41 PA School Interview Questions

Introductory and Experience 

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • What is your greatest personal accomplishment outside of school to this point in your life?
  • I see that you have spend X amount of years in a <different profession>.  Why do you want to switch careers?
  • What are your strongest attributes that will make you an excellent PA?
  • Talk about what you see for your professional future in the next one, three and five years.
  • What area of medicine do you want to specialize in when you graduate?
  • Who are the two most influential people in your life and why?
  • I see that you withdrew from an accelerated chemistry class, why did you do this and what did you learn?
  • Tell me about your low grades during your freshman year of college.
  • Tell me about the best supervisor you have had.  What made them excellent at their position?

Knowledge of Profession & Healthcare

  • Tell me about why you want to become a Physician Assistant.
  • How was the profession founded?
  • What do you think about “Physician Assistant” being changed to simply “PA”?
  • During your shadowing experiences, tell me about a particularly influential experience you witnessed and how it impacted your decision to become a Physician Assistant.
  • What do you feel is one of the biggest issues currently facing the profession?
  • What is the most difficult aspect of being a Physician Assistant?
  • What is one of the greatest downfalls of healthcare in The United States?
  • What is the difference between a PA and NP?
  • What do you think about the rising cost of health care and do individual providers have a responsibility to help to mitigate this cost?
  • I see on your application that you spent more time shadowing Physician’s than PA’s.  What was the reason for this and what did you learn?
  • I’ve interviewed other students who have told me that they are going to PA school because their parents told them it was a good career.  What do you have to say about this?
  • A nurse is pushing you to give a patient extra narcotics or sedating medication because the patient is “difficult”.  How do you respond to this situation?
  • You are unsure of a course of treatment to take with a hospitalized patient.  What do you do in order to make an effective decision?

Preparedness & Maturity

  • What do you expect a typical week in PA school to entail?
  • How will you manage your time and commitments outside of PA school?
  • What have we not spoken about, that I cannot learn from your resume that makes you an excellent candidate for our program?
  • Talk about a time when you had to deal with a difficult patient.  What did you do and what was the turn out of the situation?
  • If you had to pick one experience in your life that has best prepared you for PA school what would it be and why?
  • What will be the most difficult aspect of being a Physician Assistant for you?
  • It has been brought to our attention that some students are utilizing PA school as a stepping stone to becoming a Physician.  How do you feel about this?
  • Give me one reason why you will pass the PANCE on your first attempt.
  • Tell me about a time that you stepped up to help someone that was struggling with a task or academically.

Behavioral & Ethical 

  • You overhear two of your classmates discussing an answer to an Anatomy exam.  You realize that they got credit for an answer you also wrote down but it was marked wrong.  How do you react?
  • As a licensed PA you notice that your supervising Physician prescribes a treatment that you are certain would harm a patient.  What do you do?
  • On clinical rotation your preceptor is treating patients disrespectfully and making hurtful comments to you about them after they leave.  How do you react and what do you do (if anything)?
  • I see that you are a re-applicant.  What have you done over the past year to better yourself as an applicant and future Physician Assistant?
  • Talk about a time when you recognized a change needed to be made and you demonstrated leadership qualities.
  • An elderly patient who lives independently is admitted for elective surgery for an L4-L5 herniated disc.  The patient is agreeable to the listed neurosurgeon performing her surgery.  However, her sister is telling you that Dr. so-and-so will absolutely not be performing the operation (the patients sister  works in housekeeping and does not like what she has heard)  Is this acceptable and what do you do?
  • You have multiple supervising physicians.  There is one particular Physician who you believe does not respect your time and you are constantly at work 2 hours longer than your scheduled day when he/she is working with you.  What do you do?
  • You’re on your general surgery rotation and the attending surgeon reprimands you in front of everyone for something you did/said that was truthfully an honest mistake.  However, you find yourself being yelled at in front of a room of 8-10 people.  How do you react?