Most Common Residency Interview Questions

David and I went through more than 45 hospitals and programs..  We have done polling on the candidates we have helped.  At each hospital, we had to do anywhere from 2 to 12 interviews with faculty or residents. Our collective experience extends beyond 100 interviews and we found the most common residency interview questions.

We wrote down every single residency interview questions we were asked.  

Here is our list, supplemented by questions that we collected from our co-residents and medical school classmates.

Highest Yield – These are the questions you should absolutely nail and know by heart.  More than 75% of our interviews included one of these questions. They are the most common residency interview questions

  • “Tell me about yourself.”
  • “Tell me about your research.”
  • “Why do you want to come here?”
  • “Tell me about a memorable patient.”
  • “Why are you choosing Internal Medicine/Pediatrics/Psychiatry/Neurology?”
  • “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?”
  • “Do you have any questions for me?”


High Yield
– These are questions you should be very well prepared for.  50% of our interviews include one of these questions.

  • “Tell me your strengths.”
  • “How do you like the area?” or phrased differently “What do you know about this city/location?”
  • “Tell me your weaknesses.”
  • “Tell me about a time you failed.”
  • “Tell me about a time you made a mistake.”
  • “Tell me your proudest accomplishment.”
  • “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for the care of a patient.”
  • “Tell me about your medical school.”

Medium Yield – Less than 25% of our interviews had one of these questions.

  • “Tell me about a time you did something unethical.”
  • “Tell me about a time when you had to be a leader.”
  • “Tell me about a time you had to deal with conflict.”
  • “What if you don’t match?”
  • “Who do you look up to?”
  • “If not medicine, what would you do?”
  • “Tell me about your ideal day.”

Special Situations – These questions WILL likely come up if you have any red flags in your application

  • “Tell me about what happened on your USMLE Step1/Step2CK/Step2CS or Step3 attempt?”
  • “Tell me what you have been doing since graduating medical school?”

IMG Specific Questions – These questions would be unique to the IMG candidate.

  • “Tell me about your medical school training.”
  • “Why train in United States?”
  • “Tell me about your previous clinical training.”

Low Yield but Tricky – When we were asked these questions, it didn’t happen often but it was difficult.

  • “Tell me a joke.”
  • “Tell me about your core values.”
  • “Imaging looking back at your career.  What do you think you will regret?”

Out of Left Field

  • “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?”
  • “What is your favorite dinosaur?”
  • “What websites do you like to visit?”

The questions you are going to be asked is NOT the hard part.  There are tons of lists of common interview questions.  These are ones we encountered in our travels.  The hardest thing is to nail these answers.  With our video series, see how we answered and learn from our detailed analysis.  If you have any suggestions on questions to include, let us know below!