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Medical School Interviews Tips and Guide

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Many interviews now include questions regarding ethics, policy, and current events. During interview season, be sure to stay up-to-date on all current events, but especially those related to health care. Health care reform is again in the headlines given the recent election - do you know the specifics of the debate? What do you think about the healthcare reform bill passed by the Obama administration? What do you think about some of the Republican ideas to change it? You don't have to be an expert, but you should know the lingo and be able to intelligently express your opinion. Ethics questions on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, and stem cell research have also become popular.

How can you prepare? I suggest reading your local paper but also browse national papers such as the New York Times. The Economist politics and business in review sections at the beginning of every magazine provide excellent current event summaries. Subscribing to The Economist is pricey but you can read these two sections at the library in less than ten minutes.

Whether you are preparing for your first medical school interview or your tenth, practice is the key to a successful interview experience. Practice the most typical questions asked in medical school interviews. There are many lists out there on the Internet.

Practice answering questions out loud in front of a mirror. You will be surprised by the habits you will discover, such as playing with a ring, wrying hands, or foot tapping. Practice limiting such distracting movements. Practice by tape recording your answers. Isn't it amazing how many times your say "like" and "um." Practice not using those unprofessional, filler words.

Ideally, you should arrange for a mock interview with an admissions consultant or medical school counselor. This mock interview should be as close to real as possible - do everything you will do on interview day including wearing your suit, using an office setting, and answering each question to the best of your ability.

The medical school interview season is not the time to experiment with that mohawk you always wanted. Keep the hair clean and simple. Men with long hair do not need to cut it all off, just keep it clean and out of your face. The same rules apply to women.

As for jewelry, earrings in men are always a point of controversy. If your earring is an important part of who you are, leave it in. But if it's just a piece of jewelry, I would take it out. Body piercings that show (nose ring, tongue ring, eyebrow ring, etc) fall under the same general guidelines as earrings. Wear it if it is a huge part of who you are. Lose it for a day if it isn't.

All interviews start with a first impression. This means you need to be well dressed and well groomed. Once you are a physician, your patients will want you to look put together. And so do the interviewers. It may seem cliche and shallow, but you need to look good.

The suit is the staple of anyone heading out on the medical school interview trail. Despite popular opinion, it does not have to be black and boring! Yes, dark/neutral color is likely best (blue, grey, camel) but you don't have to give up all style for interviews. Your goal is to look sharp and professional instead of boring and drab.

Don't forget the importance of shoes. These shoes need to be incredibly comfortable, work in various climates, and look classy. At some schools, the majority of your interview time will be spent walking. Make sure the shoes are clean and shined. Yes, I mean go out and buy real shoe polish and scrub the shoes before every interview. Shined, well-kept shoes show a person is detail-oriented and dedicated to an overall polished look.

Need help with your interview style? E-mail info@MDadmit.com or call 415.939.5251 to put a Harvard/Stanford MD and medical school admissions expert to work for you!
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