Medical school interviews are a great opportunity to learn, so don’t be shy about asking questions. In fact it is a bad sign to interviewers if you do not have any questions, so make sure you have some questions for your big day.
In March 2012, I had my first medical school interview, it was at Queen Mary, University of London. I had taken a gap year after my A levels to reapply to medical school. I remember i was so nervous and wanted the interview to be over, one of the tutors on the interview panel asked if I had any questions at the end. I said, “Ummm… nope.” And that was the end of that.
That was a huge mistake. You should ALWAYS have questions locked and loaded for that inevitable moment. If you answer the way I did, it will make you seem unenthusiastic and look like someone that lacks an enquiring mind.
These are 50 smart questions to ask during your medical school interview that will stand you out from other students:
Medical School Programme And Curriculum
These are general questions that you can ask about the the medical school’s curriculum to give you a better understanding of the programme:
- How do you think your medical programme compares to other universities? What makes your medical school programme unique?
- What support is provided to help students make a decision on which area of Medicine to specialise?
- Which hospitals do you partner with? What is the benefit of such partnership?
- How is work placement at hospitals allocated to students?
- How do students from this medical school perform on the National Board Examinations?
- How does the school assist students who do not pass exams?
- How are students evaluated academically? How are clinical evaluations performed?
- Is there a student or tutor mentoring program?
- Is this medical school well known for any special programs or courses?
- What do you think is the strongest aspect of this medical school?
- Could you describe this school’s curriculum during pre-clinical and clinical years?
- How many students apply to your programme? And how many do you take on each year?
- What changes has your curriculum undergone in the last four years?
- What changes do you foresee in the next four years?
- How often is the curriculum reviewed & updated?
- How is technology being used to enhance the curriculum?
- Have any students in the past quit or failed out?
- How are students graded each year?
- What can I expect on Day 1 or first week on the course?
- Are there opportunities to study or learn abroad?
The best medical schools in the world are at the forefront of research and advancement in medicine. Research hugely impacts our understanding of medicine and can challenge preconceived concepts in medicine. Showing interest in research shows the interviewer you stay up to date with updates in Medicine. These are general questions you can ask to gauge a university’s presence in medical research.
- What is the most exciting research going on at the school this year?
- Is this medical school well known for any research?
- Are there opportunities to be involved in research during the first 2 years?
- Is there any opportunity for students to conduct their own research?
Enthusiasm can be difficult to express for some students, there are a few questions you can ask that come across enthusiastic and shows that you cannot wait to start your career in medicine.
- What advice would you give me as someone pursuing a career in medicine?
- What attributes would you say makes a great medical student and doctor from a good one?
- What do you think is the most challenging part of studying medicine?
- From your experience. what do you think is the downside of a career in medicine?
- If I was successful what advice would you give me so that I hit the ground running?
- What’s the next step of the application process? When should I expect to hear feedback?
Non-Academic & Extracurricular
These questions are helpful to gauge the non-academic standards of the university. It shows the interviewer you a well rounded student keen to be an active in extracurricular activities.
31. Which student clubs in the faculty are the most active?
32. What medical school committees (e.g., curriculum committee) have student representation?
33. How diverse is the medical school’s student body? Are there support services or organizations for ethnic minorities, low income earners or women?
34. Are there services available to assist students with accommodation during placement?
35. What kind of financial aid and scholarships are made available to students?
36. What kind of academic, personal, financial, and career counseling is available to students? Are these services also offered to their spouses and dependents/children?
These questions helps you build rapport with the interviewer. I recommend having one or two interpersonal questions ready on the day. It will stand you out from the other applicants. It is also great because it’s an opportunity to better understand life as a doctor or medical student.
- What is your background?
- Where did you study medicine? How does this medical school compares to where you studied?
- How long have you been a faculty member? What part of the faculty do you work in?
- Where does your previous experience compare to this medical school?
- What has been the most challenging thing for you as a doctor?
- Did you ever think about quitting? If yes, why?
- What inspired you to study medicine?
- What did you find most difficult when studying? And how did you deal with it?
- What did you particularly like about the medical school?
- In what areas does the medical program need to improve? Or what would you change about the medical program?
Key Issues & Topics
I recommend having one of at least one question on any key issue or health related topic, but be prepared to discuss it in detail. It shows the interviewer you keep up to date with health issues and have a genuine interest in medicine.
- What are your thoughts on the privatisation of the NHS?
- What would you say are the key issues affecting our healthcare?
- What do you think could improve our healthcare services?
- How do you think the privatisation will affect future doctors?
I recommend the Medical School Interview (2nd Edtion) by Olivier Picard and George Lee. You can find more helpful medical school interview techniques and over 150 questions to prepare for your big day.