Interviews are always a tricky thing. You have to approach it like this "only one percent of the worlds population goes to college. Of that 1 percent, only 20 percent dare take Organic chemistry. Of that percentage only about 60 percent pass organic chemistry. Of that percentage less than 1 percent apply to PA School. Of that percentage even fewer get accepted. If offered an interview you are already the top of the top." most schools have approx. 50 seats. Depending on the school they will interview 150-600 people for those spots. I will take those odds any day. If you think about it that way its a great way to boost your confidence.
So onto interview tips themselves. I was told by a person in a place of authority once you have to be on your A game the second you walk into the interview, by that I mean the second you get out of the car in the parking lot. As soon as you walk on campus you are being observed. How do you interact with the other interviewees? How much interest do you have in the school? Are you constantly checking your phone? Each schools interviews are different but the main things stay the same. There will always be a speech by the dean or someone high up giving you numbers and facts, A tour, and Q and A with current first years, and the interview itself.
You will not be accepted on your behavior during the Deans speech but plenty have been rule out because of their body language. Make sure you are taking notes or at least pretending to take notes. Make sure your body language says Im interested even though its your last choice school. Make sure you ask questions (not stupid ones...relevant questions).
Make sure when their is downtime you interact with the other interviewees. Be friendly but not too friendly be nice but not fake. Always assume you are being watched the entire time.
The tour. More people have been ruled out by the tour than you can imagine. Most people (I even made this mistake) use the tour as time to think through their answers that they gave or are about to give. You need to ask questions to whoever is leading the tour. Be friendly but not too friendly. Show interest. Never check your phone during the tour. The tour guide is asked to report back to the admissions committee on people who stood out to them. Make sure your one who stood out for a good reason.
The Q and A with Current students. Ask anything you want. They have Zero say unless your asking them inappropriate questions then they can say something to the admissions saying this candidate was weird.
The interview itself. Their are several types of interviews. One on one, Group, or MMI. My personal favorite is the group. I will get to that in a second.
The one on one interview: Typically they have your CV in front of them. You will get a few questions about any gaps in your CV. You will get questions like tell use a time where you had a conflict with coworker. What is your greatest weakness? and my personal favorite...if you could have dinner with anyone living or dead who would it be? Everyone (especially if your on this forum) has answers prepared. Make sure you do not sound rehearsed. Make sure your answers are clear and concise. Always put in I learned this____ from that experience or a positive spin or this is what im doing to fix my weakness.
Group interviews are the best. Because you can show the interviewers that your a team player just by your body language. When someone else is answering make sure you are listening and opening up your body to them. When you are asked the question Make sure you make eye contact with the interviewers as well as your other candidates. As part of your answer I highly encourage you to reference the other interviewers. EX. I 100 percent agree with interviewer A's answer, You have to show the patients compassion and empathy, and I did so in this example ______ (tell your story). It shows that you are a team player. Playing off others answers is always a good idea
MMI. (multiple mini interviews). This in my opinion is the hardest of the 3 types of interviews. You have to impress 8 different people. or however many MMI stations there are. They will give you a prompt to answer that will take a fraction of the time allowed to you. What do you do with the remaining time? take it and run with it. Tell a story that ties into the prompt. My favorite question I was ever asked in an MMI " so you are on your way to work and accidently run over the neighbors cat, and go to work. When you get home that night you notice the neighbors looking for their cat. What do you do?" The biggest mistake everyone makes is saying they would not have gone to work to told your neighbors then. First off you are abandoning your job and second you are not answering the question. Make sure you answer the exact question they ask and the exact wording they use. They have worded it a specific way for a reason.
So final tips: Make sure you arrive 15 mins early, assume you are always watched from the moment you step on campus, pay attention to your body language, ask good questions, have the attitude that you would do anything to get into that school regardless of its ranking on your list, be prepared to answer anything (they ask questions you never thought of to throw you off and see how you are on the spot), KNOW WHAT IS SPECIAL about that school and when in doubt weave in you want to go to that school because of the faculty and the reputation of the faculty (when in doubt that is always a great way to suck up), FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD MAKE SURE YOU SAY YOU WANT TO GO INTO FAMILY MEDICINE OR PRIMARY CARE regardless of what you actually want to go into.
Questions I have been asked to be used as a throw off question:
What question were you hoping I would ask?
What question were you hoping I would not ask?
If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead who would it be?
Define Underserved (then they don't accept your answer and challenge you...meant to get under your skin)
What would your sibling say is the most annoying thing about you?
Tell me about a time you wish you could go back and change?