The first impression is very important, since most people make up their mind about someone in the first seven seconds of meeting them. Perception is reality - make a great first impression. 
Be prepared for the typical first question, “Tell me about yourself.”  Be sure to cut out audible pauses, so don’t “um, ah, well and like” your way through your answer. 
Your goal is to paint a positive and MEMORABLE picture of yourself. 


Tell your listeners about where you grew up and other biographical facts, such as where you studied undergrad. This is a great time to work in an interesting tidbit about yourself, as well, something that can help you stand out. 


Your listeners want to know why you got into medicine. This is your opportunity to show off your passion for medicine, and to tell them how you discovered that passion in the first place. Make sure you touch on why you chose your specialty, as well. The more interesting and personable you are, the more likely you are to stand out. 




I had a hard time when a patient died unexpectedly after a surgery. A family member walked up to the room during the code – I was the only one not intensely involved in the resuscitation. I took the initiative to work with the family member. I relied heavily on my communication skills to diffuse the anger and relay what was happening. Those minutes felt like years until a very skilled nurse took over for me. I learned a lot by watching her interact with the family member.
  • I am a self-starter
  • Strong communicator/ team player
HOW DO YOU RANK IN YOUR CLASS? Although I haven’t reached all of my goals academically, I feel that my recent clinical performance shows that I can handle adversity and make adjustments to perform at the expected level.
I had some difficulty in basic sciences, but I believe it was a great learning experience and it taught me some valuable skills such as taking constructive criticism and using it to identify and problem solve the issue.
I have honored more than half of my core clerkships
  • I learn from my mistakes
  • Strong communicator/ team player
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE AUC? It was very competitive when I was applying to medical school. After not gaining admission into a US school, I explored international medical schools as an alternative.
I chose AUC because of its high match rate (89% in 2016) and US clinical training sites. I was impressed with the fact that AUC graduates match into the same programs and specialties as US seniors and are eligible for licensure in all 50 states.
I also had the opportunity to train at school-affiliated sites in the United Kingdom. The small number of students in my clerkship allowed me to receive hands-on training experiences that I feel I may not have otherwise received.
  • I have a sincere passion to become a physician and I’m determined to reach my goal.
  • My international experiences make me a unique applicant
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A MISTAKE YOU MADE AND WHAT YOU DID ABOUT IT? I made a mistake in reporting a patient’s lab results back to the team. There was a good chance this would be of no consequence, but I felt it was important to bring the mistake to the attention of my resident. So I did – and got reamed out.
  • Trustworthy in difficult situations.
  • Transparency in communication.


  • Why did you choose this specialty?  
  • Why are you interested in this program?  
  • What are your goals?  
  • Tell me about yourself? 
  • What did you do before medicine? 
  • (To an older student)  Why should we pick you?  
  • What are your strengths?  
  • What are your weaknesses?  
  • Are you interested in academics or in clinical medicine? 
  • What was the most interesting case that you have been involved in?  
  • Present a case that you handled during medical school.  
  • Do you plan to do a fellowship?  
  • What could you offer this program? 
  • How do you rank in your class? 
  • What issues do you see managing a professional and a personal life? 
  • How have you prepared yourself for the rigors of residency?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  
  • Why did you choose AUC?


This is your time to ask any questions you might have. What will you ask? The type of questions you ask can say almost as much about you as how you answer them. 

Here are some examples: 

"One reason I am interested in your program is the potential for international experiences, can you tell me more about those opportunities?" or "One of the things I enjoyed during clinical rotations was working on a quality improvement project – are their opportunities as a resident to be involved in similar projects here?"

These questions highlight that you have international experience, and that you're a self-starter and a problem solver. Now it's time for the close. 


It’s critical to close with confidence. Use the FAB technique as the foundation for your closing statement. FAB stands for Feeling, Action, and Benefits, the three main points you need to hit before the end of the interview. 


    How do you feel about the residency program you are interviewing for? Your feeling is your belief or opinion. Are you enthusiastic, excited or believe this is the best program for you? Stating how you feel gives conviction to your message. It establishes a tone and enhances your credibility. Be specific and succinct. Convey your feeling. "Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I particularly enjoyed xxx and believe this program is xxx…" 

    What do you want your listeners to do? When you state the action, be direct about wanting to join their program and say this with conviction. “It would be a privilege…”

    What’s in it for them if your listeners rank you in their program? Come up with 2-3 benefits for them accepting you into their residency program. "I believe your program is a good match for me because:" (be specific and make connections between your strengths and the program).

Remember, each residency interview will be different, just as each residency program will have its own process. Be sure to research the program ahead of time and remember that much of what you get out of your interviews depend on your attitude toward the process and what you seek to accomplish through the experience. Make the most out of what’s likely to be the one and only opportunity to actually see and experience what the program is like.


Students with additional questions about the Residency Interview can contact AUC School of Medicine’s Office of Student and Professional Development (OSPD) at: [email protected] or by phone at 305-446-0600, option 6.