Medical School Interview Questions: Types and Sample Questions

November 23, 2022


Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Chief Resident in Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Admissions Officer, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/30/22

Wondering how to tackle med school interview questions? Read on for interview tips, sample questions, and more! 

med school interview questions

The medical school interview is your opportunity to further differentiate yourself from other applicants and get accepted to your dream school. While there’s no way to know what interview questions you’ll be asked with certainty, there are many common questions you should know to help you prepare. 

Read on to learn more about medical school interview questions and how to prepare for them!

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Top Med School Interview Questions

While every interview is different, there are several medical school interview questions you can expect. Preparing and practicing as soon as you receive an interview invitation is essential – we’ll explore questions below.  

Image outlining the types of medical school interview questions

Education-Related Questions 

Several of the common medical school interview questions surrounding your educational background include: 

  • Why did you choose your undergraduate major? (if your major is not in the sciences, the interviewer will probably ask you further questions.)
  • How have you managed to achieve a broad and comprehensive undergraduate curriculum?
  • How did your research experience help you prepare for your future as a medical student?
  • What was your favorite college course, and why?

Personal Questions – About Yourself, Your Character, and Your Personality

Be ready to answer possible medical school interview questions about yourself. Questions include: 

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What experiences from the past have made you more compassionate?
  • Do you have any family members that are physicians?
  • What would you consider “success” in life?
  • How do you see your life ten years from today?
  • What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths?
  • Who are the most influential people in your life?
  • Tell us about a time that you had to overcome a struggle (academic or personal). 
  • Tell us about a time you had to work under pressure. How did you act?
  • What scares you the most about medical school?

Questions Related to Medicine 

Several common medical school interview questions surrounding your opinion of medicine include: 

  • Why do you find medicine exciting?
  • Why do you want to be a doctor?
  • What do you have to offer to our school and the medical field?
  • What do you think about the current medicine trends in this country?
  • What impact do you want to have in this profession?

Questions About Society, Hot Topics, and Current Events

You may have an opinion on certain hot topics, but you must articulate it professionally. Think about your thoughts on current issues, not only related to medicine but also our society. Common questions for medical applicants include:  

  • What do you think is the most critical problem that this country is facing right now?
  • What do you think about universal health care?
  • How do you stay in touch with current events?
  • What are some books that have enlightened you and have been particularly important in your educational path?
  • What has traveling to places with different cultures taught you?

Questions About Policy 

Policy-related medical school interview questions are a good way for med schools to evaluate if you’re an open-minded, critical thinker. Several med school interview questions about policy include:  

  • How do you feel about medically assisted suicide?
  • How can we minimize health care costs?
  • Should recreational marijuana be federally legalized?

Scenario-Based Questions 

To answer these possible medical school interview questions, identify the vulnerable parties at stake in each situation and formulate a reasonable solution that works best for all parties. Questions include:

  • If you had the choice to give a transplant to a successful older man or a young drug addict, who would you choose?
  • Would you get out of your car to help a victim after observing an accident?
  • You observe a fellow medical school student cheating on an examination. What would you do?

Questions About Your Motivation and Expectations 

These questions will be your space to get creative and let the admissions committee understand the most genuine version of you.

  • What are you the most excited about when you think of attending medical school?
  • Why did you decide to choose medicine and not other healthcare fields like nursing?
  • What will you do if you’re not accepted to medical school this year? What are your plans if that happens?

Interest in Their Medical School 

Every medical school will ask you why you’re interested in their particular programs and school. Common medical school interview questions include: 

  • Why are you interested in our program?
  • Is there anything specific that you like about our medical school?
  • Which other medical schools have you applied to and why?

Medical School Interview Questions By School

Here are more examples taken directly from top medical schools. Sample questions provided by the Harvard Office of Career Services include:

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to compromise. 
  2. Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. What did you do, and how did you correct it?
  3. What was the most stressful situation you ever faced? How did you handle it?
  4. Tell me about a time when you collaborated on a successful project.
  5. Tell me about yourself.
  6. What is the one thing you want me to convey to the admission committee?
  7. What is the biggest challenge that is facing the medical field today?
  8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  9. Why do you want to be a doctor?
  10. What experiences have most motivated you to pursue medicine?

Questions provided by the University of Pennsylvania include:

  1.  How would your friends describe you?  
  2.  How would you describe the relationship between science and medicine?  
  3.  Rank intelligence, compassion, and integrity in the order of importance to you. 
  4.  Why do you think you are the right candidate for medical school?  
  5.  What do you consider your greatest weakness?  
  6.  What are three things you want to change about yourself?  
  7.  Give evidence that you relate well with others.  
  8.  What do you see as the most significant problem facing the healthcare delivery system today?  
  9.  Would your plans to become a physician change if the U.S. moved to a universal healthcare system similar to Canada?  
  10.  What is your opinion of the Affordable Care Act?

Questions provided by the University of Washington include:

  1.  Do you interrupt someone when they are speaking to you?
  2.  Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or coworkers, or teammates.
  3.  What do you do if you disagree with a coworker?
  4.  What are the essential components of a productive conversation between people who disagree?
  5.  Describe a time you had to explain to someone your view when they disagreed with you. What went well and why, and what could be improved?
  6.  Tell me about a time when you later realized you had treated someone differently because of an unconscious bias. What did you learn from this situation?
  7.  Have you handled a difficult situation with a supervisor? How?
  8.  A patient brings you a costly gift. What would you do?
  9.  A patient writes you a love letter. How do you handle this situation?
  10.  You are called to the ER to see a patient with a problem supposedly in your area of expertise. When you arrive, it becomes evident that this patient has an entirely different type of situation. What do you do?

Questions provided by Nebraska Wesleyan University include:

  1. Tell me about your family.
  2. How would you feel about practicing in a rural setting?
  3. What reservations do you have in your decision to join this profession, if any?
  4. How would you feel about drawing blood? Caring for emergencies?
  5. Do you have any regrets about your college career?
  6. What would you do if one of your patients told you that they would prefer a nontraditional, homeopathic remedy for their disease?
  7. What are three low points in your life and why?
  8. What would you do if you won a million dollars?
  9. If you are the boss of a company and one of your employees is not producing well, how would you confront them?
  10. Tell about a time when people’s actions depended on a decision that you made

Questions provided by Missouri State University include:

  1. I see you got a "C" in (an undergraduate course). Why was that course so difficult? Explain.
  2. What is your concept of the doctor/patient relationship?
  3. Why do you want to come here? (Be sure to have reasons that involve the unique qualities of the school. Mention also some personal reasons if these are applicable.)
  4. What makes you a better applicant than others?
  5. Is this school your first choice?
  6. What role have your parents played in your decision to become a physician?
  7. What is going on in your life?
  8. Tell me what you know it is to be a physician.
  9. What makes you happy?
  10. I see that you have had a research experience in college. What have you learned about that process?

Despite the wide range of questions, all schools want to know about your personal and educational background, motivations, cultural competence, ethics, communication, and critical thinking skills. 

Medical School Interview Tips

These medical school interview tips can help you lay a strong foundation and feel more confident on interview day. 

med school interview tips

Prepare, Prepare, and Prepare 

Practice makes perfect. Even some of the most common med school interview questions can catch you off guard, and your first impression makes a difference. Good preparation is essential to ace the interview process. 

Take a Moment to Reflect and Breathe

You’ve been invited to the interview; your academic and extracurricular credentials and everything you’ve included in your application has made the cut. You’ve done the most challenging part already!

Be Professional 

In the medical field, unprofessionalism can be a big issue, so it makes sense that medical schools pay close attention to that. Act professionally at all times. Show you’re adaptable and explain how you’ve been professional in the past, either in the work, research, or clinical experiences you’ve mentioned in your application. 

Ask Questions

Asking well-researched med student interview questions at the end of your interview is an excellent way to convey your interest and professionalism. Your interpersonal communication skills can help you stand out from those students who either didn’t have any questions or asked redundant/obvious ones. 

Take time to ensure the questions you ask can’t be answered through a Google search. 

Med School Interview Questions: FAQs

We’ve outlined several commonly asked questions below to help you prepare for your med school interview. 

1. When Should I Start Practicing Med School Interview Questions?

The sooner you start, the better. Ideally, you can start practicing before or just after you receive your interview invitation.

2. How Long Should Med School Interview Answers Be?

It depends. Taking too long to answer a question isn’t great; you don’t want to ramble. However, answers that are too short may not convey enough useful information. So, expect to spend around two to three minutes answering each question. 

3. What Are the Top 3 Questions I Should Expect to Be Asked in a Med School Interview?

The most commonly asked medical school interview questions include: 

  • Why do you want to be a doctor? 
  • Tell me about yourself. 
  • Why our school? 

Of course, there may be slight variations in how these are asked. 

4. What Types of Questions Will I Be Asked in My Med School Interview?

Medical school interview questions ask about your education, personal experiences, motivations, interest in their school, and more. 

5. How Can I Answer Interview Questions Confidently?

One of the best ways to build confidence is to participate in mock interviews. Practicing with questions you’ll encounter, receiving unbiased feedback, improving weak spots, and working on your timing are essential!

6. When Do Med Schools Start Interviewing? 

Interviews are typically conducted from September until March, but some programs may interview outside this period. 

7. How Do I Prepare for a Medical School Interview? 

The best way to prepare for your interviews is to seek the help of a seasoned admissions counselor. They can give you expert tips and tricks to level up your skills. 

8. What Should You Not Say in a Medical School Interview? 

You don’t want to use slang, swear, or say anything offensive/insensitive in your interview.

9. How Do I Answer “What Is Your Biggest Weakness?” in a Medical School Interview?

You want to be honest and reflective while detailing what steps you’ve taken to rectify your biggest weakness. This is a common question medical school interviewers ask; always have a weakness in mind! 

Med School Interview Questions: You Have the Answers

Receiving an interview invitation can be exciting but intimidating at the same time. Adequate preparation and following these medical school interview tips can help you shine on interview day and show admissions committees why you’re the perfect candidate. Good luck!

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