The interview for medical school is one of the most crucial phases of the application process. There are two types of interviews– the traditional, panel style interview or multiple mini interviews–both of which can be held in person or virtually. This stage of your application will determine your suitability as a medical school candidate while also allowing you the opportunity to assess the medical school.

Different types of Medical School Interviews

Medical schools have different interview formats to evaluate their candidates. While the interviews may differ in structure, the end goal remains the same--earning more about you as a prospective student

1. Traditional Interviews

A traditional interview format is a one-on-one meeting lasting for about 30 to 45 minutes. Students can expect to be interviewed by a member of staff, faculty, or a practicing clinician, depending on the school, you may have to appear for one or two rounds of interview. 

Some schools have specific outcomes, such as evaluating your character traits, while others may have a very structured approach with standardized questions. The setting of the interview can also be formal or informal and open or closed. In an open interview, the application documents have already been seen by the interviewer. In closed interviews, the interviewer has not only not seen the application but also knows nothing about the candidate, except for the name and which college you attended. It is important to present yourself before your interviewer in a concise and clear manner, while having an engaging conversation.

2. Multiple Mini Interviews

The most innovative and unique type of interview is undertaking multiple mini interviews or MMI. MMIs usually have 6 to 10 rounds with each focused on a different case or scenario. Students will be allocated two minutes to prepare before discussing a topic. The time slot usually ranges between 5-8 minutes. The interviewer observes and evaluates the candidate on the basis of their knowledge and presentation skills.

MMIs are always closed-file interviews, which are assessed by an impartial evaluator who doesn’t know them. After the interview, candidates are assessed with a standardized evaluation form. MMI questions intend to evaluate both verbal and non-verbal communication skills, as well as their critical thinking abilities, knowledge of the healthcare profession, and ethical decision-making. MMI does not expect specialized knowledge from participants.

How to prepare for a medical school interview?

Practice answering med school interview questions with a family member, friend or mentor. Make sure you’re not memorizing them to a point that it sounds rehearsed. Inquire with your advising office whether they offer mock interview sessions or training.

Review your application so that you stay fresh, and make sure to thoroughly research the school to understand their core values. No matter what the interview format is, it’s important to ask relevant questions at the end of the interview that will show that you are dedicated, interested, and have done your research.

Most Common Medical School Interview Questions

While there is no standard set of questions, there are some common points most institutions will assess.

Here are some of the most commonly asked medical school interview questions:

  1. What excites you about medicine in general?

  2. What qualities do you feel sets you apart from other medical school candidates?

  3. Discuss your decision to pursue medicine. When did you decide to become an MD, and why?

  4. Why do you want to be a doctor?

  5. Tell me about a time when you had to compromise

Your interviewer will also likely provide you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. It is good practice to take notes during your interview.

What should you do after the medical school interview?

It is always a good idea to follow up with an email to your interviewers thanking them for their time. You should also remember to include your contact information in the letter or email.

Frequently Asked Questions about Medical School Interviews

1. What should I expect from a Medical School Interview?

Expect questions that will help the interviewer evaluate you as a prospective medical student in their school. They may evaluate your decision-making skills, verbal and non-verbal communication, or your academic competence.

2. Are Medical School Interviews hard?

Medical school interviews are certainly not easy, but there is nothing to be intimidated about. Research the school well and be prepared to answer some of the common interview questions that highlight your desires and passion to be a doctor. While this might seem challenging, try to be yourself and be as authentic as possible when presenting yourself.

3. How many interviews can I expect as a medical school applicant?

The number of interviews can range from a traditional format with one or two meetings or you could be invited for multiple mini interviews (about 6-10 rounds).

Looking for the right medical school to give your career a head start? Check out Saba University School of Medicine, located in the Caribbean. Saba is highly regarded for their systems-based curriculum taught in small classrooms that facilitate one-on-one interaction with professors.

The Saba faculty boasts of highly experienced professionals, with either an M.D. or a doctorate degree. The school boasts of a 99% first-time USMLE Step 1 pass rate (2015-2020) while 94% of their graduates have successfully landed residencies in hospitals across the United States and Canada (2019-2021). Click here to learn more.