• Rajani Katta MD

350 Common Medical School Interview Questions to Help You Prepare for Your Interview

Updated: Jul 5


We know how anxiety-provoking and challenging it can be to prepare for the medical school interview. Studies have shown that the interview is the most important factor in admissions decisions, and the stakes are high. You have one shot at your dream school when you're interviewing, so it’s important to be as prepared as possible.


The following list of questions will help you get started.




Why It's So Important to Prepare Extensively For Your Medical School Interview


We've spoken and written extensively about the medical school interview, because it's such an incredibly important part of the application process. Applicants spend years working to achieve a high GPA. They spend months preparing to take the MCAT. And then, unfortunately, they may just spend a few days or weeks preparing for the interview.


That's a huge mistake.


It's incredibly important to prepare in advance for your interviews, and to give your interview prep the effort and attention it needs. If you'd like to learn more about exactly how important the medical school interview is when it comes to med school admissions, please see our podcast episode that goes into depth on this topic.




The Medical School Interview: When It Comes to Admissions, It May Be Even More Important Than Your MCAT score or Your GPA


Surveys indicate that when it comes to admissions decisions, the medical school interview may actually be more important than either your GPA or your MCAT score. In fact, a less than stellar interview performance is felt to be one major reason why so many high-achieving medical school applicants are ultimately rejected. Data from the AAMC indicates that about 1 in 5 high-achieving medical school applicants are rejected from medical school. These are applicants with a 3.8 or higher GPA and an MCAT score of 514 or higher! We know what it takes to achieve scores like that, and that's why it's important to give the interview the attention and effort it deserves.




Learn About the Variations of the Common Medical School Interview Questions

Let's start with some of the common med school interview questions. Why do you want to be a doctor? Why did you choose to apply to our medical school?


Most applicants to medical school are familiar with these types of common interview questions. Many interviewers will ask slight variations of these basic, standard questions.


However, there are many more potential questions. After interviewing hundreds of applicants, we've found that most applicants come prepared for the very common questions. However, they struggle with two types of other questions.


  • The variations of the common questions

  • The less common (but still potentially asked) questions


We created this list of over 350 medical school interview questions to help you as you prepare for your interviews.




The Most Common Interview Questions Fall Into About 30 Different Categories or "Parent" Questions


Note one important point: although we've listed over 350 questions, many of these questions fall into different groups. In fact, most of these questions are variations or subsets of about 30 main "parent" questions or categories of questions. (Doesn’t that sound much less intimidating?)




Learn How to Prepare Unique, Unforgettable Responses to Common Questions


Knowing what questions you might be asked is, of course, just a starting point. Your overarching goal is to craft powerful, unforgettable responses to each of the common interview questions.





350 Common Medical School Interview Questions, Grouped Into "Parent" Questions or Categories

How are you today? (Icebreaker Questions)


1. Did you have any trouble getting here?

2. How do you like the weather?

3. It’s quite a cold/hot/snowy/rainy/windy day, isn’t it?

4. Did you have any trouble finding a place to park?

5. How do you like [our city]? Have you ever visited before?

6. Did you get a chance to explore [our city]?

7. Was there a lot of traffic on your way here from the airport (or hotel)?

8. How do you like living in ____?

9. I see that you go to [school/university]. How do you like it?

10. What do you prefer to be called?

11. How has your visit with us been so far?

12. Do you think you would enjoy living in ____?

Tell me about yourself.


1. What brings you here today?

2. Tell me how you got to this point in life.

3. Tell me something about you that has nothing to do with academics.

4. Tell me your story.

5. Tell me about your life.

6. If you could sum yourself and application up in a short pitch what would you say?

7. Give me a one-sentence summary of yourself.

8. What should I know about you?

9. Tell me something I can’t find anywhere on your application.

10. Teach me something.

Why do you want to be a doctor?


1. What led you to pursue a career in medicine?

2. What stimulated your interest in medicine?

3. Name a meaningful experience you’ve had and how it’s shaped you to pursue work as a physician.

4. What major life influences led you to your decision to pursue medicine?

5. Name one specific event that confirmed your desire to go into medicine.

6. Why medicine over everything else?

7. What leads you to apply to medical school?

8. How long have you been interested in medicine?

9. What influenced you to be a doctor?

10. What was the defining moment when you decided you wanted to be a doctor?

11. What person in your life has influenced your decision to pursue medicine?

12. Tell me about your path to medicine.

13. How do you know you want to be a physician?

14. What got you interested in the field of medicine and why are you pursuing it?

15. What is your motivation to pursue medicine?

16. Why did you choose to be a doctor?

17. What is the number one reason you want to be a doctor?

Integrity/Professionalism


1. What does integrity mean to you?

2. Define professionalism.

3. Is there a time where you witnessed a physician interacting with a patient in a manner you believed to be unprofessional?

Why our school?

Our approach to answering this question


1. What qualities are you looking for in a school?

2. Describe your ideal medical school.

3. What interests you most about our school?

4. Tell me what you know about our school.

5. Why do you want to be a student here?

6. What two or three things are important to you in a medical school?

7. Why did you choose to apply to our medical school?

8. What factors will affect your choice of medical school?

9. Why would you come to our medical school?

10. Why is our medical school a good fit for you?

11. Is there anything you have heard that makes you think less of our medical school?

12. Is there anything you don’t like about our medical school?

13. Would you come to our medical school when you live so far away?

14. How do your goals relate to your interest in our medical school?

15. What are you looking for in deciding which school to attend?

16. How much do you want to go to this school?

17. If you were accepted to all schools you applied to what would be the deciding factor onw here you chose to go?

What are your weaknesses?


1. What is your weakness that concerns you the most?

2. What about yourself would you change if you could?

3. What are your shortcomings?

4. What are your two worst qualities?

5. What is your greatest weakness?

6. What is one thing or trait your friends would change about you?

7. Name one bad thing your friends would say about you.

Do you have any questions for me?


1. What questions do you have about our school?

2. What would you like to ask me about our medical school?

What are your strengths?

Our approach to answering this question


1. What are your positive qualities?

2. Do you like to work with other people?

3. If your best friends were asked to describe you, what would they say?

4. Describe your personality.

5. How would you describe yourself?

6. What would your best friend say about you in convincing me I should admit you to our medical school?

7. Describe yourself in three words.

8. What do you think are the most important qualities a person should have to be a good doctor? How do you rate yourself in these areas?

9. What are your three best qualities?

10. Why should we pick you over the other candidates?

11. What is your biggest strength, and how would it make you a better physician?

12. What strength would you contribute to the incoming class?

13. What three adjectives would classmates use to describe you in a classroom setting?

14. What three qualities should a doctor possess and do you have those?

15. What would your Dad say is your most impressive quality?

16. Name one good thing that your friends would say about you.

Where do you see yourself in 5/10/15 years?


1. What are your specific goals in medicine?

2. What type of physician would you like to be?

3. Where do you plan to practice after you graduate?

4. What specialty interests you?

5. Where do you see your career going 5/10/15 years from now?

6. How do you envision your career in 5/10/15 years?

7. Where do you see yourself in the future?

8. Where do you see your career going?

9. Is there a specific area you see yourself pursuing?

10. Have you thought about what field of medicine you might like to end up in?

11. Are you planning on staying in ___ after your graduation?

12. Where do you see yourself after medical school?

13. What are your career goals?

How have you explored medicine as a career?


1. Is medicine a rewarding career? Why?

2. What health care experience have you had?

3. If you want to help people, why not social work?

4. Do you know what a real doctor’s life is like?

5. What experiences have you had in the community that demonstrate a commitment to medicine?

6. What steps have you taken to acquaint yourself with what a physician does?

7. Tell me about your shadowing experiences.

8. Tell me about your patient interactions.

9. What did you learn from your experiences in the medical field?

10. What did you gather from your clinical experience?

11. What have you heard about life in medical school?

12. To what extent do you understand the life of a physician?

13. Describe any medical experiences you have had.

14. What experiences have you had that have reaffirmed your belief that medicine is for you?

15. What surprised you about medicine?

Tell me about your volunteer activities.


1. What specific volunteer experience was most meaningful?

2. What have you learned from all your volunteer experiences?

3. How has X experience influenced your career goals?

4. Out of all your experiences, which one was most important to you?

5. What were some of the challenges you encountered in ___?

6. Why did you get involved in ____?

7. How will your experience volunteering make you a better physician?

8. What experience have you found most rewarding?

9. Tell me more specifically what you do in [activity].

10. What are some satisfactions you have received from volunteering your time?

11. Can you tell me about some of your volunteering experiences and how they relate to medicine?

12. Tell me about an interesting patient you saw during your volunteer experience.

13. What has been your favorite volunteer experience and why?

14. How has your ___ experience influenced the way you approach medicine?

15. Explain how ____ experience helped you grow as a person.

Tell me about your extracurricular activities.


1. What extracurricular activities have you been involved in?

2. Describe extracurriculars.

3. How has X experience influenced your career goals?

4. Out of all your experiences, which one was most important to you?

5. What was your most meaningful experience?

6. What were some of the challenges you encountered in ___?

7. Why did you get involved in ____?

8. What is the overarching theme to your activities?

9. What experience have you found most rewarding?

10. Tell me more specifically what you do in [activity].

11. How has your ___ experience influenced the way you approach medicine?

12. Explain how ____ experience helped you grow as a person.

Tell me about your shadowing experience.


1. Explain your most impactful shadowing experience.

2. What did you like about your shadowing experience?

3. What did you dislike about your shadowing experience?

4. What were some of the challenges you encountered in ___?

5. How will your experience shadowing make you a better physician?

6. Tell me more specifically what you do in [activity].

7. Tell me about an interesting patient you saw during your shadowing experience.

8. What did you learn from your shadowing experience?

9. What is one good thing you saw while shadowing?

10. What is one bad thing you saw while shadowing?

11. Describe a good physician-patient interaction that you witnessed and one that could have been better.

Tell me about your work experience.

Tell me about your experience abroad.


1. How did it shape your views?

Tell me about your research experience.

Our approach to answering this question


1. Explain your research as if you were trying to educate a patient without a science background about it.

2. Why don’t you just devote yourself to research?

3. Tell me about your current research.

4. Can you tell me about your research experience and how it plays in your future?

5. What are some of the things that you learned or liked from performing research?

6. Describe ____ research experience and the implication of your results.

7. How would you explain your research to a 12-year-old?

8. Summarize your contributions to one of the research projects you listed.

9. Why do you want to do medicine instead of research?

Tell me about your gap year.


1. Can you tell me more about what you have doing in your gap year?

2. Why did you work in ___ during your gap year?

3. Why did you decide to take a year off?

Tell me about your leadership experience.


1. How have you shown leadership during your undergraduate years?

2. Provide me with an example of your leadership ability.

3. Tell me about a leadership position you held in college.

4. How are you a leader?

5. What leadership positions have you held?

6. What have you done that shows initiative?

7. What are you most proud of about yourself?

8. What do you think are the qualities of a good leader?

9. What leadership roles have you had and how have they impacted you?

10. What do you think leadership is and how have you demonstrated it?

Why should we choose you?


1. There are so many qualified applicants. Why should we pick you?

2. What do you have to offer our school?

3. What contributions can you make to our school?

4. What do you have to offer that others don’t?

5. What will you contribute to the profession?

6. What do you want me to tell the admissions committee on your behalf?

7. What makes you unique?

8. What would you bring to our school?

9. Is there anything you would like to update the admissions committee with?

10. If you had the chance to make your case to the admissions committee, what would you say to them that they should accept you?

11. What do you bring to the entering class that makes you a better choice than many of the other candidates we have this year?

12. What sets you apart?

13. What’s one thing that I should know about you?

14. I’m your biggest advocate to the admissions committee. What should I tell them about you to prove that you are an excellent choice for our medical school?

15. Is there anything else you would like me to know about you that we haven’t talked about?

What are some of the challenges facing medicine today?

Our approach to answering one of these questions


1. What do you think about the changes that are taking place in medicine?

2. What do you think is the most pressing issue in medicine today?

3. What is the most prominent healthcare issue facing your community today and how would you help fix it?

4. What are three current health care issues and propose how to solve one?

5. What do you think about our healthcare system and the way it should go?

6. What do you think is wrong with the current healthcare system?

7. What problems do you see in healthcare now and in the next ten years?

8. What would you do to remedy healthcare in the United States?

9. Why do you think some physicians are unhappy practicing medicine?

10. What do you see as the pros and cons of a medical career?

11. What are your thoughts on healthcare?

12. How does politics influence healthcare?

13. What needs to change in healthcare over the next ten years?

14. What is an issue you find particularly intriguing in healthcare?

15. Tell me three positive aspects of the ACA and three things you would change.

16. What challenges do you think await you and the other members of your medical school class when you enter the workforce as a physician?

17. What do you think is the most important discovery in medicine?

What is your greatest accomplishment?


1. What is your greatest achievement?

2. What are you most proud of?

What would you do if you were not accepted to medical school?


1. Why medicine as opposed to teaching or other service profession?

2. If you couldn’t go into medicine, what field would you go into?