What To Do Before The Interview


1. Overview

2. What to do DURING the interview

3. What to do AFTER the interview

4. The Multiple Mini Interviews

The time you put into self-reflection, even if you are asked very different questions in an actual interview, will give you confidence, the ability to speak naturally, and think on your feet when answering questions. Practice helps you integrate your thoughts, feelings, and experiences so you can be cohesive, spontaneous, and also more relaxed in the moment.

Please see our Interview Prep Guide for more extensive information on how to prepare for interviews.

Recommended Preparation:


Put your pen to paper and write notes, brainstorm answers, or any questions you may have for the interviewer.


It is highly 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.

PLEASE NOTE: HPP offers mock interviews and other interview preparation to Dartmouth students and alumni. Please contact Rae Stokes 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, and how you handle and think about things.

If you have done the work of searching 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. Take a look at the questions and documents below to get started.

Review Your Application

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

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

Be Knowledgeable of Current Medical Events

Read up on past and current events/issues related to medicine and health. Some good resources to start with are the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, etc. You don't need to be an expert, but it benefits you to have an awareness of some of the most important past and present issues in medicine and to have done some reflection on your own about them.

Prepare for Ethical Questions

Give yourself time to consider what it means for something to be "ethical."  How would you handle an ethical dilemma? What does it mean to see things from multiple points of view? How do you determine if something is an ethic universal or contextual to a particular history, culture, or world view?

Learn About the School & Have Questions Ready

Learn what you can about the school you are interviewing at, review its website, including its curriculum and structure. It is important to think about what questions you want to ask them. Approach your interview, in part, as a consumer.

Practice Questions

  1. Why medicine?
  2. Describe a mentor, role model, friend, or family member who has been significant in your decision to pursue medicine? Why?
  3. Can you describe an experience of responding to a challenging or problematic situation?
  4. Why are you interested in being at our school?
  5. What would you describe as a weakness? (Sometimes you can pick a weakness that has the potential to grow or develop into a strength. Example: "One of my challenges is that I like to keep coming up with new ideas, which can get in the way of starting a task/project. I've learned that sometimes you need to draw the line and get started. On the one hand, I am good at seeing options, which can be very helpful, especially in collaboration or problem-solving. On the other, it can stall me out. I'm getting much better at shifting from thinking things over to putting my thoughts into action.")
  6. What would you describe as one of your strengths?
  7. Can you tell us about a time when you needed to work with others and what contribution you made to the group dynamic?
  8. Can you describe how you have managed a demanding project?
  9. What are some of the major issues in health care facing our country and the world? What do you know about the proposed solutions?
  10. What do you do if you suspect a colleague is abusing drugs?
  11. Rank intelligence, compassion, and integrity in the order of importance to you? Why?
  12. What experience are you most proud of?
  13. Tell me about yourself.
  14. Why did you volunteer where you did?

Additional Preparation Questions

There are many websites and documents about interviewing and possible questions, that you can find by conducting a Google search. See one result below.

Sample Ethical, Social, and Interest Questions