Preparing for the Interview
Identify examples of your experiences. Think of some examples of situations you either participated in or witnessed that highlight your knowledge or demonstration of the relevant competencies. Reflect on your experiences and learning. Note situations (for example, at school, at work, in a social situation) you participated in or witnessed that exemplify the various competencies.
Practice describing your experiences. With your peers and advisors, conduct mock interviews to practice developing responses using specific behavioral examples from your life and experiences.
When practicing your responses:
- Be sure to discuss the situation or task you encountered, the actions you took, and the outcome of your actions.
- If you cannot identify a past experience where you demonstrated a competency, describe a situation you witnessed or speak hypothetically about what you would do in that situation.
When practicing responding to situational questions:
- Discuss the actions you would take, why you would take those actions, and what you would expect the result of your actions to be.
- You may draw on your past experiences to explain why you should take specific actions.
Practice with technology. Practice responding with the device you’ll be using and without an interviewer. When you complete the AAMC VITA interview, you will do so alone with your device. Look at the device’s camera — not at the screen — and keep your head and shoulders centered in the camera’s view.
Setting Up for the Interview
Technology. We recommend using a computer or tablet with a good webcam and microphone. Although a mobile phone may be used, a laptop or tablet provides better stability. We also recommend using a device that will not accept phone calls while you interview, as a phone call will interfere with your ability to complete your response.
- Double-check your microphone and camera to make sure they’re working well.
- Shut down all programs on your device so no alerts, notifications, or other electronic interruptions distract you.
Additionally, the AAMC VITA interview works best with Google Chrome.
Environment. Identify a private, quiet, and well-lit space where you can complete the interview by yourself, you are free of potential distractions, and you can speak freely. Admissions officers will have access to your videos. While you should strive to complete the interview in a neutral setting, medical schools understand that may not be possible due to constraints resulting from the pandemic. They will be instructed to ignore the background in which you complete the interview and focus on the content of a response. In addition, the AAMC will provide them with training to minimize the potential for bias.
Making an impression. Dress professionally, as you would for an in-person interview. Medical school admissions officers will watch your videos. Do the interview at a time when you’re rested and focused. You want to be able to focus on understanding the questions, crafting coherent responses, and presenting your best self.
Completing the Interview
Read the entire question before you begin responding. Make sure you respond to all parts of the question.
Keep in mind that questions are designed to measure competencies unrelated to medical experience. They do not evaluate your medical knowledge. You do not need to have prior medical experience to answer the questions; other life experiences may serve as appropriate examples in your responses.
Provide detailed responses, and avoid speaking in generalities. One strong example is better than several weak or tangential examples.
- Do not provide information that could be used separately or in combination to identify someone — such as name, title, or location — who you portray in a negative light.
- Please refer to the Essentials document for additional guidance.