Category Archives: Interviewing

How to Deal With Perfectionism

When faced with the question “what is your greatest weakness”, many people defer to describing themselves as perfectionists, thinking it will give them an easy pass on the question.  They admit their need to always do exceedingly well and their refusal to accept any standard short of perfection as a weakness, but then always subsequently try to spin it as strength.  Truthfully, the perfectionist response is fairly stale and doesn’t actually say anything about you besides “I picked a boiler-plate response to this question.” Read more »

The Easiest Way to Gain 200 Hours of Patient Contact Experience

If you’re racking your brain to come up with direct patient contact experience, stop for a second and consider all of the direct experience you get just through the Excell Pre PA Assistant Clerkship program!

Not only do you get over 200 hours of real-life patient experience over the course of your clerkship, you’ll come out the other side being able to speak directly to your role as a patient advocate and liaison.  By the time you’re done, you’ll have developed skills in bedside manner, gotten direct patient interaction, detected and resolved patient quality of life issues, worked as a liaison between patients and staff, experienced being part of a healthcare team, and more! Read more »

Demonstrating Personal Integrity During Your PA School Interview

During the PA school interview process, you will be asked a handful of ethical questions.  These questions are designed to evaluate your professional and academic integrity, as well as your sense of morality.  These questions are a way to see how you would react in situations that challenge your ethical standards, and generally place you in an uncomfortable scenario.  In these scenarios, you’ll likely have to balance your emotional response, moral code, and understanding of what a PA can and cannot do when providing care. Read more »

What’s your true motivation to become a PA?

If you’re going to convey honesty and transparency in your 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. Read more »

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?
Read more »

Reduce Interview Stress Using The STAR Technique

Do you suffer from stress or anxiety? Nobody is immune to the pre-interview jitters, and other than getting a good night’s sleep and drinking some relaxing tea, there’s nothing that will settle your nerves better than being prepared ahead of time!

Preparation is the key to conquering stress, but stressful situations can happen at any time and 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 »

Top Five PA School Interview Mistakes

If you’ve made it to your Physician Assistant School interview, you’ve already passed the first round of screening. The admissions panel thinks that you’re worthy of meeting to determine if you have the right motivations, demeanor, and drive to become a PA. You’ve come so far, so why risk making a mistake during your interview? Read more »

How Can You Benefit From The EXCELL Pre Physician Assistant Clerkship?

If you’re interested in our Pre Physician Assistant Clerkship, check out our basic breakdown of the program.  It’ll give you a rundown of what the program has to offer, the different stages of the program, and what you can potentially gain by signing up.

Between the 200 hours of real-life patient experience, patient advocacy experience, the mentorship portion, online coursework, and mock interviews, you’ll be learning and growing rapidly over the course of this 16-week program, but do you have a good sense of what particular skills you’ll be developing?

Here’s a quick breakdown of our PA Clerkship program AND all of the great benefits each component provides!

Patent Advocacy Experience

  • What You Do
    • Act as a patient liaison, quality assurance team member, and healthcare team member
    • Deliver quality of life patient survey
    • Attend weekly directors meetings
  • How You Benefit
    • Develop skills in bedside manner
    • Develop patient interaction/interviewing skills
    • Gain real life experience in detecting and resolving patient quality of life issues
    • Earn hands-on experience as liaison between patients and staff
    • Gain experience creating plans of action and following through on them
    • Learn how to function as part of healthcare team

Physician Assistant Mentorship

  • What You Do
    • Shadow and be mentored by a working Physician Assistant
  • How You Benefit
    • Learn about the PA profession through direct observation
    • Observe interactions between a PA and their patients
    • Observe the collaboration between a PA and Physicians
    • Directly observe PA medical practice

Online Coursework

  • What You Do
    • 36 Didactic training modules in written communication and one on one verbal communication.
  • How You Benefit
    • Huge boost in communication skills for interacting with coworkers
    • Opportunity to hone communication skills with patients (aka your bedside manner)

Mock Interviews

  • What You Do
    • Participate in two videotaped mock interviews
    • Have your strengths and weaknesses evaluated by our interview panel
  • How You Benefit
    • Increased self-assessment skills
    • Highly develop your communication and critical thinking skills
    • Improved self confidence

Graduate Project

  • What You Do
    • Administer and assess Quality of Life Patient Survey
    • Present Plan of Action to faculty and administration
  • How You Benefit
    • Gain a sense of contribution to quality improvement

Improve presentation skills

Those are just a few of the benefits you’ll gain from choosing the EXCELL Pre PA Clerkship and Mentorship Program.  We also have shadowing opportunities all over New Jersey to better fit your location and schedule. No matter what level you may be starting from, the program is guaranteed to improve your confidence as well as the basic skills needed to ace any PA program interview.

Still not convinced?  Take a look at some of the testimonials from past EXCELL program graduates.

 

How to Identify and Handle Inappropriate Interview Questions

When you’re in the interview room, the last thing you want to do is lose your focus. It’s easy to lose your focus if you’re unprepared, but you can be thrown off if you’re asked a question that’s out of bounds or inappropriate, even if you’ve spent the past year preparing for your interviews.

Questions should be about your qualifications to become a physician assistant, not about your personal information. If you find yourself facing an uncomfortable or seemingly inappropriate line of questioning, know your rights as an applicant. You do not have to answer out-of-place, unrelated, or illegal questions directly and can choose to either defer your answer or address the questions as inappropriate.

Here are some examples of questions that should not be posed during your interview. Read more »

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