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Emory University PA Interview Questions

Advice & Insight From PA Application Specialists

General Interview Information

The PA course at Emory University is ranked in the top 5 in the US and is therefore highly competitive. There are 2071 applicants, of whom 205 were interviewed in the last cycle, for a total class size of 54 students. The average cumulative GPA of the incoming class was 3.63, and the average student had more than 4000 hours of direct patient contact. The school emphasises that those who ‘have served their communities or their countries through volunteer activities, military service, employment opportunities and/or service-oriented programs greatly enhance the cultural perspective of the class.’

You must additionally have the following prerequisite courses:

Natural Sciences: 23 credits of which 4 must be biology, 8 chemistry, 8 human anatomy and physiology, 3 organic chemistry or biochemistry. 3 semester credits for statistics must also be offered. You must offer more than 2000 hours of patient care experience, which must be direct and ‘hands-on.’

Interview Format for Physician Assistant Studies at Emory University

Emory’s interview day is constructed to ‘assure a good match between the program and the candidate.’ The typical interview day begins at 7:30 am with check-in and ends at 3:00 pm. The school conducts its PA interviews in the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format. An MMI consists of students rotating through various ‘stations,’ each of which will focus on a different theme or topic area. The MMIs at Emory assess:

  • Communication skills
  • Understanding of medical ethical issues or health policy
  • Problem-solving
  • Maturity
  • Attitudes
  • Interpersonal skills

You will not be assessed on your medical knowledge.

Key Dates

The program has a rolling admissions process, with results shared after interview within a month at the most. CASPA applications open on July 1st and must be completed by March 1st. Interviews run once per month from September through to March.

Sample & Recent Interview Questions

You should follow the outline provided on Emory’s site and focus on the following key areas:

Communication Skills (& Interpersonal Skills)

  • What does the word compassion mean to you?
  • How is empathy important to physician assistants?
  • Explain the difference between empathy and sympathy. Is empathy synonymous with compassion?
  • How would you break bad news to a patient? Are there any strategies that you’re aware of for conveying information to other people in an understanding manner?
  • Imagine that you are tasked with calming an aggressive patient. How would you approach this situation? Have you faced situations like this before?
  • Communication is key to the success of a team. Can you tell us about a situation in which your ability to communicate meant that your team was able to succeed?
  • Can you tell us about your favourite that you’ve ever been part of? It could be a sports team, a team that you worked in, your team for a project – anything.
  • Are you a strong leader? How can you demonstrate your leadership ability to us?
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Understanding of Medical Ethical Issues or Health Policy

  • Can you tell me what managed care is, and describe how it has affected physicians and PAs?
  • Can you tell me a little bit about multidisciplinary care and how PAs fit into the multidisciplinary team?
  • Can you tell me about the history of PAs in America?
  • How can we improve access to healthcare for the most disadvantaged in our society?
  • How will the roles and responsibilities of physician assistants change in the future?
  • Describe to me in detail one of the most important current challenges to global health.
  • Describe to me in some detail the manner in which physician assistants are regulated in the US.
  • Should insurance providers offer treatment for self-inflicted problems?
  • Describe the way in which you typically approach an ethical problem. How do you attempt to balance the issues on either side?
  • What would you do if one of your coursemates revealed that they had repeatedly stolen some grocery items from a local convenience store?
  • What would you do if one of the doctors in your team ignored their responsibilities repeatedly, leaving those responsibilities to you?
  • Please describe to me what you consider to be three of the most pertinent ethical issues facing PAs and other healthcare professionals today.

Maturity

  • How do you define the term maturity?
  • Studying here requires great dedication. Are you mature enough to be able to succeed in our course at Emory?

Attitudes

  • What would your friends say your attitude toward others is?
  • What would your friends say your attitude to the underprivileged is?
  • What are your ambitions in life?
  • How would you describe your views on life in three words or key phrases?

Emory University PA Interview Questions

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