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Residency Interview Preparation Tips

Medical Residency Application & Interview Preparation Specialists

Residency interviews are a vital step in your journey to becoming a fully qualified specialist or generalist. In order to succeed, you will need to be well-prepared, realistic and have adequate time to dedicate to the process.

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Personal Statement

Remember that the personal statement will be reviewed before any interview invites will be sent out, and that it will be a significant part of the assessment process prior to interview. Indeed, it will likely be used in conjunction with the interview – if there are any doubts over which applicant to choose, faculty may well decide to refer back to the personal statement in order to guide their decision making. Your personal statement is therefore a combination of careful curation of content in addition to ensuring that it is well-edited and reviewed by a variety of others. As a medical student, you have the luxury of having qualified doctors that you know, who can review your work. You must make use of them, rather than simply ask fellow medical students to review what you have done. If possible, look to find faculty at the university who are not only practising clinicians but involved in the selection of either students (or even residents) and seek their feedback. Some schools will have dedicated editing programs which ensure that all students have access to high quality help, and in turn that all applicants from said school are seen as being of a high quality.

Research Each Program

Remember that the process is not just about ensuring that you fit the program, but that the program fits you. This means that you must have researched the program in advance and be ready to show that knowledge. This can be done both through answering questions and through asking suitable questions of the interviewers. You might also find it of worth to review the backgrounds of potential interviewers to find potential topics on which you might bond, or through which you might impress them. Avoid asking questions that can be easily answered through a search of the program website, and instead focus on questions that will show off research you’ve done, and your own interests beyond the core residency. Asking where residents go on to, specifics about the program that are of genuine interest but not available on the program site, or information about the realistic work-life balance and opportunity for research are all suitable.

Virtual Interviews

If having virtual interviews, remember that you can use cheat sheets in a way that you wouldn’t be able to in-person. There’s no harm in using sticky notes and having these next to your laptop screen (or even on it) with core bullet points regarding program directors, facts and figures, or suitable questions to ask all on display. You could also, similarly, use one window on your laptop screen to display relevant information whilst using the other as the Zoom window.

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Plan your Rotations to Align with Interviews

Remember that interview season is incredibly busy, and as you have the chance to schedule interviews you should make use of this – try to set aside one month in which you have no rotations scheduled. If this is not possible, try to choose a rotation in which you can make up time by working through nights and weekends.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Ensure that you practise in a realistic manner with both fellow students and ideally with senior figures at your medical school as well. Try to record your mock interviews so that you can review them and thus improve over time. Make sure that your preparation begins well in advance of the real interview season.

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