Ace your PA School Interview By Building Your Memory Database

There’s nothing better than having the answer to a question ready at a moment’s notice, and that goes double for interview questions.  Knowing that you have the perfect response to fall back on allows you to focus on other things such as appearance and body language.  But how to you build this collection of “perfect answers” to the point where you can easily refer to it?

This may sound like a cop out, but your collection of answers is easier to access than you may think.  You’re a living, breathing database of memories, so why not capitalize on them to craft your perfect responses?

The most important way to build your collection of perfect responses is to construct a memory database, and a great way to do this is to keep a journal.  To start, you should be keeping a journal of your shadowing and patient contact experience.  Make sure to record any notable experiences, both positive and negative.  You may think you’ll remember your time spent shadowing in a clear manner, but we always tend to look back on our experiences with rose colored glasses.  Recording your hands-on experiences as you encounter them will help preserve these memories in a truthful and objective manner, which in turn will allow you to better utilize them when crafting your personal narrative.

Additionally, you should try to keep a separate journal that catalogues your life experiences.  Try your hand at writing down the most significant events in your life.  Taking the time to process and record these things will help you sort out what you learned from them, as well as how these experiences have helped you grow as an individual and potential PA.

When it comes to writing entries in your life journal, try taking stock of what makes you, you!  Think about your past internships, special accomplishments, school projects, community service, time spent playing on a sports team, hobbies, and even prior work and medical experience.

By taking the time to keep each journal, you’ll allow yourself to get more in touch with your feelings.  Hashing out these emotions is very important because the admissions committee will be judging you on your ability to feel empathy.  This doesn’t mean you should fake or overplay your emotions in order to come across as a more empathetic person- on the contrary, this will make you seem insincere.  Having these personal and profound experiences fresh in your mind will help you elicit a natural, emotional response when used in one of your responses. For example, if you can demonstrate a sense of humor when appropriate, and likewise a sense of gravity, you’ll reveal yourself as an emotionally well-rounded person.

There are many ways to go about building your database of memories.  Regardless of the method that works for you, taking the steps to recall your past experiences in an honest and objective light is equally as important as cataloguing your patient contact and shadowing experiences as you live them. However you decide to develop and store your responses for the big day, you’ll be able to enter the interview room with confidence knowing you have plenty of material on which you can rely.