America's Next Top Doctor
A young pre-med student having what it takes to make it in the high-stress, high-stakes world of medicine.
Follow me on Twitter: @NextTopMD
I’m about to go Naomi Campbell on this MCAT exam tomorrow.





I am writing letters to my little, and I’m trying to think of all of the times I needed support the most last year.

So far:
When you feel like it’s too much to learn
When you have your first stress induced breakdown
When you fail your first test

I need more ideas!


My additions:

The moments in the dark quiet of the night when you wonder why you are doing this when friends and family are getting married, holding real jobs, earning real paychecks.

When personal life is so heavy that it seems impossible to focus on studying.

When everyone seems to have their shit together and you just don’t feel that way.

When you hear a patient story that really messes you up inside.

Reblogged from comfort-zone-denied, Posted by thinksquad.
Reblogged from comfort-zone-denied, Posted by kushandwizdom.

More good vibes here

I’m not a big fan of Beyonce, but she has a work ethic that does not stop, and it shows in her work. We need to see more male performers who put the same amount of work (and skin) into their act. I’m glad she brought feminism into it, however briefly.


1. Trauma permanently changes us.

This is the big, scary truth about trauma: there is no such thing as “getting over it.” The five stages of grief model marks universal stages in learning to accept loss, but the reality is in fact much bigger: a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no “back to the old me.” You are different now, full stop.

This is not a wholly negative thing. Healing from trauma can also mean finding new strength and joy. The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life — warts, wisdom, and all — with courage.

2. Presence is always better than distance.

There is a curious illusion that in times of crisis people “need space.” I don’t know where this assumption originated, but in my experience it is almost always false. Trauma is a disfiguring, lonely time even when surrounded in love; to suffer through trauma alone is unbearable. Do not assume others are reaching out, showing up, or covering all the bases.

It is a much lighter burden to say, “Thanks for your love, but please go away,” than to say, “I was hurting and no one cared for me.” If someone says they need space, respect that. Otherwise, err on the side of presence.

3. Healing is seasonal, not linear.

It is true that healing happens with time. But in the recovery wilderness, emotional healing looks less like a line and more like a wobbly figure-8. It’s perfectly common to get stuck in one stage for months, only to jump to another end entirely … only to find yourself back in the same old mud again next year.

Recovery lasts a long, long time. Expect seasons.

4. Surviving trauma takes “firefighters” and “builders.” Very few people are both.

This is a tough one. In times of crisis, we want our family, partner, or dearest friends to be everything for us. But surviving trauma requires at least two types of people: the crisis team — those friends who can drop everything and jump into the fray by your side, and the reconstruction crew — those whose calm, steady care will help nudge you out the door into regaining your footing in the world. In my experience, it is extremely rare for any individual to be both a firefighter and a builder. This is one reason why trauma is a lonely experience. Even if you share suffering with others, no one else will be able to fully walk the road with you the whole way.

A hard lesson of trauma is learning to forgive and love your partner, best friend, or family even when they fail at one of these roles. Conversely, one of the deepest joys is finding both kinds of companions beside you on the journey.

5. Grieving is social, and so is healing.

For as private a pain as trauma is, for all the healing that time and self-work will bring, we are wired for contact. Just as relationships can hurt us most deeply, it is only through relationship that we can be most fully healed.

It’s not easy to know what this looks like — can I trust casual acquaintances with my hurt? If my family is the source of trauma, can they also be the source of healing? How long until this friend walks away? Does communal prayer help or trivialize?

Seeking out shelter in one another requires tremendous courage, but it is a matter of life or paralysis. One way to start is to practice giving shelter to others.

6. Do not offer platitudes or comparisons. Do not, do not, do not.

“I’m so sorry you lost your son, we lost our dog last year … ” “At least it’s not as bad as … ” “You’ll be stronger when this is over.” “God works in all things for good!”

When a loved one is suffering, we want to comfort them. We offer assurances like the ones above when we don’t know what else to say. But from the inside, these often sting as clueless, careless, or just plain false.

Trauma is terrible. What we need in the aftermath is a friend who can swallow her own discomfort and fear, sit beside us, and just let it be terrible for a while.

7. Allow those suffering to tell their own stories.

Of course, someone who has suffered trauma may say, “This made me stronger,” or “I’m lucky it’s only (x) and not (z).” That is their prerogative. There is an enormous gulf between having someone else thrust his unsolicited or misapplied silver linings onto you, and discovering hope for one’s self. The story may ultimately sound very much like “God works in all things for good,” but there will be a galaxy of disfigurement and longing and disorientation in that confession. Give the person struggling through trauma the dignity of discovering and owning for himself where, and if, hope endures.

8. Love shows up in unexpected ways.

This is a mystifying pattern after trauma, particularly for those in broad community: some near-strangers reach out, some close friends fumble to express care. It’s natural for us to weight expressions of love differently: a Hallmark card, while unsatisfying if received from a dear friend, can be deeply touching coming from an old acquaintance.

Ultimately every gesture of love, regardless of the sender, becomes a step along the way to healing. If there are beatitudes for trauma, I’d say the first is, “Blessed are those who give love to anyone in times of hurt, regardless of how recently they’ve talked or awkwardly reconnected or visited cross-country or ignored each other on the metro.” It may not look like what you’d request or expect, but there will be days when surprise love will be the sweetest.

9. Whatever doesn’t kill you …

In 2011, after a publically humiliating year, comedian Conan O’Brien gave students at Dartmouth College the following warning:

"Nietzsche famously said, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ … What he failed to stress is that it almost kills you.”
Odd things show up after a serious loss and creep into every corner of life: insatiable anxiety in places that used to bring you joy, detachment or frustration towards your closest companions, a deep distrust of love or presence or vulnerability.

There will be days when you feel like a quivering, cowardly shell of yourself, when despair yawns as a terrible chasm, when fear paralyzes any chance for pleasure. This is just a fight that has to be won, over and over and over again.

10. … Doesn’t kill you.

Living through trauma may teach you resilience. It may help sustain you and others in times of crisis down the road. It may prompt humility. It may make for deeper seasons of joy. It may even make you stronger.

It also may not.

In the end, the hope of life after trauma is simply that you have life after trauma. The days, in their weird and varied richness, go on. So will you.


Catherine Woodiwiss, “A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma”   (via thepeacefulterrorist)

It is such a pleasure and a gift to read this right now, to remind myself that all of us who have suffered trauma of any form will and do live on.

(via md-admissions)

(Source: soishothimintheface)

100 Medical School Interview Practice Questions

  1. What are your career plans and what led you to these decisions?

  2. What do you feel is the purpose of Medical School?

  3. Tell me about why you are interested in this program.

  4. Describe your style of communicating and interacting with others. Give an example of a situation in

    which you had to utilize effective interpersonal skills.

  5. Describe a situation in which you were dependable or demonstrated initiative. One in which you were

    not as dependable as you would have liked.

  6. What experiences have you had working with diverse populations?

  7. How do you handle stress?

  8. From what you understand of medical school, what part of the program will be most difficult for you?

  9. If you were a cookie, what cookie would you be?

  10. Describe how you can effectively deal with someone in crisis.

  11. What was your favorite college course and why?

  12. What do you hope to gain from this experience?

  13. Describe your style of communicating and interacting with others.

  14. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated initiative.

  15. Tell me about a time when you faced a conflict or anger with another individual.

  16. Tell me about a time when you were criticized unfairly.

  17. Tell me about a time when you failed.

  18. How do you handle failure?

  19. Tell me about a time when you’ve been disappointed in a teammate or fellow group member. What

    happened? How did you approach the situation?

  20. Describe a situation in which you have worked with a diverse group of people. What did you learn from

    that situation?

  21. How do you handle change?

  22. How do you go about making important decisions?

  23. If you could start your college career all over again, what would you do differently?

  24. What were your most memorable accomplishments in your college career?

  25. What does the word “success” mean to you?

  26. What attracted you to this program?

  27. What do you do when you are not at work or school?

  28. How would your teammates describe you? How would your professors describe you?

  29. If we contacted your references now, what do you think they would say about you?

  30. If you could change one aspect of your personality with a snap of your fingers, what would you change?

  31. In what course did you get the worst grades? Why?

  32. What two things would you consider your greatest strengths?

  33. What two things would you consider your greatest weaknesses?

  34. What else do you want us to know about you before you leave today?

  35. Who would you say has been the most influential person in the last one-hundred years?

  36. Why do you want to be a doctor?

  37. What do you do in your spare time?

  38. What are your specific goals in medicine?

  39. What stimulated your interest in medicine?

  40. What do you think about HMO’s and the changes taking place in medicine?

  41. What schools have you applied to?

  1. What do you intend to gain from a medical education?

  2. What do you think about euthanasia?

  3. Why do you think so many people want to be doctors?

  4. Do you think a physician should tell a patient he/she has eight months to live?

  5. There are 1,000 applicants as qualified as you. Why should we pick you?

  6. What steps have you taken to acquaint yourself with what a physician does?

  7. How would your plans differ if you knew that all physicians would be working in HMO’s in the future?

  8. What do you think is the most pressing issue in medicine today?

  9. What will you do if you don’t get into medical school?

  10. What are your positive qualities and what are your shortcomings?

  11. What is your relationship with your family?

  12. How do you think your role as a physician fits in with your role as a member of the community?

  13. Describe your personality.

  14. What do you have to offer our school?

  15. What are the best and worst things that have ever happened to you?

  16. What do you see yourself doing in medicine 10-15 years from now?

  17. Is medicine a rewarding experience? Why?

  18. Would you practice in the inner city? What do you think happens to people who practice medicine there

    (attitude changes, etc.)?

  19. If there were an accident on the highway, would you stop and help the victims, knowing that doing so

    might lead to a malpractice claim against you?

  20. What aspects of your life’s experiences do you think make you a good candidate for medical school?

  21. If your best friends were asked to describe you, what would they say?

  22. How do you plan to finance your medical education?

  23. What do you think about the ongoing conflict in Iraq?

  24. Discuss a book that you have recently read for pleasure. Why did you select that book?

  25. If you could invite four people to dinner, who would they be? Why?

  26. A patient who has been in an accident needs a blood transfusion. She states that her religion does not

    allow them. You are the physician in charge. What will you do? Will you override her strong objection?

    Why/why not?

  27. If you have the choice of giving a transplant to a successful elderly member of the community or a 20-

    year old drug addict, how do you choose?

  28. What will you do if you are not accepted to medical school this year?

  29. What newspapers, journals, etc., do you read on a regular basis?

  30. Why did you choose your undergraduate major?

  31. What extracurricular activities were you involved in during your undergraduate major?

  32. What qualities do you look for in a physician?

  33. Where do we stand in your list of medical school preferences?

  34. What is the most pressing health issue today?

  35. What experiences have you had in community involvement that demonstrate your commitment to


  36. How do you think your personal background will affect your practice?

  37. What are the negative aspects of medicine from a professional standpoint?

  38. Would you like academic medicine as a career?

  39. How might you deal with a terminally ill patient?

  40. If you want to help people, why not social work?

  41. Describe any travels that you have undertaken and exposure to other cultures than your own, if any.

  42. Do you prefer the idea of basic research or of working with people?

  43. Have you an alternative career plan?

  44. When you need counseling for personal problems, whom do you talk with?

  45. Describe your childhood and present living conditions.

  46. How will you keep in touch with community needs?

  47. How do you handle blood and gore?

  48. Tell us your opinion of this medical school’s curriculum.

  49. Discuss National Health Insurance and how it would affect the physician and the patient.

  1. Do you feel that medical students receiving federal loans should spend time practicing medicine in a rural area to give society something in return?

  2. What are the differences between Britain’s health care delivery system and ours?

  3. What is the biggest problem in the world today?

  4. What is your solution to terrorism?

  5. How do you feel about euthanasia?

  6. What is success?

  7. What do you think about American primary health care delivery (i.e., status quo, total private systems,

    national health insurance)?

  8. If you discovered a classmate cheating, what would you do?

  9. Tell me about your family. How do they feel about your decision to attend medical school?

100. What impact do you want to have on the medical profession?

31 Questions I Wish I Had Asked

Medical schools, like individuals, are very different—in their philosophies, faculties, curricula, and the type of students they attract. Consequently, selecting the “best” medical school for you can be very challenging. The following set of questions was compiled by medical students from across the country to assist you in evaluating the schools you will visit. This list is by no means complete; it was designed to serve as a base for your own questions. Keep in mind that the interview represents a wonderful time for you to learn, so don’t be shy about asking anyone your questions. Congratulations on your career choice and good luck with interviews!

Organization of Student Representatives Association of American Medical Colleges January 1992 

  1. Are there any special programs for which this medical school is noted?

  2. Describe this school’s curriculum in the pre-clinical and clinical years. Are there any

innovations, like Problem-Based Learning?

  1. Are there opportunities for students to design, conduct, and publish their own research?

  2. Is there a note-taking service? If so, is it University-run or student-run?

  3. Is there flexibility in the coursework (the number of electives) and the timing of the courses

(accelerating, decelerating, and time off) during the pre-clinical and clinical years?

6. Has this medical school, or any of its clinical departments, been on probation or had its accreditation revoked?

7. How do students from this medical school perform on the National Board Examinations? How does the school assist students who do not pass?

  1. How are students evaluated academically? How are clinical evaluations performed?

  2. Is there a formal mechanism in place for students to evaluate their professors and attending

physicians? What changes have been made recently as a result of this feedback?

10. What kind of academic, personal, financial, and career counseling is available to students? Are these services also offered to their spouses and dependents/children?

11. Is there a mentor/advisor system? Who are the advisors—faculty members, other students, or both?

12. How diverse is the student body? Are there support services or organizations for ethnic minorities and women?

13. Tell me about the library and extracurricular facilities (i.e., housing and athletic/recreational facilities).

14. Are there computer facilities available to students? Are they integrated into the curriculum/learning?

15. What type of clinical sites—ambulatory, private preceptors, private hospitals, rural settings— are available or required for clerkships? Does this school allow for students to do rotations at other institutions or internationally?

  1. Is a car necessary for clinical rotations? Is parking a problem?

  2. What is the current tuition and fees? Is this expected to increase yearly? If so, at what rate?

  3. Are there stable levels of federal financial aid and substantial amounts of university/medical

school endowment aid available to students?

19. Are there students who have an “unmet need” factor in their budget? If so, where do these students come up with the extra funds?

  1. Are spouses and dependents/children covered in a student’s budget?

  2. Is someone available to assist students with budgeting and financial planning?

  3. Does this school provide guidance to its students, and to its graduates/alumni, on debt


  1. What medical school committees (e.g., curriculum committee) have student representation?

  2. Are students involved in (required or voluntary) community service?

  3. How active is the Student Council/Government? Are there other student organizations?

  4. Is there an established protocol for dealing with student exposure to infectious diseases? Is

disability insurance provided to cover this exposure?

27. Does this school provide, or does the student pay for, vaccinations against Hepatitis B or prophylactic AZT treatment in case of a needle-stick or accident?

28. Is there a school Honor Code? Is there a grievance process/procedure? Are the students involved?

29. May I see a list of residency programs to which this school’s recent graduates were accepted?

30. Does this school have strengths in the type of medicine (primary versus specialized care, urban versus rural practice environment, academic medicine versus private practice) that I will want to practice?

31. Would I be happy at this school (for at least the next four years)? 


There are an infinite number of questions and many different categories of questions. Different medical schools will emphasize different categories of questions. Arbitrarily, ten categories of questions can be defined: ambiguous, medically related, academic, social, stress-type, problem situations, personality oriented, based on autobiographical material, miscellaneous, and ending questions. We will examine each category in terms of sample questions and general comments. 

For more interview practice questions visit these other links: 

P.S. Please share this info to you fellow premed classmates. 



Medical School Interview: Questions and Answers

Take a look at this power point presentation by Harvard University