To me, residency interview is all about making a story for yourself,
starting from the event(s) that inspired you to be a doctor and your
med school experiences to your aspirations for future growth
(plans... fellowship); highlighting the fact that this man is a
self-motivated, totally dedicated life-long-learner to whom medicine
was not a matter of chance but of choice. Your inspiration towards
medicine should be based on logical facts and events and through
your life in general, and especially during your medical school
there (should be) were experiences that strengthened your belief
even further making you realize how blessed you are to have chosen
this field. You should come up (or make them up) with tales (coz
they'll ask you) showing that you are up to the task, having the
right qualities and abilities that make you well-suited for
All I am trying to say is that, they will throw all sorts of
questions at you, why you chose medicine/y u wish to b a doctor, y
internal medicine/family medicine/pediatrics etc, why did you apply
in our program , what sets you apart from the rest of the
candidates/y should we choose you, etc... It’s your duty to sit down
and think... memorizing and telling what your seniors have answered
previously ( a common practice ) during interviews won’t do u any
good and will make you look average to say the least...with all the
growing competition, importance of brain-work can never be
understated... take it seriously...
By the time you are ready for interviews , you will know all the
questions they can possibly ask ( hey I’ll tell you) but it’s your
responsibility to contemplate logical answers making you look a
mature and professional doctor who knows what he is doing...
There will be a lot at stake... a lot of physical ,mental, emotional
and financial effort will go into this long and tiresome
roller-coaster ride to residency... so... be prepared , be confident
and brace yourself for the worst in hope of getting the best that
you truly deserve..
Once you get an interview call... You are half way through...calls
are actually based on your scores and us clinical experience...
always remember that more or less... all those who have been invited
will have equal chances, so interview has a definite role towards
your selection... you have to make yourself unique (figuratively
1. try to sort out which states you’ll be interviewing in first...
like may be give first 10 days of November to new York, next 10 days
to Chicago… etc… does not actually happen this way but interview
planning should be well-organized...coz it will save you big
2. Call the program coordinator… set up a date… Ask them if u need
(documents, passport etc) to bring anything...thank them for giving
you the opportunity and that you’re looking forward to it...
3. If for whatever reason, u need to cancel your interview, do so in
a timely manner, not a night before… somebody else will and should
get that chance and its professional courtesy… something you’ll be
remembered by... don’t forget you are representing your medical
school and your country and any untoward behavior will take its toll
on your juniors (this has happened before) so call them up and 1.
Extend your apologies 2. Your appreciation for the opportunity.
4. as already mentioned go through the list of questions which will
be appearing later...your answers should not only reflect your
genuine personality but also they should b different from
others...should not b as difficult as it looks once u start
believing in the fact that each human being is different from other
and we are like mere pawns having their specific roles to play in
this great game of chess we call LIFE. (Just making sure you
understand the point).
5. Go to the web site of the program (use FREIDA... alternatively u
can get the address from ERAS) ...search it top to bottom... you
should come up with at least 3-4 areas in which this hospital is
different from others n that’s y u applied over here..it could b
because they offer electives in field of your choice, they have
ongoing research which is the area of your interest, they have a
mentor program ensuring that residents have a professional approach
towards building their careers , they have fellowship that you are
interested in… or it could be that u did an elective over here n u
really liked the atmosphere or u have a friend who already is
working over there n who told u about the strengths of this
hospital...or its their philosophy that doctors should not only be
taught principles of medicine but they should also be well verse in
the art of communication and they should have leadership skills, is
in tune with your personality and that’s y it’s here that u see all
your dreams come true so u should b selected...or u are impressed by
the large patient population ‘that the hospital caters to which in
your view is the backbone of training...or your impressed with the
high achieving faculty...or their community programs like sickle
cell program or aids program.etc...visit the web site n you’ll know
what to say....
6. Develop a list of questions to ask the interviewer...can make a
lot of difference...I’ll give u one but let me try to make one thing
very clear… everybody will b repeating the same old thing n if u can
come up with something which is out of ordinary… bulls eye... hint…
try to turn the discussion towards a lighter topic or a topic which
is a product of your own thought process ... Abdur Rehman used to
ask this question which not only made the interviewer be more frank
with him but also make him realize that this guy is not a bookworm
but has the skill to discuss other topics and he is genuinely
interested in our program… he used to ask how would people react to
me as a doctor knowing that I am a Muslim... what are the problems I
might face. You can ask what qualities I need to have to perform
better in your program...alternatively try to find topic of mutual
interest like Khurram Bhai, in Ohio university, spent most of his
time discussing tom Clancy who is a famous novelist by the way… or,
yours truly, discussed why Dan browns da Vinci code is a
controversial novel during one of my interviews...
7. Make sure u know which time zone u r in...
8. Once in the city...or even prior to that u should know how to get
there… u can google local transport… can use
www.googlemaps.com to get directions… also can use
www.hopstop.com. Doing a dry run is always good meaning try
going there a day before... bottom line u don’t want to be
late...without a reason...
9. On the day of the interview if you’re staying in a hotel you’ll
have to check yourself out... so you can leave your stuff with the
reception desk or if you have a carry-on luggage leave it with the
10. MOST IMPORTANTLY... think of at least three things that u want
your interviewer to remember about u...for instance I was the class
rep of my class... I told them I have leadership skills and being a
CR you are required to have god communication skills to understand
others n make them understand your point of view n also convince
them to work for a single cause..Sohail riaz was a computer expert
who had single handedly made class e book, a copy of which he
carried during his every interview and it almost earned him a
residency in St Louis University... PD there was really impressed
with his computer skills and even copied e book on his computer…
Abdur Rehman revealed that he was a poet with a vision, he took his
poems and articles and described in detail his views that he had
expressed in his writings thus giving himself an opportunity to
mould the discussion in his favor...bottom line… if u are an artist
or a writer etc… do let them know this n take your articles or
paintings or their pictures with u...
MATERIALS TO HAVE ON AN INTERVIEW
1. All your board scores... copies of your CV… passport… one
picture… these things are not required but just in case…
a. Write your interviewers name… e-mail
b. write name of the residents u came across... for thank u notes
c. to write down the impression u had of this program n how u
did...you’ll b making your rank order list later where this will
come in handy
4. Good pen
DURING THE INTERVIEW
1. Boys usually wear black or grey 3 button single breast suits with
ties n formal black shoes… don’t "mousse abuse"..Save time to have a
haircut....use lint brushes or tape to catch the fuzz…
2. From what I have seen, ladies wear dark suits with round neck
blouses/long collar formal shirts, closed front shoes with hair
tied, just a hint of lip-stick, clear/pastel nail polish and subtle
perfume... [Keen observation is among attributes of a good doctor :)]
3. Be well-dressed, well-pressed n well-in-time...n don’t forget
your mint gums...for some reason halitosis seems to be a problem in
US... I have even seen consultants carrying mouth fresheners...
1. Be professional yet friendly… remember you’re being assessed for
2. Whatever you do… do not... I repeat do not talk down your
country... your medical school, other medical schools… other
programs where you have already interviewed... coz they’ll ask u
which one is the best medical school in Pakistan…what problems did u
face in medicine in Pakistan etc... be diplomatic…
3. Do not complain about any travel troubles or accommodation even
if u had them...
4. be positive and SHOW A GENUINE INTEREST IN THE PROGRAM EVEN IF IT
5. Thank the coordinator in person that it was mighty nice of her to
set up your interview... (she will sure like it)
6. Body language... offer a warm hand shake... not sweaty… not
finger tips and certainly not bone crushing...
7. Posture... sit up straight with back firmly against the back of
the chair feet on the floor and crossed at the ankles...
8. Look your interviewers in the eyes when you are talking or being
spoken to (v.v.v. imp) shows your confidence level...
9. Don’t forget to smile… hold doors for those coming behind u...
10. Letter of thanks
Write a letter of thanks to the person who interviewed u within one
week n later drop a Christmas card n one letter at the end of season
letting them know you really liked the program n it will b on top of
your rank order list.. (Applies to all programs even the ones you
didn’t like)… it should look something like this…
2121 Paulding Ave
apt 2J Bronx NY
Dr LeAnn Coberly, MD,
University of Cincinnati,
Department of internal Medicine,
Dear Dr Coberly,
I had my interview with you on Dec,1 2006.I am writing this e-mail
to express my gratitude and appreciation for taking time out to talk
to me and evaluate me. I was introduced to your program by Dr Falana,
but the experience in actuality was better than what I had imagined.
I was impressed by the programs commitment to urban health care and
by the amount of pathology your hospital gets from such a diverse
population which is essential for clinical training. I was touched
by the warm welcome extended to us by the residents. I was told
about the opportunities to get hands on clinical experience and
chances to make independent decisions with faculty providing a
My interview with you was a very pleasant experience. I felt very
comfortable and was given ample time to express my views and ask
questions. I believe your program has all the components I am
looking for to start my residency training and will feel myself very
lucky if I am given an opportunity to be a part of your team. Please
let me know if you believe that a second meeting, or any other
information I can give, would be helpful to you. I can be reached
either by phone at (6463168916), or via email: (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you so much once again. I look forward to hearing from you.
HAMMAD AHSAN BHATTI
AAMC ID 12585127
WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR...?
BOARDS AND GRADES...OF COURSE UR USMLE SCORES MATTER A LOT BUT AS
ALREADY STATED, once invited to the interview you have, by theory
equal opportunity to get residency...of course if somebody has
better scores and us clinical experience then he will b the ready
choice, nevertheless one can never b too sure how things turn out to
be...people with average scores have made it real big so while at it,
give it your best shot...
LEADERSHIP SKILLS/EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES are seen as evidence of
meaningful participation towards society and thus it should be an
essential part of your portfolio and u should be able to relate to
your activities in a fluent flawless manner… coz they’ll surely ask
you and any stammering will show that those activities were just cv
RESEARCH is always a bonus along with all the other forms of us
clinical experiences... shows that your methodical person believing
in scientific inquiry and furthering your knowledge base...
MATURITY... what program directors really hate is a fidgety nervous
ill-at ease guy who is sweating and at loss of words when asked a
question and who is not answering exactly what is asked...what u
need to do is listen carefully first, absorb the question, take your
time and then reply in a comprehensible manner with great deal of
confidence and poise....that’s y it always helps to practice with
your friends or in front of a mirror (give yourself 7-10 days)....
this is perhaps the single most important factor playing a
detrimental role in deciding your fate...and let’s be honest about
it, we are not born Americans and it is always difficult to get
their accent at such a short notice but still coz we have done our
MBBS in English so that helps. At least we don’t have to translate
medical terms like Chinese doctors... my advice would be to write
down your answers (even if you are comfortable in spoken English)
and practice them before interviewing… also get hold of a thesaurus
and try to learn words that would allow you to describe the same
thought in 3-4 different ways... not only it will make you look
different but also show your command of language… at least for the
time being... Americans have their own way of saying and doing
things which you will learn as you move along taking your
interviews… best thing u can do is start talking as soon as you land
and try to gain from people, see how they express their thoughts...
during the interview you should be busy like a bee… introducing
yourself to whosoever comes across whether it’s a fellow interviewee
or pd or chief resident and you should b able to share views, jokes
and lighter moments with people around u... don’t b quiet...they’ll
take a strong notice of you if you’re seen sitting alone all by
yourself… so mingle with the residents and your colleagues... don’t
talk in Urdu... even if you’re with a friend... it would b better not
to take interview on the same day as your friend coz you two will be
up against each other and one will be ranked... if at all ranked...
Ok, a lot of New York programs have this bad habit of asking
clinical questions and making you solve clinical scenarios… don’t
worry... try to use it to your advantage… if u are good which u
should be coz of all the viva voce training, then you’ll have a
great chance, at least they’ll surely rank you which itself is
nothing short of an achievement… I believe one important fact that
led to my and Sohail Riaz’s selection was our handling of case
scenarios...we had recently took our step3 and as you know a part of
it consists of ccs cases, which are computer based simulation cases,
and if you’re comfortable with them then you’ll be fine during the
viva. I’ll b posting a mnemonic that I made which deals with how one
should approach a clinical case...
LET ME JUST QUICKLY GO THROUGH THINGS THAT CAST A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON
UR CANDIDACY AND MUST NOT BE DONE NO MATTER WHAT....
1. Failure to participate in activities during college/medical
2. No apparent career goals…
3. Overemphasis on money…
4. Failure to explain any blemishes like failed subject on your
record… you should come up with a plausible reason for your poor
5. Poor scholastic record…
6. Condemnation of medical school, other programs (they were asking
clinical questions), past professors.
7. Unprepared for interview… asking questions that should have been
a part of your home work...
8. Merely fishing around, beating about the bush with no real
interest in the program…
9. Too quiet, nervous, ill at ease with fishy limpy hand shake not
looking in the eye...
10. Too hyper, aggressive, conceited, know-it-all sort of guy with
lack of courtesy…
11. Lack of knowledge about the field and does not seem to be a self
12. Either unable to express oneself clearly with poor diction and
grammar or giving indefinite and inappropriate answers to questions
13. Unhappy in life with parents/partners overly controlling in life
QUESTIONS THAT THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR WILL ASK YOU
I’LL BE DISCUSSING ONLY THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS AND HOW I RESPONDED
TO EM… AGAIN DON'T COPY WHAT I SAID AND TRY TO TAKE IT AS AN EXAMPLE/
GUIDING PRINCIPLE AND TRY TO COME UP WITH UR OWN ANSWERS…
1. Why did u choose medicine?
I used to say that although it came as a natural choice to me
because both of parents being doctors hence my early introduction to
this lifestyle however I was not forced instead it was my own
decision to join this profession..my inspiration was actually the
respect and satisfaction my parents had from treating their patients
and then I told them I was part of the medical camps my parents
arranged for poor people, running small errands... your inspiration
could be your uncle or aunt or a doctor’s visit when u were little
or coz u were resident of a distant village with no doctor at all...
but it has to sound natural yet unique....
2. Why did u opt for internal medicine/family med/pa
As I applied in internal medicine so ill b sharing that,
nevertheless it will give u some idea as to how your reply should b
if u are applying in any other field...I used to say... it is so
because of three reasons...firstly I strongly believe that I have
natural aptitude towards medicine which I discovered during my
medical school internal medicine rotations which started in 3 rd
yr... secondly I really like the thought process and intellectual
stimulation involved in the whole process of finding a cause for
patients illness coz when a patient comes to u, he has just a
complaint and now it’s your knowledge and inquisitive mind that
would change that presenting complaint into a diagnosis based on
facts and clues following the logical steps of history, Physical
examination and labs... or you can say that that u like to think of
yourself as Colombo/detective looking for hidden clues and signs
that would lead to the mystery behind patients suffering... use
thesaurus to allow yourself the liberty of expressing the same
thought in different ways...thirdly I used to say that... I think
medicine is the field that gives u the flexibility/freedom/liberty
express yourself and I explain how... most of the branches of
medicine like pulmonology/nephro/heam oncology, etc take their
origin from internal medicine and once you’re done with the basic
training u can join field of your interest and taking the same
principle still further suppose u opt for gastro and during your
rotation u feel that u have a natural tendency towards hepatobiliary
medicine or e.g. heamachromatosis and u start intentionally short
listing and seeing those patients in your clinic than naturally
you’ll be picking signs and finding associations that others don’t
have the slightest idea about, you can conduct your own research and
be known for the contribution u have made towards existing pool of
medical knowledge (noble prize here I come) and that’s why I opted
for medicine to have that flexibility and this fact really excites
me about all the opportunities one can come across...
alternatively u can say that... to me internal medicine is a perfect
blend of science ,arts and philosophy...it is based on scientific
method… and as one of my teacher once said that a doctor has three
duties… learn … teach and add to the existing knowledge highlighting
the importance of research and philosophy because for example you
have a patient with incurable disease and death looming around, you
should b able to counsel him about not losing hope and how he should
cope with his present issue and how he can still be a useful member
of society and his meaningful contribution towards community can be
source of inspiration for others... and I say arts because although
surgery would a better way to explain that point but since I am
interested in medicine I feel that as we know there are different
drugs to treat the same condition, but which drug, what dose and
which combination of drugs would be better suited for the given
scenario at hand is an ART that comes with clinical experience and
takes time to develop....
3. Why did u apply in our program?
Or what do you know about our program…what benefit will u have if u
train with us… how are we different...???
I have discussed this point earlier on, u need to visit their
website… go through it and try to get as much info as u can about
the program, program director, ongoing clinical trials, faculty, and
especially about their goals and aims and philosophy and try to
match it with your aspirations during the interview ...there is
definitely a good impact if u know somebody who is already working
in their program (senior/friend), it shows that you’ll take lesser
time adjusting...they also ask if u have any relative in the city…
people usually respond that they have some uncle or friend doing
business etc... seniors working in the same program can be only
helpful if he has a good impression otherwise it can be
counterproductive....then u can always say u like the city, that u
love the life of a big city or a suburban city for that
matter..compare it to your native city and say that u have a homely
feeling about it...tell them because there are so many programs thus
the competition is tough and bar is raised making it a conducive
environment to strive higher....
4. What qualities will
you be bringing to this program
or tell us your strengths/why should we choose u/how do u describe
ok now people would be saying I am honest and professional and
hard-working and active and down-to-earth and what not...what they
want to ask is that how that good quality would help u to b a good
doctor and how this has helped u so far(prove it... any story… event
I used to say... to select or not to select is a decision that rests
with you however I would like to take his opportunity to tell u
about my personal attributes which I believe have enabled me to be a
well-suited candidate for this profession and your program… I am a
very efficient person...and if u are efficient u tend to do these
little things that matter a lot like for example u reach hospital
10-15 mins earlier than your supposed to be and in addition to your
routine work you study your cases thus allowing yourself not only to
answer questions when asked but also to ask intelligent questions
and we know that consultants are flowing rivers of knowledge and it
would take one good question to get their attention which would
contribute a lot towards distinguishing yourself from others but
also enhancing your knowledge base....and then I used to go on
telling them that throughout my life this quality has made me a high
achiever and allowed me to do more in lesser time..
...then I used to say that I have leadership skills and an essential
part of which is communication skills...I can convince people…
negotiate with them ... in a hospital you have patient issues where
u have to counsel them thru their difficult times… then u have
physician issues where one can be like a bridge btw administration
and your colleagues helping to resolve any problem that
surfaces...also as a leader u should b able to make other people
work as a team for example you are running a code (CPR)...for the
whole process to b swift and organized it is imperative that u
should know strengths and weaknesses of each member of your team so
that u r able to decide who is the right man for which job... who will
manage airway, who will do the cpr, or who will be quick enough to
take the I/V line and who is skilful at passing endotracheal... and
the same principle applies when you reach a certain position in your
career where your given the responsibility as a program director to
conduct interviews and assess and induct people who are the
deserving candidates to be trained by your program... and I have no
doubt that I have these skills ...and then I used to describe that I
was the college head boy and later became CR of my class and how I
used to ensure participation of whole class in different events that
I used to organize like theme days , class-trip, class function etc…
they used to ask me then what is theme days and thus the discussion
was steered towards an area which was my comfort zone... you will be
given ample time to say what u have to say... so u should have
enough material and topics to keep them attentive... BOTTOM LINE>>
so if you are saying I’m honest or humble, u should be prepared with
a story signifying your quality...
5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years....??
people say that a rule of thumb exists in this matter...if in a
community program you’ll say ....I want to be a hospitalist (after
your 3 rd yr u join a hospital) because that would allow u to b a
part of an academic environment helping u to keep abreast of all the
new drugs and techniques being introduced in medicine n also because
you’re interested in teaching...when in a university program you’ll
go on to tell them the fellowship u want to do....
I never bothered about this rule...where ever I went I told them
about the fellowship I intended do...I leave the choice up to u...
my response was that I want to do pulmonolgy n critical care
because...there is a dire need of pulmonologist in a country where
smoking is a common habit n where we have few community programs
running for the prevention of its consequences... and critical
medicine because for me it is one of those branches where u see the
wonders of medicine being done at their very best... it is something
very divine although life and death is a decision that rests with
the GOD ALMIGHTY but u have been given knowledge by GOD to do your
best and save the suffering humanity..the results are quick and
that’s y they are more than satisfying... also u can say that again
there are very few trained people in Pakistan but repeating the same
thing over and over n that too in a way against your country is not
6. Would you be staying in US or going back to Pakistan?
Again whatever is the part of your story… just let them know that...
whether u plan on staying for sometime after your fellowship or u
want to leave as soon as you’re done... whatever it is ,be
straightforward... u can never tell if a program likes u to leave
USA or not... they might be of the opinion that after training you
should serve US or in other case they may have opinion opposite to
it… so your best bet is to let them know honestly what you’ll be
doing and it should be in synchronization with the rest of your
7. Tell me something about yourself...?
Give an introduction of yourself, your medical school, your birth
place… talk a little about your parents, siblings... and then
maneuver the discussion towards your stronger points like tell them
you’re hardworking dedicated person, that you’re very dynamic in
terms of always wanting to do something constructive and also in
terms of always wanting to learn more about different topics in
medicine... that you’re very calm cool collected customer who thrives
under pressure and some of your best scores and achievements have
been when u were really pushed to the limit... or that u r a born
leader and time n again you have found yourself in that role where a
lot people were looking up to u...or u are a good teacher... they
might ask u to teach them a topic, sort of give them a presentation
… be prepared for that especially if you have mentioned something in
your cv that u did case presentations in conferences... last yr one
of our college fellow got his residency just because he gave an
excellent presentation on a topic that he mentioned in his cv
although his scores were average...
8. What are your weaknesses?
ok this is a tricky question and you have to show your strengths AS
your weaknesses... begin by saying...
I am a very emotional person and its difficult for me to tolerate if
somebody lies to me or deceives me...I know in actual world u come
across all sort of people and one should develop the tact to deal
with all of them... or u can say...
I am sometimes so much focused at the job at hand that it becomes
difficult for me to take time out for myself... you know how
medicine is even if one wants to go out with friends or play golf…
one simply cannot because… duty comes first :)
or u can say...
sometimes, not always, I become a bit too critical towards those
around me because I am always striving for the best and want others
to share the same enthusiasm...I ought to give everybody their space
...I am working on it… or may b you can say...
I am a very sensitive person really feel the pain if I come across
somebody clenched in the jaws of an illness…
I need to improve my physique… Perhaps a little more exercise
(well… you get the point)
DON’T GIVE THEM ANYTHING
9. How do you spend
your leisure time...??
I like to ring up old friends… ask them how they have been… lets
meet up...spend time together... go to the movies… I like talking to
people and making new friends... (communication skills ;))
10. do you have any interest in research...???
don’t just say that ...yes sir I do… that means nothing... you
should b able to prove that u do...if u have already done research
and got experience then well and good, otherwise u should be able to
come up with topics or areas that come under field in which you want
to do fellowship...
as I was interested in pulmonology n critical care… I used to say
that earlier in an ICU patients of sepsis were treated with broad
spectrum antibiotics with not a great deal of success but recently
something new has popped up... zygress... which focuses on
inhibiting protein C...mediator of inflammation and its effect on
outcome of sepsis is an area I like to spread my wings as a
researcher...how did I get that info...easy… go to pubmed.com… look
for topics by date and focus on recent topics... you’ll know what to
11. What motivates u to put forth your best effort..??
(SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY… give examples)
12. How do you define success...???(It’s
the path that u follow with a clear focus in your mind and not the
rewards u reap)
13. Qualities of a good doctor?
(Keen observer, good listener, excellent communicator, sober
14. Describe what relationship should exist between attending and
those reporting to him?
(we should all be like a closely-knit one big happy family sharing
moments of happiness and sorrow together, with the attending playing
a fatherly role)...
15. What do you think your attitude towards nurses should b?
(Good terms with them are imperative... you learn many little things
of tremendous importance from them...)
16..describe an interesting case that u came across
this actually will show whether your experience in Pakistan is
original or fake...they don’t expect u to tell them management of
hypoglycemia or ventricular fibrillation...instead your story should
be based on actual events and how a small mistake or a small effort
made u realize that little things matter n became a clinical pearl
for u and a source of enlightenment for others..u need to think hard
for this...I used to describe a case where people were trying to
figure out y a 70 yr old lady with cough n chest pain was having
these symptoms by looking at the x ray and thinking on the lines of
interstitial lung disease or bronchopulmonary aspergillosis… when I,
the hero of the day, came into the scene and saved the day by
declaring how foolish of them to not honor the time tested dictum of
taking history n concentrating on the chief complaint as taught to
us by our worthy teachers... her main complaint was chest pain n
which was due to a rib fracture (visible on x ray but not being
alternatively a burn victim started complaining of seeing girls in
his crib(hallucinations)4 hours after the incident while being
managed in our burn unit, which my seniors found rather amusing and
it was my inquisitive mind which took upon itself the task of
unveiling the mystery behind that boys rather preposterous
claims...I did ABGs… and low n behold... hypoxia was the reason why
that boy was hallucinating which later was confirmed by a chest x
ray that showed signs of ARDS and my timely intervention (BY THE
GRACE OF ALMIGHTY) saved the boy from his dreadful fate...hence the
importance of taking your patients seriously was highlighted...when
I told the program director (the program where I have matched) this (true) story...
she said a rather similar thing happened to her once when she was a
an intern… one night a CLD patient started screaming there are
cockroaches in my room... everybody thought may b she is drinking
again and that’s y hallucinating… so they treated her for delirium
tremens... the next night she had the same complaint and the night
after that... interestingly it was found that she wasn’t
hallucinating at all… There were actually cockroaches in her
room...bug control had to be called....
17. Do u think your scores/grades are a good indication of your
(Yes sir they are… explain in detail how you have been doing all
throughout your medical school, also mentioning the room for
improvement which is always in the back of your mind)...
18. Did u do any mistake during your internship? (Begin by
saying... my consultant used to say… if u haven’t done any mistake
means you haven’t done enough n u haven’t learned enough... They
will be assessing how you handled the situation and don’t forget to
tell them what u learned from it... e.g. I told a patient he needs
to do saline dressing for a recently done skin graft instead of
bactigrass or polyfax dressings which resulted in his graft loss...I
admitted my mistake and we did the procedure all over again… (No I
19. What criteria are you using to rank programs?
(Fellowship... electives... IMG friendly... cordial working
conditions... didactic teaching... exposure to a wide patient
population...opportunities for scholastic activities, research
20. What if you don’t get a residency position? (I would like
to start by pondering over my short comings and then I would make
every effort to correct them and come back strong next yr. for
example if I am lacking us clinical experience. I would get that
21. Teach me something interesting in 5 min, outside medicine?
(Had I been asked that question I would have replied... sir I’ll b
teaching you breathing exercise for relaxation... close your eyes
and imagine you r walking along the shore line with cool breeze
gently caressing your face, listening to your favorite music… now
take a deep breath with open mouth… hold it for 5 sec… slowly
release it thru pursed lips... I want u to do three sets of 5... u
can answer the same thing if you’re asked how you handle pressure...
22. What type of criticism upsets u? (Which is not
constructive and is intended to tease and not to correct... like how
someone dresses and wears his hair… it should be constructive with
suggestions on how to improve... be ready with a story)
23. How do you make important decisions of your life? (I
begin by gathering as much info as I can from different sources
about the matter at hand... then I go over the benefits I would
achieve by making that decision and the risks involved like to take
advice from people especially those who have already walked that
path coz u learn a lot from other people `s experience...that’s how
I do it..)
24. How does medicine in Pakistan compare to USA? (we are a
developing nation, medical facilities are not available at distant
places hence the delay in reaching a tertiary care center n
opportunity to see advance pathology and as patients are poor so
cost effective management is done meaning only those tests are
ordered which are really indicated... research has a big role in
medicine in USA and each day new drugs and protocols are being put
forth e.g. evidence based medicine)...
QUESTIONS YOU WOULD BE ASKING FROM THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR
(ASK 3-4 QUESTIONS OR MORE IF YOU WANT... NOT ASKING IS A SIN)
1.What kind of research opportunities do u offer...
2. Do you give dedicated time for research/conferences to your
3. Do you your residents get any teaching opportunities...
4. Where are your graduates now and how many of them made t to
5. What qualities are u looking for in a residency candidate…
6. How do you evaluate your residents...
7. What kind of hand on experience is required by your residents to
master during first yr...
8. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your program..
9. As a program director what has been your greatest source of
10. How do you feel I compare with rest of the candidates...
11. Any plans for future growth....
QUESTION TO BE ASKED FROM RESIDENTS
(ASK AS MANY AS YOU LIKE)
1. How has experience been for u in general...
2. Are you happy... over all do u feel you are treated fairly...
3. What is your daily routine like…
4. What is the team structure like on a typical floor...are u
5. What is the average number of patients u r responsible for...
6. What is the call schedule/clinic schedule like...
7. Give me an idea about the amount scut work that one has to
do...does the hospital provides I/V lines and blood drawing teams...
8. What made u sell yourself to/choose/rank this program...
9. What do residents do for fun/how do they get along…
10. What kind of academic input is required as a first yr
QUESTIONS YOU WILL NEVER ASK
(Coz you have done your homework by visiting FREIDA n website of the
1. PGY-1 rotation structure…
2. Starting salary…
3. Moonlighting allowed or not…
5. Sick leave info...
6. Do they accept IMGs…
7. What visa do they offer…
8. Pre match... you should know they offer it or not... if they do n
you are really interested... tell them you are interested in an out
of match position... if they don’t offer… it’s better not to bring
up the topic...
9. How many hospitals are in this program and which medical school
10. Insurance benefits...
11. PDA given or not....lunch tokens… etc...
LAST WORD OF ADVICE
During your entire interview you are being assessed for one simple
thing... will he be able to work with us and be a part of our team?
Will he be able to get in...? Does he have the required clinical and
communication skills to deal with his patients and interact with his
colleagues... give them every reason that you do....
PRACTICE... think of yourself as a bridegroom practicing his vows or
better still, as president of United States mastering his speech to
be delivered to the rest of the world and you need to take the same
level of confidence into your interview in order to be triumphant...
Take one question at a time and think what your response should
you’ll only make a good impression if whatever you say comes
directly from your heart... no matter how out of ordinary or
outrageous your view point is... it should look natural...
Read this article at least twice and once each time before your
interview incase u forget anything...
Read the AMA tips