DaVinci's Man

Interview: General Information

General Information   Preparation   Sample Questions   Impermissible Questions

If you receive an offer for an interview, you can be confident that you are a strong candidate and the interview will be an opportunity to "seal the deal." However, a poor interview will generally put you out of the running at that school for the current year. Accordingly, it is imperative that you understand what the interview process is all about and prepare thoroughly for it. Please refer to The Interview section for an in-depth write-up of the interview process and how to prepare for it. Another very useful resource is the booklet "Interviewing for Health Professions Schools," which can be ordered from the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions.

It may also be useful for you to think about the "five Ps": 1) preparation, 2) professionalism, 3) peace of mind, 4) personality, and 5) perception.


Learn as much as you can about how interviews are conducted at individual schools. Websites may be informative, but an excellent way to learn about the process is to check with the Health Careers Advising Office. We keep files on each school, with comments by recent Clark students who have interviewed there, and we can consult the Premedical Advisor's Reference Manual. Generally, schools will offer an orientation session (gather your thoughts and relax), tour (learn as much as you can about the school; this may help you think of intelligent questions at the interview, and will help you decide where you ultimately want to go), and then the interview itself.

The format of the interview varies considerably (see The Interview). People conducting the interview may be faculty, students, or other volunteers. Treat them all with respect. Questions are sometimes predictable and other times seem to come from nowhere. The best way to begin preparing is to seriously evaluate the following aspects of yourself: 1) a thorough self-assessment as an individual and potential doctor, especially as portrayed in your application; 2) how your priorities mesh with those of the school at which you are interviewing; 3) your knowledge of current events, especially those related to medicine; and 4) where you stand on moral and ethical issues related to medicine.

You can explore sample interview questions and think about how you might answer them, but ultimately you should participate in videotaped mock interviews and critically review the videos. Repeat this process until you are comfortable with your ability to interview well. Our office will schedule videotaped mock interviews at your convenience. Pay special attention to listening carefully to the question and forming your response to answer the question clearly, concisely, and directly. You should also be aware that there are questions medical school interviews cannot legally ask (Impermissible Interview Questions). You should familiarize yourself with these questions and discuss with us how you might handle them if they arise.

Be prepared to convey 2-3 central messages about yourself and do so when the opportunities arise. If they don't arise during the interview, you may be given an opportunity at the end to add whatever you think was not covered. You may also be given a chance to ask questions about the school. Be prepared with 1-2 questions that could not be answered by a cursory inspection of the school's catalog.


Your physical appearance will provide a first impression that can ultimately be decisive, especially if your interview is otherwise marginal. Dress appropriately (suit or blazer and tie for men; conservative dress or suit for women). Appear neat and clean, as your mother would insist. Chances are, your interviewers will have dress and hygiene standards closer to those of your mother than to yours or those of your friends. Eye contact is also especially important (see The Interview). Be polite (but not obsequious), including to orientation leaders, tour guides, and office staff. Take care to listen carefully to your interviewers' names so that you can thank them later by name; if you do not catch their name during the introduction, ask them to please repeat it. After you return from the interview, write the school a thank-you note. It will be placed in your file and could be one of those little things that add up to make a difference.

Peace of mind

If you are being interviewed, you are a strong candidate. If you have prepared, you will have the opportunity to excel. You have every reason to feel confident and relaxed. If you keep your cool, even in the face of challenging questions or unanticipated events, you will impress the interviewer more than by any words that you say. This means that it is very important to arrive early, get a good night's sleep, and avoid stimulants or anything else that could cause unnecessary stress. Find relaxation techniques that work for you, practice them in advance, and use them before the interview.


If you are normally a bump on a log in social situations, work on developing at least a little charm during your mock interviews. If you are normally at ease in social situations, don't be afraid to flash an extra smile and demonstrate your interpersonal skills, but only when the situation arises (i.e., don't force it).


You know (or at least think you do) what kind of person you are. Be sure that your interviewers perceive the same person. The best way to do this is to be honest. Be yourself. Be honest in answering challenging ethical questions, and don't be afraid to admit that you do not know the answer to any specific question. However, after admitting your ignorance, don't be afraid to offer an informed opinion and give your line of reasoning. Do not try to anticipate what the interviewer wants to hear! These are things you can practice in your mock interviews and read more about in The Interview.

After your interview, please write a short summary of the format, questions, and your reaction to the interview and send it to the Health Careers Office. We can go over your reactions with you and talk about ways to improve your skills for any upcoming interviews. We will also keep your observations on file so that we can share them with Clark students who have interviews at this school in the future. Similar feedback is available at Medical School Interview Feedback on the Student Doctor Network (SDN).

Additional Links:

A Content Analysis of Interviewee Reports of Medical School Admissions Interviews
Be Authentic, Thoughtful for Medical School Interview Success
Canadian Medical School Interviews
Cases in Medical Ethics
Common Interview Questions
First Aid for Your Medical School Interviews
5 Ways to Ace a Medical School Interview The Medical School Interview
How to Prepare for a Multiple Mini Medical School Interview
How to Prepare for Your Dental School Interview
How, When to Write a Medical School Interview Thank-You Note
Interviewing Advice
Interviewing at Professional Schools
Interviewing Information
Interviewing 101: Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Interviewing Suggestions
Med School Interview Process Gets Overhaul (UC Davis School of Medicine)
Med School Interviews - Making Your Strongest Case
Medical Ethics Cases
Medical School Interview
Medical School Interview
Medical School Interview Advice
Medical School Interview Advice: Articles and Resources
Medical School Interview Feedback on Student Doctor Network (SDN)
Medical School Interview: Four Tips
Medical School Interview Information
Medical School Interview Questions
Medical School Interview Tips for Interview Attire
Medical School Interview Workshop Power Point Presentation (Harvard University)
Medical School Interviews
Medical School Interviews Advice
Medical School Interviews and Interview Questions - How to Prepare and Do Well
Medical School Interviews Information
Medical School Interviews: Interviewing Tips for Medical School
Medical School Multiple Mini-Interview
MMI: A New Hope (blog entry by OHSU medical student)
Multiple Mini-Interview (scroll down to "Frequently Asked Questions About the Multiple Mini-Interview) (U. of Kentucky College of Pharmacy)
Multiple Mini-Interview (scroll down to "The Interview Process") (Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)
Multiple Mini-Interview Article (On Your Mark, Get Set, Interview!) (Stanford U. School of Medicine)
Multiple Mini-Interview FAQ (Duke U. School of Medicine)
Multiple Mini-Interview FAQ (Michigan State U. College of Human Medicine)
Multiple Mini-Interview FAQ (New York U. School of Medicine)
Multiple Mini-Interview FAQ (Western Michigan U. School of Medicine)
Multiple Mini-Interview Format
Multiple Mini-Interview for Medical School
Multiple Mini-Interview for Medical School Admissions
Multiple Mini-Interview Sample Questions
Multiple Mini-Interview Video (Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute)
Multiple Mini-Interviews (U. of Arizona College of Medicine)
Navigate Challenging Ethics Questions in Medical School Interviews
New for Aspiring Doctors, the People Skills Test (NY Times article about MMI)
Prepare Answers to Frequently Asked Medical School Interview Questions
Preparing for Health Professions Schools Interviews
The Professional School Interview Overview
Purpose of the Interview
Sample Medical School Interview Questions
Sample Q/A for the Interview
31 Questions I Wished I Had Asked
Types of Medical School Interviews
Understanding the Medical School Interview
Veterinary School Interview Questions (Examples)
What Is the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)?

Travel Websites:

Some travel websites that may be useful when planning an interview trip:
BootsnAll Travel Network
Greyhound Lines Bus Service
Peter Pan Bus Lines


Suggested Health Professions Reading Lists:

Johns Hopkins University Health Professions Recommended Reading List
Medical Reads Recommended by Union College Leadership in Medicine Book Review Club
University at Buffalo Prehealth Advising Recommended Reading List
Xavier College of Arts and Sciences Pre-Professional Health Advising Suggested Reading List

Links to keep up-to-date with developments in medicine and health:

ABC News Health News
Academic Medicine
Aetna InteliHealth Health News
AP Health News
The Atlantic Health Articles
BBC Health News
Biomedical Beat
Boston Globe Health News
Bulletin of the World Health Organization
CBS News Health News
Chicago Sun-Times Health News
CHI Health Daily Health Highlights
CNN Health News
Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care
Dental Tribune
Detroit News Health News
Digital Library for Students of Medicine
Discover Magazine Health & Medicine
The Doctor Will See You Now Bioethics Articles
Doctor's Guide - Medical News
eLife Journal Articles
Emergency Medicine News
Environmental Health News
EurekAlert! Medicine and Health News
Free Medical Journals
Frontline Medical News
Gizmodo Medical News
Global Health Facts
Global Post World Health News Health News Links
Health Affairs: The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere
Health and Medicine Websites
HealthCanal Health News
HealthDay Health News Health News
Health News
Houston Chronicle Health News
Internal Medicine News
Internet Public Library Health and Medical Sciences Links; Science and Technology Links
U. of Iowa Health Library Index
Issues in Health Care Education
Johns Hopkins Health
Johns Hopkins Public Health News Center
Journal of the American Medical Association
Journal of the American Osteopathic Association
Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association
Journal Watch: Medical Journals and Research Articles
Kaiser Health News
The Lancet
LiveScience Health News
Los Angeles Times Health & Medicine News
MDExpress Medical News
Medical Education Online: An Electronic Journal
Medical/Health Sciences Libraries on the Web
Medical News Today
Medical Technology News
Medical Xpress Health and Medical News
Medline Plus News
MedPage Today
Miami Herald Health News
Modern Healthcare Online
Nanotechnology Bio & Medicine News
National Academy for State Health Policy
National Health Policy Forum
National Institutes of Health (NIH) News
National Library of Medicine
Nature Medicine
NBC Health News
New England Journal of Medicine
The New Physician Health/Science News
Newsweek Health
New York Times Health News
New York Times Science News
NPR Global Health News
NPR Health News
NPR Science News
Penn Medicine Magazine Health & Science News
Physician's Briefing
Physician's Weekly
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Good Medicine Magazine
Portsmouth Herald Health News
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Public Library of Science Medicine
Questia Online Library Science and Technology
Reuters Health News
Review of Optometry Online
The Sacramento Bee Health/Medical News
SciCentral Health Sciences News
Science; Health News
Science Daily Health and Medicine News
Science News
Scientific American Health and Medicine News
The Scientist
Scitable Science Library
Seattle Times Health News
South Florida Sun Sentinel Health News
Time Health News
Time Science News
TuftScope Journal
UPI Health News
UPI Science News
U.S. Global Health Policy
U.S. Health Policy Gateway
U.S. News and World Report Health News
Virtual Mentor Ethics Journal of the American Medical Association
Voice of America Health News
The Wall Street Journal Health News
Washington Post Health & Science News
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine