Monday, March 22, 2021

Interview questions for the residency match

All frequently asked questions are highlighted with (FAQ)
How to approach each question is explained below it
Disclaimer: All these questions are compiled from different sources and personal experiences.

General Questions
1. Tell me about yourself (90-sec answer, asked a lot) - FAQ
3 parts
 Where you are from/ med school/ background in short
 What have you done till now and reason? (passionate about medicine, volunteer work, what have you learned)
 Hobbies and humane self and integrate it with what makes you, YOU!
What are you bringing to the table? What problems can you solve? Not a life story. NOT CV.

2. What are you doing currently?
Sample copied from the internet
“I’m currently completing my studies at ______ and have spent the last 6 months gaining hands-on experience in psychiatry with my volunteer work with the ______  substance abuse program and the ______  transitional housing program...”
“I actually come from a family of physicians, so I kind of always knew I would pursue ______ in some form then had the chance to volunteer at my dad’s hospital as a teen and realized that ______ was the path for me...”
“This program feels like a great fit for me based on my research — and particularly the patient population which aligns with my interest in ______”

3. Why did you become a doctor?
Two key reasons drove me towards medicine
Always explain in points rather than blabbering in paragraphs

4. How would your friends describe you?

5. What would your professors say about you?
My professors would highlight 3 main qualities about me

6. Strengths?/ 3 abilities that will make you valuable as a resident in this
Think about the story and then that story tells the quality.
My strengths are:
1st XYZ. The story in 2 lines gives an example of XYZ strength.

7. Weakness? (asked a lot) - FAQ
Describe the weakness and mention how you are working to improve it.

8. What are you looking for in a program?/ • Your goals or expectations from the
So, the three main things I am looking for are:
What you want and how that thing will help you in your future goals

9. Why should we choose you? What qualities do you have that differentiate you
from other candidates/ Why do you think you are a good fit into our
program/Why should we take you? /What do you think you can contribute to
this program? (strengths repeat) - FAQ
Describe your journey, experiences, skills and link them to your qualities/
strengths and how that will help the program. Look at the program’s mission
and tailor it. If the program has a lot of underserved populations, it would
look good if you talk about how you worked with them in your medical
school and want to continue doing that.

10.Deficiency on your record? Time gap/ COVID situation?

11.Why this specialty? (asked frequently) - FAQ
Aligns with my strengths, I will be efficient if I work as IM
Constantly evolving, learn continuously, use my strengths and contribute

12.Research experience - FAQ
Describe the experience, your role, what you learned, how you contributed, how
you will use that experience to further your interest and aspiration during

13.If not a physician, what career would you choose?

14.What do you see yourself doing in the future?  - FAQ
Your goals in 10 years: where do
you see yourself in 10 years. (most frequent question ever)
• Long term goals (10 years from now)
• Goals post-residency (fellowship, job, etc)
Primary care/ fellowship/ hospitalist??

15.Leadership roles I have held? If you led a research project or any other
leadership role, be prepared to talk about it
Describe the experience, your role, what you learned, how you contributed, how
you will use that experience to further your interest and aspiration during

16.Spare time?/ How do you handle stress  - FAQ
Hobbies....super important!!!
Link hobby to a skill eg. Cricket team sport, makes you a team player during

17.What was your favorite course in medical school?

18.Academic or clinical medicine?

19.Most interesting/memorable/challenging case I have been involved in?  - FAQ
Describe a particularly satisfying or meaningful experience in your medical
training? Why was it meaningful?/ A professional success
STRUCTURE THE ANSWER according to the STAR approach
Situation: case description in brief
Task: what was your role
Action: What did you do
Result: What happened to the patient. What did you learn from it?

20.Most important accomplishment?/ Proudest moment./ Proudest moment in
medical school/ Describe a particularly satisfying or meaningful experience in
your medical training? Why was it meaningful?
STRUCTURE THE ANSWER according to the STAR approach
Situation: case description in brief
Task: what was your role
Action: What did you do
Result: What happened to the patient. What did you learn from it.

21.Why medicine in the US? - FAQ
Elective and research experiences: 1 thing that stayed

22.Electives - FAQ
What you learned
Other experiences, patient interaction
How will it help you in residency
US clinical experience (USCE) based questions
1. Tell me what did you do in your observership/externship/electives?
2. What did you learn in your observership/ Elective?
3. Why did you choose that program for an observership/elective?
4. Tell me more about your observership experience?
Ans: Don’t re-iterate your CV. Give them an idea that you are ready for residency!

23. Research - FAQ
1. What kind of research are you engaged in?
2. Tell me more about your research?
3. What is your role in your research program?
4. Why did you choose this particular research program?
5. Tell me more about your researchers?
6. How is your research relevant to your specialty of interest?
Know your publications well.
-What is the result
-Why you worked on it
-How you found that work
-What you learned from it
-How did you go about doing it
Behavioral questions PATIENT ENCOUNTERS/

24.Discuss a time your personality conflict (disagreed with a team member.) - FAQ
 Situation/ Story
 But after a point, there was a lot of disagreement
 So, in order to figure out how to solve it, I DID THIS.
 It was understandable and so in order to function better as a team, I
suggested we DO THIS.
 After that things worked smoothly. We realized the importance of

25.Tell me about a time you had a difficult co-worker/ Any situation where you
had a personality conflict with other members of the team/ / How you handled
a conflict with co-worker/attending/senior. - FAQ
STAR approach
Treatment/ Tension
I requested a get feedback and listened to his point of view
without interrupting.
 And conveyed to him in a polite way that I......
 The best way is communication, good to get feedback from seniors so that
we can make changes to become the best version of myself. I learned from this experience.
This incident worked as an ice breaker. It taught me to speak up for myself
and be honest in my communication with my seniors.

26.Describe a time you saw a mistake in patient care and what did you do about
it? - FAQ
STAR approach
End with what you learned.

27.Talk about a time where you disagreed with a diagnosis from a colleague./
Any situation where you had an ethical dilemma - FAQ

28.Tell me about a time you got a negative criticism and how you dealt with it? - FAQ
STAR approach
What you learned
How you improved
How has it made you a better physician today

29.Difficult patient - FAQ
UF Health, Jacksonville

30.Discuss a time you disagreed with a resident or attending and how did you manage that. - FAQ

31.A failure/ setback in your life
Address red flags if any

32.One thing you learned due to the covid pandemic?

33.Tell me about a time you had to give bad news to the patient and how did
he handle it? - FAQ

34.Last minute things you want the admission committee to know about me.
Sell yourself

35.Describe a time where you had to handle a difficult situation/ Most difficult
situation in medical school? / As well as your worst experience (specially for
recent grads) / Challenging/ Difficult moment in medical school?/ MOST
DIFFICULT TIME IN LIFE/ A difficult situation in your life. - FAQ

36.How well do you get along with nurses?

37.Tell me about a time you forgot to do something important in patient care. =
What’s your biggest mistake or failure?/ • A professional failure (one or
more if you have) /
A mistake in patient care.

38.Most interesting/memorable/challenging case I have been involved in? - FAQ
Describe a particularly satisfying or a meaningful experience in your
medical training? Why was it meaningful?
A professional success/ Most important accomplishment?/ Proudest
moment./ Proudest moment in medical school/ Describe a particularly
satisfying or a meaningful experience in your medical training? Why was it

39.Have you already been faced with a patient who did not communicate or
disclose important information? How did you manage the situation, and
what was the outcome? - FAQ

40.Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult/angry/upset patient - FAQ

41.Your best experience in Medical school?

42.Best patient encounter you had

43.Tell me about your experience with a patient who required a lot of your
time. How did you take care of this patient and still provided your other
patients with adequate care?

44.Describe the best/worst attending with whom you have ever worked.
3 things that really stood out and what qualities you share etc

45.Worst attending I have worked with./ Tell me about a time you had a
difficult Attending

46.• Your role model/greatest personal influence?/ 6. A person you admire

47.• What rotation was most difficult?

48.Describe a time where you had to handle a difficult situation/ Most difficult
situation in medical school? / As well as your worst experience (specially for
recent grads) / Challenging/ Difficult moment in medical school? - FAQ

49.Most important accomplishment?/ Proudest moment./ Proudest moment in
medical school :
Describe a particularly satisfying or meaningful experience in your
medical training? Why was it meaningful?

50.What motivates you? - FAQ
Three things that motivate me the most are:

51.Do you plan to do a fellowship? - FAQ

52.Toughest part of this profession?

53.If you could do med school over again, what would you change?

54.Do you see any problems managing a professional and personal life?

55.How much did lifestyle consideration fit into your choice of specialty?

56.What is the greatest sacrifice you have already made to get to where you

57.. If you are an interviewer, and you are interviewing residency candidates,
what will be the 3 qualifications that you will look for in a candidate? Why?

58.Why are you applying to that particular program (SUPER COMMON) - FAQ
Look at the program website for goals
Ties to the program

59.Are you prepared for the rigors of residency? Residency is rigorous- how are
you prepared for it/ready for it. - FAQ

60.Goals for the residency- what you want to achieve in 3 years

61. What are the things that you look for in a program?

62.• Major deficiencies and strengths in your MBBS/Medical school training
Deficiency: lack of research
Strength: strong academics, patient interaction

63.Challenges you will face during residency? - FAQ

64.Why did you choose your Medical School?

65.What if you don’t match?

66.Your choice of specialty- be prepared to discuss positive features, negative
features and problem you think the specialty faces
• Positive aspects which you like in the specialty?
• Negative aspects of the specialty?

67.What problems will our specialty face in the next 5-10 years?


68.We have a physician shortage incoming in the next few years. How to tackle
that? What do you suggest that we do to address the problem?

69.• How do you see the delivery of health care evolving globally/in your
country/In the US Within the past 10 years what did you see? Within the next 10 years what?

70.What do you see as the future of health care?

71.Differences between the healthcare system in your country and the US? - FAQ
Major differences: bring positive points in both systems
Show a good background in your home country.

72.What suggestions do you have to improve health care delivery in the US?

73. What suggestions do you have to improve health care delivery in your home

74.Challenges our profession would face in the next 5-10 years

75.Now healthcare expenditure is very high in the US. What do you think we
should do to lower the healthcare cost?

76. We have one of the best health care systems in the world. Yet, our people keep
getting diseases and mortality is still high. Why is that? and how should we address

COVID related questions - FAQ

77. How is the situation in your country/state/city?

78.Do you think your government is doing a good job?

79.How do you think the situation and response in your country compare to that in the

80.How have you been contributing/helping out in this situation?

81.How can we be better prepared to handle such pandemics in the future?

82. How do you stay informed with current healthcare advancements?

83. How did you hear about our program? / 11. Why our program out of so many
others? - FAQ
Highlight the strengths of the program that they have mentioned on the website
Residents on LinkedIn, seniors, friend, news,
Some family went to the program; family recommended.
every program has good didactics, don’t say this.
Your program has x+y schedule
Community clinic underserved
Competitive fellowship – close to the university of XYZ, that’s why I want to come here.
Graduates from all over the country, so much diversity, learn from faculty from diff
US env
Family around
Then I saw the website which had camaraderie. Testimonials.

84. Do you know anyone in the program? - FAQ

85. Do you have family around the program? - FAQ

86. Imagine you have to communicate bad news to a patient concerning their health? How would you manage the situation?

87.Tell me a joke

Questions for PD/ interviewer (copied from aamc/internet)

a. What time of supervision structure is available for residents? And how is it balanced with
the autonomy of the residents?
b. Do residents get to work on systematic reviews and clinical trials? What are the research
c. Mentorship to go into fellowship vs hospitalist
d. What is the feedback and evaluation structure like? One-on-one teaching?
e. Any opportunities for volunteering activities?
f. How independent are we in providing treatment to our patients, with respect to
consults and instructions from fellows?
g. What type of attending backup support is available when residents are on call?
h. How did leadership respond to COVID19?
i. How involved were the residents in the treatment of COVID19? What was the on-call
structure at that time?
j. Is attendance at national/regional conferences encouraged and funded?
k. Research mentorship? Are there dedicated time periods for research?/ What kind of
mentor support is available from the faculty?
l. Do residents get to be a part of clinical trials?
m. On-going clinical trials?
n. Do residents get to represent the program in various conferences?
o. What is the availability of funding for research?
p. What away rotations do residents prefer? Opportunities to do ‘away’ rotations?. Are
there other hospitals used for rotations or electives?
q. Do we get a mentor for career leadership? How are fellowships handled?
r. What type of ancillary support is available? (phlebotomists, social workers, respiratory
s. What support structures are in place for residents in academic need?
t. Resources for resident well-being during burnout?
u. How well do residents perform on board certification exams?
v. What changes do you see in the program during the next few years?
w. What are the program's strengths/program's weaknesses?
x. What do you like most about your training program?
y. In what areas can the program improve itself?
z. What process do you have for improving the residency? For evaluating rotations?
aa. What recent changes have the program undergone? What changes do you foresee?
6. Is this program affiliated with a medical school?
7. What teaching responsibilities for medical students are expected of residents?
8. If residents have teaching responsibilities, approximately how much time each week is spent with
9. Is there formal training of residents on how to effectively teach and evaluate medical students?
Don’t ask teaching students question because medical students will always come in and it is your duty to
teach them.

Questions for residents
a. What do residents do in their time off?
b. What features of the program do residents like or dislike?
c. What is the biggest plus point and the biggest challenge you face in this program?
d. In what activities are you involved in outside the program?
e. What has the program changed since you came?
f. How far does everyone stay? How is the commute like to the hospital?
g. How much scut work?
h. How many procedures do you get to do independently? Does someone spend time in
supervising and teaching or is it mostly a self-learning thing?
i. How easy is it for residents to approach the faculty with issues being faced in a professional capacity?
j. What kind of support do residents get for burnout?
k. Do graduates of the program have problems finding jobs?
l. How difficult is it for residents to get a good fellowship?
2. How are the residents evaluated? By whom?
3. Is there an organized curriculum? What is the emphasis?
4. How many conferences/week are there? Do conferences emphasize practical knowledge or state-of-
the-art research?
5. How are the attendings? What are their responsibilities?
6. How interested are the faculty in the education and welfare of the house staff?
7. What proportions of the attendings are private?
8. Are there medical students on the wards? What school(s) do they represent? What are the residents
teaching responsibilities to the students?
9. What research opportunities are there?
1. What is the patient load like?
2. What are the typical admissions diagnoses?
3. How many cases are treated by the average resident?
4. Is the caseload sufficiently varied?
5. How much autonomy do residents have to manage patients?
6. What is the patient population like? Ethnicity/Language? SES?
7. Is there continuity of care for patients after discharge?
8. What is the quality of the ambulatory experience?
9. How strong is nursing support? Consult services? Radiology?
10. Pathology? ER services?
11. What is the typical call schedule?
12. How does the work environment vary from service to service? From hospital to hospital?
13. How busy are call nights? How much sleep do you usually get?
14. How available are the attendings? Can you call them at night?
15. Is there a backup available when you are on call? Is there a night float system?
16. How many hours do you work each night?
17. How much time do you get off each week?
2. What about the cost of living in the area?
3. Is moonlighting permitted? If so, how does it work around here?
1. What health benefits are available?
2. What is the maternity/paternity leave policy?
3. Is parking provided? Is subsidized housing available?
4. What is the vacation schedule

Compiled by Amrin Kharawala

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