Residency interview

Organizing Your Thoughts After the Residency Interview Day

Ted O’Connell, MD

As you progress through residency interviews, compiling your thoughts and observations can help you stay organized and begin to formulate your rank list. As I detailed in another blog post called “Preparing for Residency Interviews,” prior to interviewing you will utilize resources such as residency websites to begin your preparation. After a residency interview day, you will have a considerable amount of information about the program and can begin to collate that information to be used to compare the various programs with whom you have interviewed.

In order to compile this information, students often find it helpful to use a logical tool such as a modified decision table to help organize information and even quantify the pros and cons for each program. Victoria Ho from the University of Toledo was kind enough to share a Google doc that she created and that can be found here. This document can be modified and questions can be added to deleted to suit your desires and to be specific to whichever specialty you are applying.

Decision tables give students a systematic way of assessing and comparing programs by the factors that are most important to them. One potentially useful tool is the Match Program Rating and Interview Scheduling Manager (PRISM®) app, which is available from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). This app can help you keep track of your interview schedule, take notes, and rate programs based on your own input.

Thank You Notes Following Residency Interviews: A Unique Opportunity to Make a Great Second Impression

Ted O’Connell, MD


The topic of thank you notes following residency interviews gets a fair amount of attention, so I thought I would weigh in and offer some advice. The questions, as well as some key information that selection committees tend to talk about, fall into just a few categories.


When should you write thank you notes after an interview?

This one is pretty straightforward. Thank you notes should be written as soon as possible after your interview day while your thoughts are fresh in your mind and so you stay on top of the process. You will visit a lot of residency programs during interview season, and you don’t want to fall behind or start to mix up details from different programs. Getting the thank you notes out in a timely fashion will also send the message that you are professional, organized, and efficient, all qualities that you want residency programs to associate with your application.

To whom should you write thank you notes?

Preparing for Residency Interviews

Before you embark on interviews, be sure to review the steps below in detail. The more you prepare, the better you will do during interviews, the most crucial step in securing your residency of choice. Even after you have prepared, be sure to do an extra level of preparation about each individual residency program where you will be interviewing. This extra preparation will be evident during your interviews and is likely to make a positive impression.

Common Residency Interview Questions

The following are common residency interview questions, as well as a few less common but challenging questions. Knowing the type of questions you likely will be asked will help you prepare for your interviews and minimize the chance that you will be surprised by a question. Many programs place a premium on how you do during the interview day, so you want to do everything you can to make a positive impression.