Would Dr. Gregory House Make It into Medical School Today?

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New book, The Medical School Interview, describes changes in the way Medical Schools interview applicants. Written by Dr. Samir Desai, a member of the Admissions Committee at the Baylor College of Medicine, it provides applicants with a strategy for interview success.

The interview is the most important factor in medical school admissions decisions.

Fans of the Fox television series House found the title character entertaining. He was known for his bitter wit, mocking nature, and lack of sympathy, but he did have an uncanny ability to make diagnoses. In real life, we expect our physicians to make accurate diagnoses, but to do so with empathy and respect. Medical schools have adopted new interviewing techniques to identify these future physicians, and the evidence is in. If Dr. House was interviewing for medical school today, he would not make the final cut.

"Medical schools are changing the way in which they interview applicants," says Dr. Samir Desai, author of the new book The Medical School Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty and a member of the admissions committee at Baylor College of Medicine. "While the traditional approach has been one faculty member interviewing one applicant, schools are now adopting new approaches. The multiple mini-interview, or MMI, is one such approach. Students move from one station to another. They may have to respond to a scenario or a task, such as assembling a model while another applicant gives them directions. They're observed and then graded on sought-after qualities such as communication skills and collaboration."

Although GPA and MCAT scores remain important in deciding whether an applicant is ready for the intense academic rigor of medical school, Desai indicates that the interview is the most important factor in admissions decisions. "We've always known how important teamwork, interpersonal skills, professionalism, and ethics are to the practice of medicine. Medical schools are deeply committed to graduating students with these qualities, but assessing these important non-cognitive qualities via the traditional interview has been difficult. Research indicates that the MMI is a good predictor of these qualities."

In researching the book, Desai and his co-author, Dr. Rajani Katta, Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, scoured the research on medical school admissions and included numerous recommendations from deans and admissions committee members. The Medical School Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty provides in-depth recommendations for applicants. The 14 chapters review traditional interview questions, as well as newer formats such as the MMI, behavioral interviews, and panel interviews. "One of our surprising findings was how often applicants were asked to respond to ethical questions. In one study, over 10% of interview questions focused on resolving an ethical dilemma," says Desai.

In 2012, over 45,000 people applied to U.S. medical schools. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, applicants apply to an average of 14.3 schools (http://www.aamc.org).

About the Book

The Medical School Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty
197 pages, softcover, b/w, 5 ½ by 8 ½ in.

ISBN # 9781937978013
Publication date: July 2, 2013
List price: $ 19.95
Publisher: MD2B (http://www.md2b.net)
Address: MD2B, PO Box 300988, Houston, TX 77230

For more information on The Medical School Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty or to purchase the book, visit Amazon.

About the Authors

Samir Desai, M.D. is a faculty member at the Baylor College of Medicine, and a member of the medical school admissions committee. He is the author of 14 books that have sold over 150,000 copies worldwide. He has educated and mentored medical students, residents, and international medical graduates, work for which he has received numerous teaching awards.

Rajani Katta, M.D. is an award-winning educator and author. She is Professor of Dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine, and Director of the Contact Dermatitis Clinic. She is active in medical student and resident education, and has authored five books as well as numerous scientific articles.

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