“Sample Questions to Ask Your Interviewer” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success. To download the entire free special report, click here.
Since your goal should be to come up with questions that are specific to your situation, I can’t give you a list of must-ask questions without knowing who YOU are. But here are a few sample questions that you can review and tweak so that the questions are more appropriate for YOU:
If you are interviewing with med school alum or a second-year student, then you should ask questions about their experiences, for example:
• Who are/were some of your favorite professors? Favorite classes?
• What is/was a typical day like for you?
• Are there clubs or activities that you would recommend for someone interested in XYZ? What clubs are/were you involved in? How important do you think it is to be involved in extracurricular activities?
• If you could change anything about your experience at this program, what would it be?
You get the idea. You want to come up with questions that personalize you and that show you have an interest in your interviewer’s experience (if relevant).
Be specific, show that you’ve done your research, and most importantly, relax!
Firmsconsulting just released new rankings that compare the performance of CEOs from six top consulting firms, McKinsey & Co., BCG, Bain & Co., Deloitte S&O, PwC Strategy& and Roland Berger. Each Sunday, the rankings will be republished based on new performance findings.
Here are some points to keep in mind:
1. How a CEO fares does not correlate to the prestige of the firm.
2. Feedback is collected directly from firm partners.
3. The real-time ranking updates allow Firmsconsulting to track weekly changes. For consulting firms, a yearly ranking would simply be outdated by the time it was published, taking into account data from a bygone era.
4. Based on a CEO’s past performance, Firmsconsulting believes one can infer from these ranking the likely future performance of a CEO.
You can view the real-time rankings and check out CEO profiles here.
The GMAT Verbal section overall tends to focus less on individual words and more on the meanings of whole sentences. When comparing the GRE vs the GMAT, vocabulary is essential on the GRE, but students need worry considerably less about vocabulary on the GMAT. If GRE Verbal tests words, GMAT Verbal tests sentences.
The GMAT Sentence Correction expects you to recognize well-constructed sentences. What is a well-constructed sentence? The title, a line from the fourth of the Four Quartets by TS Eliot, gives Eliot’s rather fanciful description of a well-constructed sentence. Let’s be a little more practical.
Of course, good grammar is essential. The GMAT will expect you to have subjects and verbs agree, to use correct tenses, and to recognize the difference of that vs. which. Every nugget of grammar has to be correct, but that’s just the start.
By way of analogy, part of a city planner’s job is to make sure every traffic light in a city is working, but getting each individual light working is only part of the challenge. An effective city planner has to think about “higher level” issues — timing of the lights, patterns of congestions, etc. How does the whole picture of city traffic, the “complete consort,” fit together?
Similarly, the GMAT expects you to analyze sentences not just at the level of grammar but at the higher levels of syntax and meaning. Parallelism is a perfect example. It’s hard to define parallelism precisely because it higher level — we can put individual words in parallel (noun, verbs, adjectives, etc.) or, as is much more typical for the GMAT, we can put entire phrases and clauses in parallel. If we have structure such as “not only [phrase #1] but also [phrase #2]“, it’s not enough that each individual phrase be free of grammar mistakes —- the two phrases must “match” (e.g. both participial phrases, or both infinitive phrases). Parallelism is about whether different parts are “dancing together.”
A very different issue of words “dancing together” concerns idioms. How important are idioms for GMAT Sentence Correction? Very! Here, we mean idioms in the sense of which words “belong” with each other. For example, we would say “an ability to do X”, not “an ability for doing X” or “an ability in doing X.”
Higher level issues extend to logical problems, such as misplaced modifiers or pronouns with unclear antecedent. Finally, the sentence overall must be work rhetorically — it must be unambiguous yet succinct, overall making a direct and powerful statement. That, indeed, is the “complete consort dancing together”!
Part of achieving a good score on the GMAT entails mastering this hierarchy of sentence-construction skills. How you learn this stuff? It’s important to find a tried and true GMAT study schedule, and to avail yourself of the best GMAT material.
It’s important to read high-brow material, such as the Economist magazine. With good materials and practice, this is a “dance” you can learn!
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The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) method was created in Canada. McMaster University published a research study in 2004 that examined using this new interview method to more accurately assess candidates for admission into medical school. In their study, they found that the traditional interview format was not a reliable admissions tool because too often the interviewer was influencing the quality of the interview. It’s expensive for students to fly to interviews—only to be interviewed by one or two people—who may or may not provide them with a fair interview or review for any number of factors. By providing ten different stations, the McMaster MMI allowed students to interact with a wide range of evaluators. The scores and feedback provided by a larger number of people served as a more accurate way to review the performance of applicants. In the U.S., UCLA and UC Davis were the first medical schools to begin using this new interview format. More and more schools are adopting this method.
The basic structure of the MMI in the U.S. includes:
• An average of six to ten different stations.
• A time limit at each station, as well as a time limit to prepare.
• An evaluator to observe at each station.
• Stations that may be held in an open area or small rooms.
The stations themselves are broken down into four main types of activities:
1. Traditional Interview Questions
Most schools will have a station or two with questions about why you want to go into medicine or what you have done to prepare yourself for a career in medicine. You can always expect to encounter these types of questions in any kind of interview.
2. Debate Questions
For this type of station, you will be given a topic and instructions on whether you will be arguing for or against the topic assigned. Often you will be given some time to prepare and a time limit to present your argument. At the end, you will need to provide feedback on the other student’s response.
3. Team Activities
The types of team activities offered varies widely from campus to campus. Some schools have you draw a picture from verbal instructions only, other schools will have you work with another applicant to take turns building something with blocks and giving instructions. Or you will have to work as a team to create something together using blocks, nails or even spaghetti and marshmallows.
4. Actors and Fake Scenarios
The actors who participate in the stations will often present you with a fake situation in which you have to respond to their distress, anger, grief or other strong emotions. The evaluator wants to see how many strategies you have in relating to others and resolving conflicts of any nature. These stations give you a chance to demonstrate how you think on your feet.
While it is difficult to know how to prepare for this type of interview, understanding why it is used and its basic structure will help you begin to strategize. This format will ensure that you are given a fair evaluation. It’s designed to help them identify the strengths that you will bring to your medical training.
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.