Duke University Medicine Interview Questions

Past Interview Questions & Tips

Duke Medicine Interview Format

Duke is using the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format, with interviews being conducted online.

The MMI consists of 5 Ethical Stations, 2 Traditional Interviews, 1 Team Station (visited twice), and a Video Station.


Key Dates

Interviews generally take place between August and March.

Historical Interview Information

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) consists of 8-10 stations each lasting approximately 10 minutes. Stations are designed to test the following attributes:

  • Empathy,
  • Initiative,
  • Resilience,
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving skills,
  • Teamwork,
  • Insight
  • Integrity,
  • Compassion

​Interviewers are members of the School of Medicine Admissions Committee and include administrators, faculty, staff, and students that have been trained specifically for the MMI process at Duke University.

Duke Medicine Key Application & Interview Statistics

Overall Success Rate (Total Applicants : Total Spaces)
Overall Success Rate (Total Applicants : Total Spaces)
Percentage of Candidates Interviewed
Percentage Of Candidates Interviewed
Interviewee Success Rate
Interviewee Success Rate

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Duke University Medicine Past MMI Stations & Interview Questions

General/Personal Statement – These stations seek to clarify information from your application package and give you a chance to reflect on and evaluate certain life and work experiences. 

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Explain/describe personal experiences mentioned in your essay.
  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
  • How would your parents describe you?
  • Describe your work/hospital experience.
  • Besides your hospital work, what have you done to show your concern for humanity?
  • What do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
  • Was your undergraduate career rewarding?
  • What do your parents do?
  • How did your major prepare you for medicine? Would you change your choice of major if you started over?
  • In what extracurricular activities have you participated while in college? High school?
  • Give a brief review of your independent research.
  • What has been the most meaningful part of your education?
  • Have you read a good novel lately? What was it? Who wrote it?
  • What is a typical day for you?
  • What is your major, and why did you choose it?
  • Discuss your family and your relationships with your family members.
  • Explain discrepancies and inconsistencies in your academic record.
  • What historical person would you like to have met? Why?
  • If you have a particularly stressful day, how do you unwind?

Motivation and Insight into Medicine – These stations will focus on your career choice and decision reasons for wanting to study at Duke as well as considering if you have realistic ideas on the ‘everyday life of a physician’. It may also touch on issues currently facing the medical community. Some of the typical questions in the past have been:

  • Why are you interested in medicine?
  • When did you decide to apply to medical school?
  • What have you done to demonstrate your interest in medicine?
  • Do your parents support your desire to go to medical school?
  • When did you decide you wanted to be a doctor?
  • Are there any physicians in your family?
  • Have you ever known any doctor personally? If so, did you consult the doctor regarding entering medical school?
  • What one person has had the most impact on you and your decision to go to medical school?
  • What are some of the major problems facing health care today?
  • What do you think of national health insurance? Socialized medicine?
  • What should be done about the high cost of medical care?
  • What do you know about HMOs? DRGs? For-profit hospitals? PPOs?
  • Who is Jack Kevorkian?
  • What do you think should be done about health care for the elderly?
  • Do you have an idea how much a surgeon has to pay in malpractice insurance?
  • What qualities do you associate with a good doctor?
  • What qualities do you possess that would make you a good physician?
  • How do you envision life as a doctor? How do you see yourself in ten years?
  • What will you do if you are not accepted into medical school?
  • What do you see your contribution in medicine as being?
  • Will the threats of malpractice suits in medicine limit your career plans?
  • What rewards will you get from the profession?
  • What are your plans for a medical career?
  • What will society be like in fifteen years and how will medicine fit it?
  • Do you think you know what you are getting into?
  • Do you know what it is like to deal with the sick?
  • Why did you apply to this medical school?
  • What other schools did you apply to?
  • Do you have any questions about this medical school or its medical program?
  • Are you interested in this region as a place to settle?

Ethical Scenarios – These topics often have no clear right or wrong answer and are designed to observe the way that you weigh up the sides of controversial issues and justify your opinion. Recent questions have included:

  • What is your opinion on euthanasia?
  • If you were an RA and one of your residents told you in confidence that he/she had AIDS, what would you do?
  • Do you think health care is a “natural right” or a “freedom of choice”?
  • Tell me about an ethical choice or decision that you have had to make?
  • What is your opinion on abortion? Treatment of AIDS victims? Organ procurement and transplantation?
  • Additional MMI Ethical Scenarios with Model Answers can be found in the MMI Question Bank.

Role Play Scenarios – These scenarios often want you to demonstrate key attributes such as empathy, effective communication and being non-judgemental. In order to succeed in these stations, ensure that you review and implement ‘The 6 Stages of MMI Role Play’. A range of recent MMI Role Play Scenarios with Model Answers can be found in the Online MMI Question Bank.

Teamwork Station – This station is often underestimated by the majority of candidates. Interviewers keep a close eye on the verbal and non-verbal participation of all candidates during teamwork stations, and successful portrayal of an enthusiastic and supportive team member requires an understanding of the Common Pitfalls and Key Excelling Areas for MMI Teamwork Stations.

Duke Medicine Interview Questions and Answers

Why do you want to study Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine?

I am eager to study Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine because of its unique and innovative curriculum. The program’s distinctive structure allows students to complete core basic sciences in just one year and engage in clinical experiences in the second year, which is earlier than most medical schools. This approach not only accelerates my clinical training but also provides a full year for scholarly research. Duke’s commitment to preparing diverse physician leaders who can advance biomedical research and improve health on a local, national, and global scale aligns perfectly with my aspirations in medicine. The emphasis on humanism, professionalism, diversity, and lifelong learning within the Patient FIRST curriculum resonates with my personal values and professional goals.

What do you know about the Medicine course structure at Duke University?

Duke University School of Medicine’s Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program offers a distinctive and accelerated curriculum. In the first year, students immerse themselves in core basic sciences, followed by core clinical clerkships in the second year. This innovative approach condenses traditional training into three years, allowing the third year to be devoted entirely to scholarly research. The fourth year includes elective rotations, offering a broad exposure to various medical fields. The curriculum integrates technology to maximize in-person learning, emphasizing team development and synthesis. Duke’s unique approach, including the Patient FIRST curriculum, centers on patient care from the outset and fosters an environment conducive to developing physician leaders of the future.

Can you discuss the research opportunities available at Duke University's Medical School?

Duke University School of Medicine provides extensive research opportunities, particularly highlighted in its unique third year dedicated solely to scholarly investigation. This year allows students to delve deeply into an area of interest, whether it be bench research, clinical research, or pursuing a dual degree. The focus on in-depth exploration of scientific disciplines helps students become change agents in healthcare. The school encourages students to develop their research skills and gain insights into their long-term career goals. This commitment to research is integral to Duke’s mission of preparing physician leaders capable of advancing biomedical research and addressing complex health challenges.

How does Duke University's Medical School prepare students for diverse medical careers?

Duke prepares students for a spectrum of medical careers by offering a transformative and patient-centered learning experience from the very beginning. The innovative curriculum, including the Patient FIRST perspective, emphasizes humanism, professionalism, and inclusion, equipping students with the skills and knowledge necessary for diverse medical fields. The compact basic science curriculum, combined with extensive clinical experiences and a full year dedicated to scholarly research, provides students with a well-rounded education. This approach allows students to explore various aspects of medicine, enabling them to become well-prepared physician leaders who can adapt to various roles in healthcare.

What makes Duke University's Medical School unique in its approach to medical education?

Duke University School of Medicine stands out for its accelerated and innovative curriculum that emphasizes early clinical exposure and a significant commitment to research. By condensing basic science education into one year and clinical clerkships into the second, Duke allows students to devote an entire year to scholarly research, fostering in-depth exploration and critical thinking. The Patient FIRST curriculum places patients at the center of learning, ensuring a holistic approach to medicine from day one. Duke’s focus on mentorship, diversity, and inclusion, coupled with the opportunity to pursue independent interests, creates an environment where students can develop into versatile and compassionate physician leaders, ready to address the evolving needs of healthcare.


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