January 25, 2020
Medical School Interview
Real Life Experiences
Giving your thoughts and opinions in an answer is a good start, but pulling real life experiences from your own life gives your answer more credibility. For example, if the question asks how you would help someone overcome the challenge in the scenario described, give an example of a time you helped a friend overcome a challenge, say why you acted that way, and note what was going through your mind. It doesn’t have to be the exact same scenario, just close enough in terms of how you’d feel and what would move you to act.
Take some time to think about your past experiences. Go through your diary or journal or just close your eyes and reflect. Try reviewing your CV. What jobs, volunteer activities, or clubs played a major role in your life? How did they impact you? And don’t forget about the smaller, more personal experiences that you didn’t include in your CV. What about that time you helped your friend when they were having trouble with school or going through problems at home? Write down a few of these experiences each day (even on the subway or during a lunch break, if you’re short on time) and you’ll have a large roster to choose from when it’s time for interviews.
“In my first year of undergraduate studies, I enrolled in a third-year French course. I took French in high school and I was really passionate about learning it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t handle the workload and had to drop the course. Not only did I find the course very content heavy, I also didn’t enjoy how textbook-based it was. After some reflection, I realized what I really needed was to learn by being immersed in an authentic French environment. So after second year, I took a year off to work in France. It was an amazing experience and I improved my French a lot. Despite the initial challenging setback, I was determined not to quit, and this enabled me to think outside the box and achieve my goals. I think one of the greatest qualities I’ll bring to medicine is my perseverance.”
Take Home Points
Review Your CV
In my example, I used my failure to fuel my efforts to reach my goals. This was the central message I wanted interviewers to talk away with.
Take Home Points:
- Take time to really reflect on your experiences – do a bit a day, so it’s not overwhelming.
- Review your CV.
- Don’t forget about experiences not mentioned on your CV.
- Write your experiences down so you can keep track of them.
- Never underestimate how meaningful your experiences can be, especially the ones that appear to be mistakes at first glance.
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