Stellar Questions to Ask During Your Medical School Interview

April 25, 2024
7 min read
Contents

”Jonathan

Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/25/24

You've poured your heart and soul into crafting the perfect personal statement and meticulously preparing for the interview. But there's one component of the interview that many applicants overlook - the power of asking the right questions.

Imagine walking out of your medical school interview feeling confident, inspired, and more certain than ever that this is the right school for you; this is the power of asking the right questions. It's not just about gathering information or demonstrating interest - it's about leaving a lasting impression, building meaningful connections, and setting yourself apart from the competition.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the art of asking questions during your medical school interview. We'll provide expert tips on how to research, prepare, and deliver your questions with confidence and authenticity. By the end, you’ll know exactly how to ace your medical school interview.

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40+ Questions to Ask During Your Medical School Interview

Asking thoughtful questions during your medical school interview demonstrates your genuine interest, curiosity, and commitment to the school and the medical profession. It shows that you have done your research, thought deeply about your goals and fit with the institution, and are eager to contribute to their mission and community.

Asking questions also allows you to gather important information that can help you determine if the school is the right fit for you. It's a two-way conversation - you are evaluating them as much as they are evaluating you.

To help you make the most of this opportunity, we've compiled over 40 of the best questions to ask, organized into key categories. While not an exhaustive list, these questions provide a strong foundation to impress your interviewers. 

Check out the Inspira med school interview question generator for an in-depth look at potential questions you may be asked.

School-Specific Questions

Asking school-specific questions demonstrates that you have a sincere interest in this particular institution and are not just going through the motions of applying to medical school in general. Do your research beforehand and identify different programs, opportunities, or values that resonate with you. Some potential questions include:

  1. I think studying in groups is a great way to reinforce information. Are there any peer study systems or tutoring programs in place for students?
  2. Are there any affiliations with volunteer clinics? I enjoyed my time volunteering at "organization's name" and would love to serve in a greater capacity as a medical student, if possible.
  3. Something that I really admire about your school is the focus on providing care to the community. What are some significant impacts that have made you proud to work with [school name]?
  4. Are students able to suggest or initiate community outreach programs if an area of need is discovered? If so, how does that process work?
  5. I noticed the curriculum structure was recently modified. It sounds like a beneficial change. How are students adapting to and benefiting from the new curriculum?
  6. What resources are available for board exam preparation? Are there school-sponsored review courses or study materials?
  7. Who is your ideal matriculant? What qualities and experiences do your most successful students tend to have in common?
  8. How does [school name] support students' well-being and help them manage the challenges of medical school?
  9. What opportunities exist for students to get involved with medical education, such as serving as tutors or curriculum representatives?
  10. How does the school promote diversity, equity, and inclusion among students, faculty, and in the curriculum?

Preparation Tip: Spend time exploring the school's website, social media, and any recent news or publications. Look for different programs, initiatives, or values that align with your own interests and experiences. Jot down a few key points that resonate with you to include in your questions.

Research Questions

Demonstrating an interest in research shows that you are curious, ambitious, and eager to contribute to advancing medical knowledge. Even if you don't have a lot of prior research experience, asking about opportunities signals your willingness to learn and grow in this area. Consider questions like:

  1. I noticed that faculty and students participate in the [research area]. When are students able to get involved, and what is the process for finding research mentors?
  2. I would like to gain a global perspective on health disparities. Are there any international research or service opportunities available to students?
  3. What have been some of the most exciting or impactful research findings to come out of [school name] in recent years?
  4. Are there opportunities for students to propose their own research projects or apply for research funding?
  5. What do you think are the most promising areas of research for advancing health equity and patient outcomes? How is [school name] contributing to progress in those areas?
  6. How does the school support students in presenting their research at conferences or publishing their findings?
  7. Are there opportunities for interdisciplinary research collaborations with other schools or departments at the university?
  8. What research skills or experiences do you look for in competitive residency applicants? How can students best position themselves in this area?

Preparation Tip: Familiarize yourself with some of the major research areas and initiatives at the school by browsing faculty profiles, department pages, and research center websites. Note any projects or findings that spark your curiosity and think about how they intersect with your own research interests or experiences.

Personal Experience Questions

Asking your interviewer about their own path to medicine and experiences at the school is a great way to build rapport and gain insider insights. It shows you view them as more than just a gatekeeper to admission but as a valuable source of wisdom and guidance. And let’s face it - people love talking about themselves. Some questions to consider:

  1. What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine and medical education?
  2. What drew you to [school name] and what has kept you here?
  3. What was the most challenging aspect of your own medical training? What strategies helped you overcome those challenges?
  4. Looking back, what is one thing you wish you had known or done differently as a medical student?
  5. What has been your most rewarding experience working with students at this school?
  6. How do you foster strong mentoring relationships with students?
  7. In your opinion, what sets [school name] apart from other medical schools?
  8. How have you seen the school evolve or improve during your time here?
  9. What advice would you give to an incoming student to help them make the most of their experience at [school name]?

Preparation Tip: Reflect on your own path to medicine and the experiences or mentors that have shaped you. Think about the qualities you value most in a mentor or advisor and the kind of support you hope to receive in medical school. Be prepared to share a bit about your own background and goals in a way that invites further dialogue and connection.

Medical Field Questions

Demonstrating an understanding of the broader medical landscape and a commitment to being a lifelong learner shows maturity and big-picture thinking. Asking your interviewer's perspectives on the field signals intellectual curiosity and an openness to guidance from those with more experience. Potential questions include:

  1. How have you seen the medical field change throughout your career? What do you anticipate will be the biggest changes or challenges in the coming decades?
  2. What do you think are the most common misconceptions or blind spots among medical students and how can they be addressed?
  3. What medical innovations or advancements in the past decade have you found most exciting or transformative for patient care?
  4. How is [school name] preparing students to address issues of health equity, social determinants of health, and systemic barriers to care?
  5. What skills and competencies outside of medical knowledge do you think are most essential for physicians of the future?
  6. How can students best keep up with the rapid pace of change in medicine and commit to continuous growth throughout their careers?
  7. What do you see as the most promising opportunities for medical students and physicians to impact health on a broader population or policy level?
  8. How is the school adapting its curriculum and training to prepare students for the changing healthcare landscape, such as advances in telemedicine and artificial intelligence?

Preparation Tip: Stay up-to-date on major trends, challenges, and innovations shaping the medical field by following reputable news sources, journals, and thought leaders. Reflect on how these issues intersect with your own experiences and passions in healthcare. Consider how you hope to make an impact as a future physician and what kind of training and support you'll need to get there.

Student Life Questions

While academics and career preparation should be your primary focus, it's also important to ask about student life and well-being. You want to choose a school that will support you personally as well as professionally. Consider asking:

  1. What mental health and wellness resources are available to students? How does the school proactively promote student well-being?
  2. Are there student interest groups or extracurricular activities that you would recommend for building community and exploring diverse interests?
  3. What does a typical day or week look like for a first-year student? How does the school help students manage the workload and maintain balance?
  4. What housing and transportation options are available, and what do most students choose?
  5. How would you describe the culture and social dynamics among students? Is it collaborative, competitive, or a mix of both?
  6. What do students typically do for fun or stress relief outside of classes and studying?
  7. Are there ample opportunities for students to pursue their passions outside of medicine, such as in the arts, athletics, or community service?
  8. What pipeline programs or partnerships does the school have to support students from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds?

Preparation Tip: Think holistically about the kind of environment and community in which you thrive. Reflect on your hobbies, interests, and values outside of medicine and look for ways the school supports them. Reach out to current students if possible to get candid perspectives on the student experience.

Closing Questions

As the interview wraps up, consider ending with a forward-looking question to reiterate your interest and enthusiasm, such as:

  1. What excites you most about the future of [school name] and the impact its students and graduates will have?
  2. Is there anything else I can elaborate on or questions I can answer to help you assess my fit with [school name]?
  3. What are the next steps in the admissions process and when can I expect to hear back about a decision?

Preparation Tip: Practice delivering your closing questions with confidence and sincerity. Reflect on what you've learned about the school through your research and the interview itself, and reiterate your enthusiasm for joining their community.

Remember, this is not meant to be a checklist to robotically work through in your interview. Rather, it's a menu of options to inspire reflection, research, and tailoring to your own interests and goals.

The key is to come prepared with insightful questions that demonstrate your fit with the school, your vision for your future in medicine, and your potential to contribute to the institution's mission and culture. By doing so, you'll leave a lasting positive impression and understand what you need to make an informed enrollment decision if accepted.

Types of Medical School Interview Formats

Medical school interviews can be conducted in various formats, including traditional, group, and multiple-mini interviews (MMI). It's important to research the interview structure used by the schools you're interested in once your application is complete. This way, you can prepare accordingly and avoid scrambling at the last minute.

Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

The MMI format is becoming increasingly popular for medical school interviews. If you're not familiar with this structure, don't panic. With proper preparation, you might find MMIs helpful in taking some of the pressure off. 

In an MMI, you will be presented with a series of prompts or stations. The number of prompts varies from school to school. These prompts may include questions about your thought process in specific scenarios, your opinions on current events, and ethical dilemmas. 

In addition to questions, MMIs may also involve activities and role-playing, requiring you to work with a fellow interviewee or your interviewer.

Traditional Interviews

In a traditional interview, you will be interviewed individually by one or more faculty members. These interviews can be either open-file or closed-file. 

In an open-file interview, your interviewer will have access to your application and may ask questions about specific areas of your background. 

In a closed-file or blind interview, your interviewer will not review your application during the session. The goal of this style is to learn more about your personality and interpersonal skills. 

The interviewer will also gather information about your perspective on what makes an ideal matriculant for the school and, eventually, a future physician. Traditional interviews provide frequent opportunities to ask thoughtful questions.

Panel Interviews

In a panel interview, multiple interviewers (often two to four) meet with the applicant at the same time. The panel often includes faculty members and medical students. Panel interviews allow for different perspectives and can see how you respond to multiple questions.

Group Interviews

Group interviews help the admissions committee understand how you work and communicate with others. They will observe whether you are domineering or collaborative. While interviews are competitive, schools want to see if you can make your point without being verbally aggressive or overly timid.

Hybrid Interviews

Some schools use a combination of different interview formats. For example, an interview day might include both one-on-one and MMI portions. It’s important to be well-prepared for all types of interviews in case the school you’re applying to uses a hybrid model.

Why You Should Ask Questions During Your Medical School Interview

As an interviewee, it may feel counterintuitive to ask questions, but this is precisely what the school wants you to do. The interview is your opportunity to show who you are beyond your application and demonstrate your sincere interest in attending the school, your passion for medicine, and how you will contribute to the student body.

Inquiring about research opportunities shows your eagerness to contribute to their research efforts, while asking about residencies signals your intention to stay with the institution long-term. Asking how the school supports students' preparation for board exams demonstrates your proactive approach to achieving strong results, which in turn improves the school's reputation.

If you're fortunate enough to interview after already receiving an acceptance, asking questions becomes even more key in helping you determine which school best fits your needs. Approach the process with an open mind, ask the questions that matter most to you, and make an informed decision - unless you get into Harvard, in which case, the choice is clear!

Types of Interview Questions to Avoid Asking

When you're in a formal interview setting, steer clear of certain types of questions or subjects that could potentially derail the conversation or create an uncomfortable atmosphere. To maintain a professional and focused interview, avoid asking about political, religious, or controversial topics. Remember, your goal is to keep the spotlight on your qualifications and why you're the best candidate for the position.

Political Questions

Political affairs often evoke strong emotions, and you may not know your interviewer's stance on specific issues or parties. The last thing you want is to make your interviewer feel judged based on their opinions or, worse, to have them judge you harshly for yours.

Examples of political questions to avoid:

  1. "What do you think about the current administration's policies on healthcare?"
  2. "Did you vote for the current mayor? I heard they're planning some controversial changes."
  3. "Do you think the recent changes in immigration laws will affect the diversity of the student body?"
  4. "How do you feel about the ongoing debates surrounding gun control legislation?"
  5. "Are you in favor of the proposed tax reforms that might impact funding for medical research?"

Religious Questions

Religion is a deeply personal matter for most people, and it's not a good idea to pry into your interviewer's beliefs. Even if you believe you share the same faith, be careful not to offend as not everyone subscribes to a religion.

Examples of religious questions to avoid:

  1. "I noticed you wear a cross necklace. Are you a devout Christian?"
  2. "Do you think your faith aligns with the values of this institution?"
  3. "How do you think your religious beliefs influence your approach to medical education?"
  4. "Are there any religious student organizations on campus that you would recommend joining?"
  5. "Do you believe that prayer or spiritual practices have a place in modern medicine?"

Controversial Questions

Avoid asking questions that probe your interviewer's stance on polarizing issues such as abortion rights, stem cell research ethics, or other hot-button topics. These subjects often lead to heated discussions that can quickly derail the interview and shift the focus away from your qualifications.

Examples of controversial questions to avoid:

  1. "What's your opinion on the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion rights?"
  2. "Do you think this institution should take a stance on the ongoing debates surrounding transgender athletes?"
  3. "How do you feel about the use of medical marijuana or other alternative treatments?"
  4. "What's your stance on physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients?"
  5. "Do you believe that healthcare should be a universal right or a privilege?"

Superficial Questions

While it's important to ask questions that help you make an informed decision, refrain from asking about superficial factors like grading styles, student rankings, or the availability of recorded lectures. Your time with your interviewer is limited, so use it wisely to discuss more substantive topics.

Examples of superficial questions to avoid:

  1. "What's the average GPA of accepted students?"
  2. "Do professors curve grades or offer extra credit opportunities?"
  3. "How many students are typically in each class?"
  4. "Are lectures recorded and made available for later viewing?"
  5. "What's the school's policy on using outside study resources or test prep materials?"

By avoiding these types of questions and focusing on more relevant, professional topics, you'll demonstrate your maturity, preparedness, and genuine interest in the position.

FAQs

If you still require more information on questions to ask during your medical school interview, refer to our frequently asked questions section below.

1. Will They Ask Me Questions At the End of My Interview?

No, interviewers will not always ask if you have questions for them at the end of the interview. You will need to find the right moments to insert your questions but avoid being too forward with it.

2. What If They Do Not Ask Me If I Have Any Questions?

If the interviewer does not ask if you have questions and you don't find an opportunity to ask them, it doesn't mean the interview went poorly. The interviewer may have been particularly engaged in the conversation, causing them to use up the allotted time.

3. How Many Questions Should I Ask In A Medical School Interview?

In a medical school interview, it's sufficient to ask three to four questions. Prepare several more questions in case some are answered during the conversation.

4. How Do I Avoid Asking a Senseless Question? 

To avoid asking senseless questions, thoroughly research the school before your interview. Their website will provide the information you need, including which questions they have already answered and which questions you should ask during the interview.

5. How Do I Come Up With Questions Specific To My Interviewer?

If the school provides your interviewer's name in advance, use the time before the interview to research them. Look for accolades, impressive research, or programs they have started.

6. Is It Appropriate To Ask About Grading And Ranking During My Interview?

While it's not considered inappropriate to ask about grading and ranking during your medical school interview, these questions are not the best use of your limited time with the interviewer. Remember that your primary goal is to convince the interviewer that you want to attend their school. 

7. Should I Ask Questions To People Other Than My Interviewer?

Yes, you should ask questions to anyone involved in the interview process. Be polite and professional with everyone, including students.

8. How Can I Ask Questions During Mmis Or Group Interviews?

During MMIs and group interviews, demonstrate your collaborative abilities by asking questions based on your interactions and observations of others. MMIs are short and strictly timed, so stay on track the entire time.

Final Thoughts

Asking thoughtful, well-researched questions during your medical school interview is a powerful way to stand out from other applicants and leave a lasting positive impression. 

By demonstrating your genuine interest in the school, your passion for medicine, and your potential to contribute to the institution's mission and culture, you'll show that you're not just a strong candidate on paper, but a truly engaged and committed future physician.

Remember to tailor your questions to your own interests and goals, and to the offerings and values of each school. Avoid controversial or superficial topics, and focus on building rapport with your interviewer.

With the right preparation and mindset, asking questions can be a game-changer in your medical school interview. By doing so, you'll not only increase your chances of admission but also set yourself up for a fulfilling and successful medical school journey.

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