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Interviewing at the University of Ottawa for Medical School Admission

When I first received the email for an interview for medical school, I immediately knew that preparation was key to my success. I worked very hard throughout my undergraduate degree to get to this point and this interview was my final step for admission. I heard from my friends who went through the same interview process that the interview contained a selection of both personal questions and challenging ethical scenarios. This sounded like a very difficult task but luckily, my friends also provided me with several effective strategies.

In preparation for personal questions, I wrote down the answers to several common interview questions, such as “Why do you want to be a doctor?” and “What makes you a team leader?” Similarly, I also decided to line up my personal accomplishments, such as various work experiences I have had, awards I have won, and volunteering opportunities with the CANMEDs principles as I knew that interviewers liked asking about this. I practiced how I would answer these questions while avoiding rote memorization so as to not sound robotic during my interview.

My preparation was more challenging for the ethical scenarios as this is something that cannot be easily learnt. I understood that to be effective, I needed a strong approach and daily practice. To develop this approach, I read the book “Doing Right” while taking notes. I then read another book that provided numerous multiple mini-interview (MMI) style questions and practiced several of these daily for a month. Overall, both books helped sharpen my ability to tackle these types of questions.

After practicing on my own, I scheduled a few mock interviews with medical students and my father and brother, who are both physicians. Their feedback helped tremendously in further polishing my interview skills. As a final touch, I also scheduled two mock interviews with Astroff Consultants, which included an MMI style interview and a panel style interview. The feedback I received from these interviews further boosted my confidence and made me feel well prepared for my upcoming interview.

The interview itself was challenging but was generally similar to what I had expected. These questions required quick improvisation and out-of-the-box thinking – a skill that I had developed from my many mock interviews. The ethical scenarios were also very challenging but my approach and practice helped me tackle these questions effectively. Overall, I left the interview with a positive feeling as I knew that I had done my best thanks to my preparation.


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