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After completing the MCAT, one big hurdle has finally been passed but that does not mean that this road gets any less problematic. You are at the point in your journey where you are starting to experience stress for a prolonged period of time. There is anxiety and apprehension as Interview Season approaches. Fear not, the further you progress in Medicine, the more stress actually builds but for this period in your life, it is a new feeling that is not very pleasant.
With any luck, your application and your MCAT scores were adequate enough to garner some interest for Medical School Admissions Board members and you have been cordially invited to interview for your right to enter the program. A common urban legend that circulates around the Pre-Med upperclassmen during this period if that once you have an interview, you are guaranteed a spot. Some claim that "it is just a way to make sure you are not crazy."
Although it is true that if you have received an invitation, you are qualified and should find placement somewhere in the United States for the following year, this may not always happen. It is your job to take this interview very seriously because this is the final chapter of your Undergraduate life. If you do well, you will be able to start your life-long dream of becoming a doctor, but if you fail, that could leave a red flag on your application that may threaten your chance of receiving another invitation to interview anywhere else. Here are the top 3 essential tips that should have you adequately prepared for the interviews.
Number 1: Do Intensive Mock Interviews
No matter how well you may feel you present yourself or how you could talk yourself out of any potential mark against your application, if you do not practice the interviews at least daily for a month prior to your first interview, you may found yourself floundering in front of the Board members. It is useful to seek help from an Medical adviser at your Undergraduate program because they will be able to present you difficult questions that you must be able to navigate through on Interview Day. You need to be able to have a thorough and complete answer for some general questions like "why do you want to go into Medicine?" I guarantee you that if you have a generic answer like "my Dad was in Medicine so I always had a passion for it," or "I really want to help people," you will not receive a high score on your Interview component.
If you have a weak answer, the Admissions Board will pick that answer apart and you will lose all your composure. You may be able to recover but you jeopardize the quality of the rest of your interview if you do not have a strong psyche to forget a negative event. You have to remember that there is an excess number of interviewers compared to the number of slots available for the incoming class and the Admissions' Board's main focus is to make sure they select the highest level of talent available to choose from. Don't put yourself on "the outside looking in" due to insufficient preparation.
Another point is to expect the unexpected. A friend of my was questioned about why he decided to take a Minor in Business while completing his Medical track during one of his interviews. The Admissions Board viewed this as a negative and that it suggested that the candidate was only interested in the financial aspect of becoming a doctor.