My thoughts exactly. Today is Monday, January 8th, 2018 and my interview is *gulp* this Friday. You know how there’s those people in the world that are just cool, calm, and collected? Yeah…. Not I. I mean a little anxiety is a good thing, right?
*Inserts lecture on Yerkes-Dodson Law* aka arousal theory of motivation. If you’re a 2015 and later MCAT taker like me (Heyyyyy y’all, we made it through the struggle!) or Psych major, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those that do not or haven’t taken the MCAT just yet–my prayers are with you, the central theme of the arousal theory of motivation conveys that increased levels of arousal will contribute to improved performance. This doesn’t mean be a nervous wreck, there is an optimal level for everything. I am saying that it is perfectly normal and frankly, beneficial, to have a little interview day jitters. This is what I’m doing to prepare and cut those nerves in half.
1) Review your AMCAS primary application.
I cannot stress this enough. I have already been on my first interview and they do ask questions regarding your AMCAS applications, so you should definitely refresh yourself. I know what you’re thinking, “Come on.. I know what I said, it is MY application” but think about it.. You probably submitted your application 2-6 months prior to your interview date! There’s no way you remembered the details of that application, and if you’re like me, once I clicked submit on my primary and those draining secondaries that came after, I didn’t even want to see the roman numeral I and II again for at least another year.
2) Browse the medical school’s website.
Make sure you know the program highlights of the medical school. Each medical program is different and each program has unique characteristics that makes their school special. It is important that you know what these qualities are for the following reasons:
a. Analyze the benefits (and potential weaknesses) of each program and decide which medical school is a best fit for you and your learning style
b. Prepare questions for interview day. Just like the school is interviewing you, you must also take this opportunity to interview the school. It’s not a one way street. The medical school you choose should be just as much as a perfect fit for you as you are a perfect fit for the school.
3) Search for sample interview questions specific for each school— it’s okay, it’ll be our little secret.
But really! There’s nothing wrong with preparing yourself. Student Doctor Network will become your best friend throughout this process. This website provides information from students that have already been interviewed. Of course the students don’t provide you with their answers… this would be silly and do you a disservice because your interviewer will sense BS (trust me). Instead, you should search previous interview questions, and think of how YOU would honestly answer.
4) Mock Interviews
If you’re still in undergrad or a post bacc program, ask about mock interviews. Your institution will provide them free of charge. At my undergrad, mock interviews were offered through Career Services. All you had to do was call, set up a time, and show up. Super easy, right?
Since I took a year off, I didn’t get the chance to utilize that service. Instead, I printed out questions, prepared my responses, and practiced with anyone who would listen (shout out to my boyfriend and my mom LOL) Your friends and family, even co-workers would love to help and they’re going to give you the realest feedback. They may be harsh sometimes but trust me, you will thank them later. Constructive criticism is exactly what you need, because it’ll allow you to adjust your trouble areas and get you right for the actual interview!
I also practiced my responses by myself in the mirror. Here are some things to pay attention to:
- Body Posture
- Any distracting mannerisms
- Genuine Responses- This is not the time to “fake it till ya make it” – The school wants to know who you are. Trust yourself. They wouldn’t have invited you to interview if they weren’t interested in you. There’s only one you. And being you is more than enough. Don’t try to fit who you think they want; who they want is you!
5) Have faith
Remember: faith is the only antidote for fear. You are destined for success. Always walk in faith and be prepared for its benefits. Put it in your mind that you will have a great interview day and receive an acceptance letter, and you will. Actually, go to your interview with the mindset that you’ve already been accepted. Faith to this magnitude will surely manifest your desires into reality.
Now, go show those interviewers why you’ll be the best medical student known to all medical schools!