Category Archives: Interviewing

Adapt, Improvise, Overcome – Three Traits PA Schools Are Looking For

“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” is an unofficial slogan among the Marines.  Regardless of who you are or what you do, the ability to put these words into action leads to accomplishing your goals and overcoming any hardship.  These three words are also the keys to being a standup PA student.

Let’s dig into each word to see how they apply to successful PAs.

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Work Through Your Interview Anxiety In Real Time

Applying to PA school is stressful. Between researching schools, writing your personal narrative, getting your application materials together, and making sure you have enough patient contact experience, you’ll have your fair share of stressful moments- and that’s all before you even step foot into an interview room!

Managing stress outside of an interview is easier because you’re not put on the spot and actively being assessed by other people. Yes, you have a great deal of preparation to do and a lot of work ahead of you, but the stress can be managed on your own time and in private. On interview day, the stress you feel must be dealt with and suppressed in the moment and in public, so it makes dealing with stressors all the more difficult. Read more »

What Really Motivates You To Become a PA?

If you’re going to convey honesty and transparency in your PA school personal narrative, it’s crucial to understand what motivates you.  It’s unlikely that your interview panel will directly ask what motivates you, but they may ask about the reasons you chose to become a PA.  If you’re just looking for notoriety, a decent salary, or for the opportunity to “help people” your motives will undoubtedly be questioned.

To present your story most effectively in your narrative and at the interview, it’s imperative that you know yourself it the context of what motivates you.  There are six major motivating factors and most people are influenced by two or three of these.  Here’s a breakdown of each factor.

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The 5 PA School Interview Questions You Need To Know ASAP

When you wake up on interview day, you shouldn’t be wondering what the interview panel will ask you. If you don’t know what you’re going up against because you haven’t taken the time to prepare for your interview, you may find yourself at an extreme disadvantage.

Listed below are the 5 most common interview questions potential PA students are asked. You should take ample time before interview day to prepare answers to these questions- doing this can save you from poor interview performance.  Make sure you give yourself enough time to brainstorm the answers to your questions but also internalize them.  Having these questions memorized to the point where you can answer them as quickly as “when is your birthday” will help you stay relaxed on interview day.

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Dos and Don’ts on your PA School Interview Day

You’ve heard the saying “knowledge is power” time and time again, but it’s not totally accurate.  Knowledge is actually potential power, like an arrow in a drawn bow waiting to be unleashed.  Knowledge is not power until it is used, and the effectiveness of that power is relative to the skill with which you put it to use.

In the case of developing rapport between yourself and your physician assistant school interviewers, understanding how to communicate and how to develop areas of commonality is crucial.  Knowing what to do and, more importantly, what not to do, can put the power in your hands and help you easily build rapport.  All you need to do is put this knowledge into action come interview day, and you’re sure to ace your interviews.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts for your interviews:

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How Do PA Schools Judge Applicants?

Do you know what PA programs look for when judging their potential students? Knowing what each program looks for and how they’ll be assessing both your interview performance and application materials are crucial in determining your success.  Think of it this way: its much easier to get a high score on a test if you know how you’re being scored.  The same concept rings true for your acceptance into a PA program.

There are three main scoring criteria all programs use when judging their candidates; cognitive and verbal abilities, motivations, and interpersonal skills.  By keeping these three main scoring criteria in mind, you’ll have a much easier time writing your personal narratives and conducting yourself during your interviews.

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Get Stressed Easily? Try the STAR Technique To Reduce Stress!

STAR technique to reduce stressNothing reduces stress like being well prepared ahead of time- there’s just no replacement for this.  That being said, stressful situations can affect even the most prepared person.  If you’re easily susceptible to stress or have a hard time getting control of your nerves, the STAR technique can help.  When used properly, this simple technique can target the root of your stress and obliterate it. Read more »

How to Make a Great First Impression at Your PA School Interview

Its human nature to quickly form first impressions, like judging a book by its cover or a restaurant by the pictures on its menu.   People often judge each other immediately upon meeting, so it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be judged as an applicant the moment you walk into the interview room.  To help maximize your first impression, you’ll want to have a game plan.

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