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Common Residency Interview Questions (Part II)

Posted by medliorator on January 26, 2010

  • Why do you wish to join our residency program?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in ten years, after your residency?
  • Do you have any medical research experience?
  • What made you join medicine?
  • What made you choose this residency specialty (Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Family practice, OB/GYN, Anesthesiology etc.)?
  • If you were asked to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
  • In your Curriculum Vitae (CV), there is a gap of 1 year. Why?
  • How many residency interviews have you completed so far?
  • What is your medical career plan?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • What are your interests?
  • Are you applying to any other residency specialty?
  • How do you handle adversity?
  • What is your most memorable patient encounter?
  • Which residency programs have you interviewed at?
  • Tell me about an interesting case you have seen?
  • Tell me about yourself.

Usmle Interview Questions [DoctorsHangout]

Correlate: Top 10 Most Common Residency Interview Questions

Posted in Interviewing | Comments Off on Common Residency Interview Questions (Part II)

How to Succeed During Residency Interviews

Posted by medliorator on January 12, 2010


By Jessica Freedman, MD of MedEdits:

The question “why THIS specialty” will undoubtedly come up at every interview, and your answer to this question must be clear and well thought out.  Don’t just say the obvious, but try for a response that will set you apart from other applicants. For example, as the associate program director in emergency medicine (EM), when I asked the question, “why EM,” I heard this response more times than I can count: “Well, I liked everything in medical school and I enjoy caring for high acuity patients so EM was an easy choice.” A more memorable response was, “I have been interested in EM ever since I was a patient in the ED during my second year of medical school. As I watched what was going on during that roughly six hour visit, I realized that the emergency physician who cared for me represented the type of doctor I hoped to become: someone who could manage anything that came through the door, was kind and compassionate and cared for a diverse group of patients. My time in the ED as a patient really made it clear that EM was the ideal specialty for me.” You should also try to substantiate your answer by using examples from your rotations in that specialty to illustrate what you like about it.

Acing Your Residency Interview [Student Doctor Network]

Correlate: Top 10 Most Common Residency Interview Questions

President of MedEditsMost residency applicants have not found themselves in the interviewee seat since they applied to medical school. Well, the residency interview is somewhat different from the medical school interview. Because you have now nearly graduated from medical school (for the traditional applicant), no one is trying to assess your commitment to medicine; rather, they are specifically evaluating your commitment to the specialty to which you are applying. They also are evaluating your ability to perform well as a resident and if you will be a good fit for their program. This article will provide some tips to help you succeed, whether you are applying to residency this interview season or in the future.

Clearly articulate your interest in the specialty to which you are applying.
Residency program directors must be convinced that you have a genuine interest in the specialty and a clear understanding of what it means to practice in that specialty. They also want to know that you are motivated and that you will work hard to become an outstanding clinician. The question “why THIS specialty” will undoubtedly come up at every interview, and your answer to this question must be clear and well thought out.  Don’t just say the obvious, but try for a response that will set you apart from other applicants. For example, as the associate program director in emergency medicine (EM), when I asked the question, “why EM,” I heard this response more times than I can count: “Well, I liked everything in medical school and I enjoy caring for high acuity patients so EM was an easy choice.” A more memorable response was, “I have been interested in EM ever since I was a patient in the ED during my second year of medical school. As I watched what was going on during that roughly six hour visit, I realized that the emergency physician who cared for me represented the type of doctor I hoped to become: someone who could manage anything that came through the door, was kind and compassionate and cared for a diverse group of patients. My time in the ED as a patient really made it clear that EM was the ideal specialty for me.” You should also try to substantiate your answer by using examples from your rotations in that specialty to illustrate what you like about it.

Be personable, energetic and communicative.
A large part of your residency interview will focus on the evaluation of your interpersonal skills, including not only how well you communicate but your demeanor, enthusiasm, compassion and general attitude. These skills are important not only because any physician, regardless of specialty, must be an effective communicator, but also because program directors are seeking applicants who will be pleasant to have in their program. You will be spending three to five intensive years in this program so interviewers try to match with people who will be a joy to train. To assess an applicant’s ability to communicate, many program directors ask them to describe an interesting case. International medical graduates (IMGs) who are not US citizens are most likely to be asked this question.

Have a clear idea of what you want to convey during your interview.
Why is this important? Many residency interviewers have little interviewing experience and simply do not know the best questions to ask or what information they should obtain. Your interviewer is your advocate on the residency admissions committee, but he or she can present the committee only the information you provide. If interviewers fail to ask you pertinent questions because of a lack of experience, their presentations in support of your candidacy may be weak. So, it is your job as a residency applicant to be proactive; tell them specifically why you are interested in the specialty, what you have done to explore this interest and what makes you a unique applicant.

Be sure to bring up “red flags.”
These red flags include board failures or major gaps in time. Even if such topics do not come up during your interview, they will likely be discussed in behind-the-scenes discussions, and you are sunk if your interviewer does not have a defense for you because the issues were not addressed.

Project a good image.
No, you won’t be evaluated on your attire, but you must appear to be mature, professional and well-balanced. This means you should have good posture, make eye contact with everyone whom you meet, speak clearly and articulately and convey confidence but without any hint of arrogance. Your interviewers are also trying to rule out any underlying psychopathology; a program’s worst nightmare is to have a resident who might have a personality disorder, a hidden substance abuse problem or a tendency to cause trouble.

Have a sense of why you will be a good fit for the program.
It is important to have as much information about the program before you interview. Sometimes this information is easy to find on websites but, if not, you can also learn about programs at dinners or events the night before the interview day (if offered) and at presentations during the interview day itself. While it is important to be authentic during your interview day (most seasoned interviewers can sense if someone is misrepresenting himself or herself), you can tailor your responses to become a better “fit” for the program. If a program is largely community based, for example, you don’t want to emphasize that you hope to become a physician scientist in the future. In contrast, for the large academic program that boasts residents’ scholarly pursuits, you would want to highlight your past academic achievements and mention that you might consider an academic career.

Be friendly and respectful towards the residency coordinator and residents.
Residency coordinators and the residents you meet have tremendous influence in this process. The residency coordinator who has a negative impression of someone often will mention this to the program director. By the same token, residents’ opinions of applicants are also taken in to consideration, especially when they are extremely positive or negative.

Be prepared for specific questions if you are an IMG.
The IMG who is a United States citizen likely will be asked about his decision to go abroad for medical school. When I do mock interviews with residency applicants, I find that most clients initially give this type of answer: “I wanted a different experience and to learn about a new culture.” When I ask for the “real” reason, they reveal the truth: “I couldn’t get into a US school because…. After doing research, I realized I could do well by going to XXX medical school.” I encourage applicants to always tell the whole truth. The IMG who is not a US citizen should be able to discuss why he decided to pursue residency training in the US and his path to residency. As discussed above, most non-US citizen IMGs will be asked to talk about an interesting case.

In summary, remember that most residency interviews are directed and conversational. In my work with clients I find that some interviews are becoming shockingly brief – some clients tell me that interviews last only 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on the program and the specialty, you will have at least two interviews but may have up to five or six. Usually, the more interviews you have, the shorter each individual interview will be.  On average, though, an interview will last 20 minutes. This brevity makes it important to have a clear idea of what you would like to talk about on interview day. Also be prepared to talk about the same topics repeatedly since most interviewers are trying to ascertain the same general information.

Here are some topics that you should be prepared to discuss at your residency interview:

* Tell me about yourself.
* Why XXX specialty?
* Where do you see yourself in the future?
* Why do you want to come to this program?
* Tell me about an interesting case.
* Tell me about your rotations in XXX specialty.
* Tell me about your greatest strength and weakness.
* What are some issues in health care today and how will they impact this specialty?
* What are the negative aspects of practicing this specialty?

Jessica Freedman, MD, a former medical admissions officer, is president of MedEdits (www.MedEdits.com), a medical school, residency and fellowship admissions consulting firm. She is also the author of the MedEdits blog, a useful resource for applicants: (www.MedEdits.blogspot.com).
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Addressing Mediocre Board Scores during Interviews

Posted by medliorator on December 17, 2009

Dr. William James (University of Pennsylvania)…

I think there are people that have a pretty darn good record, and unfortunately they say things like “Well, my boards could have been better, but you know I had this happen in my personal life.” Basically, they’re apologizing. They may have gotten 80% honors grades and yet they’re apologizing for this one rotation that they didn’t honor, and trying to come up with a reason or excuse. That’s just not a good way to approach an interview.

The way to approach an interview is to be self-confident and to accentuate the positives. They’re clearly there, because if you’re interviewing for a program, you must have a lot of positives. We don’t just interview anybody. You’ve got a good record, so you want to go in and be self-confident about that. You want to look good, and you want to come in sharp and enthusiastic.

The Successful Match: Getting into Dermatology [Student Doctor Network]

Posted in Interviewing, Matching | Comments Off on Addressing Mediocre Board Scores during Interviews

Expert Advice for Residency Interviewing

Posted by medliorator on November 18, 2009

Kendra Campbell offers 10 helpful interviewing tips

5) Be prepared for questions. There are many great resources on the web with lists of common residency interview questions (you can check out some from the AAMC here). You should try and go though most of them and come up with an idea of an answer.

7) Write thank you notes to your interviewers. Either electronic or paper, or both.

Residency Interview Tips [Medscape]

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Resume: Creating a Medical CV

Posted by medliorator on March 13, 2009

Laura Brammar:

Being able to provide evidence of skills and abilities is vital in order to produce an excellent CV… It is not enough to simply list your experience; instead you need to provide examples of when you have used the core skills required for the post. Many applicants fail to provide the best example of the highlighted skill as the information gets lost in a long chronological record of previous roles and rotations.

Below is an outline of the common sections, in order, found on a medical CV

  • Personal details – Name, Contact details—telephone; email, General Medical Council registration number and national training number, Medical Defence Union number
  • Career statement – Focus on the goals that you have for yourself in certain aspects of your professional life and keep it short and simple.
  • Education and qualifications – University (medical degree, awards, prizes and scholarships, intercalated degree)
  • Present position
  • Career history (ensure that any gaps in employment are accounted for)
  • Clinical skills and experience
  • Management and leadership experience
  • Interests
  • Referees – Always secure agreement from your proposed referees before listing their details on your CV, and provide them with a job description and recent CV to help them to write a focused reference.

Take care with dates and make sure any gaps are accounted for.

Medical CV writing skills [BMJ Careers]

Posted in Communication, Interviewing, Writing | Comments Off on Resume: Creating a Medical CV

The Cost of Residency Application

Posted by medliorator on February 24, 2009

From MedObsession…

Application Fees

  • $290 – ERAS fee for 30 programs in 1 specialty ($60 for 10 programs, $8 each for 11-20, $15 each for 21-30)
  • $60 – USMLE transcript fee
  • $40 – NRMP registration fee

Transportation

  • $2069 – 10 plane flights (it pays to cluster interviews regionally if you can)
  • $141 – rental car for 2 days (in a city where I had 2 interviews and 2 socials to attend)
  • $78 – cab/airport shuttle fares (share cabs where you can, or book round trip shuttles to save)
  • $34 – parking fees for the 2 programs that didn’t reimburse (UCSF and UCLA)

Hotels

  • $266 – 3 hotel nights (roommates and Inns cut costs)

Grand Total

$2978

The Cost of Applying to Residency [MedObsession]

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Top 10 Most Common Residency Interview Questions

Posted by medliorator on February 17, 2009

Ben Bryner shares the most common questions from residency interviewing…

10. What do you do in your spare time?
9.  Tell me about your research.
8.  Why do you want to be a surgeon?
7.  What separates you from all the other applicants / What do you bring to the table / Why should we take you over someone else?
6.  What are you looking for in a training program?
5.  Do you know [some person at my home institution]?
4.  If you suddenly became unable to perform any kind of surgery, what would you do instead?
3.  What other programs have you interviewed at?
2.  Tell me about yourself.
here it is…number one…wait for it….
1.  Where do you see yourself in 10 (or 15) years?

Step into my office [The Differential]

Posted in Interviewing | 4 Comments »

Residency Interviews – What to Expect

Posted by medliorator on February 2, 2009

Interviewing for any job can be stressful. Residency interviews may be on a whole different level.

Although most of my interviews were get-to-know-each-other type of affairs I was, at times, ‘pimped’ on clinical scenarios, asked to read CT and MRI scans, and even had my dexterity tested.

in the specialty I’m trying to enter, the average medical student went on more than 14 interviews. Like for in many job interviews, each residency interview is a full day, often a multi-day affair. 14 job interviews is a lot. Perhaps more telling, it isn’t unheard of to talk with 15+ individuals at a single interview.

The entire interview process, including any potential second looks, is largely self funded… It’s an investment in your future of course and so I think most applicants take the debt with grace. And most medical students are used to debt; another $10,000 is just something to shrug at…unfortunately. Still, it is a little eyebrow raising.

Interviewing For Residency [from Medskool]

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Residency Interviewing Advice

Posted by medliorator on January 5, 2009

Ben Bryner:

One of the other questions that I’ve been told to prepare for is “What kind of people do you have the hardest time working with?” Obviously, this is a trap. (The old tried-and-true trap question, “What are your weaknesses?” is now such a cliché that I haven’t heard anyone ask it.) So when someone asks you what kind of people are difficult to work with, you can’t give the correct answer (“People that are both mean and stupid”). But this is fine, because the interviewer’s point in asking the question is not to obtain information (everybody knows the right answer) but to see how you think.

one way I’ve answered the question is to say that as a medical student, people who don’t give you a chance to get involved are the toughest ones to work with.

By answering this way I hope to show the interviewer that I like getting involved, am a team player, and will be interested in teaching students when I’m a resident. I have no idea if this comes across the way I mean it

Surgery, Interviews, and Rock ‘n Roll [The Differential]

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Building a Successful Resume for Residency

Posted by medliorator on July 16, 2008

the page should have more blank space than text. Wall-to-wall print is overwhelming and difficult to read. If you have a lot of accomplishments, that’s great. But be sure that the ones you are trying to highlight are not lost in a big list. Don’t include anything on your CV that you would not want to become the main focus of an interview.

In most cases, CVs are now submitted online through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). This means that you must format your CV within the confines of the ERAS format. You can familiarize yourself with this format by using the MyERAS Application Worksheet

The ERAS application is divided into these categories: Education, Experience (Work, Research, or Volunteer), Publications, Languages, Hobbies and Interests, Awards, Accomplishments, and Memberships in Honorary or Professional Societies. Developing experiences within each of these categories will help you produce a successful CV.

How Can I Develop a Good CV for Residency? [Medscape]

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