January 25, 2020
Medical School Interview
Your Biggest Weakness
I don’t think that answer has ever worked for anyone anywhere, and medical school is no exception. When writing about your faults, take some time to truly think about it.
It can be hard, depressing even, but you have to dig deep and be honest. And make sure to think of situations or qualities that you are actually responsible for. Saying, “I always submit assignments late because none of my group members do their work,” won’t cut it. No one likes a person who always blames others. Another component of your answer should be what you’ve learned from your failures or what you’ve done to improve your faults. Here are two examples I’ve used:
“One of my biggest failures is that I dropped a course in undergraduate. In my first year, I enrolled in a third-year French course. Unfortunately, I couldn’t handle the workload and had to drop the course. I completely underestimated the workload and overestimated by ability to handle it. This experience has taught me to be more realistic and to manage my time better. It made me re-evaluate my studying strategies and improve them. After this course, I never dropped a course again and was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA.”
“One of my biggest faults is that I’m uncomfortable with public speaking. I tend to waver between overly quiet and awkwardly loud, but always full of anxiety. In the past, I’ve never had much experience with public speaking and that’s part of what made it uncomfortable for me. But I know that it’s an invaluable skill in medicine, especially when presenting research at conferences. So I’ve forced myself to get more practice. After my second year of undergraduate, I went to France to teach English for a year. I was in charge of teaching classes by myself. The first few times were terrifying, but day by day, I got used to it and I became less anxious and more confident. I also felt a great sense of responsibility to teach my students properly and I was overjoyed when they really understood my lessons. I’m still not fantastic at public speaking, but I’m proud of how much I’ve improved. And I’m glad that I decided to work on it because it encouraged me to take on fantastic new opportunities.”
Take Home Points
- Everyone has faults and failures. If you can’t think of any, you’re not thinking hard enough.
- Don’t blame your mistakes on others – it just reflects poorly on you.
- Take your time brainstorming. You may think you’ve thought of the perfect failure to discuss, but there might be an even more impressive one just around the corner.
- Answer the question “what have you learned from your failure?”
- Answer the question “what have you done to improve upon your faults?”
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