Medical school interviews test your ability to act under pressure through a variety of techniques. The French medical schools in Québec (Université de Montréal, Université de Laval and Université de Sherbrooke) are interesting in that they all conduct their interviews together. In other words, while you may be applying to three schools simultaneously, there is only one interview for all three universities. This makes preparing for this interview an even more daunting task, as so much can be riding on that one performance. The style of interview used is the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI ) which is, on paper, very similar to McGill’s MMI. However, the French medical schools involve a number of important differences including the response time at each station (7 minutes rather than 8 minutes) as well as a larger number of stations. These factors made the interview an endurance race.
Since the French medical schools have their interview period after both McGill and other Canadian medical schools, I had the benefit of using my interview experience at other medical schools to further my preparation for my French school interview.
Having gone through the McGill MMI first, I tried to focus my preparations on aspects that I thought I could improve upon. One of the important lessons I learned from the McGill interview was that the time available at each station really does go by faster than you think. Armed with this knowledge, I felt confident in what to expect, given that there would be even less time allotted to each station. At the time of applying I was a full-time Masters student, so I needed a very time-efficient approach to interview preparation. The two main things I did to prepare were to read up on relevant ethical issues (there were a high percentage of questions focused on these topics) and practicing delivering answers in a concise and time-efficient manner. I also took a great deal of time considering my answer to why I wanted to be a doctor, as every school I interviewed at asked me this question. I learned from interviewing at McGill that the key to success on the MMIs is to not get stuck on one discussion point too long, so I focused my preparation strategy around time management drills.
One of the things I found difficult during my French medical school interview is that they put an extra emphasis on self-feedback. The final few minutes of several stations were dedicated to questions like “How do you think you did?” or “How could you have answered that better?”. Furthermore, the stations seemed to be designed to unsettle me and take me out of my comfort zone, often making me second-guess my answers. Often several interviewers criticized my answers, forcing me to really stand my ground and be confident in my response. Learning how to act under that kind of scrutiny can be difficult and it certainly threw me off guard several times.
I hope you found this article helpful, and I wish you the very best of luck.