On June 25 2020, the AAMC announced VITA or Video Interview Tool for Admissions. It’s an initiative by the AAMC to help medical schools during the COVID-19 pandemic assess applicants without the need for traditional in-person interviews; essentially, it’s a one-way virtual interview!
The AAMC developed and will administer this one-time, one-way video (recorded) interview designed to help medical schools assess applicants’ pre-professional competencies important for success in medical school.
How exactly the text will be utilized by medical schools is still up for debate. With the addition of the VITA, as well as the SJT (situational judgment test) and the CASPer exam, there are now multiple “pre-interview” tests that a pre-med may have to take. While the SJT is only being piloted to two schools, the VITA test will be used by many medical schools for the 2020-2021 application cycle.
What are the VITA Exam Specifics
There are many specifics of the exam that are covered on the AAMC website, but a few highlights include that you must be selected by at least one medical school to complete the AAMC VITA interview. Schools will notify the AAMC that you have been selected to complete the AAMC VITA interview, which will initiate the process. You only have to take the AAMC VITA test once and it will be available for all schools to review.
The AAMC VITA interview will be done on the HireVue platform, which is an online interview platform that typically is used by recruiters for job interviews. The AAMC has adapted the format to reflect a one-way medical school interview. You will not need to schedule a specific date for this portion of your medical school interview, which will really allow travel to become a non-concern for students. It’s not clear yet whether medical schools will still require an in-person interview in addition to the VITA interview.
How Will the Exam Be Scored?
Medical schools will likely score this interview similar to how they score other interviews. While AAMC will not grade it, each medical school will evaluate your responses using its own school-specific process. There is no guarantee that a medical school that selects you to interview will view or evaluate your responses. As with a traditional in-person interview, you may not receive feedback from a medical school about your interview performance.
Sample AAMC VITA Questions
- What motivated you to choose a career in medicine?
- Please describe a time when you disagreed with a coworker or classmate. How did you resolve the situation?
- If you were in a situation where you did not agree with how an attending was talking to a patient, what would you do?
We have many more sample VITA questions coming up. Check back for regular updates!
What the VITA Exam Means for Pre-Meds
Overall, this is a much-needed step for medical schools to take, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional interviews involved a high cost to students, requiring them to fly to different parts of the country (and occur large expenses). It is possible that schools will take this instead of the traditional interview, or in conjunction with Zoom interviews for this application cycle. Some schools may still require in-person interviews, but that seems less likely given social distancing, the ongoing number of infections and restrictions on travel. Regardless, students should prepare for the AAMC VITA interview like they are preparing for an actual medical school interview and consider utilizing the MedSchoolCoach Virtual Interview Simulation, which will be available shortly.