An interview is an important step in the application procedure and it can be exciting and informative. The interview gives medical schools a chance to learn about you, your ability to talk and interact with others, your enthusiasm, motivation, knowledge of medicine, and the reason you have chosen to apply to them. Sometimes it is an opportunity to discuss items of interest (or concern) in your application. For the 2024M application cycle, interviews will continue to be done virtually for many schools. Virtual interviews have the benefit of flexibility and travel savings, but it also takes away the ability to get a feel for the campus and the people in it. The preparation for an interview should be slightly different for each school. Consider the following:
TYPES OF VIRTUAL INTERVIEWS
An "open informed" interviewer will have seen your application materials. A "closed blind" interviewer will not. A "partially blind" interviewer has access to only parts of your application; this might be your metrics (MCAT, grades) or personal information (essays, personal statement) but not both. Understanding who your interviewer is means you can anticipate what they want to know about you and then you can compose your answers with that in mind, providing more details and background if appropriate.
A traditional interview is one where you sit down with one person (faculty, admissions committee, medical student) for a meeting that might last 30 minutes. These interviews may be informal and much like a conversation, or a series of questions and answers. You may have several interviews during your visit. A panel interview is where you are interviewed by several people at a time. A group interview is where you and other candidates are interviewed by several people at a time. A multiple mini interview (MMI) is where you rotate between stations, interviewing with six to ten interviewers. You may have one to two minutes to read a prompted question and then six to eight minutes to respond with an answer, before moving on to the next station. The questions asked may be more traditional, or focus on ethical situations, puzzles, or scenarios.
General Preparation Tips
Access the Interview Prep Resource folder in Box for documents containing interviewing tips, questions you might be asked and a self-assessment rubric. The Duke Career Center offers interview preparation resources, including an attire guide (we recommend following their traditional business level of dress).
For the 2024M application cycle, many medical schools will continue to conduct interviews virtually. This requires translating your interviewing skills to a virtual platform, ensuring technical details are addressed and planning your interview environment. The AAMC has produced Virtual Interviews: Tips for Medical School Applicants and Prep for Success in your Virtual Interview that provide tips and strategies for interviewing virtually. Some schools have returned to in-person only or offer you a choice of in-person or virtual interviews.
Interviews are often stressful. The best way to handle anxiety and stress is to be well prepared. Practice early, practice often and use a variety of resources! Here are some ideas for gaining experience articulating your thoughts out loud, either to a recording device or to another human, to gain confidence in your ability to present yourself well during interviews:
- Get feedback from AI using Big Interview, the Career Center’s interview training tool, to learn about interviewing and practice using a video interview tool. The Practice Question Library includes questions specific to several health professions, including medical school. In addition to reviewing the recording yourself, you will receive an AI-generated report that assesses important aspects of video interviewing.
- Practice with a partner by connecting with mentors, Duke alumni, current students in health professions schools, and peers for real-time, out-loud practice answering interview questions. Someone you know can offer insight into the authenticity of your presentation and help assure that who you are is coming through or offer suggestions about highlighting your strengths. It can be helpful to record your practice sessions so you can refer to it later. Use the Interview Self-Assessment Rubric included in the Interview Prep Resources folder in Box as a guide.
- Do a mock interview with HPA. We offer one mock interview for MMI prep and one mock interview for traditional prep for Duke undergraduates and alumni who have upcoming interviews scheduled with health professions schools. To help you get the most out of your mock interview, we expect you to use Big Interview or other practice prior to. We recommend doing a mock interview about 7-10 business days prior to a scheduled interview and do your traditional mock with an advisor you do not know.
- You may find this Question Generator is useful for additional preparation.
- The AAMC Medical School Interviews webpage is a great resource for interviewing tips from both medical students and admissions representatives, MMI information, questions to ask interviewers, advice about attire, tips for MD/PhD candidates and much more.
THANK you NOTE
After an interview send a note of thanks, express your gratitude for being interviewed, perhaps confirm your interest and mention (briefly!) any thoughts you have on how you fit with their program.