PREPARING FOR THE PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL INTERVIEW

 

Dennis K. Flaherty, Ph.D.

Lamar University

2003

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author’s note

This document should not be considered an original work.  Many of the questions, strategies, and suggestions are standard and can be found in numerous books or publications. Since the same questions or modifications of the same questions are found at numerous sites, no attempt has been made to supply appropriate references.  Other material, questions, and problem solving exercises have been excerpted from internet web sites. When information sources contain unique material, the information source will be clearly referenced.

 

THE INVITATION TO INTERVIEW FOR PROFESSIONAL  SCHOOLS1

Interviews are generally offered only to the “top group” of applicants. However, the criteria used to determine the “top group” differs for each school.  In planning for your interview, you will need to determine how you were selected.  Some schools offer interviews to all candidates that meet a certain set of numeric criteria.  Usually, these schools interview approximately 80% of the applicant pool and use the interview to determine whether the candidate is a good “fit” for their program. 

Some schools evaluate the numeric criteria, recommendation letters, personal statements or essays to determine who would be the best candidate for their school.  An interview is usually offered to less than 10% of the applicant pool and used only to confirm that they have made the correct decision.

SO, WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT AN INTERVIEW? 9

OK, you're revving up for the big interview. What important details do you need to know for the interview?

·        All of the candidates being interviewed will have approximately the same grade point average, MCAT scores, letters of recommendation, and leadership positions in extracurricular organizations.

·        Most interviewers will admit (and research supports) that they have largely made up their minds about a candidate within the first five minutes of meeting him or her.  Once a negative judgment is made, it is almost impossible to change.  If the initial impression is positive, it must be reinforced through verbal skills during the remainder of the interview.    

·        Over 50% of the time, the interviewer will not have access to your application and will know only your name and the college you attended.                    

·        Success or failure in the interview will depend solely on your ability to convince the interviewer that you fit his/her perception of a typical student, and that you have unique abilities and experiences that differentiate you from other candidates.

                                                           

 

 

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT ?5

In order to make the best impression you can, you need to be prepared for the interview, know what you can expect, and know how to handle things that don't go quite as you had planned.  Before you start to prepare for the interview, you should ascertain:

·                    How will the interview will be conducted?  Each professional school handles the interviewing process differently. Some interview applicants in small groups, others use a single interview with a faculty member or administrator, while others schedule as many as five interviews per applicant.

·                    What type of interview will be used?  Screening, behavioral, and stress interviews are three types used by professional schools.  You should be prepared for all three interview types.  To succeed in any interview you must first recognize which interview style is being used by the interviewer.  An interviewer may use all three types during the course of the interview.

THE SCREENING INTERVIEW

Most schools screen applicants in a 1-2 hour interview process.  Usually, there will be a tour of the facility, interviews with one or more faculty members, residents, or current students.  The screening interview is usually structured and questions may be open ended or very specific.  After an initial set of warn up questions, the interviewer may seek information in the following areas:

·        Personal attributes                                                                                                   

·        Education                                                                                                                  

·        Research experience                                                                                              

·        Leadership                                                                                                               

·        Creativity                                                                                                                   

·        Decisiveness                                                                                                            

·        Handling stress                                                                                                        

·        Experience in clinical and non-clinical setting                                                           

·        Commitment to the profession                                                                               

·        Knowledge of health care issues                                                                                       

·        Ethics

A list of questions commonly used in screening interviews is shown on pages 12-20. Applicants should prepare answers to each question.

The screening interviewer does not need to know whether you are the best fit for the institution, only whether you are not a match13.  In short, they are looking for reasons to exclude, rather than include, you for admission to the professional school.  They will focus on gaps in your application, academic records, or information that appears inconsistent.

Some tips for handling the screening interviews:

  • Answer questions directly and succinctly.
  • Highlight your accomplishments and qualifications.
  • Do not volunteer information.

THE BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW5

Behavioral interviews are based on the premise that the best indicator of future performance is past performance. Interviewers will try to elicit examples of past performance in multiple areas.  These interviews are highly structured with a predetermined set of questions and a defined method for asking questions. Responses are usually scored and evaluated using a statistical method.

Tip off questions for a behavioral interview:

·        “Give me an example of……”

·        “Tell me about a time that you……”

Many behavioral questions try to get at how you responded to negative situations. You'll need to have examples of negative experiences ready, but try to choose negative experiences that had positive outcomes11.

In the interview, your response needs to be specific and detailed.  Ideally, you should briefly describe a situation, what specific action you took to have an effect on the situation, and the positive result or outcome. A response is usually framed in a three-step process, usually called an S-A-R, P-A-R, or S-T-A-R statement 11:

1. situation (or task, problem), 2. action, 3. result/outcome.

During the behavioral interview, the interviewer identifies experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that the institution has decided are desirable in a particular position. These attributes usually include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Being a self-starter
  • Willingness to learn
  • Self-confidence
  • Teamwork
  • Professionalism

A list of questions commonly used in behavioral interviews is shown on pages 20-22. Applicants should prepare answers to each question.

Here's a good way to prepare for behavior-based interviews11:

  • Identify six to eight examples from your past experience where you demonstrated behaviors and skills that professional schools typically seek. Think in terms of examples that will exploit your top selling points.
  • Half of your examples should be totally positive, such as accomplishments or meeting goals.
  • The other half should be situations that started out negatively but either ended positively or you made the best of the outcome.
  • Vary your examples; don't take them all from just one area of your life.
  • Use fairly recent examples that happened within the last year.
  • Try to describe examples in story form and/or PAR/SAR/STAR.
THE STRESS INTERVIEW6, 7

A stress interview is designed to elevate your emotional level.  The interviewer(s) may ask open ended and confrontational questions or make critical remarks about past work experience to elevate the stress level8.  Some interviewers also use deliberate silence or give ambiguous instructions to create an element of stress12.  The interviewers are testing your ability to restrain your emotions, your tolerance for ambiguity, and your energy level.

Tip off questions for a stress interviews:

  • Questions designed to elevate your emotional level.  Be alert to “4WHY” questions. You will be asked a question.  When you respond, you will be asked a WHY question on the same subject. This will continue for, at least, four questions3.
  • Interview suddenly changed from one to multiple interviewers.
  • Criticism of your scholastic record or MCAT scores.
  • Problem solving exercises designed to see you fail.
  • Questions bombarded from several interviewers at the same time.

A list of questions and comments commonly used in stress interviews are shown on pages 21-22. Applicants should prepare answers to each question.

The object of the stress interview is to determine whether you can hold your emotions in check and respond to questions from an intellectual rather than an emotional perspective. You should realize that this is not a personal attack and is simply a part of the normal interviewing process. It is designed to test your strengths and weaknesses. The key to a successful stress interview is to keep your cool and remain calm.  Listen intently to each question.  In response to questions, speak slowly, coherently, and pleasantly. RESPOND TO QUESTIONS FROM THE INTELLECT NOT EMOTION.

WHAT THE INTERVIEWERS ARE TRYING TO ASCERTAIN10

·                    Do you have experience and knowledge of the profession?

·                    Do you have good interpersonal skills?

·                    Can you demonstrate responsibility and commitment? 

  • Are you going to the professional school for the right reasons?
  • Are you mature and organized enough to handle the heavy academic load?
  • Are you able to handle and work under high stress conditions?
  • Are your answers to questions consistent with your personal statement?
  • Do you “fit” the interviewer’s preconceived ideas of a typical student?
  • Can you work as part of a team?

QUESTIONS ABOUT TEAMS AND TEAMWORK

The medical community has adopted a team based approach to health care delivery.  Team members must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills.  Interviewers will attempt to determine your ability to interact and work with other people.  Also, the interviewers may probe your abilities to resolve conflicts and create “win-win” situations for all concerned parties.

A list of questions commonly asked about teams and team work are shown on pages 17-18. Applicants should prepare answers to each question.

 

 

 

ILLEGAL QUESTIONS ARE OFTEN ASKED IN THE INTERVIEW2

  • Most Interviewers know that it is illegal to ask about age, ethnic background, national origin, marital status, family planning, or sexual, religious, or political preference. 

RESPONDING TO ILLEGAL QUESTIONS2

  • Try to think about why the question was asked and respond directly to that concern without answering the question.  For example, if you are asked if you plan to marry or how many children you plan to have, you may choose to answer, "If you are concerned about my ability to practice medicine, I can assure you that my family responsibilities will not interfere with my ability to treat patients." If you think that your answer will help you, you may choose to answer the question directly. You should take the incident into account when evaluating the professional school.

SIGNALING THAT THE INTERVIEW IS AT AN END2

The interviewer often will signal the end of an interview by asking if you have any questions. IT IS EXPECTED THAT YOU WILL HAVE QUESTIONS FOR THE INTERVIEWER.  Having no questions will be interpreted as a lack of interest or being unprepared for the interview. 

  • Prepare three questions that you really need answered.  A list of questions commonly used by applicants is shown on pages 22-24.

Use this opportunity to discuss key issues that were missed.  Take the initiative and simply say, "Before I ask my first question, there are a couple of key points that should be mentioned.”

CLOSING THE INTERVIEW

When the interviewer has answered all your questions, close the interview using the follow model:

  • Thank the interviewer.
  • Restate your interest in attending the school.
  • Restate your qualifications.
  • Restate what you bring to the school and the profession.
  • Are there any other questions I can answer for you?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?

SENDING A THANK YOU NOTE5

When there are many applicants with the same credentials, success or failure may be determined by the simple courtesy of sending a thank you note to each of the interviewers.  If you know the names of the interviewers, you can prepare the notes prior to the interview and simply drop them in the nearest mail box following the interview.  The notes can be typed on standard high grade paper stock or hand written using blank, acceptable sized thank you notes.  When you send a thank you note, you must make sure that the names and titles are spelled correctly and that there are no typographical errors. If the note is hand written, the writing should be neat and legible. The brief note should be no more than three paragraphs in length and cover less than one page.  Included in the note should be the following subjects:

  • Thank you for the interview on…..
  • I am still very interested in attending…..
  • Some of the things that I believe would make me a strong candidate for acceptance to your school are……
  • Looking forward to learning your decision on……….

SUCCESS OR FAILURE

There is no single model or criteria for acceptance to professional schools.  However, some institutions generate a composite score from both objective and subjective data.  In some cases, the subjective score may represent one third of the total applicant score. The following model is used by the Southwest Texas University Dental School. 

  • Management Model Score: (total points possible = 1500)

    Objective Component:
  • [science GPA x DAT-A Score/30 x 4 + Overall GPA] x 50 = Overall Score

    Subjective Component:
  • Maximum of 500 points awarded by Admissions Review Panel, and includes an assessment of the applicants evaluation by pre-professional advisors or professors as well as the applicants non-academic achievements that may include the following examples:


            -personal interview
            - positions of leadership
            - awards and honors for academic achievement
            - interpersonal communication skills
            - awards and honors for humanitarian service
            - success in overcoming “adverse” personal experiences

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEW2

It is difficult to over emphasize the importance of being well prepared for an interview. Your degree of preparation speaks volumes about your interest level and conscientiousness. In addition to increasing your confidence, solid preparation will help you to give articulate answers and ask pertinent questions.

·                    Know how to keep yourself calm. The best way to accomplish this is by being prepared!

·                    Research the professional school.

·                    Research the interviewer, if possible.

·                    Know why you want to become a physician, dentist, pharmacist or optometrist.

·                    Identify your wants and your needs—and know the difference!

·                    Express, specifically, the skills you have to offer the school and the profession.

·                    Be prepared for the standard interview questions and know your answers to them.

THE INTERVIEW

DRESS APPROPRIATELY 3

  • Identify your basic interview wardrobe: select one or two outfits or suits that are considered fairly conservative for your field.  Therefore, whether you are male or female, you should dress professionally in a business suit. Dark conservative colors, such as navy, gray, charcoal, and black are usually preferred. Avoid bright, loud colors that distract from the purpose of the interview.
  • A well- groomed, professional appearance is essential. Anything else will detract from the best possible presentation you can make.  Long hair should be kept in place with barrettes, a headband, or a ponytail unless your style is one that stays put. Very long hair should be pulled back. Beards should be neatly trimmed.  In any case, leave the following at home: wild ties, attention-grabbing jewelry, strong scents, and gum.

 

 

 

INITIAL PRESENTATION2

IMPORTANT FIRST INDICATORS FOR A POSITIVE IMPRESSION DURING THE CRITICAL FIRST FIVE MINUTES OF THE INTERVIEW

  • Shake hands firmly.
  • Smile warmly.
  • Maintain good eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Introduce yourself in a relaxed and confident manner.
  • Use good verbal skills.
  • Be sure you know how to pronounce your interviewer's name correctly.
  • Know his or her position and function within the school, department affiliation and research interests.
  • Be personable as well as professional.
  • Be aware of body language, vibes, and reactions—use your instincts to keep things on course.
  • Assume all questions are asked for a good reason and answer accordingly.
  • Answer all questions honestly, but in the best, most positive light.
  • Do not bad mouth your school, professors, or employers.

SETTING THE TONE FOR THE INTERVIEW2

When you think about being yourself, concentrate on being your "best self." This thought extends from the suit you wear to the examples from your past that you choose to highlight. An interview is a brief period of time in which to make an impression. You want yours to be a positive one.                                                                 

  • Have three or four key points that show you could perform well in the professional curriculum.  Use specific examples and anecdotes from your past to illustrate important points about yourself. Important points could include:

Personal characteristics

Skills you have learned

Experiences that you have had

·                    Present the highs and not the lows, the enthusiasm and not the doubt. By focusing on positive elements, you will help to make the tone of the entire interview a positive one.                                                                                                 

·                    If you are asked to describe a failure, a weakness, or a negative experience, try to finish your response on an upbeat note.  This approach will communicate that you are a positive and forward-thinking person.  If you must bring up something negative, be brief, and return the conversation to a positive subject.

SHOWING ENTHUSIASM2

If you are competing against a group of candidates who have little or no direct experience in the field or candidates with similar credentials, enthusiasm might be the deciding factor.  If you are not enthusiastic about a position, it will be difficult to feign interest in the interview. If you are sincerely enthusiastic, don't be afraid to communicate it.

COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED IN SCREENING INTERVIEWS

WARM-UP QUESTIONS

·        Who are you?

·        Tell me about yourself.

·        Tell me about your family.

·        Is you family supportive of your going to school?

·        I know very little about Lamar University, tell me about the school, why you chose to attend Lamar, and your experiences as a student?

·        What made you apply to this school?

GENERAL QUESTIONS

·        Who is your hero and why?

·        What were your favorite and least favorite courses in college?

·        Of all the people, dead or alive, who would you most like to have dinner with and why?

·        What are you passionate about?

·        How can you tell if someone is compassionate?

·        What negative experiences from your background made it clear that you wanted to pursue medicine?

·        What are you most proud of about yourself?

·        Is there anything that you want us to know about you that we haven’t asked you and is not apparent in your application?

PERSONAL

·        Describe yourself in three words.

·        How would you describe yourself as a person?

·        How would your friends describe you?

·        If I were to ask your academic advisor about your ability as a candidate for this school, what would he/she say?

·        What academic extracurricular activities were you involved in during your undergraduate education?

·        What organizations do you belong to?

·        What leadership positions have you held in organizations?

·        Tell me specifically what you do in the civic activities in which you participate. (Leading questions in selected areas. i.e. sports, economics, current events, finance.)

·        What do you do in your spare time?

·        In what kinds of activities have you been involved?

·        What are your hobbies?

·        What was the last book that you read?

·        What newspapers do you read on a regular basis?

·        As a woman, how would you mesh your career with family?

·        What makes you laugh? Why?

·        Tell me about a significant event in your life and how it shaped you?

·        Which of your qualities would you want to pass down to your children?

·        What about yourself would you change if you could?

·        What three material objects are most important to you?

SELF ASSESSMENT

·        What kind of things do you feel most confident in doing?

·        Can you describe for me a difficult obstacle you have had to overcome? How did you handle it? How do you feel this experience affected your personality or ability?

·        Describe your greatest strengths and weaknesses.

·        What do you think are the most important characteristics & abilities a person must possess to become a successful doctor? How do you rate yourself in these areas?

·        Do you consider yourself a self-starter? If so, explain why and give examples.

·        What do you consider to be your greatest achievements to date? Why?

·        What things give you the greatest satisfaction in school and in your life?

EDUCATION

·         What special aspects of your education or training have prepared you for admission to this school?

·         What courses would you recommend that all students should take as an undergraduate?

·         What was your favorite and least favorite course as an undergraduate?

·         Explain why your grade point average or MCAT scores are lower than what we expect for applicants?

·         Do you think that your grades are a good index of your abilities?

·         What was your toughest subject in college?

STRESS

·        What causes the most stress in your life?

·        What things frustrate you the most? How do you usually cope with them?

·        Advanced professional school is a high pressure situation, how do normally handle and relieve stress?

·        What would you do if a head of a hospital department screamed at you?

·        What would you do if a physician or professor humiliated you in front of others?

·        What has been the highest pressure situation you have been under in recent years? How did you cope with it?

·        When you need counseling for personal problems, to whom do you talk?

·        What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.

·        Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).

QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE

·        What work experience have you had?

·        What health care experience have you had?

·        What clinical/hospital experiences have you had?

·        How have you contributed to your community?

·        Do you like to work alone or with other people?

·        Are you able to function independently and without supervision?

·        Do you use a prioritization scheme to complete tasks?       

TEAM AND TEAM WORK QUESTIONS

·                                            Do you feel you work more effectively on a one to one basis or in a group situation?

·        Have you ever worked as part of a team?

·        Give me an example of a time that you contributed to a group effort?

·        What approach do you take to get people together to establish a common approach to a problem?

·        If you were the team leader and there was a conflict between team members, how would you attempt to resolve the conflict?

CREATIVITY

·        In your experience, what have you done that you consider truly creative?

·        Can you think of a problem you have encountered when the old solutions didn't work & when you came up with new solutions?

·        Of your creative accomplishments big or small, at work or home, what gave you the most satisfaction? What kind of problems have people recently called on you to solve? Tell me what you have devised.

DECISIVENESS

·         Do you consider yourself to be thoughtful, analytical or do you usually make up your mind fast? Give an example. (Watch time taken to respond)

·         What was your most difficult decision in the last six months? What made it difficult?

·         The last time you did not know what decision to make, what did you do?

·         How do you go about making an important decision affecting your career?

·         What was the last major problem that you confronted? What action did you take on it?

LEADERSHIP

·         Have you held a leadership position in an organization?

·         What approach do you take in getting your people to accept your ideas or goals?

·         What specifically do you do to set an example for your co-workers?

·         What sort of leader do your people feel you are? Are you satisfied?

·        How would you describe your basic leadership style? Give specific examples of how you practice this?

 

 

 MEDICAL SCHOOL SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

·        Why do you want to be a doctor?

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

·        Explain your interest in medicine, start at the beginning (be specific)?

·        What major influences in your life led to your decision to pursue medicine?

·        What will you contribute to the profession?

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

·        What qualities do you look for in a physician?

·        You have very little experience in a medical setting, therefore, how do you know you want to get your hands dirty and become part of the medical world?

·        What experiences have you had in the community that demonstrates a commitment to medicine?

·        What scares you the most about medical school?

·        What makes you think that you can succeed in medical school?

·        Why study medicine when you have so many talents?

·        What is different or unique about you as a candidate for medical school?

·        Why should we let you into this medical school?

·        How would you help people who did not want to be helped?

·        In what field do you think the next major advancement in medicine will come?

·        What do you need to work on to be a good doctor?

·        Do you read any medical journals?

·        What is the one thing that would prevent you from going to medical school or practicing medicine?

·        What specialties interest you?

·        What are your career goals in medicine?

·        What do you see yourself doing in ten years?

·        What are your standards for judging the success of a physician?

·        How are you going to finance medical school?

·        What will you do if you don’t get into medical school this year?

·        To this date, what is the most important medical development in the last 25 years?

·        Have you been accepted into other medical schools?

·        Which schools have rejected your application?

·        How many interviews have you had?

·        Tell me what your think of our medical school curriculum.

·        Where do we stand in your list of medical school preferences?

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

·        Tell me about your research experiences.

·        Tell me how you would design an experiment to test the null hypothesis.

HEALTH CARE ISSUES

·        What problems do you see in health care now and the next ten years?

·        What would you do to remedy the health care issue in the United States?

·        What do you think about the advantages and disadvantages of managed health care?

·        Who do you think is responsible for rationing of health care in the United States?

·        How does the U.S. rate in birth mortality? Why is it ranked worst among industrial nations?

·        Do you think that there should be mandatory HIV testing for couples wanting to marry?

·        What do you think is the biggest issue facing medicine in the next ten years?

·        Why do you think many physicians are unhappy practicing medicine?

·        What are your feelings about euthanasia?

·        What do you think about national health insurance and its impact on the patient and the doctor?

·        What are the differences between the Britain’s Health care delivery system and ours?

·        Do you think that patients should be allowed to purchase prescription pharmaceuticals by mail from Canada or Mexico?

·        Do you think that medical students receiving federal loans should spend time practicing medicine in rural areas to give society something in return?

·        What is your opinion about stem cell research using fetal tissue?

·        What are the advantages of a teaching hospital versus a private hospital?

·        What are the differences and similarities among HMO’s, Pop’s and third party providers?

·        Do you think that DRG’s (diagnostic reading groups) are a help or hindrance to medical delivery?

·        What are your opinions about team based delivery of medical care?

·        What do you think are a doctor’s social responsibilities?

·        Are you aware that there is going to be a surplus of doctors? How do you feel about it?

·        How do feel about the debate over the hours residents are forced to work?

·        How would you advise patients who are interested in visiting an acupuncturist or a chiropractor?

·        What so you think about medical advice being available on the Web?

·        Give me your opinions on genetic engineering.

·        Give me your opinions on abortion.

·        Give me your opinion on the role of spirituality in healing.

·        Give me your opinion on animal research.

ETHICAL ISSUES

·        Have you ever cheated on an examination?

·        What would you do if you caught a close friend or room mate cheating on the MCAT examination or an application to medical school?

·        Would you prefer to provide less effective treatment to more people or more effective medicine to fewer patients?

·        If you gained admission to all the medical schools to which you have applied, what would you do?

·        Would you share your religious beliefs with your patients?

·        What do think of the priority system for organ recipients?

·        Would you work in an AIDS clinic?

·        Would you prescribe birth control pills to a minor without parental content?

·        What are your opinions about supplying condoms to schools?

COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED IN A BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW

·        What would you do if you caught your room mates cheating on a test or the AMCAS application?

·        Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.

·        Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.

·        Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

·        Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.

·        Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.

·        Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.

·        Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.

·        Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.

·        Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year.

·        Give me an example of a time when you tried to accomplish something and failed.

·        Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.

·        Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.

·        Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

·        Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.

·        Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.

·        Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.

·        Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.

·        Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low).

COMMON QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS USED DURING A STRESS INTERVIEW

·        With your lack of experience, how do you expect to perform well in this institution?

·        You don’t seem mature enough to handle responsibilities.

·        That is absolutely the worst answer we’ve ever heard.

·        What makes you think we would ever choose you?

·        I don’t think that your grades are high enough to be considered for admission

 

 

COMMON PROBLEM SOLVING EXERCISES4                                                                               

·         A patient who has been in an accident needs a blood transfusion to survive. She states that her religion does not allow them. You are the physician in charge. What will you do?  Would you override her strong opposition? Why/Why not?

·        If you have the choice of giving a transplant to a successful elderly member of the community or a 20-year old drug addict, how would you choose?

·        Tell me about a problem you encountered in school or your life and how you solved it.

·        You are embarking on a wilderness expedition. You can only take ten items that are absolutely necessary to survival.  What ten items would you take with you?

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE INTERVIEWER

The following list of questions was developed by Smith College to assist applicants in their evaluation of professional schools8.

CURRICULUM

·        Are there special programs for which this school is noted?

·        Can you tell me about the school’s curriculum in the pre-clinical and clinical years?

·        Has this school, or any of its clinical departments, been on probation or had its accreditation revoked?

·        Have you made any innovations in the pedagogy such as Problem-Based Learning?

·        Are there opportunities for students to design, conduct, and publish their own research studies?

·        Is there a note-taking service for students?

·        How do students from this school normally perform on the National Board Examinations?

·        How does the school assist those students who do not pass the Boards?

EVALUATIONS

·        How are students evaluated academically?

·        How are clinical evaluations performed?

·        Is there a formal mechanism in place for student evaluations of their professors and attending physicians?

·        What changes have been made as a consequence of student feedback on faculty performance?

COUNSELING/STUDENT SUPPORT

·        What kinds of personal, financial, and career counseling are available to student?

·        Are these services offered to spouses and dependents/children?

·        Is there a mentor/advisor system? Who are the advisors-faculty members, other students, or both?

·        How diverse is the student body? Are there support services for ethnic minorities and women?

FACILITIES

·        Tell me about the library and extracurricular facilities (e.g., housing etc)

·        Are there computer facilities available to students? Are they integrated into the curriculum/learning?

·        What types of clinical sites (e.g., ambulatory, private preceptors, private hospitals, and rural settings) are available for clerkships or rotations?

·        Is a car necessary for clinical rotations?

·        Is parking a problem?

FINANCIAL AID

·        What are the current tuition and fees?

·        Are fees expected to increase yearly?

·        Are there stable levels of federal financial aid and substantial amounts of university endowments available to students?

·        Are there students who have an “unmet need” factor in their budget? If so, where do students come up with the extra funds?

·        Are spouses, dependents, and children covered in a student’s budget?

·        Is someone available to assist students with budgeting and financial planning?

·        Does the school provide guidance to its students, graduates/alumni on debt management?

STUDENT INVOLVEMENT

·        What school committees have student representation?

·        Are students required or advised to undertake community service?

·        How active is the school student council/government?

·        Is there an established protocol for immunizations or vaccination against infectious diseases?

·        Does the university provide, or does the student pay prophylactic AZT treatment in case of a needle stick or accident?

·        Is there an established protocol for dealing with student exposure to infectious disease?  Is disability insurance provided to cover this exposure?

·        Is there a formal grievance procedure or process? Are students involved?

RESIDENCY

·        May I see a list of residency programs to which graduates were accepted?

CITED REFERENCES

1.         Anonymous, The professional school application process. Liberal Arts Institute for pre-medical and Health care studies. Albion College, Albion, MI

2.         Curtis, D. The job interview.  Office of Career Services. Harvard College, Cambridge, MA

3.         Anonymous, Interview Planner. Monster Career Center. Monster. Com

4          Anonymous, Frequently asked Questions during a medical school interview.  A guide for students applying to medical or dental school. Saint Mary’s College of California, 1928 Saint Mary's Road Moraga, CA

5.         Anonymous, Interviewing skills. Office of Career Services, Stonehill College. Easton, PA

6.         Anonymous, Effective Interviewing Guide-Stress Interviews. University of Davis, Graduate School of Management, Morenga, CA

7.         Anonymous, What is a stress interview? Interviewing skills. Exclusive Reseach.com

8.         Anonymous, Getting ready for medical school interviews. Smith College Career Development Office, Smith College, Northhampton, MA.

9.         Anonymous, Don’t’ sweat the interview. Monster Career Center. Monster.com

10.Crawford,K.WesternKentuckyUniversity.bioweb.wku.edu/faculty/Crawford/Web_Temp/medskool.htm

11.       Harris K. , Behavioral Interviewing Strategies Quintessential Careers -- DeLand, FL 32720   http://www.quintcareers.com/

12.   Cerni, A. WORKING: How to deal with the stress interview  Charleston Regional Business Journal www.charlestonbusiness.com/issues/ 6_25/news/3050-1.html –

13.       Anonymous,Resumeedge.com. www.resumeedge.com/contentpartners/interviews1.html

OTHER REFERENCES

Anonymous, Medical Interview. EssayEdge.com.

Anonymous, Medical School Interview Questions. The Career Development Center, Cornell University, Utica, NY

Anonymous, The Medical School Interview. Harvard University Web site. http://leverett.harvard.edu/forms/interview.

Anonymous, The medical school interview. John Hopkins University Web site. http://www.jhu.edu/~advising/PREPROF/Applying to medical school booklet