90 Common Medical School Interview Questions

Published on 13/04/2021 in
90 Common Medical School Interview Questions

Getting through a medical school interview is often one of the vital entry requirements for Medicine in Europe. 

To pass an interview, you should be prepared and calm. However, many medical applicants don’t know what the questions will be about, which adds another stress factor for them. 

In this article, we have gathered a sample of 90 commonly asked medical school interview questions as well as some tips that will help you with your interview preparations. 

About you

You will hear these questions in any kind of interview. Despite being generic, questions like this can provide a lot of information regarding a specific individual. These interview questions will also help you show your strengths and self-awareness.

  1. Tell us about yourself.
  2. What activities do you enjoy?
  3. Give an example of a time when you failed.
  4. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  5. Do you like travelling? What cultures were you exposed to?
  6. Do you have any family members or role models who are physicians?
  7. Did anyone from your family or friends inspire you to become a doctor?
  8. What special qualities do you feel you possess that set you apart from other medical school candidates? What makes you unique or different as a medical school candidate?
  9. As a pre-med, what skills have you learned to help manage your time and relieve stress?
  10. How do you deal with stressful situations?
  11. Tell me about a time when you were under pressure/had multiple deadlines?

How will you handle the heavy workload that many doctors experience?

Your motivation

Motivation questions are another part of any interview. Universities want to ensure their applicants have the drive to become a doctor, and that they are a good fit for their programmes.

By asking you some of the following questions, you will get the chance to explain why you want to become a doctor. 

If you enjoy helping others, don’t be afraid to say so. Even if it sounds cheesy, helping others is the essential part of being a doctor. Thus, having a natural drive to help others is always great.

Remember that you can make a real difference in someone’s life.

  1. Why do you want to become a doctor?
  2. What does being a doctor mean to you?
  3. What do you think are the biggest challenges of being a medical physician?
  4. Why did you become interested in studying medicine?
  5. What are the qualities of a great doctor?
  6. What is “success” in your opinion? After 20 years as a physician, what kind of “success” would you hope to have achieved? Please explain
  7. Do you think you are going to become a doctor?
  8. Why did you decide to choose medicine and not some other field where you can help others, such as nursing, physical therapy, pharmacology, psychology, education, or social work?
  9. What is the most significant achievement in your life?
  10. How have you tested your motivation to become a medical doctor? Please explain.
  11. What do you think will be your greatest challenge in completing medical school or learning how to be a doctor?
  12. How do you envision using your medical education?
  13. Was anyone against your decision to study medicine?
  14. Is there anything else we have not covered that you feel the interviewer should know about you or your interest in becoming a doctor?
  15. How do you set priorities when you are under a heavy workload?

Your education

Universities care about your previous education and what you learned from it. To guarantee that you already have the basic knowledge and understanding of subjects like Biology and Chemistry, they will ask you a series of these interview questions:

  1. Where did you study beforehand? What did you learn in your medicine-related subjects?
  2. How has your undergraduate research experience, if any, better prepared you for a medical career?
  3. How did experiences from your jobs, volunteer opportunities, or extracurricular activities prepare you for the responsibilities of being a doctor?
  4. Does your academic record reflect any major challenges? If so, what are they and why did they occur?
  5. Can you give an example of when you took on extra responsibility?
  6. How will you keep up with studying due to the heavy workload at medical school? 
  7. Are there extracurricular activities that you take part in?
  8. How do these activities help you to become a better doctor?
  9. How will you contribute to life at this university?
  10. What are your hobbies and interests outside of medical school?

Volunteering/ work/ shadowing experience

Maybe you’ve already made the first step in becoming a doctor. Extracurricular activities like volunteering, shadowing can help you gain a lot of insight into the medical field and if there is a speciality you’d like to major in.

Read the sample questions mentioned below. They give you the opportunity to tell more about experiences that might have motivated you to study medicine. 

  1. What work experience/volunteering work/ shadowing have you done?
  2. What have your experiences taught you about a career in medicine?
  3. Did you learn anything new about yourself by volunteering?
  4. How were you affected by this experience?
  5. How did you find an opportunity to accomplish it?
  6. Was there anything during your medical work experience that you didn't enjoy?
  7. What have you gained from your work experience/hobbies/community work?
  8. What kind of experiences have you had helping sick people? What did you learn from these experiences?

These questions are directly related to the healthcare industry and the duties associated with being a medical professional:

  1. What do you know about the current health system trends in our country? 
  2. What do you think are the most important health problems today? Why? 
  3. What do you think are the negative or taboo aspects of drugs from a professional point of view? 
  4. If you had to choose between clinical and academic medicine as a profession, which one would you choose? What do you think you might lose when you are forced to make a choice? 
  5. How do you feel about technological advances in medicine? 
  6. How do you think the current health insurance system is affecting the medical field and society in general? 
  7. Do you consider healthcare appropriate or privileged? 
  8. What is the role of pharmacists in the field of medicine? 
  9. Do you think doctors are paid less or overworked? 
  10. In your opinion, how important is teamwork in a medical environment? 
  11. What should be the doctor's top priority when treating patients? Tell me about a medical procedure that you are confident in performing. 
  12. If you knew you could develop an effective cure against a specific disease, which one would you choose? Why?

This sort of interview questions aims to understand your interest and reasoning behind applying to a particular university. 

Admission teams like when medical applicants empathise that they considered many medical universities. This shows that they’ve put a lot of thought into their decision. Thus, it also means that they will be very dedicated and motivated to study. 

To answer this kind of questions, research more about the med school that invited you to an interview. Look at their programmes and note their specifics. Where are their strong points? How are they important?

The university might be great because of its excellent teaching style, in-depth curriculums, famous lecturers, and more.

  1. Why did you choose your undergraduate speciality? 
  2. Why did you choose this university? 
  3. What makes this school especially desirable for you? 
  4. Did you attend our open days? 
  5. What impression did you get about the university from our open days?
  6. In your opinion, what is an ideal medical school?
  7. What general and specific skills do you hope the ideal medical school experience will bring you? 
  8. How can your ideal medical school teach you these skills? 
  9. What types of medical schools are you applying for and why? 
  10. What would you do if you were not accepted into a medical school this year? Do you have a plan B?  
  11. Why do you think you are a good fit for this university?

Teamwork

To explain your teamwork abilities, you need to:

  1. Briefly explain: what type of team were you a part of, what was your team’s goal and what was the outcome?
  2. After this has been established, talk about your role. They want to find out what you contributed, so be specific. Talk about your responsibilities and how you achieved your goals.
  3. Lastly, share what you have learned about the qualities of a successful team. This shows that you reflect and learn from your experiences.

Teamwork questions:

  1. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated teamwork. 
  2. When did you show leadership qualities? 
  3. What do you think makes you a good team member/leader? 
  4. In your opinion, what makes a good leader? 
  5. Have you ever disagreed with another student/teacher?
  6. And if so, how did you deal with the situation? 
  7. Why do you think teamwork is so important in medicine?

Empathy and sympathy

Skilled doctors always imagine issues from their patient’s viewpoint. So, empathy helps to learn a lot about what the patient is feeling, when and why they feel insecure and much more. This allows many healthcare professionals to make an accurate diagnosis.

Besides the physical pains, doctors also alleviate the mental pains. By relating to the patient you show them that you care. In turn, they feel at ease around you. And it is also much easier for them to open up to you about their vulnerabilities and embarrassing issues.

The same applies to sympathy.

Empathy and sympathy are essential qualities that every doctor should possess. Here are the questions that assess these qualities: 

  1. What does empathy mean to you?
  2. What is the difference between empathy and sympathy?
  3. How would you handle a situation where your patient is angry. What about their family members?
  4. What would you do if you realised that you made a mistake?
  5. Can you tell me about a time when you had to support someone emotionally? For example, a family member or a friend?

Ethical questions

Interviewers ask about ethics in an attempt to determine your commitment to integrity and your understanding of medical policies. To answer this question, you would need to understand the basic principles of patient confidentiality. When preparing for your medical school interview, it could be beneficial to familiarise yourself with common ethical dilemmas that healthcare professionals face.

  1. Are you aware of any current controversies in the area of medical ethics? List and discuss some of these.
  2. Have you personally encountered any moral dilemmas to date? Of what nature?
  3. How do you feel about euthanasia or medically assisted suicide?
  4. What different feelings and issues might you experience with a terminally ill patient, as opposed to other patients?
  5. How would you feel about treating a patient who has tested positive for HIV?
  6. What are some of the ethical issues that our society considers regarding teenage pregnancy?
  7. Assume there are limited resources available, and you must make decisions in a major emergency with a wide assortment of patients from all ages, backgrounds, and degree of injury. Assume also that there is no “right answer” to this question, only considered and unconsidered responses. Who would you direct to receive the treatment first and why?

Albeit rarely, you can still hear these questions in an interview at a medical school. The point of these questions is to understand how you see the bigger ethical picture.

  1. What do you feel are the responsibilities of a doctor?
  2. What do you consider the most critical social problem that humanity faces today and why?
  3. Do you follow the latest news and events worldwide?
  4. What books, films, resources and other sources of information contributed the most to your medical education?
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Article written by Medlink Students
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