What To Do Before Your Interview

The time you put into self reflection—even if you are asked very different questions in an actual interview—will give you confidence, help you be more natural and support you to be able to speak about yourself with some nimbleness, or think on your feet. Practice helps you integrate your thoughts, feelings and experiences so you can be cohesive, spontaneous, and also more relaxed in the moment.

2018-2019 APPLICANTS: Here's the latest newsletter about INTERVIEWS with tips about traditional and MMI interviews!

Recommended Preparation:


Put your pen to paper and write notes/brainstorm answers


Very important to do this part if you can. Have someone ask you potential interview questions and practice answering them. It's very different to write something down than it is to speak it out loud.

***HPP offers Mock Interviews to Dartmouth students and Alum (Contact Valerie Orellana to schedule).***

Practice, practice, practice

Practice enough so that you can be spontaneous. You do not want to sound memorized/mechanical, or like you are just telling them what they want to hear. Think of specific examples to illustrate answers rather than talk in generalities. You don't need remarkable stories for all your answers. Your interviewers want to learn about you-- how you handle things, and how you think about things.

If you have done the work of rummaging through your memories to find a cache of small anecdotes—then even if you are asked something you hadn't thought about, your "stories" will be more accessible to you-or you will realize an example you had thought of can be viewed in light of the unexpected question. Take a look at the questions and documents below to get started.

Review your application

Review your own primary and secondary application before each interview. If they ask you about something in it, be prepared to know what you yourself have written!

Be prepared to speak to any incidents or academic challenges that will have been noted in your application. Just be simple and honest and share how you've grown.

Keep up with current events in the medical world

Read up on current issues/topics in medicine and health related current events. Read past and current health and biomedical related articles/essays in places like the NY Times; Wall Street Journal etc. You don't have to be an expert, but it behooves you to have awareness of some of the main topics and to have done some reflection on your own about them.

Prepare for ethical questions

Give time in your preparations to considering what it means for something to be "ethical;" to encounter an ethical dilemma; to see things from multiple points of view (is an ethic universal, or contextual to a particular moment in history/culture/world view).

Learn about each school and have questions ready

Learn what you can about the school you are interviewing at, review their website, including their curriculum and structure. Think about what questions you want to ask them...what would you like to know? This is important! Approach your interview, in part, as a consumer.

Practice Questions

For students who benefit from advance interview practice, some proposed "popular" questions are below.

  • Why medicine?
  • Describe a mentor, role model, friend or family member who has been significant in your decision to pursue medicine? Why?
  • Can you describe an experience of responding to a challenging or problematic situation?
  • Why are you interested in being at our school?
  • What would you describe as a weakness? (Sometimes you can pick a weakness that is growthful or even developing into a strength. IE: One of my challenges, is that I like to keep coming up with new ideas—which can get in the way of just getting started on something. I've learned that sometimes you need to just stop, draw the line, and get started. On the one hand I am really good at seeing options, which can be very helpful especially in collaboration or in problem solving. On the other hand, it can stall me out. I'm getting much better at shifting from being expansive to an ability to then move into action.")
  • What would you describe as one of your strengths?
  • Can you tell us about a time when you needed to work with others, and what contribution you made to the group dynamic?
  • Can you describe how you have managed a demanding project?
  • What are some of the major issues in health care facing our country and the world? What do you know about proposed solutions?
  • What do you do if you suspect a colleague (another doc) is abusing drugs?
  • Rank intelligence, compassion, and integrity in the order of importance to you? Why?
  • What experience are you most proud of?
  • So, tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you volunteer where you did?

Additional Preparation Questions

There are many websites and documents about interviewing and possible questions, that you can use as well:

Typical Interview Questions

100 Medical School Interview Questions

Sample Ethical, Social, and Interest Questions