Tag Archives: Program directors



Hello guys,

After my previous post of “Selection Criteria used by PD’s” ,the present  post  is mainly about the things to be expected on the “BIG DAY-INTERVIEW” like attire,questions asked, qualities seen by PD’s and how to sum up in the end.

As I said in my previous post all this information has been gathered from seniors,residents,fellows and PD’s . All the information provided is a generalized view and may change depending on  respective program requirements.

So when to start applying for residency ?

  • Sooner the better with no.of chances of getting interviews being high.
  • As u delay chances get decreased and competition tightens up.For example, if you apply in December and only if one spot is open then there will be more competition => less chance .
  • After applying ,the info regarding interviews can be known through calls/ emails .

How should you be prepared for the interview ?

  • Attire : Grey ,black or navy blue suit with a tie .
  • Before attending the interview you are expected to know what your program is all about .
  • Make sure you have some questions for the PDs regarding future works of hospitals /schemes etc to impress them .
  • It is not a good idea to ask about salary , accommodation .Not many PDs like it.

 On the day of Interview what PD’s look for in a candidate ?

  • Scientific curiosity
  • Intelligence
  • Team building ability
  • Relation with other residents
  • Fit in their team, support each other
  • Academics [ LOR’s and CV ]
  • Good scores
  • Clinical experience in U.S.

Scores,U.S Clinical Experience are important for getting an interview  but doesn’t matter much on the particular day.

One has to prove they are good in the above qualities for making sure they are ahead of others and gain confidence of PDs.

Common questions generally asked during the interviews :

  • Tell something about you that I am not going to see your CV ?
  • Tell me about your Research work ?
  • Any Publications /U.S.C.E ?
  • What are some of your challenges in field of medicine ?
  • What are you looking for in your residency ?
  • Talk about your career ?
  • Tell about a patient that changed your life ?
  • What you would bring into our program? [ don’t tell about scores and clerkship]
  • Why are you interested in particular specialty?
  • Talk something about your CV
  • They may ask you questions regarding things described about you in your CV like novels, sense of humor .So be careful of what you mention in your CV .

Questions outside Medicine :

  • What’s a typical day is going to be like for you ?
  • How do you cope up stress?
  • Any experiences in information technology?
  • Creativity?

Tricky Questions :

  • Why did you think you will fit into my program?
  • Tell me about interesting patients you have seen ?

-Here they can ask you questions like what made you feel that the case was interesting, how  did you come to final diagnosis, and differential diagnosis ?

  • How did you spend the time between graduations from medical school to now?
  • Why are u not interested in doing residency in your country ?
  • Why did u choose U.S over your country for residency ?

Thank you Letters :

  • Hand written are preferred over emails.
  • A thank you letter can be like this : It was a great opportunity to talk with you.I liked your program because I will be thrilled if end up in your program etc .
  • When they ask you to visit again, it is good if you visit because few of them usually get excited when you have a second visit. It’s ok even if you won’t.

Basic Precautions :

  • Proper Attire
  • Present yourself with confidence and alwas carry a smile on the face.
  • Talk fluently and be gentle.
  • Never try to bluff PDs.
  • Don’t mention about something until you have evidence for it like certificates /honors I your CV.
  • Don’t forget about the thank you letters in the end.

This is in short regarding  few important things about  the interview ,the general qs asked, tricky issues etc .I hope this post will give you an idea about how to prepare and present yourself to the Program Directors in the best possible way for the Interviews .

I wish may we all get matched into our desired residency.Good luck guys :).




Posted by on August 10, 2014 in USMLE


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Criteria of Program Directors for Candidate Selection

Hello friends ,

Now that the time for applying to residency programs for the year 2015 is getting closer, I would like to share few valuable points regarding the views of Program Directors of what they search for in a candidate for a particular program. We all know how hard each of us had worked for clearing our steps trying to get good scores, getting that extra bit of benefit over others by doing clerkships, observerships,research what not everything that we can in the limited time to improve our CV before interviews.

I tried to include most of the important points regarding the selection criteria  that I gathered from my seniors, residents, doctors in U.S and few PD’s .

All the information provided is a generalized view and may change depending on  respective program requirements.

How do the PD’s select /filter the candidates ?What is the criteria of selection ?

  • USMLE SCORES – Step scores min 220 scores( on an average for diff programs ) in STEP 1 and Ck ,clearing CS in 1 attempt.
  • Step 1 and Step 2 [CS , CK ] are must and Step 3 is not must.
  • If all the 3 steps are finished they come to a conclusion that they have the capability to finish everything on time.
  • Step 3 score [ may be helpful or may not be ] :
  • Good score : little bit good
  • Bad score: little bit bad
  • Multiple attempts :
  • If the individual is known – One fail can be considered.
  • Unknown individual –  very bad sign
  • Visa status: few of them don’t sponsor visa and they accept applications of only green card holders. U.S. citizens permanent residents.
  • Even with good steps scores if you don’t have visa, you are not accepted in some programs.
  • Any problem with the visa and if you need your program directors to help you need to get very high scores.
  • U.S. clinical experience :
  • Clerkships are preferred over observerships .Good chance of getting a decent lor and making contacts.
  • Obsereverships :Frankly they do not make application stronger.Most PD’s feel it is to fill up CV or to kill time.But in the end something is better than nothing .
  • Research :
  • It should be meaningful related to field you’re applying.
  • Not just to fill CV or kill time .A long term and oriented research study preferred.
  • Get good LORs
  • Develop relationships with professor who could be a PD.
  • Should be passionate about the work you are doing on.
  • Do something so that it’s going to help you .
  • Improve your Communication skills
  • Give Presentations if possible during your research period and participate in related conferences.
  • During interview – Explanation regarding your Research should be in their terms [ I did this because..…. , I understand this …… ]
  • Letter of Recommendation (LORs) :As we all know LORs carry a lot of value .The weight of an LOR is such that a good Lor can get you into a program and a bad Lor in the opposite way. So what is a Good/Bad LOR ??
  • Bad LOR :
  • Short in length.
  • Just an LOR which mentions nice person, come to work on time
  • Common form [where sometimes they forget to change gender]
  • Good LOR :
  • Ask them if they would be willing to write strong LOR [ specific examples to include why we are a good student like “ I would like to have the student  in my program ….. from program director or clerkship position or from someone who is in high position” ].
  • Letter from good academic physician in U.S. or if it is from a major well known medical center abroad in the world.
  • Preferably not from private doctors but university affiliated .
  • LOR for specialty :
  • 2 from particular specialty and 1 from any other specialty are accepted.
  • 1 LOR minimum for particular specialty.
  • Year of Graduation : not more than 2-3 yrs depending on PD.
  • Taking extra time to study : This should be mentioned in application ,
  • if time is <= 6 months then Ok.
  • if time > 6 months then if it’s good score – ok and if it’s bad score then not good.

 This is in short regarding the important selection criteria that PD’s follow. I couldn’t include the points regarding the interview ,the general qs asked, tricky issues etc  as these are included in my coming posts.

I hope this post would give you an idea of what to do in order to fit into the residency programs and how to improve your chances among others .

Hope you guys feel this worthy and keep looking for my next post regarding “The Big day of Interview”.

Thank you for the support and Good luck guys 🙂


Posted by on August 5, 2014 in USMLE


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