Getting admitted into medical school can be a tough call, especially with a pre-med-interview bridge to cross. The interview seeks to reveal qualities such as your ability to work with others, adapt to changing environments, and deal with stressful situations.
Considering how critical these skills are in the medical field, interviews take time. While such conversations can be frightening, it’s a golden opportunity for your unique qualities and soft skills to shine.
This post provides helpful tips to stand out from your pre-med internship. You’ll also learn how to prepare and shine during your pre-med interview.
- Start Early
The ‘preparation is the key to success’ cliché remains true even in the medical field. Whether you’re invited to a panel for a traditional, conversational pre-med interview, the key to performing well is early preparation. A pre-med interview requires copious preparation.
However, if you begin early, you can cater to everything you need to prepare yourself. How soon should you start preparing? The best time is shortly after applying. Although some medical schools would give you a couple of days or weeks’ notification, it’s wise to start preparing once you make an application.
That way, you’ll have enough time to prepare and won’t have to cram with an imminent deadline hanging over your head.
- Respond To The Interview Request Promptly
Once the medical school calls you for an interview, you should respond without delay. Due to the volume of students most interview committees need to attend, they have short and limited time.
Giving a prompt response not only shows you are alert and grateful for the opportunity to hear back from the school, but it also offers an impression that you are very much interested in the program.
In some cases, the timeliness of your response makes or breaks your chance of partaking in the interview. Moreover, you will be able to choose an optimal date and time for your schedule when you respond promptly.
- Determine The Format Of The Interview
Pre-med interviews can take different formats. If not stated alongside the call for an interview, you should find out what form your interviews will take. It helps to know the exact type of interview you’re facing and information about the kinds of questions you may be asked.
Some medical schools use the panel/traditional interview format where different interviewers ask you questions. Some others adopt the multiple mini-interviews (MMI) format, taking situational judgment tests from various interviewers. The modified personal interview (MPI) format shares both MMI and traditional interviews characteristics. At the same time, the hybrid interview format combines different interview types. Know the particular format you will face and prepare for it.
- Practice With Sample Questions
Once you’re sure of the format of interview you’ll be facing, the next step is practice. Practice with sample questions and real-life mock interviews. This will give you a feel of what the interview will look like and the type of questions you can expect.
While practicing, look out for the most commonly asked question. However, don’t limit yourself to such questions. You can’t be sure that your interviewers will ask questions similar to those you practiced. They may decide to tweak things a bit with weird, intimating, and ethical questions. To be on the wiser side, practice with a wide variety of questions and engage in self-arguments.
- Avoid Cramming Answers
Many prospective pre-med interns think that the best way to prepare for an interview is to cram their answers. Most of them believe that they can easily give the answer they have crammed and impress their interviewers when asked a question. Unfortunately, that is most likely not going to be the case.
Crammed answers have their undoing. Firstly, they sound fake when given. And most times, interviewers can tell when an applicant is reeling out condensed answers. Instead of cramming answers and risk appearing canny, think of ways to enrich your answers with good illustrations and experiences.
- Refine Your Communication Skills
How you deliver your answers is as important as the quality of those answers. This is why you must improve your communication skills. This doesn’t mean you should be phony. You only need to ensure you demonstrate a commendable level of eloquence, clarity, and coherence.
One of the ways you can communicate better is by eliminating filler words such as ‘ah’ ‘um’ from your conversation. Try to speak succinctly without excessive fillers.
Also, support your points with relevant examples, and don’t forget to think before you speak. Good speaking begins with good thinking. Do not be in a hurry to give answers. Process and organize your thoughts before voicing them.
- Look The Part
Your appearance matters. The way you look sends a message across to your interviewers. Most times, your appearance is the first thing about you that gets evaluated. How you dress can either speak well or ill of you.
If you’re a male, endeavor to get a nice suit. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one. Just ensure it fits your body shape. Wear it alongside a nice tie and shoes. Females don’t have to bother about wearing a suit. However, you must dress professionally if you’re one. Dressing appropriately helps interviewers take you more seriously.
- Keep Yourself In Good Shape
It would help if you considered essential factors such as your physical, mental, and psychological state. It’s necessary to put your body and mind in a relaxed and positive state before your interview. Ensure you eat properly. Preparation time is not the best time to starve yourself. You should also get enough rest.
While you’ve wanted to study longer, sacrificing your sleep is unhealthy, especially when the interview gets closer. Good sleep and diet both help the brain function well. Take enough time to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
- Prepare Your Questions
In most cases, interviewers will ask if you have any questions for them. It’s unwise to say you don’t. Such a response may suggest low confidence, interest, or creativity. To avoid an I-have-no-question situation, have a list of questions you can ask your interviewers. Questions such as ‘do you have any advice for me?’ and ‘why did you choose the medical profession?’ are examples of good questions to ask.
Acing your pre-med interview takes you a step closer to your dream of becoming a medical intern. Interviews allow you to shine a light on your unique abilities and soft skills. Taking time to prepare yourself adequately increases your chances of getting the response you desire.