talk about everything and anything that you wrote about. Spend lots of time looking at their website so you can talk about why you want to go there - get lots of good specifics. Also, compile frequently asked questions for the Interview Feedback page and have someone give you a mock interview. Try not to mock interview with someone you are very comfortable with, maybe your friend's significant other or a friend of a friend who has some interview experience. They can also look at the Interview Feedback page to get ideas for questions (they can look at other schools if UMD's isn't helpful). This will make it more like the real situation. Above all else remember not to freak out if they ask you something you don't know. You can always take a few seconds to think about something.

    When you go in for your interview, be confident and relaxed (or as relaxed as you can be). You are a strong candidate, so you have no reason to be nervous (your stats aren't bad at all). The fact that they are interviewing you shows they are interested, now you just have to sell yourself. You'll be great!
     
  4. edfig99

    Physician Faculty 15+ Year Member

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    I think CarrieBad gives some good advice.

    I would only add, since you interviewed at this school previously and didn't get in, you need to be able to convince them why they "messed up" in not accepting you last year, and how much a better applicant you are this year and they shouldn't make that same mistake twice.


    (fyi some schools will often screen reapplicants with a more critical eye, so the fact you got another interview at a school you previously interviewed at attests to the fact that at least on paper, the school feels you are a good match for them. so take some solace and build some confidence in that.)
     
  5. aznb0y129

    aznb0y129 Oh hamburgers!
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    I posted something similar in another thread yesterday, but I'll take another crack at it. So far, I am 1 for 1 in terms of acceptances/post-interview decisions rendered so I consider myself at least a decent interviewee. Like the previous poster said, take time to review your AMCAS and secondary applications. Know everything you wrote about front and back. Then, using the Interview Feedback, prep answers to possible questions. For the most part, you can expect to be asked: 1) why medicine?; 2) why X school?; 3) what are your strengths and weaknesses?; 4) what is your plan B if you don't get in this year?; and 5) tell me about yourself. You mentioned you applied to this school last year and didn't get in. For sure, you will be asked what you've been doing to strengthen your application and what makes you different this time around that you should be accepted. You will have to knock this question out of the park.

    Make sure you research the school (history, major accomplishments, celebrated faculty, etc.) so you can convey your interest in the school. If you don't feel like you are a strong interviewee, try a mock interview in a scenario that's as real as possible, meaning don't use friends or family as they're apt to be lenient. Practice remaining calm and collected for your interview, don't rush your answers or appear visibly nervous. Err on the side of being confident about your accomplishments rather than humble (this puts you in an assertive position, a positive in my opinion), but not cocky like you cured AIDS or something of that nature. I can't think of anything else right now, but you can PM me if you have more questions. I'd be happy to answer them. Good luck!
     
  6. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    In my experience, I haven't had to know too much about the schools for the interviews. The interviews all tended to be very conversational, and it's not as if the interviewer is going to ask, "Do you know that this famous person graduated from our school?" or something in-depth like that. Just do enough research to give out why you are interested in the school (usually some kind of unique program or emphasis they have in their curriculum), and that should likely be enough. Oh, and think of at least a couple good questions to ask about the school.

    The schools are very interested in knowing you as a person. Don't get so nervous; you are the foremost expert on yourself, and if you can't represent yourself, then no one can. Just act naturally...it's something that people say but may not understand how to carry out. Treat the interview kind of like having an intense conversation with a good friend; it'll make the words flow out much easier.

    Though I'm waiting to hear back from my schools, it seems to me that the overall, gut feeling of your interview is more important than the objective part (the exact words that come out of your mouth). I've heard that the medical school paper application process favors "Type A" applicants (the really driven, intense, uptight-perfectionist ones), but med schools tend to like the "Type B" applicants (more laid-back, easygoing, etc.), and the interview is partly used to identify these "Type B" applicants. How else would you explain the fact that med schools tend to prize their laid-back, collaborative community atmospheres when their application process inherently favors the gunners, the super-intense applicants?
     
  7. Mobius1985

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    One of my interviews was a classic "stress interview" where the adcomm member was extremely confrontational, to gauge my response to an abrasive personality and a need to defend my answers. I try to include this element when I help friends practice, so they will recognize the style and not get as sweaty as I did (until I figured it out). Ask your practice coaching person to do this too. And I agree, it should not be a person you know well. I had to deal with stuff like: You just want to go into medicine for the money. You did that experiment all wrong; why didn't you do XXXXXX instead? I don't really see you as a person that a patient will take seriously. Why would you ever go to this school, instead of YYYYY?, etc.

    The rest of my interviews were all very friendly and conversational. Hopefully, yours will be that way again, also.
     
  8. airplanes

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    My school's career service department has mock interviews you can schedule, which I found to be very helpful. You can give them a list of questions you think will be asked, and they do a good job of giving you pointers, tips and advice on how to present yourself. I felt a lot more confident after my mock interview and I felt like it helped a lot. Good luck!
     
  9. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Go into your interview with the attitude that you will answer each question as it is asked and that you will try to let your interviewer get the best "snapshot" of you. Put last year's experience behind you as it is meaningless for this year. Unless you were specifically told that the interview kept you out, my guess is that the wind wasn't blowing from the south that day and that kept you out.

    Everyone is nervous on an interview but think of this as the best case is that you get accepted and the worst case is that you don't. The world won't stop and you will just move on to what's next in your life if you don't get accepted. You do the best that you can and in the end, you hope it's good enough to get you into medical school.

    Be confident and review everything that is in your application. Most of the time, you may be asked to comment on something from your Personal Statement or some experience that is in your application. Think about what you wrote and review these things. If you have read a good book lately that has added some depth to your life, then relate that to an interviewer.

    I often ask applicant about their favorite author and why? I ask about favorite recent movie and why? (No porn please). :laugh: In short, the interview is a time for you to allow the interviewer to see your personal and professional side. It will be that interviewer who will be your advocate during the committee meetings since others didn't see or meet you.

    It only takes one interview to achieve one acceptance. One acceptance is all that you need to become a physician. You are headed in the right direction so relax and enjoy the experience.
     

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