Increasingly, medical schools are using the multiple mini interview (MMI) to evaluate potential students. Although many medical school applicants are apprehensive about this format, the multiple mini interview is not difficult. In fact, many student report that the process is sometimes fun. Although you will not need any specific knowledge to perform well on the MMI, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process in order to give your best performance.
What is the Multiple Mini Interview?
The multiple mini interview is an interview format that is based on short activities. Typically, an applicant will cycle through 6-10 stations over a period of approximately two hours during a MMI day. Each station has instructions for the activity outside of the room. The applicant then enters the room and performs the requested activity. Applicants are allotted two minutes to read the instructions and prepare themselves. The actual activity lasts between eight and ten minutes. The “interviewer” observes the student’s performance and evaluates them on specific goals.
Types of MMI Stations
Multiple mini interview stations typically fall into specific categories. These categories ares: actor, personal inquiry, photo, career, teamwork, and video. If you understand these categories in advance, you will be prepared to give a solid multiple mini interview performance for medical school.
During actor stations, you will be interacting with an actor while the interviewer observes silently. In most cases, you will be asked to role-play a scenario. Some scenarios will be of a medical nature while others will not. Keep in mind that the MMI does not require you to have any clinical knowledge. Rather, they are interested in your interpersonal skills and critical reasoning abilities. In other actor scenarios, you may be given part of a story but must pay close attention to the actor’s responses to get to the solution. For example, you may be asked to confront a friend about their excessive drinking. During the discussion, the friend/actor may mention that they drink when they are feeling depressed. You should then ask the actor further questions about their depression and talk to them about getting help. In some scenarios, the actor may become angry, defensive, or otherwise difficult. Do not worry if this happens, it is part of the scenario. Simply continue the discussion as naturally as possible.
Personal Inquiry Stations
Personal inquiry stations are similar to a traditional interview. You will meet with an interviewer who will ask you questions and give you an opportunity to discuss why you are an excellent candidate for medical training. Be prepared to discuss anything that you mentioned on your medical school application- especially your personal statement. Many applicants make the mistake of assuming that the interviewer will not ask for details of their activities. For example, if you participated in research, you should be able to discuss the aims of the study, the findings, and your role in the project. In addition, if your application has any irregularities, you should be able to speak about them.
In a photo station, you will look a picture at the beginning of the exercise. Afterwards, you will discuss the picture with the interviewer. Look closely at the photograph. these stations typically measure an applicant’s attention to detail.
These stations ask the applicant questions about the healthcare field. Although it is not necessary to have clinical knowledge to perform well on the MMI, you should be familiar with the current hot-topics in medicine. You should be understand how the healthcare system works, and know about the difficulties doctors face in their profession. In addition, you should educate yourself on medical ethics. You may be asked some questions that measure your medical ethics knowledge. A few examples of ethics questions are listed below:
- How would you respond if a 14 year old requested birth control but did not want her parents informed?
- A patient sees her physician at a local singles event. She invites him on a date. Is it appropriate for him to accept?
- Should physicians report their patients’ health status to a public health agency if their patients have active infectious diseases?
You will be asked to complete a simple task with another student. A common activity is for one student to look at a drawing and instruct the other student (who has not seen the drawing) on how to recreate it. You will be evaluated on your ability to give and receive instructions.
Video stations are similar to photo stations. You will watch a short video, then answer questions about it. Pay close attention to the details of the video. You will be asked a variety of questions.
How to Prepare for the Multiple Mini Interview
Like most things, your interview skills will improve with practice. Although the MMI format is different from a traditional medical school interview, the primary objective (of learning more about you) remains the same. Therefore, you should be prepared to talk about yourself and your accomplishments. If it is appropriate to draw parallels between the scenario in the MMI and something you have experienced, you should mention it. This will give the interviewer further insight about you individually.
Listen to the Prompt
The most important thing to remember during the multiple mini interview, it to listen carefully to the prompt. Make sure you understand purpose of the station It is impossible to answer appropriately if you do not understand the question. Make full use of your two minutes at the beginning of the station to make a plan of action. Although you will be unable to predict exactly how the scenario will go, you will perform better if you have a plan. In addition, make sure that you completely answer the questions you are asked. Although it is acceptable to provide the interviewer additional information, make sure that you answer the original question completely and clearly.
Make Eye Contact
Although you may be nervous, avoid the temptation to look at the ground when you are talking. Look at your interviewer (or the actor) while you are giving your responses. Good eye contact gives the impression that you are sincere. However, use caution not to stare intensely- this may be rather off-putting. Your goal is to appear friendly and professional.
Do Not Look for a Response from Your Interviewer
Unlike a traditional interview, the interviewer in a MMI is expected to remain neutral to your responses. Therefore, do not let their lack of reaction make you feel uncomfortable.