Preparing for Your Upcoming Medical School Interviews – Know Your Interview Format and Tailor Your Approach Part 1

Congratulations, you have received an interview invite to medical school! This is both an exciting yet stressful time. The aim of this blog is to first provide general advice regarding how to prepare for any interview format, then  introduce you to the different formats of medical school interviews and know how to tailor your approach for  each. You certainly do not have to follow all the recommendations in this blog to be successful in your interview, I am simply providing a guideline with various ways to prepare. 

General Interview Advice 

The interview is the time for medical schools to get to know you on a more personal level and assess whether you  are the right fit for their program. Although each program has their own interview format, all interviews will probe  you to reflect on the personal and professional experiences that have shaped you into who you are today. It is  highly recommended that you reflect on these experiences before your interview, as the stress of interview day  may hinder your ability to recall activities that could answer the prompt at hand and evaluate the impact they have had on you and others. To do so most effectively, I suggest the following: 

1. Make a list of all your activities and significant experiences. Go through them one by one and reflect on  memorable events or people that had an impact on your personal and professional growth. Although not  all your activities will have memorable stories, try to extract meaning from each one. To do so, you could  ask yourself these 4 questions for each one: 1) Why did I do this activity? 2) What was my role? 3) What  lessons have I learned from this? 4) Were there any anecdotal stories that stood out or influenced me? 

2. Try to categorize your activities and experiences according to the CANMEDs attributes ( and reflect on HOW you have  demonstrated those attributes. By doing so, if you are asked about a time where you had to advocate for  a person or a cause for example, you would have already organized which activities or experiences  demonstrate this quality. The 4 main clusters/themes I used for categorization are: 

a. Advocacy, social justice, and working with vulnerable populations 

b. Collaboration, teamwork, and leadership 

c. Mentoring and teaching 

d. Communication, professionalism, and conflict resolution. 

3. Look online for lists of general interview questions such as “what’s your greatest weakness” and “tell us  about a time you resolved conflict”, brainstorm answers, preferably by relating them directly to your  experiences, and practice vocalizing those answers with friends or family to get feedback. 

Part 2: MMI, MPI, & Panel Coming Soon!

Learn more about the medical school interview process in our other blogs!

Guideline for Medical School Interview Preparation
5 Tips for the vMPI at the University of Toronto
Preparing for your Virtual Medical School Interview
General Medical School Interviewing Tips
5 Tips for Acing your Virtual Medical School Interview
3 Steps to Prepare for Healthcare Topic Questions in a Medical School Interview
5 Tips for Navigating Virtual Medical School Interviews
Conflict Resolution Interview Questions
Preparing for Medical School Interviews
5 Tips for Medical School Interviews
Interview Tips from a Medical Student
How to Appropriately Respond to the Ethical Station in Medical School Interviews