Understanding Multiple Mini Interviews

So your student wants to apply to medical school?

Making it to medical school or veterinary school is a fantastic achievement, but application process can be overwhelming. If students are planning on attending a school in the UK, they must first be certain their academic qualifications are in order and accepted, take a language proficiency exam or other exams required by individual universities, and get ready for the interview process.


What is the MMI?

Multi Mini Interviews or (MMIs) are being used more and more by medical schools around the world. If students aren’t prepared for it, they could be caught off guard. So, it’s important for them do some research and feel comfortable heading into this process.

The interviews usually involve several short sessions – about 10 minutes or less.

Students are presented with certain medical scenarios and given a short time to prepare before facing the various interviewers. This usually involves a question to answer or role-playing where they interact with an actor while the interviewer supervises the process. Most universities require 10 MMIs, and the entire process lasts around two hours.

Students could be presented with the responsibility of breaking bad news to a patient or their family. They could be given an ethical dilemma to solve or be asked to work with a team to solve a problem.

They could be given a reading comprehension exercise or even traditional interview questions or be asked to analyze data. So, as you can see, they should be prepared for whatever the interviewers throw their way.

What are the interviewers looking for?

The interviewers want to see students in action. The point of MMIs is to prove students have the intelligence and tenacity to be a medical doctors or veterinarians.

Interviewers will assess a student’s ability to make informed, ethical decisions. Encourage students to show off their knowledge of social issues and healthcare while presenting themselves with a calm demeanor and appropriate attitude.

Interviewers are interested in whether students will someday be a good doctor or veterinarian. Will they be a valuable member of the medical community? Are they able to think on their feet and respond appropriately in a short amount of time?

Preparing for the MMI

  • Practice under time limits.

Practice reading prompts and analyzing prompts in two minutes and then responding. You can use scenarios offered by schools or look online for examples. You can even make up similar scenarios with a partner and practice together. Take turns as the interviewer and interviewee. Use a timer and stop when it rings even when you aren’t finished with your answer.

  • Practice role-playing

You can never be sure of what role-playing scenario you will encounter, but you can practice with potential scenarios you might face in an interview.

With any scenario, you must consider how to begin the conversation. Think about what questions you would ask to understand the situation at hand. Then consider how you will react and demonstrate empathy for a person’s situation. You must also be aware the person could become angry, and you should prepare for how will you handle that situation. Finally, you will be expected to offer suggestions or solutions and describe how to proceed. Thinking about and practicing possible scenarios with these ideas in mind will help build your confidence for dealing with whatever you face in the interview.

To stand out in the interview, encourage students to do the following:

  1. Learn everything they can about the process for the school where you are interviewing.
  2. Use their experience in the interview. Use specific examples in all responses if possible.
  3. Be familiar with ethical concepts like patient confidentiality rules and the 4 pillars.
  4. Create a list of qualities of a good doctor. Demonstrate this knowledge during your interview.
  5. Practice giving timed responses. Practice responding quickly and confidently.
  6. Although students can practice at home and with a partner, you can also take an MMI course to rehearse various scenarios.

MMI Examples

Role-Play MMI Station

You are the leader of a department at your place of employment. Two coworkers, Jan and Ed are constantly at odds and cannot work together. They are required to work together on a very important project. You must meet with Jan to discuss the issue. How will you handle the situation?

Teamwork MMI Station

You and another student must perform a task. You are handed a sketch. Without showing your partner the sketch, you must describe to him or her how to draw it. Also, during this task, you will not be able to see each other.

Ethical/Critical Thinking MMI Station

You are the doctor. An elderly patient of yours has been very sick, had multiple tests, and is diagnosed with a terminal disease. The patient wants her family told the diagnosis first. The family refuses to allow you to tell the patient her diagnosis because it is against their culture to do so. They do not want you to upset her. What are the ethical issues of this scenario?

MMIs are increasingly used to assess applicants at medical and veterinary schools around the world, and can catch students unused to this interview format off-guard. Prepare them well, and they’ll ace it!

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