Top 6 Weird Medical School Interview Questions

Would you rather be a tree or a flower? If you had one last day on earth, what would you eat and why? Why would I get asked these kinds of questions?

Asking weird medical school interview questions is a common technique that interviewers use to get a better idea of your personality and how you function. So many applicants have memorized their answers to common interview questions that admissions committees can struggle to get a sense of your authentic responses. These questions are meant to be hard, because the truth is more likely to come out when you’re taken by surprise. Your responses to these weird questions display your thought process more genuinely compared to generic questions that you will be prepared for. The interviewer is interested in you and your thought process or values, not your actual answer.

Being asked these questions can be a shock, but don’t freak out.

Follow our steps to ace your weird medical school interview questions!

  1. Don’t panic. 
  2. We advise that you don’t answer or start talking right away. Ask them to repeat the question, take a drink of water, or ask for more time. For example, you can say “That’s so interesting! I’m going to take a moment to think.” It’s not bad to ask for more time–in fact, it’s better to express that you are going to consider the question carefully! If you answer too fast, interviewers may think that you’re not giving a serious response. The goal is to calm your nerves a little and get the time you need to collect your thoughts.
  3. Ask clarifying questions. This helps show that you are being attentive and receptive to the question, as well as gives you more time. 
  4. How to answer: Discuss both sides of the argument or the various possibilities if applicable. This will illustrate your reasoning, which is what the interviewer is interested in. If the question doesn’t have a clear side or possibility, just discuss your thought process. 
  5. Pick a definitive answer. You don’t want to say that you’re not sure, because the interviewer wants to see that you are confident and decisive.
  6. Stay up to date on medical news and policies. Sometimes you will get asked questions about these. Interviewers do not expect you to be an expert; a basic level of knowledge is sufficient.

Below find examples of some crazy interview questions with insight on how to answer them.

Scenario 1: “How would you describe the color orange to someone blind?”

  • The point of this question is to assess your creativity and ability to think on the spot. 
  • Sample answer: “The color orange feels like being covered up in blankets inside on a rainy day. It feels like the warm sunshine on your body while you lay outside in the summer heat. It feels like when you eat your favorite meal or meet a friend.”

Scenario 2: “If you were a cereal, which cereal would you be? What cereal would your friends think you are?”

  • The identity question. The purpose of this question is to assess depth of self-awareness, self-confidence, and whether you are well-rounded. What matters here is not your answer, but the reasons that you give. For this kind of question you would want to give a well thought out answer.
  • Sample answer: “I would be Rice Krispies because I am energetic, fun-loving, sassy, and active. I can seem subdued and shy to people who don’t know me, but once I come out of my shell I snap crackle and pop!” 

Scenario 3: “How would you convince someone to buy this pen?”

  • This question allows the interviewer to see what your thought process is like. As a medical student, you will often have to explain ideas to patients when discussing treatment options, providing more information, or just providing reassurance to patients. Of course, you will never pressure patients to make the choice the team wants–they need to make their own choice.
  • Sample answer: “This pen is the most beneficial tool for your needs as a professional. It has top-notch features in the current pen market. Your ease of writing will be unparalleled, and it clips easily to your clothes or electronic devices. It is accessible and straightforward to use. It’s super popular in your industry, so don’t miss out! It comes in three amazing colors.”

Scenario 4: “What counts as a living thing?”

  • The philosophy question. Here, the interviewer is trying to get a sense of how you see the world, how you classify things, and how you think about existential issues. But don’t just give a textbook answer–show the interviewer how you think about philosophy. Medicine contains a lot of philosophical debates so this is important to bring up.
  • Sample answer: “I believe that a living thing is something that is able to self-perpetuate, requires some sort of substances (aka nutrition) to survive, and has a limited lifespan.”

Scenario 5: “Would you rather lose sleep or skip a meal?”

  • Sample answer: “I think the pros of losing sleep is that I could still be well-fed, but it would compromise my level of alertness. While I’d have more time in my day to do things, personally loss of sleep makes it harder for me to function. On the other hand, skipping a meal would not affect my alertness but I think that hunger could become too distracting to focus properly. However, if it is just one meal I think that I would still be able to perform and be alert. Therefore, I would pick skipping a meal over losing sleep.”

Scenario 6: “How old do you have to be to take the MCAT, like 14? My kid wants to be a doctor.”

  • The unprofessional question. The odds of getting asked crazy questions like this are a lot lower, but it’s better to be prepared than not. For a crazy question out of left field, the key is to try to control your surprise and reaction and answer it in a straightforward manner. 
  • Sample answer: “I believe there is no age requirement for the MCAT, but most people take it at the end of college or later. I am excited that your child is considering medical school, but is it ok if I provide some more information about myself right now? I’m so interested in attending your school.”

There you have it! These interview questions can get really weird and random and tricky, but remember–they usually don’t have a right answer. Interviewers just want to know why you picked what you picked. The worst thing you can do for these questions is to freeze up and not share. Let the interviewer know what you are thinking and why, and ask for clarification!

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