MMI Interview Questions Guide

MMIs season is nearly here. To help answer your questions, our guide covers what MMIs are, which med schools use them and what the MMI questions, stations and scenarios are like.

Author: Rob Needleman

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Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) are used by medical schools to test a wide range of skills in a more creative way. But what are they and what questions are asked?

As MMIs are so different to normal Interviews, it is vital to prepare for these in order to maximise your chances of success. To help you with your upcoming MMIs, we go through what MMIs are, which medical schools use them with some common question types and example MMI scenarios.  

What is an MMI and Why are they used?

MMIs are becoming an increasingly popular way for medical schools to assess potential candidates. The format is different to the ‘normal’ Interview as in an MMI, you will be assessed at a number of Interview stations back to back, with around eight minutes each in each of the 6 – 8 stations (exact timings etc will, of course, depend on the medical school).

MMIs are used because it allows the schools to assess you in many different ways, by having each different station asking you to do different things. For example, one of the stations may be dissecting your Personal Statement, with another questioning your commitment to studying Medicine, and a third asking you to interact with a ‘patient’ (an actor) to examine your communication skills.

There is evidence to back up the idea that Multiple Mini Interviews are reliable ways for assessing the non-academic aspects of potential medical students. By “non-academic”, they mean the kind of skills that will make a good doctor. These can include the ability to emphasise or sympathise, communication skills, and your ability to make decisions under pressure.

Why are MMI interviews used by universities

MMIs are so different to normal Interviews. This means it is vital to prepare for them to maximise your chances of receiving your Medicine offers.

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What are Common MMI Questions?

Whilst there is a wide variety of stations that could come up, there will be some common questions across the universities that candidates should make sure they have prepared for. These are the areas that could come up:

Commitment to Studying Medicine

This is a classic medical school admissions Interview question category, whether it is used at an MMI or not. It can be very tempting for candidates to write out a perfect script and rope learn this in order to answer the question. However, Interviewers are very aware that this is done, and as such are good at catching out candidates who do this.

Instead, it is best for candidates to have a good think about why they do want to study Medicine. You should have the building blocks of an answer ready in your mind, so that you can (to some degree) speak freely from the heart, instead of repeating an obviously pre-prepared answer.

To some degree, almost all candidates are going to have an answer somewhat based on “I like science and helping people”, so don’t worry if you fall into this group. As long as you’ve shown that you have a genuine passion for the medical sciences, and would like to have the opportunity to use this passion for the good of other people, then you should be fine.

Interaction with an Actor

Medical schools like to throw you into the deep end with this somewhat uncomfortable MMI station scenario. Whilst it can seem very unusual to role play in this way, try not to be put off your task. You’ll commonly be asked to do tasks such as breaking bad news, explaining how to live a healthier life or talking to a dementia patient. The common theme between these will most likely revolve around being that the patient is elderly, confused, scared, sad or a mixture of these.

Speak softly and try to explain things in a simple manner; not all patients will be as switched on as you are so bear this in mind. Try to find out what is worrying the ‘patient’ and address this; this is a key skill for a doctor so will be a good skill to demonstrate.

*Tip – Look up the ‘circle of change’ as this is a good way in which to frame a discussion about weight loss, diet changes etc, and again is a good way to demonstrate suitability for Medicine.

Why this University?

This may sound like obvious advice but make sure you know about the course you are applying for! What makes this course stand out against the others? What is it about this city that is making you want to spend 5+ years of your life here?

For many people, the honest answer is that you thought you have a chance of getting into the medical school, and the Interviewers know this. However, make sure you have some idea of why you want to go to this medical school. Again, always ensure that your answer is really specific and tailored for the medical school, not just an answer that could be used for multiple med schools. 

Example Scenarios In Multiple Mini Interviews

Example Number 1:

You are on a desert island. You have a table of random objects in front of you and have 20 seconds to pick the 3 objects you think are the most important. Candidates must also give reasons for their choices.

Think about what situations each item would help you in. Is it going to be a hindrance in any situation? If you have time, you could mention why you have picked this object over another similar one.

Example Number 2:

A 70-year-old man comes to you, as his GP, because he has just been diagnosed with Dementia. He wants advice on how he and his family should cope with the diagnosis, as he thinks there is a lot of stigma about the disease in the healthcare service. Whilst talking to you, he begins to cry.

Questions such as these in Multiple Mini Interviews not only give you a scenario that you could expect working as a doctor, but are also looking to test your ability to deal with patients. You should, of course, try and console the patient, listening to his concerns and addressing them. You could advise him on the options available for support, such as support groups or charities. You should also reassure him that there is generally a lot less stigma nowadays.

Example Number 3:

An actor pretends to be your friend whose cat you have been looking after while they are away on holiday. Unfortunately, the cat has been run over and when you tell the friend, they become angry and blame you.

How should you approach the subject and react to one of these questions in MMIs? You should first make small talk, and talk to your friend about their holiday to make them comfortable. Then, prepare them for the news and say that it may be upsetting. Make sure you are apologetic and empathetic when you depart the news, and stay calm. Consider asking if there is anything you can do to make the situation better, such as organising some sort of burial. This will highlight your problem-solving skills.

There are many different questions at each MMI station that can be asked, however, the ones above are a good place to start with your preparation. There is a good chance that you’ll walk into a station (after reading the instructions outside) and have no idea what is going on, so just keep your head and do your best. Remember to keep thinking back to your commitment to studying Medicine and the key qualities of a good doctor.

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