The medical school interview process is an intimidating prospect for most premeds. It’s even more intimidating for introverts. If you’re like most introverts, being forced into answering questions from strangers is probably not your cup of tea. However, it’s also a necessary step in the path to earning your MD. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning, any motivated introvert should be able to dominate his/her interview

Think of it as a conversation

Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean that you completely hate talking to people. If you’re like most introverts, you probably simply don’t enjoy having to be the center of attention at a party or having to do a lot of talking with people other than your friends. You’re most at home with having one-on-one conversations with your friends and family members. Fortunately, even though your interviewer doesn’t fall under the category of “friend” or “family,” it’s still typically a bit of a one-on-one interview (unless you’re at one of the few schools that does group or panel interviews). Try to switch your mindset to think of your interview as more of a coffee shop conversation with a new friend than as an interrogation from a potential “employer.”

Feel free to tell short stories

As a follow-up point to switching your mindset from an interrogation to a conversation, remind yourself that it’s perfectly ok to tell answer questions with personal stories. Not only will opening up and telling a story or two most likely help you relax during your interview, but personal stories are typically more memorable than trite answers to common questions. Of course, the key to this point is to keep it concise–don’t babble on so much while telling a story that your key point is lost in the midst of all the rest of your verbiage.

Come with questions

Finally, one of the best defenses is an offense, and while you certainly shouldn’t feel like you’re in a battle during your interview process, it still doesn’t hurt to have a few questions of your own to throw back as well. Make your questions specific to the medical school you’re interviewing at; doing so will not only help you feel at peace with being prepared for the interview but will also show an interviewer that you really are interested in that particular medical school.

The interview process is a practically inevitable part of the way into medical school, but it shouldn’t be something to unnecessarily stress out about. Simply being offered an interview slot is a very positive sign and indicates that the school is already interested in you as a student. Relax, give it your best, and the process should be a smooth (and possibly even enjoyable) one.