Preparing For Your Interviews

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:

Interviewer Types 

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.

Interview Styles

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. 

General Preparation Tips

Access the 2022M Interview Prep Resources folder in Box for documents containing info for interviewing tips, interview attire, questions you might be asked, MMI interview resources, and more. You can also access the video recording and presentation for the Fall 2020 Interviewing 101 workshop.

For the 2022M application cycle, many medical schools will continue to 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.

Practice

Practice early, practice often! Use these ideas for gaining practice articulating your thoughts out loud, either to a recording device or to another human, to gain confidence in your ability to present yourself well during interviews:

  •  Use BigInterview, the Career Center’s new interview training tool, to learn about interviewing but most importantly PRACTICE using the video mock interview tool. Yes, the Practice Question Library includes questions specific to a number of health professions, including medical school! In addition to reviewing the recording yourself, you’ll receive an AI-generated feedback report that assesses important aspects of video interviewing.
  •  Connect with mentors, Duke alumni, current students in health professions schools, and peers to set up practice mock interviews for real-time, out-loud practice. Be sure to record your practice sessions on a video recording device so you can refer to it later. Use the Interview Self-Assessment Rubric included in the 2022M Interview Prep Resources folder in Box to assess yourself and one another on important interviewing skills.
  • Mock interviews: The HPA Office offers one mock interview for Duke undergraduates and alums who have upcoming interviews scheduled with health professions schools. These encompass preparation for MMI and traditional interviews.  Mock interviews can be scheduled with Ms. Broderius (calendly.com/cynthia-broderius), Mr. Jones (calendly.com/rjjones), or Ms. Morhac (calendly.com/brittanymorhac) using their Calendly pages.

 

The AAMC Medical School Interviews webpage is a great resource for interviewing tips from both medical students and admissions representatives, MMI resources, questions to ask interviewers, and much more.