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Getting into a medical residency can be extremely difficult. With so many highly qualified interviewees to contend with, it can be hard to stand out among the crowd. But if you know what questions to expect, then you’ll be better prepared for the interview.

Basic Interview Questions To Expect

There are some basic interview questions you should prepare for. These aren’t specific to residency candidates, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. 

The first question you can expect is more of a statement – “Tell me about yourself”. This question is designed to create a picture of who you are. They will use this information to remember you as a candidate along with all of the other answers you give. If you don’t stand out in this answer, then you could be forgotten despite your amazing resume.

Another question you should prepare for is “What are your weaknesses and strengths?”. Here the interviewer wants to know if your strengths can fill the gaps of their current weaknesses within the residency and if your weaknesses can be managed.

Lastly, you can expect the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?” This question is designed to see if your expectations match the residency. If you see yourself running your own hospital, then they know that you will leave after a time – this could match their short-term needs in hiring you or make you seem like a flight risk. Consider your answer to see if it aligns with their goals.

The Three Residency Specific Interview Questions To Expect

Once you have prepared the common interview questions it is time to move on to the residency interview ones. These are specific questions that you can expect from residencies. We will explain what they are and how you can answer them.

Why Did You Choose Your Speciality, What About It Interests You?

Here the interviewer is asking you to dive into your specialty. It isn’t a test where you have to answer questions about your specialty itself, but rather why it is important. They want to see enthusiasm, intrigue, excitement, or all three. 

Here you get to explain why your specialty is important, and how you see the issue expanding or changing in the future. When you answer the questions, talk about how you can help your patients, how you expect the specialty to change with time, and why you will continue to be interested in the subject for decades to come.

Tell Me About This Specific Aspect Of Your Medical School Education

This question is a little vague. Where it says “this specific aspect” consider the words as a placeholder. The interviewers could bring up any specific issue about medical school education that they deem important, it could be the rotations, the research, the practical exams – anything.

When the interviewer asks these questions, they are either bringing up something that they do not do in their practice, something they often do in their practice or something that indicates your work ethic. Whichever reason they decide to bring up the question, they are looking to see if you will fit in with their current working environment.

For example, if you said that you really enjoyed the rotations aspect of medical school, they might go on to explain that they don’t work in rotation. Knowing this, if you were tied with someone who likes structure, they could pick the second person expecting a happier working environment.

What Is Your Biggest Fear In The Field Of Medicine?

Sharing your fears means sharing that you are aware of how things can go wrong. This question is designed to see what you believe is a problem or an issue that you have to face, and how you overcome it.

When we are afraid of something, we often think about ways to avoid the issue ever occurring. We become more aware of the possibility of it happening, and therefore can help stop the problem before it starts.

Answering these questions with your solutions to the issue shows that you think ahead and are alert to the fear.


The interviewer will ask you a lot of questions. There will be basic questions that you can expect from an interview, residency-specific questions, and business-specific questions too. Be prepared for all three types to be successful in your interview.

Ideally, you should practice with a friend or someone you know who is in the residency already. A knowledgeable person will be able to help you create stand-out answers, but in reality, being prepared and answering calmly will be a benefit in itself.