Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums
orangeman

Is It Too Early To Prepare For Interviews?

Recommended Posts

had some questions for experienced applicants/current medical school students:

 

1. in your honest opinion, how would you prepare for interviews? I don't wish to see comments like: you just have to be good at it, you just need to be a good person. I want practical, methodologically sound and concrete ways to improve MMI scores. 

 

2. what resources can I use? where do I obtain those resources? there's very limited amount of information on these

 

3. for current medical students/accepted students only: what helped you the most and what did you do to improve your MMI scores? were they effective? if you could do it again, what would you do differently? 

 

thanks everyone! 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to preface my response by first reminding you (and any other interested readers) that there is no one formula for success. Setting aside the fact that different entering stats allow for some flexibility on interview performance, there are many factors that come into play for how well you do on the MMI. My answer however will be somewhat based on my own experiences, and based on a track record of getting others into medicine over the last two years. Some background on myself: http://forums.premed101.com/index.php?/topic/41062-success-stories-non-trad-style/?p=953358

 

In your honest opinion, how would you prepare for interviews? I don't wish to see comments like: you just have to be good at it, you just need to be a good person. I want practical, methodologically sound and concrete ways to improve MMI scores.

 

Brutally honest opinion incoming .... I feel that many students who fail have some of these common problems: arrogance/ignorance ("I got this... how hard can it be?," "I've done harder things in my life," or my personal favorite "My stats are a shoe-in for medicine."), simple-minded (as in they barely scratch the surface of some complex problems/discussions... If there are answers to these persistent issues, pretty sure we'd do something about it by now), and interpersonal weaknesses (difficulty conveying ideas, providing evidence/support, nervous/scared/panicked, or narrow perspectives). Many people will tell you that you have to be yourself, and that honesty and integrity carry you far in the interview. This advice is true. You definitely should have an understanding of your motivations for medicine and act with honesty and integrity throughout. What people don't mention as often is that "being yourself" isn't very impressive when "yourself" has nothing between your ears (this part I acknowledge people will want to debate about some more). Some people are inherently critical thinkers and can delve deeper into the complexities of certain problems, but many people don't.... I certainly wasn't.

 

Personally, I soft prepped (as in not doing practice scenarios) for about 1.5 years, then hard prepped (as in scenario-specific and reflections) for the last 0.5 year.

During my soft prep, I spent as much time as I can working on learning more about pervasive health issues through as many sources as I can (my public health readings/papers, economist/debate forums, news sites/newspaper, books like "Doing Right" etc...) I tried to read and diversify my understanding as much as possible. I would read at least an hour a day, sometimes two. Reading alone does f@#$ all though unless you try to reflect and think about some consequences to other invested stakeholders. Push yourself with more systems level thinking (individual, group, society, past, present, future). Come near summer before the application cycle, I upped it to two hours. During the school year, I would maintain 2 hours but 3 hours on the weekend. About 1.5 months before Christmas, I maintained 3.5 hours. You find the time... wake up at 5-6 everyday? read on public transit? read during lunch? you do it.

 

When it came to the scenario practicing, I did an initial one through a course offered at the UofA hosted by two residents just as a warm-up (I took this course twice since I was in grad school and didn't apply for a year so that I can finish my degree.) I practiced with friends, physicians, med students. Whoever I felt could give me harsh/honest advice and know that they are capable people. Reach out to past friends/family, ask around with your other colleagues trying to apply etc... I practiced scenarios around after Fall finals for about 2 hours a day (didn't stop reading during this time) during the break. When school started, I did about an hour a day for the first few weeks until I get settled in my classes, then at least 1.5 hours on weekdays and at least 2 hours on weekends. I took a small break (a few weeks) where I didn't do anything since I was feeling crushed (see my post earlier to understand why). When I had about a week left... I did only practice/read for at least 8-10 hours a day.

 

All of this was during my public health degree at the UofA, where I was exposed to a lot more diverse courses/topics that really helped expand my mind on what health really means. I got to meet and work with some amazing people and it definitely made me a better person.

 

Your first question might be....... wtf? why so much? When I choked the first time and learned about my weaknesses both in terms of the interview and myself... I was so mad and frustrated at my own inability. I was depressed seeing my friends move forward and me being somewhat stuck. I never wanted to feel that way ever again, and the interview to me was a way of demonstrating my growth. I didn't care if I got in or not, I wanted to go in and made damn sure that this time around, I don't ever f@#$ up like I did the first time and prove to myself that I can be a capable physician. My stats was also on the low side, so to me the interview was EVERYTHING.

 

Some people with better stats probably don't have to do this... but when I helped train others who asked for my help... they all ended up getting in or waitlisted. My method attempts to give you a better chance... that's probably the best way I can describe it.

 

what resources can I use? where do I obtain those resources? there's very limited amount of information on these

 

Everything... prep courses, practice with friends, faculty, colleagues.... I also listed things I read and where you can start digging ... if you want even more specifics PM me.

 

For current medical students/accepted students only: what helped you the most and what did you do to improve your MMI scores? were they effective? if you could do it again, what would you do differently?

 

Certainly was effective for me and many others I helped. To be fair.... I didn't care what helped more or less... I was willing to fight tooth and nail to become better. It's like losing weight... some believe exercise is better, or dieting, or other types of lifestyle changes... but for those who did it all, would they care which is better? The results speak for themselves.

 

As for what I'd do differently... I wouldn't. I poured everything I had into it and would do it all over again. Learning more through reading, interactions, practice, all while becoming a better public health practitioner made me a better person without question. I wouldn't take anything away from it.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

GOOD LUCK and keep fighting for that dream!

 

- G

 

EDIT: I wanted to clear up some potential confusion by adding some context and reasoning to what I did

 

By reading more you can incorporate more knowledge and understanding to future scenarios. For example... if you were asked about something like mental health care/stigma but don't know what that entails... what you'll end up talking about will have little depth and you can't bring in a relevant example that will help strengthen your answer. How will you know some of the responsibilities of a physician holistically if you don't shadow one, or read CanMEDS etc... list goes on and on.

 

For example: What's your opinion on having patients with disability pay for cybernetic limbs? --> you have to know what disability entails + consequences, HRQoL, what is cybernetics? how is our health system currently structured in terms of financing and funding availability? is it "medically necessary?" does cost conflict with "comprehensiveness?" .......... more knowledge will help you construct a better + balanced argument looking at various sides of an issue.

 

Lastly, read and be engaged.... many if not all of these topics are just SO fascinating... get used to reading a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. in your honest opinion, how would you prepare for interviews? I don't wish to see comments like: you just have to be good at it, you just need to be a good person. I want practical, methodologically sound and concrete ways to improve MMI scores. 

 

2. what resources can I use? where do I obtain those resources? there's very limited amount of information on these

 

3. for current medical students/accepted students only: what helped you the most and what did you do to improve your MMI scores? were they effective? if you could do it again, what would you do differently? 

 

1. Be as structured in your approach as possible. Show that you clearly can break down a question into it's many perspectives and address each one of those. But honestly, you need to be a good person too. I know people who have amazing ability to format their responses but because of their sh*t personalities, they can't show enough sensitivity or respect to those involved in the scenario. 

 

2. I couldn't do Doing Right so I found these and worked off them: http://www.cmaj.ca/site/misc/bioethics_e.xhtml and https://depts.washington.edu/bioethx/topics/

 

3. First time being interviewed so I don't know what "improved" my scores but honestly, reading on topics and structuring your statement were key. I also found a genuine interest in the questions because it wasn't just something to stress over, I tried to put myself as that hospital administrator or teacher punishing two students or responsible for allocating resources in war-torn country. Everyone I know hated interviews because it dictated their future if they did well or poorly on it. I tried to enjoy it and that's why I feel like I was happy in practice, more relaxed, and my UofA one went amazingly because of that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Be as structured in your approach as possible. Show that you clearly can break down a question into it's many perspectives and address each one of those. But honestly, you need to be a good person too. I know people who have amazing ability to format their responses but because of their sh*t personalities, they can't show enough sensitivity or respect to those involved in the scenario. 

 

2. I couldn't do Doing Right so I found these and worked off them: http://www.cmaj.ca/site/misc/bioethics_e.xhtml and https://depts.washington.edu/bioethx/topics/

 

3. First time being interviewed so I don't know what "improved" my scores but honestly, reading on topics and structuring your statement were key. I also found a genuine interest in the questions because it wasn't just something to stress over, I tried to put myself as that hospital administrator or teacher punishing two students or responsible for allocating resources in war-torn country. Everyone I know hated interviews because it dictated their future if they did well or poorly on it. I tried to enjoy it and that's why I feel like I was happy in practice, more relaxed, and my UofA one went amazingly because of that. 

 

I am somewhat on the fence with point 3.... on one hand it's important to remain calm and........ nah nvm. On the other hand, it's meant to be a stressful situation. It's how you handle that stress by not buckling like metal in a forge that makes you more competitive, all else being equal. I know I personally was ALL BUSINESS in the interview... there was no fun / not fun... there was just a goal for myself. I wanted to be better than I was before and prove to myself that I can do it. It's my opinion that fun or not, it's almost irrelevant to aspects like critical thinking, awareness, comprehension, skill etc....

 

That said it's definitely good to take the time to put yourself in other people's shoes. It gives you some more perspective and you can really understand some difficulties in situations better.

 

Reading isn't just for health related stuff... but for any pervasive and "wicked" problem/issue in society. Like I said before, get used to reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am somewhat on the fence with point 3.... on one hand it's important to remain calm and........ nah nvm. On the other hand, it's meant to the a stressful situation. It's how you handle that stress by not buckling like metal in a forge that makes you more competitive, all else being equal. I know I personally was ALL BUSINESS in the interview... there was no fun / not fun... there was just a goal for myself. I wanted to be better than I was before and prove to myself that I can do it. It's my opinion that fun or not, it's almost irrelevant to aspects like critical thinking, awareness, comprehension, skill etc....

 

That said it's definitely good to take the time to put yourself in other people's shoes. It gives you some more perspective and you can really understand some difficulties in situations better.

 

Reading isn't just for health related stuff... but for any pervasive and "wicked" problem/issue in society. Like I said before, get used to reading.

 

Haha we've had this discussion before too! But basically, whatever attitude you go in with that will help you do well is what you should go with. For me, I didn't choose to enjoy the process, I just did. I like being given options and stepping up to make decisions. Especially on issues that very controversial or "grey areas". Maybe because I haven't had to go through this process before, I went in all naive and happy and la-dee-dah! So instead of "omg I need to kill this or else it'll be my 5th time applying next cycle", it was "hey, I had fun in practice so I'll apply that for the real one". And I mentioned to some close friends that whether it got me accepted or not, I enjoyed doing the MMI. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...