Premed Revolution

Advice for Future Medical Students and Future Doctors

111 Questions to Ask During Your Medical School Interview

Posted by on Sep 27, 2014

111 Questions to Ask During Your Medical School Interview

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In December 2007 I had my very first medical school interview, at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I was in the middle of my senior year at Mizzou, so I felt pretty comfortable being at my home school.

It was a false sense of security. It doesn’t matter if you have home field advantage, medical school interviews have the potential to be brutal.

My first interview was with an unreasonably hostile Mizzou faculty member. He started grilling me on health care stats like, “What percentage of the US GDP is spent on healthcare?”  I somehow pulled the correct stats out of my butt, which only served to infuriate him even more. He then started asking me if I felt entitled to a career as a physician because my father was a physician. He didn’t like doctors’ kids.

The interview continued on like this for a while until he said, “Well, that’s pretty much all I need to know. Do you have any questions for me?” At this point I was a little off my game.

DO I have any questions? I was frantically flipping through my mental filing cabinet, but it wasn’t something I had prepared for. I said, “Ummm… nope.”  And that was the end of the interview.

That was a big mistake. You should always have questions locked and loaded for that inevitable moment. If you answer the way I did, it will make you seem uninterested and unprofessional.

#NeverSayNope Campaign

I got a lot better at asking questions for my residency interviews and I want to pass on some of that knowledge to Premed Nation. As a part of my #NeverSayNope Campaign, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of questions you can ask a faculty member, student, or staff member.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s what Dr. Sahil Mehta, Founder of MedSchoolCoach, had to say on the topic…

“The simple scenario of an interviewer asking “so what questions do you have for me” just as the interview starts is actually very common. Because of this, I usually have students prepare 5 to 10 questions beforehand that they know they can ask. Students should research the school’s website and come up with three or four general questions and then, during the interview information session and school tour, make sure to jot down three or four additional questions that come up. With this, you have repertoire of at least six questions that you can ask the interviewer and it’s on paper so you don’t have to jog your memory to remember. I also tend to make sure that students are asking the right questions of the right people. If you are interviewing with the faculty member who is mostly involved in clinical work, it doesn’t make sense for them to ask about first and second your curriculum or summer opportunities, whereas if you are interviewing with somebody who is intimately involved in the first two years and a basic science professor, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to ask about the wards. At the end of the day, interviewers love talking about themselves. Anything you can get that make them talk about their own research, their own experiences, their own likes or dislike of a particular school can go a long way.”

So anyway, I spent hours searching the nooks and cranies of my brain, school websites, blogs, and medical forums to come up with this list, so tell me what you think in the comments.

Table of Contents

  1. General
  2. Research
  3. Resources
  4. Logistics
  5. General Curriculum/Student Involvement
  6. Ask a Student
  7. 1st & 2nd Year Curriculum
  8. 3rd & 4th Year Curriculum
  9. Osteopathic Schools
  10. Caribbean Schools

General:

Let’s start with a few general questions that are absolutely GOLD in any interview situation. Most of these are meant for physician faculty members. These are questions that you could use at almost any interview, including your future residency interviews.

1. What would you change about the program?

I used this question in almost all of my residency interviews. Not only is it great to figure out what kind of problems the program has, but it makes you look smart at the same time.

2. Do you expect any changes to the program in the next few years?

You can use this question to figure out if there are any exciting changes coming for you in the next few years. “Oh yeah, we’re getting all the students iPads.” Sweet! You can also use it to coax out any possible negative changes coming down the pipeline.

3. In what areas does the program need to improve?

You might be hesitant to ask this question at first because it implies that you don’t think their school is all that great. But this is another inquisition that will make you look like a smart, thoughtful applicant. Every program is going to have areas that need to be improved and your interviewer will realize that. Asking this question will show that you’re wise beyond your premed years.

4. What do you think is the strongest aspect of this medical school?

Followup question number three with this little “self esteem booster.” Everyone wants to show off a little bit. Let your interviewer try to convince YOU to choose THEM by pitching the best aspect of the program.

5. Why do you like this school?

You can ask this question of every single person you meet and never get the same answer. That’s the great thing about open ended questions.

6. How long have you been a faculty member at this school?

There are two reasons for this question. First, it gives your interviewer an opportunity to talk about themselves, which will make them like you even more. Come on guys and gals, that’s “Dating 101.”  Try it out on your next blind date. Second, it gives you on opportunity to evaluate if the program is able to keep faculty long term.

Followup with the question, “Have most of the faculty been here a similar length of time?”

7. How has the program changed over the last 4 years?

Understanding the recent history of a program will help you identify any trends. If good things have been happening over the past few years, good things may continue happening.

8. Is this medical school well known for any special programs?

It’s time for your interviewer to brag once again. But you can also use this questions to identify medical schools with high quality that may an area you are excited to explore.

9. What medical school did you go to? How does it compare to this school?

Once again, showing interest in someone paints you in a positive light. Take every opportunity to use this technique without looking like a “suck up.”

Research:

Research is a big deal to a lot of people in academics. So you would be wise to show some interest. However, if you haven’t demonstrated an interest in research during your premed years, you’ll be setting off some BS-O-Meters if you overplay your interest in an interview.

10. What is the most exciting research going on at the school this year?

I couldn’t care less about doing research, but your interviewer is probably pretty into it.  Academic people like research, weird huh? If you’re into research then you’ll be interested in the answer, But even if you aren’t, you’ll want to fake it a little bit.

11. Are there opportunities to be involved in research during the first 2 years?

Another great way to feign interest in research. If you’re sincere, then even better. To be honest though, you’re going to be so busy in your first 2 years, you won’t want to do research. I’m showing a little bit of my bias against research here. Let me be clear. To get into medical school, you should be doing research.

12. Does the curriculum have electives for research?

It’s always good to know if you can actually get credit for doing research. Otherwise you might end up in a medical/legal elective. Gross…

13. Is there any opportunity for students to conduct their own research?

Gunner, gunner, gunner, gunner! This can be a great way to stand out for competitive residency spots. If you think you might want to be a neurosurgeon, ask this question.

14. Is this medical school well known for any research?

You’ll be surprised to find out what discoveries have been made at various medical schools. I was interested to learn that Edward Doisy was involved in the discovery of Vitamin K back in the 1930s. They’ll probably have some more current research going on too. Hopefully…

Resources:

Let’s talk perks. You are essentially joining an extremely expensive, and not very relaxing, country club. You might as well figure out what kind of benefits you get. You can also use some of these questions to demonstrate your interest in efficient learning.

15. What kind of electronic journal access is available to students?

Evidence based medicine is the foundation of medical education in the United States. There’s no question that there will be ample journal access available to everyone. Just use this question to suggest that you’ll be a frequent user of these digital journals.

16. Is there any free access to electronic text books?

This just in, text books are expensive. When I went to medical school, we didn’t have a lot of digital text books, but a lot of schools these days are building digital libraries that you can access on your computer or tablet. I like being able to flip through pages, but if I could save $150 on a book I would be tempted to go digital.

17. Does the school offer access to UpToDate?

I love UpToDate. When I first started clinical rotations, I downloaded a bunch of medical apps to help give me an edge. But as I started to get more comfortable with clinical medicine, I started to delete those apps and use UpToDate more and more. I still use it.

18. Is there any monitoring of student wellness and morale?

I hate to break it to you, but anxiety and depression is a serious issue for medical students around the nation. I believe that medical schools should take this problem very seriously and keep a close eye out for mental health problems among the student body.

19. What kind of health and wellness resources are provided to students?

Once again, this is a serious issue. Asking about the resources available to medical students for health and wellness will help you gauge their level of commitment to their students.

20. What kind of resources are available to help students deal with stress?

This is very similar to the last few questions. You get the idea.

21. Are there any support groups for spouses or significant others?

Medical school won’t just be a difficult experience for you, it’ll be rough on your spouse or significant other as well. Do you relationship a favor and ask about support groups for your Honey Bear.

22. Is there a student mentoring program?

During your first few months of med school, you’ll be wandering around like a sheep without a flock. The students 1 year ahead of you will be a great source of info. I mean, they were you just 12 months ago. That’s why many schools have implemented a “Big/Little” program. It’s sort of like “Big Brother, Big Sister” but with less fun and more studying.

23. Are counselors made available to students?

MED SCHOOL IS HARD! When things get hard, people tend to get sad. Sad is bad. Counselors will help you get rid of the sad. Therefore, counselors = good. Seriously though, if a school doesn’t have some kind of counseling available to students I would question the dedication to their student’s well being.

34. Are financial advisers available to students?

Doctors have a bad rap when it comes to dealing with money. Part of that is because we start off with a huge burden of debt. But never fear, most schools will have people to keep you on the straight and narrow.

35. What kind of financial aid and scholarships are made available to students?

This just in, medical school is expensive. Figure out if the school you are interviewing at has any special programs to help you out.

36. Is disability insurance provided?

This is something that nobody likes to think about. But more and more schools are requiring you to get disability insurance just in case something bad happens.

37. Is there a gym or recreation facilities?

The body and mind are not separate. If you want a happy, health, smart mind, you’re going to want to keep your body healthy. I’m sure there are studies I could link to in order to prove my point. But I’m lying in bed typing this on my iPad right now and searching Pubmed seems like a lot of work. So instead, just trust me. He’s a 7-minute workout you can do every day.

38. What kind of faculty advising is available?

Find out if the program will give you a faculty mentor. This can be good because you’ll know who to go to when you inevitably freak out.

39. Do you broadcast lectures or record them so they can be reviewed in the future?

What you really want to know is if they broadcast or record lectures so you can stay home in bed with your flannel PJ pants on. However, it’s better to phrase this in a way that sounds like you’re more concerned with supplemental studying.

During my second year at SLU, all of the lectures were broadcasted and recorded. I slept till noon and then went to a coffee shop on my street to watch the lectures at 1.5 speed while sipping on a bottomless cup of coffee and working my way through a brick size piece of gooey butter cake. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS!

Logistics:

40. What vaccinations are required before starting first year?

This may seem like a question that can be answered by searching through the website. You may be correct, but so many people overlook their vaccinations and end up freaking out when they realize they may not be able to get them in time. So, just stay on top of this one, OK?

41. What is parking like at the med school and clinical rotations?

My med school parking was pretty good, although a bit expensive. You’ll want to have a parking spot close to campus because, let’s face it, you’re going to be running late a lot. Nobody like coming into lecture 5 minutes after it’s started and good parking can help you avoid that.

42. Is the campus safe? What kind of security measures are in place?

I’m not sure why, but there seem to be many med schools located in a bad part of town. The two close to me are KCUMB my school, SLU. They both have pretty decent security, so I haven’t heard of to many issues. It’s just a good idea to know what you’re getting into. Especially if you’re a Nervous Nelly (or Ned).

General Curriculum and Student Involvement:

43. Is there an Honor Code at this school? How are violations of the Honor Code dealt with?

An Honor Code usually says something like, “No cheating. Be respectful of others. Don’t try to sabotage people. Just be nice. etc.” Asking this question will let your interviewer know that you care about these types of things and it’ll help you understand the schools attitude.

44. How often is the curriculum reviewed & updated?

Changes in medicine happen frequently. If your school doesn’t stay on top of updating curriculum, you may find yourself being taught outdated information.

45. Are there any opportunities for students to give feedback on or contribute to curriculum planning?

Most professors are long removed from the role of medical student. It can be hard for faculty to remember what it’s like to not know anything. So having student representatives involved in planning the curriculum is a huge bonus. They’ll try to keep your life from becoming a living Hell.

46. How is technology being used to enhance the curriculum?

You might be surprised to find out the technology being used at each school. Many programs are buying super advanced simulation dummies to help students hone their clinical skills without killing a real patient. Then of course there are things like free ipads, anatomy simulations, digital books, etc.

47. Have you had students who need to remediate coursework? How does that work?

MED SCHOOL IS HARD! Did I say that somewhere before? This question is a sneaky way of asking, “Am I at risk of failing out?” You don’t want to ask this directly, because you want to appear confident in your academic abilities. However, it’s a reasonable question to ask about remediation policies.

48. Is community service a big part of the curriculum?

In my experience the answer to this question is highly variable. We didn’t have much “required” volunteering at SLU, but there are some programs that are very heavy on volunteering.

49. Which student organizations are the most active?

The level of activity in student organizations seems to be directly related to the amount of pizza available at the meetings. There’s always a free lunch to be had somewhere.

50. What kind of role does the student council play?

It’s just like high school again. You’ll have a president, vice president, and a treasurer. Not only that, but they’ll be responsible for planning your med school prom. For real… That is, if your med school is hip like mine.

51. How diverse is the student body in terms of gender and ethnicity?

This may or may not be important to you. This also may or may not be a topic that your interviewer will be proud of. I think it’s a good thing to know.

52. Has the medical school or any of the clinical departments had problems with probation or accreditation?

This is a good questions, because it’s not something that you’re going to find on the school’s website. You’d probably have to do some serious Page 5 Googling to find the answer yourself. But you’re interviewer would have to have big cajones to lie about this one.

Ask a Student:

53. Are you happy?

You may think this is a dumb question, but it’s not. You are essentially asking, “Will I be happy here?” It’s more difficult than you think for someone to hide their true emotions when asked a direct question like this. Don’t be afraid to ask this of a student.

54. Would you choose this school again?

We are taking another blunt approach here. I imagine you’ll get a few people that say no, but get them to explain their reasoning. And remember, the grass is always greener on the other side.

55. What is class moral like?

Let’s put it this way… Would you rather hang around with a bunch of grumpy people or a bunch of happy people? Find out who rules the school.

56. Does the faculty try to direct students into certain specialties?

You may be able to figure this one out by looking at the latest match lists for that school. In an ideal world, there would be plenty of people going into primary care and a good mix of specialties. Some schools, however, tend to lean one way or the other. It’s a good idea to know this information about a school, because you may want to strongly pursue primary care or you may want to keep your options open. So why not ask your interviewer directly.

57. Is your class competitive?

All medical schools are going to be competitive to some degree. But you may want to avoid school’s that are cutthroat. If you listen to Ryan’s podcast over at MedicalSchoolHQ.net, you know that being helpful and collaborative with your peers is a far better way to go. That is, after all, the future of medicine given all the multidisciplenary teams.

58. Are lectures mandatory?

Please don’t ask this during any of your faculty interviews. Don’t even ask this if you are interviewed by a student. You want to ask this question of some random med student that you bump into during the day. Make sure it’s an inconsequential peon. It should be too hard to find…

59. Are there any note sharing services?

Not sharing can be helpful if you miss a class or if you’re just lazy. It may be an official service or an “underground” student run service. It’s a good thing to know. Don’t be afraid to ask.

60. Who’s the best professor at the school?

I almost wrote this question as “Who is the worst professor at this school?” but I thought that had too much negativity. Instead give the students a chance to offer glowing reviews for one of their faculty. There’s always one shining star. If there’s not, that should be a red flag.

61. What’s the most difficult course?

For SLU the most difficult course in medical school was anatomy. It was 8 weeks of formaldehyde fueled brutality. The fume high made things a little easier… Find out which course is the most difficult at each school if to do nothing but satisfy your curiosity.

62. Is there protected study time before tests?

This question has huge implications for your stress level. We usually had one study day before each test during the first 2 years. The last 24 hours of studying can really help you cap off some important concepts and start compartmentalizing information for easy access later. Without a study day before hand, you might be running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Trust me. I’ve seen it!

63. Do you think the grading system is fair?

Ask this question to help illuminate any glaring deficiencies in the way students are evaluated. You don’t anticipate a negative answer here, but it never hurts to ask.

64. Do you like this city/town?

I believe that lifestyle and fun during medical school are important to maintain your sanity. Things will be a lot easier for you if you enjoy where you’re living.

65. What kind of things do people do for fun in this city/town?

Depending on the med school, you may get answers like hunting, fishing, hiking, or um… cow tipping; while others will answer with things like clubbing, baseball games, concerts, and naked bike rides. Get to know your potential home for the next 4 years.

66. Do your classmates do stuff together outside of school?

Sometimes you need to blow off a little steam after a particularly hard biochem test. I think it’s nice if there is a bit of classmate camaraderie. Go out and part together, you animals!

67. Where do most students live?

Often times there will be an area of concentrated med students. Often times that area is close to campus. Often times you’ll want to ask this question to find out. For example, this Century Towers in Kansas City is chock full of KCUMB med students.

68. What are the housing facilities like?

You may be a poor med student, but you want to maintain a standard of living. Certain amenities, like laundry facilities and a gym, will make your day to day life much easier.

69. Do I need a car in this city/town?

If you come from the Midwest like me, you may think this is a strange question.  You may be thinking, “Of course you need a car!” But people from big cities like New York or Boston have been getting along fine without a car for years. So get the skinny on the car situation, ok?

70. Did you ever think about quitting? If yes, why?

This is one of those deep, personal questions that can be really valuable to help you make a decision between med schools. Trust me, everyone thinks about quitting sometime during medical school or residency. They may even think about it multiple times. Finding out the “why” is key to this question.

71. Do you have time off during the summers?

It’s time to start saying goodbye to Summer Vacation, but maybe not for two more years. Yes, some schools keep you busy during June, July, and August, but some schools let your childhood live on just a little bit longer. If you’re a gunner, you’ll ask if there are any opportunities to do research or some kind of internship. More power to you. I’m going to the beach…

72. Are there any policies, rules, or characteristics about this school that you might call “weird?”

I don’t know what kind of answers you’ll get to this question, but they could be pretty entertaining. Tell me what people say when you ask them this one.

73. Have any students in your class or others quit or failed out?

In general, medical school is hard to get into, but “easy” to finish. I say “easy” meaning they don’t usually let you fail or quit without a fight. If there are more than 2 or 3 students quitting or failing out of a school, that’s a red flag.

74. What kind of food is available on campus? Is it any good?

Do you want to eat the same cheeseburger and french fries every day for 2 years straight? I mean pancakes is one thing, but…

1st & 2nd Year Curriculum:

75. Is anatomy taught with a cadaver lab, prosections, a computer lab, or some combination of the three?

Anatomy was my first course in medical school and it was a harrowing experience. Everyone, including myself, was extremely apprehensive  about dissecting a cadaver. For most people it would be their first time touching a dead person.  You may be tempted to choose a school that doesn’t do cadaver labs, but I think that would be a mistake. Not only is dissecting a cadaver a right of passage that you will remember forever, it’s a great way to learn anatomy.

Prosection:   dissection of a cadaver or part of a cadaver by an experienced anatomist in order to demonstrate for students anatomic structure.

76. What is the most difficult course during 1st year? Why?

This is another great question for getting a handle on the curriculum at each individual school.

77. How are grades during the first 2 years determined?

This sounds oddly similar to a question I offered a little earlier… hmmm. Well I had to get to 111 questions somehow! Anyway, knowing the “rules of the game” will help you compete during your first two years.

78. How much clinical exposure do students have during the first 2 years?

Medical schools are trying to offer more and more clinical exposure to first and second year med students. Their goal is to get you more prepared for clinical rotations. To these medical schools I say, lighten up! There will be plenty of time for clinical exposure. How does the next 50 years sound?

You’ll want a little exposure, of course, but don’t let it have big influence on your decision.

79. How much protected study time is given to prepare for USMLE Step 1?

Step 1 is important. It’s like MCAT important. Many a hope and dream has been ruined by a poor Step 1 score. Of course, you can always fix it with a great Step 2 score. But it would be nice if your school gave you a bit of extra study time to really knock Step 1 out of the park.

I had enough Step 1 study time to visit New York and take a 10 day cruise to the Bahamas.

80. How are your students scoring on USMLE Step 1?

This is the equivalent of asking, “Is this med school good enough for me?” Granted there are many things more important than you Step 1 score when it comes to being a doctor.  Find out if they’re proud of the  Step 1 results.

81. Is there a formal process for students to review their instructors? How is this feedback used?

Some of your professors are going to suck. It’s just a fact of life. What’s important is that you have a good way to let the leadership know that a particular professor sucks. That is, without suffering any consequences.

3rd & 4th Year Curriculum:

82. What rotations are part of the 3rd year clinicals?

Who cares, right? They’re going to give me everything I need. Right? WRONG! You’ll see very similar core rotations during the 3rd year of med school, and most of them won’t include specialties like radiology, anesthesiology, or pathology. If you think you might be interested in some of these specialties, you’ll want to rotate through them early so you can put together a good residency application.

83. Are there opportunities to do electives during the during 3rd year clinicals?

This is a continuation of the previous question. Sometimes there will be opportunities to take 4th year electives during the 3rd year. This is good. You should do this.

84. What kind of clinical settings are 3rd & 4th year rotations based in?

Is it a suburban setting? Inner city? Rural? What are we talking here? Are you going to be doing physicals on inmates? These different patient populations can offer very different experiences. I’ve always secretly wanted to be a prison doctor. I’m not sure why…

85. Is there ample opportunity to do away rotations before applying to residencies?

An away rotation is when you take one of your electives at another hospital with the hope of impressing faculty and getting a residency spot there. In some competitive specialties, and in many D.O. programs, doing an away rotation can really help you secure a residency spot.

86. How are grades determined in the clinical years?

Most programs use a combination of attending evaluations and end of block test grades. But it can’t hurt to see if there are any wrinkles in the system.

87. What kind of specialties are graduates going in to? Is there a match list available?

This question will help you understand if students are getting into competitive specialties that you may be interested in.

88. Is there a formal process for students to review their clinical instructors? How is this feedback used?

The variability of experiences between attendings is even greater than the variability between professors. This can really end up hurting your grades during clinical years. It’s nice to be able to provide some feedback to the people in charge.

89. Is there a protocol for students who are exposed to infectious diseases during clinical rotations, like HIV or hepatitis?

I’ll be honest, this one is a bit of a throwaway question. I kept seeing it pop up on a lot of people’s lists, so I decided to include it. Only ask this if you’re really concerned.

Questions for Osteopathic Medical Schools:

My Dad, sister, and brother-in-law are all DOs, so asked them to help me come up with some questions specifically for Osteopathic Medical Schools. The biggest differentiation between Allopathic schools and Osteopathic schools is the addition of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). Most of the questions deal with that.

90. How much time do students spend in the OMT lab?

Some DO schools embrace OMT while others seem to do the bare minimum to maintain accreditation. This question will help you figure out which is which. You’ll also want to figure out if learning OMT is important to you.

91. What are exams and practicals like for OMT classes?

I see OMT as a bit of an art, and it can be hard to test competency in an art form. Try to figure out if OMT is a big source of stress for students.

92. How much formal OMT instruction do you get during third and fourth years?

I’m not really sure why this one is important? I’ll have to ask my sister for some clarification.

UPDATE: From my sister Catherine Benbow D.O. – “In my third year rotations we would occasionally have a morning OMT lecture. I was with a lot of MDs it seemed who didn’t know anything about OMT so not a lot of practice on real patients for you if you really wanted to do OMT.”

93. How much opportunity is there to practice OMT on patients during third and fourth year?

You spent all this time learning manipulations on each other, but how much do you get to use it in real practice? This will likely be dependent on each individual attending during your clinical rotations.

94. Is there an OMT fellowship?

If you want to get really, REALLY good at OMT, find out if there are any opportunities for additional training.

95. Who is in charge of scheduling your rotations during third and fourth year?

UPDATE: From my sister, Catherine Benbow D.O. – “AHEC scheduled my rotations which was nice because they did all the work. Some people had to schedule all their own rotations who iv can be a lot of work.”

96. If rotations are available at different sites how is it determined where I will be rotating?

Many DO medical schools give you the option to do all of your rotations away from the main hospital. This can be great if you’re trying to get back to a certain city. But you’ll want to find out who decides where you go. Do you get to choose? Is it a lottery? Are you assigned randomly? What if you have a family in a particular area, do you get preference?

97. What fields do graduates of this school go into?

DO schools have a reputation for producing primary care physicians, but that’s definitely not always the case. Just as with MD schools, some will push students toward primary care and some will push toward specialties.

98. What are some of the ways your program emphasizes or incorporates the holistic approach to medicine?

Encouraging a holistic approach to medical practice is another way that Osteopathic medical schools attempt to differentiate themselves. Here’s a quote pulled from aacom.org.

“DOs are trained to look at the whole person from their first days of medical school, which means they see each person as more than just a collection of organ systems and body parts that may become injured or diseased. This holistic approach to patient care means that osteopathic medical students learn how to integrate the patient into the health care process as a partner. They are trained to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds, and they get the opportunity to practice these skills in their classrooms and learning laboratories, frequently with standardized and simulated patients.” – aacom.org

99. How do you prepare students for the Comlex PE (performance evaluation) exam?

The Complex PE is the equivalent of the USMLE Step2 CS (clinical skills), but it seems to be a bigger deal. For Step 2 CS all you have to do is speak English and not assault anyone during the exam, but they take the Comlex PE exam pretty seriously.

Questions for Caribbean Medical Schools:

I know a few people that went to Caribbean medical schools and guess what… they’re all great doctors! But there are a few things that you want to keep an eye on when you’re looking at Caribbean med schools. I don’t have a lot of experience here, so I asked people that do. You can also find some more good info and questions from Ryan Gray over at MSHQ.

100. How many of your students are American Citizens?

There are a lot of medical schools in the Caribbean. The best of the bunch are going to attract the largest number of American Citizens. If most of the students are from other countries, it might be time to ask why.

101. How do students fund their education? Scholarships or loans?

Student loans for Caribbean schools may not have the same terms as loans for US med schools. Found out how everyone else is paying for their education to get a better idea of how you’re going to swing it.

102. Are the loans obtained by students backed by the US government?

Anyone have more info on this one? It’s out of my scope of knowledge.

103. How many students pass USMLE Step 1 the first time?

This is a great question. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is whether Caribbean schools prepare people well enough to get into a US based residency. Understanding the USMLE Step 1 pass rates will be a big help in answering that question.

104. Where do students do their clinical training?

Caribbean programs are MD schools, but much like Osteopathic schools you may be doing your clinical rotations in various locations around the US. In fact this may be preferable because it will show skeptics that you’re more than capable of performing well in a US hospital.

105. Are clinical rotations accredited by the ACGME?

States have different rules on medical licensure and some states limit licensure to medical school graduates with a certain number of ACGME approved clinical rotations. If you go to a US medical school, they’ll pretty much make sure you’re good to go. However, this may not be the case with some Caribbean schools. Find out if all rotations are ACGME accredited to keep your options open for which state you practice in.

106. Can students do away electives at hospitals that are not a part of the medical school system?

This is similar to the question about away rotations from earlier, but perhaps more important in this situation. People are more skeptical of Caribbean graduates, so you may want to spend some time at the program you hope to get a residency at in order to prove them wrong.

107. What kind of guidance is provided for the match process?

You thought the match was complicated for US graduates? Well it’s even more tricky for Caribbean graduates. Good guidance and support from people at your school will help level the playing field.

108. What percentage of 4th year medical students match into US residency programs?

Compare residency match data to US based medical schools to get a good idea of your chances 4 years from now.

109. Where do graduates of this program end up practicing?

Do people go back to the US? Do they end up in particular states or cities?

110. In what specialties are most of your alumni practicing?

Going to medical school in the Caribbean may not have been your dream, but you can turn it into your dream! Make sure to find a school that will keep your options open.

111. Are there graduates from your school practicing in all 50 states?

This question is a bit of an end around when questioning the ACGME accredited rotations. If graduates are practicing in all 50 states, then there’s likely a good chance that the clinical rotations are in fact ACGME accredited. Well, at least some of them.

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  • Alright everyone, let’s hear some chatter out there. Let’s hear some chatter!

    Which questions are you going to use?

  • Pingback: 111 Questions to Ask During Your Medical School...()

  • Rather_Be_Running

    This is fantastic – thanks for sharing!

  • Robert

    A lot of these questions are great–especially the ones about research–but stay away from the questions you could find on the medical school website.

    Also, I recently shot a couple of these questions passed an interviewer at an ACC med school and he advised to stay away from questions about gyms and stick to ones strictly about the medical school.

    Also, be sure to phrase questions about mental health carefully if you ask them at all. That will for sure send a red flag to the interviewer.

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