January 25, 2020
Doing Your MMI Prep? Avoid These Common Mistakes!
See What the Experts Recommend To Succeed in Your MMI Medical Interview
The Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) is the final step in your journey to being admitted to many health professions. If your academic file is strong enough, you’ll be called to the university or college’s campus to participate in the MMI.
Developed by McMaster University Medical School, the MMI is a solution to the problematic traditional interview conducted by one person. A single interviewer may have personal biases or expectations that could skew the interview, so McMaster University developed the MMI as a more ethical and objective interview process.
Since the MMI’s development for the McMaster Medical School, the test has become common in many professional health care fields across North America and Europe. Schools that teach medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, and other fields all employ the MMI interview.
In the MMI interview, approximately ten interviewers evaluate the applicant within two hours. Interviews take place at stations, and then applicants move to the next station until the process is complete. Each interview takes approximately ten minutes to conduct and covers different topics relating to the medical field.
If it were logistically possible, schools would test each applicant in a clinical setting to see how they would perform as doctors or other healthcare professionals. As this is of course not feasible, the MMI interview was developed to best simulate in-clinic testing, presenting students with scenarios they may face. Applicants are expected to answer a series of questions regarding medical dilemmas, ethics, healthcare and behavioural questioning.
Students must demonstrate ethical, intellectual, and professional rigor on the MMI – all the qualities that they will exemplify once they enter the medical field.
What Does the MMI Interview Format Look Like?
The MMI medical interview takes place in what’s called a circuit where applicants quickly go between interview stations. In each station, students must talk for eight minutes. (Please note, interview duration varies depending on the school.)
Typically, an alarm rings when the interview time has elapsed, and students move to the next station. This process will repeat ten times, and then the MMI is concluded.
Interviewers may be medical professionals, actors, upper-year medical students, or faculty.
Each interviewer assesses the applicant on a scale out of 10. This scale is relative to other applicants. The MMI does not assess knowledge of the medical field, but it determines the applicant’s suitability for the profession by observing their communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills.
For example, one station may involve the applicant needing to break the news of a loved one’s death to an actor who plays a family member. Scenarios like that assess the applicant’s empathy, professionalism, and strength of character in difficult medical situations.
Other MMI questions may be reflective and consist of an interviewer asking the applicant something about themselves. Questions like “what’s your greatest accomplishment or failure in life?” are common.
Open-ended questions are used to test the applicant’s maturity, introspection, and self-awareness. These abstract traits are essential for any health care professional who will be responsible for the life and wellbeing of their patients.
Questions can also include commentary on social issues. An interviewer can ask the applicant about their opinion on the role of media in society, and the applicant is expected to give a thorough answer within the timeframe.
Overall, applicants must demonstrate their well-roundedness in every facet of life. Nothing can prepare you for this other than being a curious, open, and intelligent person.
Tips for the MMI
The best way to practice for the Multiple Mini-Interview is to familiarize yourself with typical MMI interview questions. Rehearsing specific answers is nearly impossible, so it’s best to go over as many scenarios as you can.
MedApplications Sample MMI Questions are an excellent source for this and can provide applicants with dozens of scenarios. Be sure to think of answers for as many of them as you can, but also realize that it’s not just your answers that the interviewers will be evaluating.
Your general demeanor, how you dress, your body language, and your professionalism will all be scrutinized. It’s crucial to carry yourself with confidence, as if you’re already a doctor and they panel doesn’t know it yet.
Eye contact, engagement, and eloquence are all assessed. The MMI’s purpose is to determine your readiness.
When preparing, equal emphasis should be put on your answers and how you present them, carry yourself, engage others, and behave professionally.
Common MMI Errors and Their Solutions
The MMI is a very nerve-wracking event, so it’s easy to act a bit awkward and fumble. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid:
Don’t skip the introduction
The interviewer already knows your name, but it’s essential to establish a personal connection. A simple smile, greeting, and a handshake will go a long way; even a bit of small talk could help ease the tension.
Address all arguments to your statement
When arguing for a point, make sure to address counter-arguments to strengthen what you’re saying. It’s easy to overlook such details in your discussion, but showing the interviewer, you know all sides to the topic will illustrate in-depth knowledge.
Don’t give vague responses to vague questions
Many MMI questions can be vague and philosophical, so it’s essential to make sure your answers are clear. Be sure to discuss under what conditions you’re giving your answer, instead of vaguely approaching it.
Clearly explain the assumptions you’re applying to the prompt, and explore alternative answers to the question if you have the time.
Don’t be narrow-minded
Approaching a scenario thoroughly and from all angles is important in giving a good response. See the question from the eyes of the patient, the practitioner, third-parties, or anyone else involved. Try to see the big and small picture for a given scenario.
Perhaps there could be risks involved in your solution that you didn’t consider – show the interviewer your depth of thought and critical thinking ability.
Don’t try to show-off
Trying to woo the interviewer with medical jargon and knowledge won’t go a long way. If your interviewer is a medical professional, they’ll think you’re pompous, and if they’re not, they won’t understand anything. Remember, the MMI does not test your medical skills; it tests your aptitude for the profession.
Don’t talk more if you’ve made your point
If your answer is shorter than the allotted time, don’t try to fill that space with more conversation. Establish a strong and firm conclusion to support your argument and leave it at that. Continuing to rant or even worse, making an inappropriate remark will only dock you marks.
Maintain appropriate body language
Make sure to treat your interviewer with appropriate respect. Act personably, make proper eye contact, and conduct yourself in a humble and professional manner. Remember, interviewers are looking for traits that they want to see in a doctor.
Don’t rush out the door
Once the bell rings, your time with the current interviewer is done, and the clock has started on your next one. This may be stressful but resist the urge to rush out the door.
Thanking your interviewer for their time, shaking their hand, and pushing your chair in goes a long way in leaving a good impression on your interviewer.
Improve Your Chances of Acing the MMI Medical Interview
Students should invest a reasonable amount of time when it comes to their MMI prep. You should take the time to learn relevant strategies and network with experts that understand the MMI process.
MedApplications and its team of doctors and healthcare experts know exactly what it takes to do well on your MMI. We provide hands-on experience that will help you head into your MMI with confidence.
Are you interested in learning more about our MMI prep courses and other medical school resources? Contact a member of our team today!
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