Thursday 16 June 2011

Questions asked in a residency match interview

Most common interview questions
In an interview, it is good to be prepared with the questions that are posed by the program director or the faculty involved in the residency application process. You do not want to be caught off guard by a question and then take too long to answer or end up answering in a way that compromises your chances of matching in the program. Since the biggest part of your interview is the content and the nature of your answers to specific questions, it would be an asset to know the questions before hand.

This article lists popular questions, that have been asked in the residency interviews. The list is comprehensive, but is non-inclusive. The question list was provided by ‘pahology11’ and they have been further divided into four sets.

The first is the program and specialty specific set which deals with program specific questions. These are a norm and you will come across these questions as a rule. The second set is called as the para personal question set and deals with questions related to family and other aspects of your personal life. You will also be asked some of these questions. The next set is the important set called as the personal questions set, this is very important because the interviewee is engaging you to reveal about your self. If you are a good fit for the program, how will your personality mesh with the rest of the program members? It is imperative that you answer these questions in an impressive manner. There are no right or wrong answers in this set. How well you answer is going to be the key to successfully finishing an interview. Finally, there is the small talk/general conversation question set which deals with questions aimed to find more about you.


  1. Why did you apply to this program?
  2. Why this specialty?
  3. What regions did you apply?
  4. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
  5. What have you been doing since graduation from medical school?
  6. What special areas are you interested in family medicine/psychiatry?
  7. Where do you want to work later on in your career? Do you want to do inpatient or outpatient in the future?
  8. Do you like to do procedures?
  9. Are you interested in a fellowship? If so, why that fellowship?
  10. What do you think that the residency will look like? 
  11. How would you handle the difficulties of the internship?
  12. Where is your next interview? Where are you coming from now?
  13. Do you think you can work 16 hours daily?
  14. What do you think about the new residency hours which is 60hrs/week?
  15. If you don’t match this year, what will you do?  Do you have a plan B?
  16. Where else have you applied?
  17. What other specialties have you applied?
  18. How much are you committed to this program?
  19. Who recommended this program to you?
  20. If you were offered a prematch now, would you sign a contract?
  21. Dont you think that you are over qualified for our program?
  22. If you did a __ residency in your country why do you want to do another __ residency here?
  23. Do you need visa? What is your visa preference?
  24. What sub-specialty do you want to pursue?
  25. What do you want in a program?
  26. What are you looking at a program?
  27. What will you do if you don’t get fellowship of your choice? Do you have a plan B?
  28. How many interviews do you have?
  29. Where else do you have interviews?
  30. Where did you interview before?
  31. Where is your next interview?
  32. Is this your first/last interview?
  33. Why should we choose you over other candidates?
  34. Did you like the hospital tour?
  35. Did you consider other specialties?
  36. Why do you want to do fellowship in ___?
  37. What rotation that you liked the least or the most?
  38. What did you do in your rotations ? what were your responsibilities?
  39. Why did you get such a low score?
  40. Why do you think you failed step 2/step 1/step3/CS/CK?
  41. Tell me about your research that you have done (if applicable)
  42. Have your worked with electronic medical records (EMR) systems?
  43. Have you met the chief and other residents?  Was there any particular question after meeting with them?


  1. Why do you want to live in this town? Do you have any family, friends here?
  2. How did you manage your personal life with the pressure of the medical school?
  3. Where did you live in the US and outside US?
  4. How did you manage traveling, school and work at the same time?
  5. Tell me about your country.
  6. You went to medical school after many years of research.  What made you change careers?  Why did you go to medical school after research career?
  7. Where are you from? Tell me about your home town.
  8. Tell me about your family.
  9. What is the meaning of your last name?
  10. Do you have family in the USA?
  11. Why did you get divorced, separated, married?
  12. If you don’t like this residency, what will you do?
  13. Where do you reside now?
  14. How do you make living now?
  15. How will you do residency in this state while your spouse is in another state?
  16. How will you manage your children during the residency?
  17. Do you own a car?
  18. Do you know how to drive?
  19. Do you know how to type?
  20. How are your computer skills?
  21. Do you have any ties to this state? is your family in this state?
  22. What do your parents do? Is anybody in your family a physician/family doctor/psychiatrist?


  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What do you do in your spare time?
  3. How do you deal with adversity?
  4. How do you deal with a failure?
  5. What did you learn from your patients so far? is there any particular patient that thought you something that so valuable for you?
  6. What type of books do you read? What is the last book have you read?
  7. Do you play sports, instruments?
  8. What are your talents?
  9. How do you deal with stressful situations at work?
  10. How has medical career changed you?
  11. Have you had a patient that you could not find any empathy for?
  12. What medical school did you go?
  13. You held this particular job in the past (any job).  Why did you do that job?
  14. What "age" have you decided to become a physician/surgeon/psychiatrist and why?
  15. Was medical school hard for you?
  16. Were the clinical rotations hard for you?
  17. You have been working independently for along time in your business.  Can you take orders from younger attendings and residents?
  18. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  19. What do you do to deal with stress?
  20. What will you do if I give you 10 million dollars and ask you to spend charitably?
  21. What will you do if you think that your senior resident's knowledge is less than yours? How can you manage it?
  22. How does your best friend describe you?
  23. How will you handle a junior colleague who is not doing his work properly?
  24. How would you deal if your patient dies?
  25. If your second year resident who is less experienced than you asks you to do something which is wrong, how will you deal with it?
  26. What was the most difficult time in your life? how did you deal with it?
  27. Why did you choose medical career in the first place?
  28. If you could be a tree, what type of tree would you be?
  29. Do you like working independently or in a team?
  30. What books have you read?
  31. What does empathy and compassion mean to you?


  1. What makes a good FM/IM/Peds doctor?
  2. Do you have any questions for me?
  3. What will you do after your residency?
  4. How old are you?
  5. tell me about a case.
  6. tell me about an interesting case?  Why do you think this case is interesting/challenging?
  7. tell me about a patient that you managed yourself.
  8. Was your marriage arranged?
  9. Do you know how difficult the residency is?
  10. What do you think makes a good psychiatrist/FM/IM/Peds doctor?
  11. Can you live in this city?
  12. Can you live on the residency salary with three children?
  13. What restaurant did the residents take you last night?
  14. How did your parents treat you while you were a child?
  15. Are you married?
  16. What is your significant other doing for living? Do they have similar career pursuits in the US?
  17. Did you like the hotel you are staying at?
  18. How do you deal with difficult family members of the patients?
  19. Have you veer been sued?
  20. Why did you wait to apply USMLE exams and residency before?
  21. Do you think you have got a good medical education at your medical school?
  22. Have you ever worked in a rural area before?
  23. How did you like the hospital, library, cafeteria?
  24. Do you like dogs?  Here we have companion dogs for geriatric patients.  Are you ok with them?

read here about how to deal with "tell me about an interesting case" question. It is simpler than you think! Or take a look at answers to a few difficult interview questions.

This list was graciously provided by pahology11. She is a very active contributor on a popular USMLE forum and has written these questions from personal experience. She matched in psychiatry residency in 2011. The original list has been divided in to sublists by droidor to enable ease of use. Feel free to add more questions in the comments section.

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