The majority of medical schools send out their interview invitations during the months of October through January, but this is no cause to concern if you do not receive an invite within this timeframe. It is largely dependent on the timing of when you submit your secondary applications. Oftentimes, the earlier you submit your secondary, the sooner you hear back from the institution.
Most interview invites are sent between the months of October through January; however, it depends on when the applicant submitted their primary and secondary applications. Should one submit these documents earlier in the cycle, they should expect to receive an interview invite sooner than those who submit later on. Once the individual has received their invite and completed the interviewing process, medical schools usually send out admissions decisions 2-3 weeks after the interview date.
While it is most common to receive an invite by January, some schools’ interview cycle can extend into February or March. Do not be quick to assume that this means you were not as “good” of an applicant! Your application may have simply been reviewed by the admissions committee later on, and regardless, you should be sure to enter with a positive mindset and prepared with your best foot forward with the goal of becoming accepted into medical school.
Medical schools will often provide you with a variety of interview dates to select from that can be spread out over weeks to months. While it is recommended to select an earlier date, you should always consider when you will feel most prepared and what fits in with your work or school schedule. After all, performing poorly on an earlier interview is undoubtedly less desirable than presenting yourself as a stunning candidate in a later interview.
Upon receiving an interview, your chances of being accepted into medical school rise considerably. It is difficult to state an exact percentage of your individual chance of being accepted following the interview itself, as it all comes down to how well you perform and prove your candidacy to the members of the admissions committee.
Most medical schools tend to use a few tried-and-true questions. Preparing your responses to these beforehand will go a long way in helping you answer them effectively and eloquently. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Tell me about yourself: Make sure to keep your answer focused and relevant in the context of your candidacy as a medical student but be personal with your approach. Remember, this may be your opportunity to show a side of yourself which has not shown through your primary or secondary applications. Try to describe your background while tying in your inspiration to become a physician.
Why do you want to become a doctor?: It is advised to stay away from answers such as “to help people,” or “because I love science.” Instead, reflect upon the moment you wanted to become a physician, what did you feel? How did you view doctors at the time? Is there a particular health disparity or issue that you hope to make a difference towards? Keeping your answer unique and relevant to your individual situation will allow you to create a response that will stun your interviewer(s) and come off as authentic as well as genuine.
How do you handle stress?: Medical students and doctors are under a great deal of stress in their daily lives. It is in the admissions committee’s best interest to evaluate your ability to practice wellness in times of hardship in order to ensure that you truly will thrive at their institution. To answer this question, think back on a stressful time you went through, what did you do to stay healthy and calm? Do you have a support system you turn to? Briefly talk about these to demonstrate to your interviewer your potential to handle a difficult medical school curriculum. Do not be afraid to take it one step further and anticipate how having these coping mechanisms under times of stress have prepared you to be a medical student.
What are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?: Pick a couple of strengths that will benefit you as a future medical student and physician. For your weaknesses, pick one or two and mention how you have not only acknowledged them, but also put in the work to improve yourself. Be honest and transparent with your weaknesses – reflection is a large part of a career in medicine.
Why would you like to attend our medical school?: This is where admissions committees will see how much research you have done on their institution prior to the interview or if this is another school of which you have only applied to in order to increase your likelihood of acceptance. Try to tie your own interests to specific programs or initiatives that the school has for their medical students to show them that you truly belong there. If you have been in contact with any former or current students about their experiences, that is also something that would be great to include! Is this school local to you currently and you have a support system nearby? Mention this as well! The goal is to show your interviewer that you are both passionate about their school and have a plan of what you wish to accomplish as a student there.
Your interview may not be limited to these questions, but this is a great place to begin your preparations!
There are a few questions that can potentially catch those who are unprepared off-guard. Knowing these ahead of time and composing your answer accordingly can help you to avoid any possible mishaps and allow you to sound more refined during your interview:
One-on-one interviews can range from 20 to 60 minutes. The length of the interview does not reflect your performance. Rather, the timing depends on various factors such as the number of questions the interviewer has prepared to ask and/or how many other students he or she has to speak with that day.
The medical student ambassadors/interviewers are just as important to interact with as the faculty. Oftentimes, they do have some say in whether or not a candidate will receive an acceptance letter to join their medical school family. Below are some examples of topics to ask about that will show the medical student your interest in their program, and excitement to join their ranks:
Caribbean medical schools will often ask the same common medical school interview questions as those in the United States. However, there are a couple that may stand out, which you should prepare for:
On the day of the interview, many people find their nerves getting the best of them, causing them to fall into the trap of a few typical interview mistakes. Proper practice prior to the interview can help avoid this, as well as make you aware of what these mishaps are:
The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format consists of various short assessments designed to test the applicant’s ability to handle various presented scenarios and questions. These require one to think quickly and decide on a plan of action with which to articulate clearly to the interviewer.
The most common issue that can be faced is often a result of nerves getting the best of the applicant. Oftentimes, the student may ramble in providing their response to the presented scenario and fail to make proper connections between it and their own experiences or opinions. The best way to tackle this would be to prepare prior to the interview by going through mock MMI scenarios. In these, you can practice such techniques as taking a deep breath to calm down before providing an answer, and drawing relevant parallels between your plan of action in the response and past experiences. Remember, like a traditional interview, if you fail to answer a question how you imaged, this is okay – do not let this weigh down your mind. Focus on the question at hand to knock that one out of the park!
While we may currently be in the era of COVID-19, it is still essential to develop a strong handshake for future medical school interviews and beyond. Starting off with a confident, firm handshake, eye contact, and a smile as you greet your interviewer when you first enter will go a long way in establishing a positive first impression. Regarding the handshake itself, try not to make it too limp or overly firm, this is not a competition, and you should try to be as natural as possible. It would also be in your best interest to shake hands with the interviewer at the conclusion of the interview, smile, and thank them for their time. This will again cement a positive impression of you as a potential MD/DO candidate at their school.
Should the interviewer for any reason decline to shake your hand, do not feel awkward or sheepish. Keep a focused mindset and sit down in preparation to ace your interview!
There is no need to carry an entire backpack to your interview, but there are a few essentials you should bring with you for a well-prepared, relaxed day!
As an aside, some medical school admissions departments arrange for a safe location for you to store personal items and luggage, should you be traveling for the interview.
The items needed for an MMI are exactly the same as those you should bring to any other interview. Please see our advice for “what you should bring to a medical school interview” for a more detailed outline!
On the day of the interview, you will be doing a lot of talking. By bringing a neutral bottle of water, you will be prepared in the event that your mouth dries up. While coughing during your interview is not a fast-track to an immediate rejection, it does not present well to the interviewer. Taking sips of water when appropriate will help you speak smoothly and clearly.
Another use of water in your interview can be in the event you need to take a little time to consider your response to a particularly thought-inducing question. Rather than staring into space, taking a drink of water as you internalize your answer can help you appear more composed in front of your interviewer.
Medical school interviews are nothing to sweat as long as you have prepared accordingly. Here are some helpful tips to guide you in getting ready for your big day!:
Group interviews are often structured to not only learn more about the applicants, but also observe their interactions with fellow candidates. Here are a few tips to help you stand out in the crowd:
Here are three simple “do’s” you should keep in mind as you conduct yourself on interview day:
Here are a few “don’ts” that you should try to avoid:
The night before your medical school interview should be spent mainly relaxing and getting into a state of mind ready to excel. Lay out all of the items you will take with you to the interview, as well as your dry cleaned/pressed attire to ensure that it is ready for you to put on in the morning. Eat a nutritious dinner, and make sure to verbally practice your prepared responses. Most importantly, plan to get at least 8 hours of sleep. Having the proper amount of rest is essential, as it will allow you to present to the school sharp and ready to speak in favor of your candidacy for medical school.
Medical school interviews are no cause for stress or concerns as long as you follow some basic guidelines to excel. Please refer to our outline of “Medical School Interview Tips” for more information on what exactly you can do to ace your interview!
In your portfolio, you should make sure to include a few copies of your resume. This will come in handy if you see an opportunity in which to make it available to your interviewers, or to refer to it as you respond to the committee’s inquiries.
Your resume should follow the basic outline of your education, relevant experiences, research, leadership and community service, and your awards, honors, and skills.
A portfolio is essentially a nice folder in which you will carry documents that may be needed on the day of your interview. This should be simple and in a neutral color, such as a black leather. Inside your portfolio, you should place at least two copies of your resume, personal statement, primary, and secondary applications. If you conducted previous research, copies of your abstract(s) should be brought, as well. Carrying a portfolio allows you to look more prepared, professional, and interested, which are important in establishing a strong first impression.
Your appearance on the day of the interview is just as important as the responses you give to various questions. Below is a brief overview of what you can wear to ensure that you are dressed as nicely as your application:
On the day of the interview, the admissions team will meet and interact with many hopeful premeds. To avoid being lost in the crowd, try to keep in mind these helpful tips to shine:
Your interviewer will interact with and meet plenty of hopeful pre-meds throughout the admissions cycle! By sending out a thank you note to each individual who interviews you, you ensure that he or she remembers you specifically, and more importantly, allows you to thank the interviewer for taking the time to get to know you as an applicant. Try to have this sent in no later than 3 days after your interview. Here is an example for you to emulate:
Dear Dr. Smith,
Thank you very much for taking the time to meet with me on September 25th. I greatly enjoyed speaking with you and learning more about Motivate MD University’s dedication to serving the underserved, which perfectly aligns with my own interests and aspirations to resolve disparities in healthcare across various socioeconomic backgrounds. I especially appreciated the on-campus free clinic, where I could both practice skills learned in class and further the efforts to improve the health of the surrounding community.
It was an honor to be invited to Motivate MD University. If you have any questions, or would like additional information to support my candidacy, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org / (123) 456-7890.
Currently an Emergency Medicine Physician in New Orleans.
Hi! My name is Akosua and I am currently a third-year medical student at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in 2016 and graduated summa cum laude. Mentorship has been and continues to be an important part of my life. In college, I was part of an organization called Empowering, Encouraging, Eliminating Barriers in which I was a mentor to high school girls interested in STEM careers. As a first-year medical student, I was paired with a UChicago undergraduate student through the Minority Association of Premedical Students and have been mentoring her since then. The summer after my first year, I was paired with a student who was completing a pipeline program here at Pritzker and I have been mentoring her since then. I have also acted as a mentor informally to several undergraduate students who applied during the 2020-2021 cycle, all of whom have been accepted to various medical schools. I was a non-traditional applicant. I took two years off after undergrad to engage in research at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. My projects focused on exploring the effects of a global, systemic injury in rodent models to mimic premature birth in humans. I was able to publish a few original science and review papers during this time. I am currently taking a year off to complete a Master’s in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I am incredibly excited to be a part of the Motivate MD team. I know firsthand how important it is to have guidance during this process and look forward to helping you with your pre-med journey!
Hey! My name is Quinn and I am a second year medical student at the NYU Grossmen School of Medicine. I am currently a MiniMentor at NYU where I mentor a group of four first year students! At the University of Florida prior to medical school I was a volunteer director for Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-health honor society, and helped lead a group of 15-20 pre-health students in volunteer activities, as well as being available through our website to give advice for premed students in our program. I am currently in-press for a write-up about a new vascular procedure here at NYU, and am published in a paper exploring a potential treatment for myotonic dystrophy! I have also volunteered at UF’s pediatric oncology and hematology unit and currently work as part of the referrals team for the Free Clinic here at NYU.
My name is Emma and I am currently a third year medical student at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) in New Mexico. While I was born in AZ, I grew up in Albuquerque, NM and graduated summa cum laude from The University of New Mexico (UNM) with a BS in Medical Laboratory Sciences. After graduating college, I relocated to Baltimore, MD where I worked as Clinical Laboratory Scientist for two years prior to beginning medical school. I enjoy writing and am humbled to have had two articles published in 2020 as well as currently contribute to the Motivate MD blog. At BCOM, I have created the Burrell-Aggie Mentorship Program which is a program created specifically for NMSU Pipeline and pre-medical students. I hold mentorship to the highest regard as none of my own family members were doctors or even in the medical field, so I learned as I advanced along my journey. I had always wished I had a mentor guide me through the pre-med years, medical school application process, and early years in medical school, so my goal is to be that mentor for students. I know what it feels like to be uncertain whether you are making the right moves and decisions in the pre-med realm. If this feels like you right now – I am more than happy to assist in any facet of your medical school journey!
Hey Everyone! My name is Anuj, and I am currently a fourth-year medical students at the University of New England Osteopathic Medicine. Prior to beginning medical school, I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Connecticut in Physiology and Neurobiology, and followed that with a Master in Physiology at Georgetown University. I am excited to have matched at my #1 choice for residency this year, and will begin my journey at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Anesthesiology!
Throughout my collegiate education I have followed one rule – pursue your passion and find yourself in every activity; I truly believe these are the activities that hold the most meaning. Growing up right outside of Boston, Massachusetts, arguably the city of champions, I have always gravitated towards sports – I enjoy not only watching, but also playing sports including football and baseball. I devote a lot of my free time biking, hiking, and spending time in the general outdoors. Having this being my hobby, I naturally combined it with my undergraduate and graduate degrees, but also my passion in medicine, and further participating in many extracurricular, research, and leadership activities. I devoted much time into Special Olympics of Connecticut and Maine enjoying spreading the joy of sports, but also working with this unique population advocating for awareness in medical discrepancies through clinical research. As for research, I lived out my dream and participated in several research projects at the National Football League (NFL) – even getting to go the NFL Headquarters in NYC for the Award Gala! Further, I continued to explore my interests and have published several research articles and projects pertaining to medical innovation, public health issues, and recently, the Novel COVID-19 Virus. I have conducted research at Boston Children’s Hospital, but also through recognized fellowships grants as a medical student, and with national, and international research teams.
I found mentoring as a great passion of mine – as a first-generation medical professional, I found early on that mentorship is key. This includes a person to serve as a mentor, but also help with editing and general advice! I have been fortunate to have great mentors, and I look forward to passing that on to the students I have the pleasure working with. I throughout medical school served as a tutor and teaching assistant in several courses. I am thrilled to be part of the amazing team at Motivate MD, and am excited to be a resource for you as we work towards journey and goal.
Hi guys! My name is Dr. Ravin Patel, I am a Family Medicine Resident based out of NJ! I am a recent graduate of a 7-year accelerated B.S./D.O. program at Nova Southeastern University. Outside of medicine, I also work as a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’ve participated in mentorship since high school both as a mentee and a mentor as I progressed from undergrad, medical school to residency. I was involved in my college’s mentorship program which gave me an early insight into medical school applications and how to succeed as a medical student. As I transitioned to medical school, I continued to mentor undergraduate students on how to have a successful transition to the professional school setting. I am so excited to get to know you all and help motivate and work with you guys to help you reach and exceed your goals!
Hi all! My name is Haley and I’m a 1st year medical student at Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL. My path to medical school has been challenging to say the least and I feel incredibly honored to be able to use my experience to advise others on their own journey to medicine. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with my bachelor’s in Sociology and certificates in Gender & Women’s Studies and Global Health. In college, I most enjoyed being involved in my community which led me to experiences such as working with students at an adult English Second Language school, volunteering as a medical assistant in a free clinic and serving as a support advocate on a crisis helpline. After graduating, my passions for service and mentorship led me to dedicate a year of service with AmeriCorps in Louisiana where I was a 3rd grade math instructor and near-peer mentor. I know from my own experience just how crucial it is to have reliable mentorship and advising while navigating the complex process of medical school applications, and I look forward to having that opportunity to support you on your journey to medicine!
My name is Emma and I am a 4th year medical student at Kansas City University, currently in the process of applying to residency. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for my bachelor’s degree and loved every minute! As a student, I was able to participate in several medicine-related volunteer trips abroad, worked in academic research at the medical school, and was able to help create several publications, including earning a first authorship. After college, I took some time off before medical school and worked as an emergency medicine scribe in the Twin Cities and then transitioned into clinical and academic research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. As an undergrad, I always knew that I wanted to pursue medicine but wasn’t entirely sure how to get there. It would have been helpful to have a mentor for guidance throughout the complicated process of being a pre-med student!
Throughout medical school, I have been fortunate to serve as a mentor to younger medical students and have also spent time tutoring, participating in research, pursuing a masters in bioethics, and volunteering. I was also selected to serve as a nutritional coach for school-aged children at risk of obesity and worked to create motivational and educational plans for developing healthy habits. I am thrilled to be a part of Motivate MD and look forward to helping you on your journey to medical school!
Hi! My name is Ankitha Iyer and I am a first-year medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine. I received a B.S in Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in 2019. Before medical school, I took a gap year where I worked as an Advanced Critical Care Patient Care Technician in the Medical ICU at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In my time at the University of Pittsburgh I was a teaching assistant for four courses, and part of the Delta Epsilon Mu Pre-Health Fraternity, where I served as a mentor for several younger premed students. Additionally, I served with Jumpstart, an early education Americorps program for underserved preschool kids, started a non-profit organization that catered to the emotional health of Senior Citizens, and engaged in Cardiology, Public Health and Cognitive Neuroscience research. In my time in college, I have mentored a variety of students specifically on how to engage in active, entrepreneurial service and leadership while exploring their path towards medicine. Mentorship is a very important method for me to disseminate the knowledge I wish I had received from a mentor myself.
At Wake Forest School of Medicine, I am part of the executive board of the General Surgery Interest group and OASIS Anthology of Medical Humanities. I am mentoring an underserved undergraduate premed student at Wake Forest University through our Mentoring the Pipeline organization. I am also currently involved both Head and Neck Radiation Oncology and Neurosurgery research projects. I owe who I am today to the mentors who have provided me their unwavering support and guided me through times of uncertainty. I hope to provide you the same strategic mentorship to be a driven, proactive, and pioneering future student doctor!