For starters, what is an MMI interview? How does it work?
An MMI, or Multiple Mini-Interview is a style of interview where the candidate, rather than receiving one long interview, undergoes a series of much smaller interviews in rapid succession. This is good for many reasons.
- It diminishes the influence of individual interviewers, and is more likely to have a fairer judgement for the applicant.
- It gives the interviewee a much broader set of tests, and focuses more attention on their people skills, attention to detail, communication ability, intelligence, and intuition.
The structure of MMI interviews are fairly unpredictable.
Each mini interview is different. It may be a series of questions, or may be a role play situation involving actors that the applicant needs to respond to. The series of interviews makes for a fairly intense experience all together, and tends to last for around 2 hours in total. Each mini-interview is roughly 10 minutes long, but can vary a fair bit.
What kind of questions will get asked?
It can be difficult knowing how to tackle the MMI. The questions or scenarios that the applicants will have to deal with will all be at separate stations, all with a very particular focus in mind. There in no ‘normal’ progression to the types of stations or situations that your child may have to deal with, but the following list uses collected data and feedback from the experiences of various students to construct what types of scenarios applicants may come across in the MMI.
At these stations, students will be given a difficult ethical situation to respond to. They must show consideration towards the patient and everyone involved, whilst also adhering to proper medical conduct, and trying to reach the most ethical and moral compromise possible in a difficult but very plausible real-life scenario. Here are some examples:
- The candidate is given the profiles of 20 people, and asked to choose which 5 they would save in an imminent disaster
- The candidate is asked ‘which of the four pillars of Medicine (autonomy, justice, beneficence, non-maleficence) is most important, and why?
- An actor pretends to be an underage girl who is asking her doctor for contraception, to which the applicant must respond in a considered and careful manner
Breaking bad news
At these stations, the student will be tested on their ability to show compassion and understanding in a ‘real life’ situation. These stations often involve actors, who will assume the role of a patient, friend, or neighbour. The student will assume the role of a doctor or a friend. They will be told that they have to tell the actor some bad news, which will likely make the actor react strongly. Students should remember to be considerate, friendly, and compassionate to the person they are breaking the bad news to.
- The candidate has to tell an actor that they have a serious illness, and deal with the strong reaction that the actor has been instructed to respond with
- The candidate has to tell their ‘friend’ that they have broken one of their favourite objects, or run over their cat
This style of station simply subjects the applicant to a traditional style ‘question and answer’ style of interview, which will focus on typical categories of question relating to medicine as a whole, or the candidates suitability for the position. Some basic example questions you might expect:
- An interviewer will ask the applicant to explain why they chose medicine
- The applicant may be asked to describe certain internal system of the body
Data analysis stations
This style of station will be based mostly on unseen material that the student will have looked at for a few minutes before the actual interview. This tests the student’s ability to take in new information and analyse it in a meaningful and intelligent way. Some example data analysis stations:
- The applicant is given a graph showing rates of disease for a certain time and place, and asked to comment on it in a constructive and thoughtful manner
- The applicant is given a passage of information about the nervous system, and asked to describe the main ideas behind the article
Teamwork tasks with other applicants
This type of station may involve more than one student, or just a single student and an interviewer/actor. They will be given a task as a group that needs to be solved using teamwork and strong clear communication skills. Here is an example MMI teamwork task:
- The candidate is placed in a small group of other applicants, and is asked to try to solve a logical or ethical puzzle, like having to come to a group consensus on what to do in an ethical scenario
Dealing with a co-worker
These are similar stations to the ones involving breaking bad news to an actor. These stations will put the student in a role play situation involving them (acting as a doctor) and a coworker of some description. In this scenario, the doctor needs to talk to their coworker about something they might be doing wrong, whilst remaining compassionate and calm. Some example scenarios:
- Candidate is told that they suspect one of their co-workers has been drinking at work, and needs to confront them (an actor) about it, and deal with it in a moral and sensitive way
- Candidate is asked to explain to a co-worker why the approach they are taking to a medical issue is not the right way forward
Explanation and communication
Explanation and communication scenarios are integral skills for any future doctor; hence why these skills are tested. Here are some explanation scenarios:
- The candidate is asked to describe a practical task to an actor without using their hands, such as how to use chopsticks. The actor will assume zero prior knowledge, and take the applicant’s suggestions entirely literally, making clear explanation essential.
- Being put into a pair and being asked to draw a picture through your partner’s instruction, without having seen the picture.