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Residency Interviews Blog

200+ Residency Interview Questions

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Interviews 💼 have always been a crucial step in the arduous residency application journey 🎓. The best way to prepare for residency interviews is to practice 🗣️ with the commonly asked residency interview questions ❓❓. This post will provide you with over 200 potential questions residency applicants 👩‍⚕️👨‍⚕️ might encounter during the interview process.

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General Questions

 

Tell me about yourself
 

  1. Tell me about yourself. How would your friends describe you?
  1. How would you describe yourself?
  1. What three words would you use to describe yourself to somebody new?
  1. Tell me about your journey.
  1. What did you do from the time you graduated high school until now?
  1. Tell me about something interesting about you that wasn’t included in your CV 

Medicine and the specialty
 

  1. What got you interested in medicine?
  1. Why made you want to practice medicine?
  1. Why are you interested in the specialty (you are applying to)?
  1. What do you like about the specialty (you are applying to)?
  1. Which aspects of the specialty (you are applying to) do not appeal to you?
  1. If you had to change one thing about the specialty you are applying to, what would that be?
  1. What excites you the most about the specialty (you are applying to)?
  1. What aspects of the specialty (you are applying to) do you love the most?
  1. Why did you want to become an internal medicine doctor (if you are applying to IM)?
  1. What do you think is most unique about the specialty (you are applying to) when comparing it to others?
  1. If you had to describe the specialty (you are applying to) to a friend in three words, how would you describe it?
  1. What do you think is the biggest challenge to our specialty?

 

Your strengths
 

  1. What makes you stand out from other applicants?
  1. What makes you a unique applicant?
  1. List three of your greatest strengths
  1. What skills would you be bringing to our program?
  1. Why should we choose you instead of other applicants?
  1. If I asked a friend who knows you very well about your best characteristics, how would they describe you?
  1. Is there anything unique about yourself that I would not find in any other applicants I’m interviewing this year?
  1. Tell me about your volunteer activities
  1. Tell me about your research
  1. Tell me about your medical school experience

 

Your weaknesses
 

  1. What are your weaknesses?
  1. Why did you get a low score on STEP1 (if any)?
  1. Why did you have a failure on STEP 2CK (if any)?
  1. Why do you have a gap between graduating from medical school and applying to residency (if any)?
  1. As an older graduate (if you are), do you think your age would be an obstacle for you to excel in residency and why?
  1. As someone who finished prior training (for those who finished another residency prior to applying), do you think it would be difficult to go back to being an intern?
  1. What things would you like to change about yourself?
  1. What are your negative attributes?
  1. If I ask a friend who knows you very well what they don’t like about you, what would they say?
  1. Which of your professional deficiencies would you like to improve during residency?
  1. Which of your personal deficiencies would you like to improve during residency?
  1. What aspect of your personality do you not like?
  1. If you could go back in time, is there anything you would like to change on your journey?
  1. (For IMGs) As an IMG, what difficulties do you think you will encounter during residency compared to US students?
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Why the program?

 

  1. Why did you apply to our program?
  1. What is unique about our program compared to other programs?
  1. What do you hope to learn from our program specifically
  1. Is there anything that our program offers that others do not?
  1. What are you looking for in a program?
  1. What does your dream program look like?
  1. What do you like the most about the city (of the program you’re applying to)?
  1. How did you find the residents from the social hour yesterday?
  1. Do you think you would be a good fit for our program and why?
  1. Our program has intense clinical hours. Why do you think you would be able to handle the stress and long hours of our program?
  1. I see you have an impressive research portfolio. However, our program does not have many resources for research. How do you think that will affect you?
  1. Our program has an extensive focus on research output and scholarly activity. I see you don’t have much research experience. How do you think you’ll be able to contribute to our program despite your lack of experience?
  1. Which is more important to you, clinical experience or research?
  1. What are the three most important things you look for in a residency program?

 

Future goals
 

  1. What are your career goals?
  1. Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?
  1. What do you want to do after you finish residency?
  1. Do you want to do a fellowship after you finish residency? What type?
  1. Would you want to practice inside or outside of the US?
  1. Where do you want to practice after you finish residency?
  1. Do you want to practice in academia or private practice? And why?
  1. What is your ideal future job?
  1. What are the three most important things you look for in a future job?
  1. Who is your idol in the specialty you’re applying to?
  1. Do you want to be involved in teaching during residency? And why?
  1. Do you want to be involved in teaching during your future career? And why?
  1. Do you want to be involved in research during residency? And why?
  1. Do you want to be involved in research after residency? And why?
  1. How do you think you will be contributing to our program?
  1. How do you think you will be contributing to the specialty (you’re applying to)?
  1. What impact would you like to have on our specialty?
  1. Do you think you will have any impact on our specialty? And how?
  1. Who is your idol in life?
  1. Do you want to become a leader in your field?
  1. What is your backup plan if you do not match this year?

 

Hobbies and interests/ icebreakers
 

  1. What do you like to do for fun?
  1. What are your hobbies?
  1. Do you play any sports?
  1. Do you play a musical instrument? Which one and for how long have you been playing?
  1. Do you listen to music? What type is your favorite?
  1. What is your favorite song?
  1. What is your favorite book?
  1. What is the best book you have read? Tell me a little bit about it
  1. What’s your favorite movie? Tell me a little bit about it
  1. What is the last book you read? What did you learn from it?
  1. What’s your favorite meal? What do you like most about it?
  1. If we let you choose the songs/music in the operating room, what type of music would we be listening to?
  1. Do you like to study at home or in the library? And why?
  1. Do you like to hike? What’s your favorite place?
  1. If you had free plane tickets to go anywhere, where would you want to go?
  1. If you could travel freely without any Covid restrictions, where would your ideal vacation place be?
  1. What is your favorite social media platform and why?
  1. What do you think of social media influencers?
  1. Tell me a joke
  1. Tell me a fun fact about you
  1. Tell me about a funny incident that happened to you during medical school
  1. What’s your favorite football team? Who’s your favorite player?
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Behavioral Questions

 

Interactions
 

  1. Tell me about a negative interaction with a resident/attending/medical student/nurse/physician assistant
  1. Tell me about a positive interaction with a resident/attending/medical student/nurse/physician assistant
  1. Tell me about a misunderstanding/miscommunication that happened during your clinical rotations
  1. Tell me about a misunderstanding/miscommunication that happened outside your medical school
  1. Tell me about a situation where you felt you were not treated fairly
  1. Tell me about a situation where you came to class unprepared and how you handled that
  1. Tell me about a situation where you had a conflict with a resident/attending/medical student/nurse/physician assistant and how you handled that
  1. Tell about a clinical situation in which your ethics were challenged
  1. How do you deal with someone who disagrees with you?
  1. Tell me about a situation where you disagreed with someone and how you handled it

 

Challenges
 

  1. Tell me about a stressful situation you went through and how you overcame it
  1. Tell me about a situation where you worked under pressure and how you handled it
  1. Burnout is common in medicine. What do you do to avoid burnout?
  1. What do you do when you feel disappointed?
  1. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?
  1. What challenges do you expect to encounter during the first year of residency?
  1. Tell me about a challenge you overcame during medical school
  1. Tell me about a challenge you overcame during your journey to residency
  2. Tell me about a situation that shows you can overcome challenges
  1. Tell me about the biggest challenge you’ve faced on your journey to residency
  1. Tell me about a failure of yours and how you reacted to it
  1. Tell me about a time you felt disappointed and how you dealt with it
  1. Tell me about a situation where you disappointed your mentor(s)
  1. Tell me about a mistake you made in medical school and what you learned from it?
  1. Tell me about a mistake you made outside medical school and what you learned from it?
  1. What would make you give up?
  1. Tell me about the most impactful lesson you learned from your mentor(s) during medical school?
  1. Tell me about your biggest success and what it meant to you
  1. What would you do if a co-worker or senior resident was abusing you?

 

Personal attributes
 

  1. Are you a hard-working person? And why?
  1. Are you a team player? And why?
  1. Tell me about a situation during medical school which demonstrates your team player skills
  1. Tell me about a situation during medical school in which you did not feel like you were a part of the team
  1. Tell me about a situation outside medical school which demonstrates your team player skills
  1. Tell me about a situation outside medical school which demonstrates your leadership skills
  1. Tell me about a situation that demonstrates you’re a hard worker
  1. Tell me about a situation during medical school in which you went above and beyond
  1. Tell me about a situation outside medical school in which you went above and beyond
  1. Tell me about a situation in which you went the extra mile
  1. Would people say you are smart? And why?
  1. If you had to rank these characteristics in order of importance for a resident, how would you rank them? Clinical knowledge, intellectual intelligence, social intelligence, hard work 

Patient interactions
 

  1. Tell me about a positive patient interaction
  1. Tell me about a negative patient interaction
  1. Tell me about a situation where you had to deal with an angry patient
  1. Tell me about a situation where you learned something from a patient
  1. Tell me about an impactful patient interaction
  1. Tell me about the most difficult clinical scenario you had to deal with
  1. Tell me about a patient interaction you handled well
  1. Tell me about a patient interaction you did not handle well
  1. Tell me about a mistake you made clinically and how you explained it to the patient
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General
 

  1. If you had to pick a superpower, what would it be?
  1. If you had the chance to be an animal, which animal would you pick?
  1. What’s your spirit animal?
  1. What’s your favorite tree?
  1. Which body cell type do you identify with? Which organ do you identify with?
  1. Which element of the periodic table do you like the most?
  1. Are you a hunter or a gatherer?
  1. What do you think about diversity and inclusion? And how can you contribute to that?
  1. What do you think about the US healthcare system? How is it different from where you trained?
  1. Why do you want to do residency in the US (for international medical graduates)?
  1. If you had the power to go back in time, which part of the history would you like to go back to?
  1. If you could invite any three living people to dinner and have a conversation with them, who would you pick?
  1. If you could invite any three people who are deceased to dinner and have a conversation with them, who would you pick?
  1. From living people you know, who is your idol?
  1. From deceased people you knew, who is your idol?
  1. What advice do you have for future applicants?
  1. What advice would you give to yourself now, if you were 18 years old?
  1. What is a piece of advice that changed your career?
  1. What advice did you receive that impacted you the most?
  1. If you had one more day to live, how would you spend it?
  1. What do you think is more important, success or love?
  1. What do you think is more important, money without success or success without money?
  1. Do you think money is important for happiness?
  1. What do you think money cannot buy?
  1. If I write a biography about you, how would you like me to title it?
  1. How would you convince people to buy ice cream in Minnesota in winter?
  1. How would you explain an airplane to someone from the Middle Ages?
  1. What do you think is the most important event in human history?
  1. What do you think is the most important medical invention/discovery?
  1. Do you think humans are good or bad by nature? And why?
  1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  1. What characteristics can you not deal with in your coworkers?
  1. If you had to be on an island for one month, what three things would you bring and why?
  1. What would you do if you won $1 million?
  1. Would you like to have the ability to read minds?
  1. How would you describe light to someone who is blind?
  1. How many leaves fall from the trees each autumn around the world?
  1. How would you tell a patient that they have cancer?
  1. What do you like the most about life?
  1. What do you think the next big breakthrough in medicine will be?
  1. What do you think the next big breakthrough in your specialty will be?
  1. If you could attribute one medical breakthrough to yourself, which would it be?
  1. Do you think Einstein would have been a good intern and why?
  1. What do you think are the two most important characteristics of a leader?
  1. If you’re the President of the United States, how can you achieve peace around the world?
  1. If you’re the President of the United States, what can you do to solve the issue of world pollution?
  1. Do you think there is a solution for poverty around the world?
  1. What was your favorite birthday gift when you were young?
  1. What would you like your family and friends to say about you when you die?
  1. If you repeat your exams again, do you think you would get the same score?
  1. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
  1. When you go out with friends, are you usually the person listening or talking?
  1. If you had to pick another specialty, which one would that be and why?
  1. If you had to pick a career other than medicine, which one would that be and why?
  1. What do you think is more important during residency, teamwork or clinical knowledge? And why?
  1. What was your favorite subject in high school?
  1. Which subject did you like the most in medical school?
  1. Which subject did you hate the most in medical school?
  1. Who was your favorite teacher in medical school and why?
  1. Which clinical rotation did you like the most in medical school? Why?
  1. Which clinical rotation did you hate the most in medical school? Why?
  1. Do you feel jealous when somebody knows more than you?
  1. How do you deal with criticism?
  1. What keeps you going?
  1. What makes you a good teacher?
  1. Teach me something I did not know
  1. Rank in order of importance; family, research, clinical skills?
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I hope this list of questions helps you in your residency interview preparation.

If you need any coaching or guidance with your interview preparation, make sure to check out our interview coaching package here in which we do one-on-one mock interviews and provide feedback.

If you need any help with your USMLE preparation, personal statement, CV editing, residency or research advising, make sure to check out our services here.

If you are interested in learning about research or statistics, check out our research course and statistics course.

Good luck 🍀 everyone

By Malke Asaad and Vanessa Marino

If you need any help with your USMLE preparation, personal statement, CV editing, interview preparation, residency or research advising, make sure to check out our services here.

If you are interested in learning about research or statistics, check out our courses here.

I would like to thank again everyone who worked and helped with this list. I hope it helps you to navigate US residency programs. Good luck everyone on your US residency journey.

With Love,

Dr. Malke Asaad

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