Questions You Might Be Asked

What follows are some sample questions. Most of these have been asked in one form or another at every school, and familiarity with this list should help you anticipate questions. Obviously, each interviewer has his/her favorite questions or question format.

“Why Do You Want to be a Doctor?”

You should be prepared to answer questions about your career choice. Some of the typical questions in the past have been:

  • Why are you interested in medicine?
  • When did you decide to apply to medical school?
  • What have you done to demonstrate your interest in medicine?
  • Do your parents support your desire to go to medical school?
  • When did you decide you wanted to be a doctor?
  • Are there any physicians in your family?
  • Have you ever known any doctor personally? If so, did you consult the doctor regarding entering medical school?
  • What one person has had the most impact on you and your decision to go to medical school?

Health Care Issues

Increasingly, this area is becoming one of the major topics in interviews. Other than reading on your own (newspapers, journals, magazines, etc.), there is a compilation of health-related articles in the HPA office to familiarize you with some of the issues in health care today. Some questions asked have been:

  • What are some of the major problems facing health care today?
  • What is your opinion on abortion? Treatment of AIDS victims? Organ procurement and transplantation?
  • What do you think of national health insurance? Socialized medicine?
  • What should be done about the high cost of medical care?
  • What do you know about HMOs? DRGs? For-profit hospitals? PPOs?
  • Who is Jack Kevorkian?
  • What do you think should be done about health care for the elderly?
  • Do you have an idea how much a surgeon has to pay in malpractice insurance?

Background/Personal Attributes

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Explain/describe personal experiences mentioned in your essay.
  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
  • How would your parents describe you?
  • Describe your work/hospital experience.
  • Besides your hospital work, what have you done to show your concern for humanity?
  • What do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
  • Was your undergraduate career rewarding?
  • What do your parents do?
  • How did your major prepare you for medicine? Would you change your choice of major if you started over?
  • In what extracurricular activities have you participated while in college? High school?
  • Give a brief review of your independent research.
  • What has been the most meaningful part of your education?
  • Have you read a good novel lately? What was it? Who wrote it?
  • What is a typical day for you?
  • What is your major, and why did you choose it?
  • What have you done during the past summers since entering college?
  • What are your brothers and sisters doing?
  • Discuss your family and your relationships with your family members.
  • Explain discrepancies and inconsistencies in your academic record.
  • What historic person would you like to have met? Why?
  • If you have a particularly stressful day, how do you unwind?

Questions About Duke

  • Tell me what Duke is like.
  • Why did you choose Duke for your undergraduate education?
  • When you were accepted to Duke as an undergraduate, were you accepted to any other school?
  • Did you (do you) like Duke? Why?
  • What course taken at Duke is (was) your favorite and why? Least favorite?

Future Plans

  • How do you feel about marriage and children? (An example of an illegal question–unless you bring it up first)
  • Will you be prepared to arrange for child care every third night when you are doing your residency? (Ditto)
  • How do you envision life as a doctor? How do you see yourself in ten years?
  • What will you do if you are not accepted into medical school?
  • What do you see your contribution in medicine as being?
  • Will the threats of malpractice suits in medicine limit your career plans?
  • What rewards will you get from the profession?
  • What are your plans for a medical career?
  • What will society be like in fifteen years and how will medicine fit it?
  • Do you think you know what you are getting into?
  • Do you know what it is like to deal with the sick?

Value Judgments/Ethical Issues

  • What qualities do you associate with a good doctor?
  • What qualities do you possess that would make you a good physician?
  • Have you thought about abortion and euthanasia?
  • If you were an RA and one of your residents told you in confidence that he/she had AIDS, what would you do?
  • Do you think health care is a “natural right” or a “freedom of choice”?
  • Tell me about an ethical choice or decision that you have had to make?

Choice of Medical Schools

  • Why did you apply to this medical school?
  • What other schools did you apply to?
  • Do you have any questions about this medical school or its medical program?
  • Are you interested in this region as a place to settle?
  • How does Duke’s Medical School differ from this one?