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Harvard Medicine Interview Questions

Past Interview Questions & Tips

Harvard Medicine Interview Format (Historically)

Candidates will have two separate, one-on-one interviews with two different members of the Admissions Committee.  

Key Dates

Interviews generally take place between October and January.

Harvard 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

Optimise Your Interview Performance

Learn the best interview strategies and practice with past interview questions & model answers.

Harvard Medicine Past MMI Stations & Interview Questions

General/Personal Statement – With interviewers having access to the candidate’s application, a great deal of emphasis is placed on their background and work experience. Many interviewers begin with the open-ended question “tell me about yourself”.  Applicants should expect to be asked to elaborate on any and every aspect of their personal statement and provide examples to support their answers. 

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Tell me about your family.
  • What’s your proudest accomplishment?
  • What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
  • What makes you unique?
  • What are your faults?
  • What three adjectives would classmates use to describe you in a classroom setting?
  • What would you identify as a weakness in your application?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • Have you experienced failure, no matter how hard you tried? How did you deal with it?
  • Why do you care about other people? Where does your empathy come from?
  • What are three things you do well?
  • What would you like to improve about yourself?
  • What do you want the epitaph on your gravestone to say?
  • What did you do at [undergrad institution]?
  • Walk me through your four years at college? If there was something you could change, what would it be?
  • What was the most valuable experience you had in college?
  • Can you tell me about your MCAT?
  • Can you explain the trend in your undergraduate grades? 
  • What did you do outside the classroom during your freshman year? 
  • What was your favourite non-premed college course?
  • Describe your research experience — give me your hypothesis, methodology and findings.
  • Tell me more about your research.
  • What is the overarching theme of your activities?
  • How did you get involved in community service?
  • I see you’ve done a lot of activities related to X, tell me about what you’ve learned from those experiences. How do you think you’ll apply those lessons to your career as a doctor?
  • What were some of the challenges you encountered in your job as a ____?
  • What clinical experience have you had?
  • Tell me about your involvement in this organization/sport/lab.
  • Why did you get involved in volunteering?
  • Talk about your experience working with groups
  • If you had the chance to make your case to the admission committee, what would you say to them to convince them that they should accept you?
  • What would you like me to tell the committee that (1) you didn’t tell the other interviewer, and (2) you didn’t mention in your application?
  • How do you think people on the West and East coast are different?

 
Harvard and its Medicine Program

  • What are you looking for in a medical school?
  • What would you contribute to the small group discussions at Harvard?
  • Why Harvard? Followed by how does that make us different from other schools?
  • How would you feel moving away from your family to come here?
  • What do you think you could contribute to the student body?
  • What’s your learning style? How do you think that would work within the New Pathway system? Why didn’t you apply to the HST Program?
  • What will be the most difficult thing to overcome in the next four years?
  • What are some trends in medical education that you’ve seen at other schools? 
  • Harvard doctors are automatically in a place of respect and leadership. Harvard looks for students that can excel with the responsibility given to them. Consider the significant leadership roles you have held prior to applying to medical school. For example, School President, running your own non-profit organization, leading a medical mission trip or running a program for inner city kids.  


Motivation and Insight into Medicine – Harvard Medical School looks to recruit individuals who show a true passion for medicine.  This is reflected not only in your motivation to study medicine but also your genuine interest in the current state of the health system and recent developments in the field.  This may include questions such as:

  • Why medicine?
  • Tell me about some experiences that made you want to practice medicine.
  • Who are your role models in medicine?
  • What makes a good doctor?
  • What is hospital care like from a patient’s perspective?
  • A patient comes in and complains of trouble breathing. You tell the patient that there is a problem with her heart and you would like to admit her to the hospital. Name some characteristics that she, as a patient, would be looking for in you, her doctor.”
  • Do you have any specific field you are interested in?
  • How have your interactions with physicians influenced your view of medicine?
  • How do you want to impact medicine?
  • Describe some of the problems in health care that are most troubling to you.
  • Where is medicine going?
  • How would you reach out to people in poorer communities around the hospitals who aren’t coming to use its services?
  • What do you think of socialized medicine?
  • What direction do you think adolescent medicine is heading in?
  • What is the role of women in medicine and how has it changed?”
  • Should IVF be covered by Medicaid?
  • Why is there so much inequality in health care delivery, even in Boston?
  • Do you think that HIV education in Africa really makes a difference without tackling the underlying cultural difference? Without sustained presence, does a short-term program do any good?
  • How do you think you will have impacted the practice of medicine 20 years from now?
  • What type of patient population do you see yourself involved with in the future? What things are crucial to good health care interactions?
  • What are the pros and cons of the bill in front of Congress that, if passed, will limit residency work hours?
  • What are some pros and cons of medicine?
  • What is going to be the biggest challenge for future physicians?
  • What kinds of problems do you think you will encounter as a physician?
  • From the recent experiences you’ve had shadowing doctors, what problems have you observed in our health care system and what do you think we can do about them?

 
Ethical Scenarios – These may be medical situations or of an everyday or non-medical nature. Ethical-based questions often have no clear right or wrong answer and are designed to examine your ability to make a decision and justify it after considering the multiple viewpoints/issues at play. In order to succeed in these scenarios, ensure that you are aware of the ‘2 Sorts; 2 Sides’ approach to MMI Ethical Scenarios. Questions with an ethical basis may include:

  • Would you tell a terminally ill patient the stark reality of their condition or be optimistic?
  • Would you ever perform euthanasia or an abortion?
  • Do you think that asking people to donate their tissue to a lab is coercive? 
  • Additional MMI Ethical Scenarios with Model Answers can be found in the MMI Question Bank.

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