What were your hardest interview questions? How did you do?

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Just curious, not sure if there is already a thread on the most difficult interview questions people got. I know on SDN we can see other people's hard questions, but not how they felt during it and how they generally answered.

So, what were your hardest/most interesting questions? How did you answer them or not?
 
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This was an MMI prompt- we were given a list of 10 people + gender, occupation, and age. I was given the opportunity to save 3 of them to restart humanity with, and I had to justify my selections and why. I'm pretty sure I gave a pretty bad answer because I based my answer completely off reproductive ability and kinda ignored occupation. Ended up waitlisted.

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PapaGuava

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This was an MMI prompt- we were given a list of 10 people + gender, occupation, and age. I was given the opportunity to save 3 of them to restart humanity with, and I had to justify my selections and why. I'm pretty sure I gave a pretty bad answer because I based my answer completely off reproductive ability and kinda ignored occupation. Ended up waitlisted.

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I feel like that was a pretty good thought process haha
 
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gonnif

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I know with some of my advisees, it isnt the danger of a specific question, rather it is something that, for whatever reason, either surprises you, you fumble over the answer for something easy, or otherwise makes you lose your rhythm or scares you. Now you are focusing on your past mistake instead whatever questions are right in front of you.
 
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Jul 29, 2019
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This was an MMI prompt- we were given a list of 10 people + gender, occupation, and age. I was given the opportunity to save 3 of them to restart humanity with, and I had to justify my selections and why. I'm pretty sure I gave a pretty bad answer because I based my answer completely off reproductive ability and kinda ignored occupation. Ended up waitlisted.

Kevin W, MCAT Tutor
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How would a "feel-good Kumbaya" answer like "I would randomly select 3 individuals because all life is equal regardless of gender/age/occupation" work for that question?
 
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drbatsandwich

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How would a "feel-good Kumbaya" answer like "I would randomly select 3 individuals because all life is equal regardless of gender/age/occupation" work for that question?

I mean, we’re talking about restarting humanity here. Don’t know that I’d take any chances with chance. What if one of the randomly selected individuals is sterile? What if all three are women?
 
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I mean, we’re talking about restarting humanity here. Don’t know that I’d take any chances with chance. What if one of the randomly selected individuals is sterile? What if all three are women?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 'tis a sign from RNGsus.

The "randomly select" answer is clearly bad, but I'm just wondering how much "feel-good" one should have in an answer. Or is it better to be strictly utilitarian and logical?
 
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I'm glad that we don't use hypothetical scenarios/questions during our interview process. As a wise ortho once told me: "the ability to improvise on the spot is a characteristic that can cost people lots of money, and often a sign of true intelligence is the ability to say "I don't know"".
 
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drbatsandwich

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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 'tis a sign from RNGsus.

The "randomly select" answer is clearly bad, but I'm just wondering how much "feel-good" one should have in an answer. Or is it better to be strictly utilitarian and logical?

Maybe a mix of both? I think it’s more important to be true to yourself than to just say what you think the interviewer wants to hear. They can see right through that stuff.
 
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Talldoctor96

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When was a time that you broke the rules or did something bad ? And why was it justified.
 
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This string reinforces something that I have always thought. You should have a prepared plan for dealing with a question that absolutely baffles you. If you are asked about something you know next to nothing about or asked give us an example of when you did X but you do not have such an example, you should know how you will react in advance.
 
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How would a "feel-good Kumbaya" answer like "I would randomly select 3 individuals because all life is equal regardless of gender/age/occupation" work for that question?
Curious as to what people who know what they’re talking about think. I don’t like it. Doesnt show any logical thinking. I liked the reproductive answer because it’s logical. But I guess adcoms didn’t
 
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How would a "feel-good Kumbaya" answer like "I would randomly select 3 individuals because all life is equal regardless of gender/age/occupation" work for that question?
Bad answer, in my book. You want to repopulate the human race, and also not sound politically correct at the same time.
 
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I’m an MSTP applicant so on the PhD side I was asked: “Can you describe how mTOR works?” That doesn’t sound too bad but my work doesnt involve mammalian cells. I think I got through an answer but it involved a lot of “This is how it works in my cells, and it’s pretty much the same in mammalian cells...”
 
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Talldoctor96

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I’m an MSTP applicant so on the PhD side I was asked: “Can you describe how mTOR works?” That doesn’t sound too bad but my work doesnt involve mammalian cells. I think I got through an answer but it involved a lot of “This is how it works in my cells, and it’s pretty much the same in mammalian cells...”
Something something cell signaling something something phosphorylation
 
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Sep 30, 2020
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This was an MMI prompt- we were given a list of 10 people + gender, occupation, and age. I was given the opportunity to save 3 of them to restart humanity with, and I had to justify my selections and why. I'm pretty sure I gave a pretty bad answer because I based my answer completely off reproductive ability and kinda ignored occupation. Ended up waitlisted.

Kevin W, MCAT Tutor
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Do you think its because of the content of your asnwer or your overall confidence and stuff?
 
Sep 30, 2020
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I know with some of my advisees, it isnt the danger of a specific question, rather it is something that, for whatever reason, either surprises you, you fumble over the answer for something easy, or otherwise makes you lose your rhythm or scares you. Now you are focusing on your past mistake instead whatever questions are right in front of you.

Interesting...
Do you value the answer more or the thought process behind it even if you don't have a solid answer?
 
Sep 30, 2020
123
31
Texas
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
This string reinforces something that I have always thought. You should have a prepared plan for dealing with a question that absolutely baffles you. If you are asked about something you know next to nothing about or asked give us an example of when you did X but you do not have such an example, you should know how you will react in advance.

How would you recommend to respond? Saying I dont know and owning up cutting losses, or show attempt at thinking but be completely off and miss the point?
 
Sep 30, 2020
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I'm glad that we don't use hypothetical scenarios/questions during our interview process. As a wise ortho once told me: "the ability to improvise on the spot is a characteristic that can cost people lots of money, and often a sign of true intelligence is the ability to say "I don't know"".

When exactly would you recommend to use saying i dont know?
 
Sep 30, 2020
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When was a time that you broke the rules or did something bad ? And why was it justified.

How did you respond? I feel like a lot of people would go the route where its actually "i didnt break the rules technically but i felt bad" route to play it safe? What if its not justified and you just messed up because you were dumb but changed your ways?
 
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When exactly would you recommend to use saying i dont know?
At a school that asks hypothetical scenarios that isn’t really an option. They want to see your thought process I suppose. I was merely stating that my school considers this to be a useless exercise. We would much rather have a conversation.

But let’s look at a real life example. A surgeon uses a common metal clip during a common, every day procedure. The patient who is the now host of the clip is experiencing some odd symptoms months down the line. She goes to visit her family medicine doctor and after he takes her history, he decides to provide her with something, anything, so that she can find some peace after several attempts to find an answer. He pulls, out of his rear end, the following hypothesis: “I think the hardware from your surgery is causing an allergic reaction”. This simple, uninformed statement, created out of a pressure to say something ended up being not only incorrect, but costly.

As a physician in training who was the beneficiary of a few life principles from a few battle tested physicians early on in my schooling, I would much rather be the physician that says I don’t know than the one that needs to provide an explanation. That is what I meant by the statement that sometimes a mark of true intelligence is the ability to say I don’t know rather than forge an uninformed answer.
 
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At a school that asks hypothetical scenarios that isn’t really an option. They want to see your thought process I suppose. I was merely stating that my school considers this to be a useless exercise. We would much rather have a conversation.

But let’s look at a real life example. A surgeon uses a common metal clip during a common, every day procedure. The patient who is the now host of the clip is experiencing some odd symptoms months down the line. She goes to visit her family medicine doctor and after he takes her history, he decides to provide her with something, anything, so that she can find some peace after several attempts to find an answer. He pulls, out of his rear end, the following hypothesis: “I think the hardware from your surgery is causing an allergic reaction”. This simple, uninformed statement, created out of a pressure to say something ended up being not only incorrect, but costly.

As a physician in training who was the beneficiary of a few life principles from a few battle tested physicians early on in my schooling, I would much rather be the physician that says I don’t know than the one that needs to provide an explanation. That is what I meant by the statement that sometimes a mark of true intelligence is the ability to say I don’t know rather than forge an uninformed statement.

Ahh, makes sense. Thank you for explaining it! I guess we can guage whether a Question is meant to guage your thought process versus wanting to know if youll accept you don't know the answer. Thank you!
 

gonnif

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I know with some of my advisees, it isnt the danger of a specific question, rather it is something that, for whatever reason, either surprises you, you fumble over the answer for something easy, or otherwise makes you lose your rhythm or scares you. Now you are focusing on your past mistake instead whatever questions are right in front of you.
Interesting...
Do you value the answer more or the thought process behind it even if you don't have a solid answer?
My comment was on an applicant’s attitude and psychological preparedness for just dealing with the stress of an interview. Had a advisee who just blanked out on something and that just threw him off his game for the rest of the interview.

as for whether the answer or the thought process matters more, my firm opinion is answers matter little nor your thought process that much more per se. I am interested in how you communicate, express yourself, support your answer, and just your interpersonal skills
 
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My comment was on an applicant’s attitude and psychological preparedness for just dealing with the stress of an interview. Had a advisee who just blanked out on something and that just threw him off his game for the rest of the interview.

as for whether the answer or the thought process matters more, my firm opinion is answers matter little nor your thought process that much more per se. I am interested in how you communicate, express yourself, support your answer, and just your interpersonal skills
To follow up on this, many interview questions have no correct answers, but they can have wrong answers.
 
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My comment was on an applicant’s attitude and psychological preparedness for just dealing with the stress of an interview. Had a advisee who just blanked out on something and that just threw him off his game for the rest of the interview.

as for whether the answer or the thought process matters more, my firm opinion is answers matter little nor your thought process that much more per se. I am interested in how you communicate, express yourself, support your answer, and just your interpersonal skills

Gotcha. Thank you for clarifying
 
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My comment was on an applicant’s attitude and psychological preparedness for just dealing with the stress of an interview. Had a advisee who just blanked out on something and that just threw him off his game for the rest of the interview.

as for whether the answer or the thought process matters more, my firm opinion is answers matter little nor your thought process that much more per se. I am interested in how you communicate, express yourself, support your answer, and just your interpersonal skills
I wonder did anyone make a study to assess how specific answers actually reflect one’s intelligence or personality. It kinda resembles days when google recruiters used to ask questions like “why are the sewer hatches round? Pretending the answer has a lot to tell about the applicant, they eventually dropped that...
 
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I wonder did any any make a study to assess how specific answers actually reflect one’s intelligence or personality. It kinda resembles days when google recruiters used to ask questions like “why are the sewer hatches round? Pretending the answer has a lot to tell about the applicant, they eventually dropped that...
In the med school interview process, it's not one specific question or answer...it's the process. It seems like some of you are obsessing over questions like people obsess over stats. Single metrics don't make or break you. It's the thought process and grace under pressure, we want to see.
 
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Talldoctor96

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How did you respond? I feel like a lot of people would go the route where its actually "i didnt break the rules technically but i felt bad" route to play it safe? What if its not justified and you just messed up because you were dumb but changed your ways?
It may have been the reason I got waitlisted lol
 
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I wonder did anyone make a study to assess how specific answers actually reflect one’s intelligence or personality. It kinda resembles days when google recruiters used to ask questions like “why are the sewer hatches round? Pretending the answer has a lot to tell about the applicant, they eventually dropped that...
An interview to find out one's intelligence would be utterly meaningless as the academic record and MCAT performance is ample evidence to show if someone has the the academic ability to handle medical school. As for the personality, there isnt an attempt to find certainly personality types rather just to see if they have the basic skill set of communication and personal skills.

MMI was developed to get into specific standardize situations, looked at by several graders, and therefore develop more targeted instrument in which to measure and compare applicants
 
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Not real questions, but I think these would be fun to ask (tongue in cheek):

Tell me about a time you failed. How did you react? What did you learn?
What is the biggest weakness in your application?
What is your biggest character flaw?
What are your vulnerabilities?
Tell me about a time when you were extremely stressed. How did you deal with it?
If you want to help people, why medical school and not nursing school/NP or PA-C school?
 
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Gilakend

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Two of my favorites:

MMI Prompts:

"The US automotive bailout involved the US government providing 17.4 billion dollars to US car manufacturers Chrysler and General Motors during the 2008 recession. Discuss." (the question actually incorrectly said Ford as well, who did not take the bailout, I'm not sure if that was an honest mistake or if we were supposed to correct it)

"It is estimated people spend X amount of time in traffic every year costing Y billion dollars. Discuss what you believe to be a physician's role in traffic jams."
 
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Goro

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Not real questions, but I think these would be fun to ask (tongue in cheek):

Tell me about a time you failed. How did you react? What did you learn?
What is the biggest weakness in your application?
What is your biggest character flaw?
What are your vulnerabilities?
Tell me about a time when you were extremely stressed. How did you deal with it?
If you want to help people, why medical school and not nursing school/NP or PA-C school?
These are, in fact, very common interview questions.
 
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Talldoctor96

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These are, in fact, very common interview questions.
Over 2 cycles the only one of those I didn't get asked was the last one about why not nursing school. I have heard that is common one to get especially if you are coming from a nursing background.
 
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Two of my favorites:

MMI Prompts:

"The US automotive bailout involved the US government providing 17.4 billion dollars to US car manufacturers Chrysler and General Motors during the 2008 recession. Discuss." (the question actually incorrectly said Ford as well, who did not take the bailout, I'm not sure if that was an honest mistake or if we were supposed to correct it)

"It is estimated people spend X amount of time in traffic every year costing Y billion dollars. Discuss what you believe to be a physician's role in traffic jams."

Oh man! How did you answer? Really interesting actually
 

Gilakend

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Oh man! How did you answer? Really interesting actually
more jobs = more employer sponsored health insurance maybe ? IDk if they want a health perspective.

That is essentially the approach I took on that one. I started off just going over general ideas about it then just sort of added that in there as an "extra" since I wasn't sure if they were looking for a healthcare answer. I don't know if it was trying to show the connection between social/occupational security/stability and health care (which I feel like many sheltered pre-meds don't fully understand) or if they just wanted to see how you'd react to a curve ball.
 
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That is essentially the approach I took on that one. I started off just going over general ideas about it then just sort of added that in there as an "extra" since I wasn't sure if they were looking for a healthcare answer. I don't know if it was trying to show the connection between social/occupational security/stability and health care (which I feel like many sheltered pre-meds don't fully understand) or if they just wanted to see how you'd react to a curve ball.

What about the traffic jam one lol
 
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The weakness question is always tough because it's ubiquitous and so easy to paint yourself into a corner.

I always make sure to answer that question in the style that I'm already working on and continuing to build skills. For example, I talk about my organization and how I use Google calendar and checklists in order to keep myself accountable. I then talk about how I've gotten better since using those tools.

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