Questions About Your Professional Knowledge
Interests, Maturity & Motivation Questions
Questions About Diversity
Question bank resources: Missouri State University, MIT and Princeton Review
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to be a physician/dentist/physician assistant/veterinarian/etc. ?
- If you could be any character in history, who would it be, and why?
- Tell us about a time you made a mistake at work and what you did to take responsibility and rectify it.
- What would your best friend say about you in convincing me I should admit you to our medical school?
- Tell us about a time you broke the rules for a good reason.
- What do you see yourself doing in ten or fifteen years from now?
- How are you a match for our school?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- What other schools are you applying to?
- How would you describe the relationship between science and medicine?
- What are three things you want to change about yourself?
- Which family member has influenced your life so far and why?
- What is one accomplishment you are most proud of?
- Name a meaningful experience you've had and how it shaped you to pursue work as a [fill in the blank health profession].
- Which of your college courses interested you the most?
- What interests you outside of healthcare?
- Where do you plan to practice? Why?
- What field or speciality are you interested in?
- What other health care professions have you considered and why did you select [fill in the blank health profession]?
- I see you got a "C" in (an undergraduate course). Why was that course so difficult? Explain.
- What makes you a better applicant than others?
- What role have your parents played in your decision to become a [fill in the blank health profession]?
- What makes you happy?
- I see that you have had a research experience in college. What have you learned about that process?
- Let us say that you are rejected for admission into all schools to which you have applied. What would be your second career option?
- Who are your role models and why?
- What causes your greatest frustrations in life?
- List several qualities that you feel are the most important in being a good [fill in the blank health profession role].
- List several qualities that you feel are the most important in being a good student.
- What haven't we talked about?
- How would the person who knows you the best describe you?
- You are granted any three wishes by a genie. What would your wishes be?
- Who do you admire most in your life and why?
- Does your academic record reflect any major challenges? If so, what are they and why did they occur?
- What do you think of affirmative action?
- A patient believes that COVID-19 is a hoax invented by the U.S. government and refuses to be vaccinated, wear a mask or practice social distancing. They come to you presenting with COVID-19 symptoms. How do you proceed?
- What would you do if your preceptor seemed annoyed to have you following them and refused to explain anything or answer any questions?
- You are a dentist with a patient who has come to see you because of moderate dental pain. After examination you cannot determine the cause of the pain and suggest an X-ray. The patient believes X-rays are harmful and refuses. In fact, you have no X-rays in the patient’s file to consult as she has never consented to X-rays in the several years you have been caring for her. How do you proceed?
- What are your thoughts on euthanasia?
- You observe that an owner is failing to meet their duty care of the pet dog. How do you respond?
- A pregnant 15-year-old unmarried teenager comes into your office asking for an abortion. What would you do? Would you inform her parents?
- You observe a fellow medical student cheating on an examination. What would you do?
- An owner asks to euthanize a healthy animal for the sake of convenience. How do you respond?
- How would you tell a patient just diagnosed with cancer that he has only a few weeks to live?
- You are a dentist expecting a patient you haven’t seen in a few years. This low-income individual does not have dental insurance and makes appointments only when significant treatment is needed. The last time you saw them, they were unable to pay for their dental services. What do you do?
- A 14-year-old gay and promiscuous male comes to you to be treated for a STD. During the conversation he mentions that he has been tested for HIV several times and would like to be tested again to see if he is still uninfected. How would you handle this situation?
- During a routine physical examination of a 10-year-old girl you discover unmistakable evidence that she has been physically and sexually abused over a period of time. Both her parents are in the waiting room. How would you respond to this situation?
- How would you express your concern for a child who needs an amputation?
- An owner explains that they cannot afford a surgical procedure to improve their pet's quality of life. How do you respond?
- You have a patient who has not seen a dentist in more than a decade and they come in with a very large number of issues. Where do you start?
- You have two patients who have been admitted after a serious accident. Both require immediate attention in order to survive. One patient is 20 years old; the other is 60 years old. Which life would you save?
Questions About Your Professional Knowledge
- What experiences have you had in a medical or clinical setting?
- Why have you chosen this particular profession over all other healthcare professions?
- Why would you make an excellent nurse, dentist, PA, etc.?
- Do you think that healtcare providers are being paid too much or too little? Why?
- What issues do the elderly face in terms of oral health care?
- How do you feel about HIPAA regulations?
- What concerns you about healthcare?
- What is your concept of the biopsychosocial model of medicine?
- How would you go about improving access to health care in this country?
- What is the difference between Medicaid and Medicare?
- Do physicians have the right to deny care to patients on Medicaid?
- What are your views on alternative medicine?
- What kinds of experiences have you had in the medical/dental field?
- How important are lifestyle modifications when it comes to dental health?
- What have you recently read in the press about health care?
- List three issues that confront healthcare today. Of the three, which is the most important and why?
- What do you think should be done to control health care costs in this country?
- Do you believe you have the dexterity needed to become a good dentist?
- What are your thoughts on capitation?
- What most recent advances in medicine have occurred that you believe will have the greatest impact on how you will practice medicine?
- I see that you have had considerable volunteer experiences. What have you learned from those experiences?
- Name some strategies to address the problem of smoking among teens; talk about some that haven't been tried before.
- What characteristics does a good dentist possess?
- Tell me what you know it is to be a physician/dentist/veterinarian/PA/etc. ?
- What do you think about the U.S. health care system and which way should it go?
- What do you think is wrong with the current health care system in the U.S.?
- What do you think is the most pressing issue in healthcare today?
- Would your plans to become a physician change if the U.S. moved to a universal healthcare system, similar to Canada?
- How do you think the U.S. should address the physician shortage problem, particularly in primary care doctors in rural areas?
- How do you think national health insurance affects physicians, patients, and society?
- Can you think of any examples in our society when healthcare is a right? When is it a privilege? When is it not clear?
- What do you feel are the social responsibilities of a physician?
- What qualities do you look for in a physician? Can you provide an example of a physician who embodies any of these ideals? How do they do this?
- What is your concept of the doctor/patient relationship?
Interests, Maturity, and Motivation
- What is the last book you read?
- Describe an experience you had helping others.
- Who are your state senators, representatives, and governor?
- What would you do next year if you don't get accepted into [fill in the blank professional health program ]?
- What is the difference between sympathy and empathy?
- Describe an experience you have had in which you were misjudged. What were your responses?
- What qualities would you look for in a healthcare provider?
- How did you go about investigating a career in [fill in the blank health profession]?
- What person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
- What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome?
- Describe the most unusual event in your life.
- How well do you feel you function under pressure? How do you relax?
- What are your hobbies? Do you plan to continue your hobbies while in medical school?
- What was the last movie you saw? What did you think about it?
- Tell me about a mistake you’ve made.
- Tell me about an experience you’ve had working on a team. What role do you tend to play when working on a team?
- Discuss your decision to pursue [fill in the blank health profession]. When did you decide to become a [fill in the blank professional health role], and why?
- Why did you decide to choose [fill in the blank health profession] and not some other field where you can help others, such as psychology, education, or social work?
- How have you tested your motivation to become a [fill in the blank professional health role]? Please explain.
Questions About Diversity
- What exposure to other cultures have you had?
- What kind of experiences have you had working with people with identities different from your own? Have these experiences taught you anything that you didn’t know beforehand?
- How might you best meet the needs of a multiethnic, multicultural patient population?
- What are social determinants of health? Explain how you have seen them influence healthcare decisions.
- To what extent do you owe a debt to those less fortunate than yourself? Please explain.
- What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught you about healthcare access?
Prior to interviewing with a specific program, applicants are strongly encouraged to carefully review all content on a program's website. Questions asked by applicants during an interview should not include information easily located on a program's website, as this demontrates a lack of attention to detail and lack of demonstrable interest in a program. Applicants should use information on a program's website to generate program-specific questions that go beyond information readily available to the public.
Thoughtful applicant questions provide richer knowledge of you, the applicant, and allow for deeper understanding of a program.
General topics to investigate on a program website (which may spark further questions during an interview) could include:
- What is the nature of the grading system?
- What sorts of early clinical experiences are available?
- Is there anything unusual about the sequence of preclinical classes?
- Are there any teaching or research opportunities?
- What is the typical student make-up of the classes?
- Describe the hospitals in which students do their clinical rotations?
- What are the particular clinical emphases of this school?
- What are the particular strengths and weaknesses of this school?
- What is the summer schedule?
- Is there any opportunity for fourth year clerkships abroad?
Questions suited to ask of currently enrolled students at the school/program to which you're applying could include:
- If you could describe the student body in 3 words, what would they be?
- What is the cost of living in the area and how challenging is it to locate/afford housing?
- Is access to personal transportation (such as a car) necessary?
- What is the relationship between the school/program and the surrounding community?
- What opportunities are available for competitive specialties (ex. extra audition rotations, etc.)?
- What is the relationship like between administration/faculty and students?
- What does a typical week in the pre-clinical years look like?
- What are the interclass relationships like (for example, do first-year and second-year students interact)?
- Talk about the quality of clinical exposure during your first year.
- What are the affiliated clinical rotation sites, and what has your experience been like at those locations?