How Becoming a Doctor Works

The Medical School Interview

Being granted an interview is a big hurdle. Now your chances of being accepted increase tremendously because only a minority of applicants are granted an interview to a particular school. You have met their academic criteria for admission — otherwise they would not invite you for an interview. This is their chance to get to know you personally. Some rules:

  • Dress nicely
  • Be on time
  • Be polite and pleasant
  • Make eye contact
  • Don't interrupt
  • Be yourself
  • Above all, be honest

Most interviewers have been doing this a long time and can tell when you are telling them something you think they want to hear. Know as much about the school and its curriculum as possible. They will probably ask you why you have chosen this medical school. Also, be prepared for the usual questions about things such as why you want to be a doctor, how you feel about health care reform, what you think about different ethical questions, etc.


In recent years, more medical schools are experimenting with something called the multiple mini interview (MMI) format developed by McMaster University. Instead of one long interview, applicants rotate through a series of six to 10 much shorter interviews, each with a different interviewer. The applicant is given a prompt or question and two minutes to consider his or her answer before each mini interview. More than 30 medical schools now use the MMI either exclusively or in addition to one-on-one or group interviews [source: AAMC].

If you conduct your interview at the medical school, talk to as many students and faculty as you can. Learn as much as you can about the place as possible. Finally, always write a thank-you note to the people who have interviewed you.