Interview Questions You WILL be asked

It's kind of pointless to give you a list of a thousand interview questions that you MIGHT be asked. Instead, here's a list of questions you WILL be asked. Think of your own answers (talking to yourself is OK if you’re in a private place), then click the links below for the “honors level” answer. The parenthetical references are the subtext of each question (i.e. what they’re REALLY asking):

1. What makes you stand out from other applicants? (Why the hell should we pick you?)

Go back to your personal statement and think about what makes you hot. Things like a “team mentality” (if you played college sports), an interest in the greater good (if you’ve done mad community service), being enthralled with basic science (if you’re a research guru) are all cool ways to go.

2. Why do you want to come to THIS program? (Tell me how great I am.)

Do your homework. This means reading about the program AND about your interviewers. Sorry if you don’t like kissing up, but it sure doesn’t hurt to tastefully make a reference to Dr. so-and-so’s research as something that you find interesting.

3. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (Are you going into academics?)

Yes. I hate to say it, but you should probably just lie here. Honestly. Unless you’re going to rural South Africa to do missionary work, you should probably just say that you plan on working in a hospital. Your interviewer thinks that private practice is a sell out. Are you calling them an idiot?

4. Why do you want to be a [insert subspecialty] doctor? (Are you in it for the money?)

This is an open-ended one, and you should (gasp!) tell the truth. “Because I like to help people,” is pretty bland. Think of what you LOVE about your subspecialty... Killing cancer, healing children, helping people cope with their illness... My granddaddy sewed my tongue back on after I bit it off at 6 when I fell off my bike. True story.

5. If you couldn't be a doctor, what would you be? (Are you a total jerk?)

You could say “dentist,” which is what I said, because it’s true. I think ‘doctor’ is Latin for ‘teacher,’ which could be a sweet answer if you’re a smarty-pants. Just put some thought into this one... I got asked 3 times on my interview trail (.com).

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