Multiple Mini Interviews (aka MMIs) are a fairly recent edition to the medical school admissions process.
They’re a great way for the medical school to test a wide range of skills in a more creative way. Here we look at what they are, and some types of MMI interview questions that might come up.
WHY ARE THEY USED?
New evidence has emerged that say 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.
WHAT DO MMIs ENTAIL?
Multiple Mini Interviews normally take 2 hours, and each station will normally last 10 minutes. There are normally around 10 stations.
WHICH MEDICAL SCHOOLS?
The following medical schools use Multiple Mini Interviews in their admissions processes:
Aberdeen Birmingham Brighton and Sussex Bristol
Cardiff Dundee Exeter Hull York
Keele King’s College London Lancaster Leeds
Leicester Liverpool Manchester Newcastle
Norwich Nottingham Plymouth Queen’s Belfast
Sheffield St Andrew’s
MMI INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
- 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. You must also give reasons for your choices.
Think about what situations each item would help you in. Is it going to be a hindrance in any situations? If you have time, you could mention why you have picked this object over another similar one. These types of MMI interview questions are looking for you to be able to make judgements under time pressure, which you can also back up with reasoning.
- 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 MMI interview questions? 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.
- You are the only on-duty A&E doctor tonight and you are responsible for all the decisions made. Two patients in need of a kidney transplant are brought in – the first is a 70 year-old ex-police officer, and the second is a young student whose kidney failure was caused by excessive drinking at a party. There is only one kidney available – who do you give it to?
Try and recap in your head the important points in MMI interview questions like these. You can repeat parts back to the interviewer, so they know you understand what you’re being asked. You should mention that your prejudices would not influence your decision, and you would choose the patient who is most likely to benefit from a transplant. You could also mention that to decide who has the best chance of accepting the kidney, you will place both patients on dialysis to buy some time to assess the situation.
- A friend from school tells you his father has just been diagnosed with cancer, and he doesn’t know what to do. He feels overwhelmed by university work and doesn’t feel able to spend the time he wants to with his father in this difficult time as a result of this. What would you advise him to do?
These sorts of MMI interview questions are trying to test your critical thinking and communication abilities. Try and ask questions such as, “is this a recurrent case of cancer, or is it the first time?” “Is the friend doing well at school?”. These questions can show the interviewer you’re attempting to judge the situation using all available facts.
If it helps you, think about a time you’ve had to help a friend in any situation they’ve been struggling with – maybe a break up, or an argument with a parent. When responding to your friend in this situation, you of course want to appear empathetic, and show them that you understand that this must be a very difficult time. Give advice on the practical side of things to – you could advise they speak to a teacher.
- 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.
MMI interview questions such as these 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.
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