Your chance of admission to med school ranges from about 25% to 60% once you’ve made it to the interview stage. At this point, the committee knows that you are academically prepared for medical school and have the background and experiences to succeed. However, in a profession where you will spend your days communicating with patients and colleagues, it is essential that you have strong interpersonal and communication skills. Therefore, the interview is a crucial component of the admissions process. An essential step for preparing to this important day is to do one or two practice or “mock” interviews before your first interview.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your practice interview most effectively prepares you for the day when come to face-to-face with a med school interviewer:
Choose an interviewer who is familiar with medical school admissions. The medical school admissions interview is different than a job interview or an interview for college. While some generic questions, such as “What is your greatest weakness?” may be asked, other questions, such as “What are the negative aspects of being a physician?” are quite specific to the profession and are often the most difficult to answer. Therefore, seek out an advisor, physician or other mentor who will be prepared to ask you questions typical of a med school interview and who knows what admissions committees look for in an applicant.
Wear your interview attire. If you are not used to wearing professional attire, then donning a suit may make you nervous. A mock interview is a great opportunity for you to get used to conversing while presenting yourself as a future professional. Plus, dressing for the part will help you to more closely simulate interview day.
Treat the practice interview like an actual interview. The practice interview should last thirty minutes to an hour long and you and the interviewer should not break out of interview mode during that time. Even if you stumble on an answer or blank out, continue on just as you would in an real interview. Things don’t always go perfectly during an interview and you need to get the hang of moving forward even if you answer a question less than perfectly.
Ask for an honest, detailed assessment of your performance. Use this feedback to improve your interview skills, and if necessary, follow up with a second practice interview once you have had a chance to internalize the changes that you need to make. Having a friend or family member practice with you may result in them telling you that everything was great out of fear of hurting your feelings. While that may help your ego, it won’t help you get into med school. Make sure that the interviewer gives an honest assessment of your performance.
The interview is your chance to present yourself as someone who will be an asset to the school and the medical profession. Done correctly, a mock interview can be a powerful tool to help you to prepare you for interview day.