An interview is an important step in the application procedure and it can be exciting and informative. This is your primary way of seeing what their medical school is like…their students, faculty, geographic location, mission, when and where you would interact with patients, and other details of their programs. For the medical school, the interview gives them a chance to learn about you... your ability to talk and interact with others, your enthusiasm, motivation, knowledge of medicine, and the reason you have chosen to apply to their medical school. Sometimes it is an opportunity to discuss items of interest (or concern) in your application. And sometimes an interview can be stressful. The best way to handle anxiety and stress is to prepare well.
The preparation for an interview should be slightly different for each school. Consider the following:
An "open informed" interviewer will have seen your application materials. A "closed blind" interviewer will not. A "partially blind" interviewer has access to only parts of your application; this might be your metrics (MCAT, grades) or personal information (essays, personal statement) but not both. Understanding who your interviewer is means you can anticipate what they want to know about you and then you can compose your answers with that in mind, providing more details and background if appropriate.
A traditional interview is one where you sit down with one person (faculty, admissions committee, medical student) for a meeting that might last 30 minutes. These interviews may be informal and much like a conversation, or a series of questions and answers. You may have several interviews during your visit. A panel interview is where you are interviewed by several people at a time. A group interview is where you and other candidates are interviewed by several people at a time. A multiple mini interview (MMI) is where you rotate between stations, interviewing with six to ten interviewers. You may have one to two minutes to read a prompted question and then six to eight minutes to respond with an answer, before moving on to the next station. The questions asked may be more traditional, or focus on ethical situations, puzzles, or scenarios. Starting in Fall 2020, some medical schools will be utilizing the Video Interview Tool for Admissions (AAMC VITA). Please see VITA's webpage for more information as to which schools are using it and preparation resources, especially The AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions: Applicant Preparation Guide and Prepare for the AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions
General Preparation Tips
See the attached documents for information regarding Interview Tips, Interview Attire , Questions You Might Be Asked and MMI Interview Resources. We also host an in person Interviewing 101 session in the fall. You may also review the Fall 2020 Interviewing 101 PowerPoint & Fall 2020 Interviewing 101 Zoom .
For the 2021M application cycle, most if not all of the medical schools will conduct interviews via some type of virtual platform. While many aspects of the interview remain the same for traditional, MMI, panel, and group interviews, the obvious difference involves translating your interviewing skills to a virtual platform—ensuring numerous technical details are addressed and planning for an appropriate interviewing environment. The AAMC has produced Virtual Interviews: Tips for Medical School Applicants and Prep for Success in your Virtual Interview that provide tips and strategies for interviewing virtually.
Scheduling a Mock Interview
The HPA Office offers mock interviews for Duke undergraduates and alums who have interviews with health professions schools. You may schedule one 30 minute mock MMI and one 30 minute mock traditional interview session with us each application cycle. Please do not schedule your first interview until you have received an interview invitation. You can schedule a mock interview with the advisors below. If you have been working with one of these advisors before, you can do your interview with them or you can choose someone you are unfamiliar with in order to better simulate interview conditions. Interviews can be done by Skype or Zoom, and we encourage you to interview in attire you might wear to an interview, although it is not required. Please email to set up your mock interview once you have your first invitation.
Cynthia Broderius (schedule online at calendly.com/cynthia-broderius)
Robert Jones (schedule online at calendly.com/rjjones)
Brittany Morhac (schedule online at calendly.com/brittanymorhac)
Megan Kelly Tisdale (schedule online at calendly.com/megantisdale)
For more information on interviews, see:
AAMC Aspiring Docs: Preparing for Medical School Interviews
AAMC Aspiring Docs: Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)