What is the MMI Interview?
The MMI interview consists of multiple mini interviews of between 5-10 minutes. Each mini-interview is on a different topic and with different people. MMI practice is essential and should focus on MMI questions which are much more direct than a traditional interview questions. The format was designed and developed by McMaster University and over the years many medical schools have used MMIs to improve the fairness of the admission process, providing a more structured assessment of potential medical students during the interview stage. Traditional panel interviews contribute to a greater bias in the assessment process since a range of independent views is not taken but rather the panel will base their decision across the whole interview which may be impacted by a single bad response. By taking an average score across a number of independent MMI stations medical schools are better able to assess candidates.
What is the structure of an MMI Interview?
- Many universities structure the MMI as 6-10 interview stations /rooms with each focusing on a different topic or question that you will be given before you enter.
- You generally will get a minute or two to prepare for the topic and discussion which can last anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Having multiple interviews with multiple interviewers the candidate has the opportunity to create “multiple first-time impressions”. By entering a new room/station, it will be a new start and a new door to do better without performance in previous rooms having any bearing on the discussions on scoring in this station.
- The MMI is intended to gauge proficiency in your communication skills, non-verbal expertise, social interaction, and teamwork. At the end of all the interviews, the above-mentioned indicators will reflect how the candidate will interact with the patients and colleagues as a doctor/physician.
- During panel interviews many questions are posed from different members of the panel and each panel member will be assessing the interviewee from their own perspective and assessing the candidate even when the question raised isn’t their particular strength. Performance will be judged by consensus and is prone to varying degrees of bias.
Why do universities use MMI Interviews ?
MMIs evaluate both verbal and non-verbal communication skills of a student along with the areas related directly to the medical profession. Just like any other interview, the MMI interview approach facilitates the selection of only those who are most likely to success in the role or course offered. Research on MMIs shows that medical schools using the MMI format generate a more trustworthy and unbiased assessment of the candidate.
The candidate gets multiple opportunities to make a “first impression” since each station is manned by a different interviewer. A poor performance on one station will not impact the next station which is especially important since in a traditional interview the interviewer will naturally consider poor performance on a previous question. Each station poses a different question or scenario which will help the interviewer assess different attributes of the candidate; motivation, emotional intelligence, communication skills etc.. Some medical schools during interviews focus more on critical thinking while the others concentrate on current events, or emphasize role-playing.
What are MMI stations?
The MMI stations of every school vary depending upon the skills and abilities they want to assess. But there are some common MMI stations that you are likely to come across. The content of each station is reviewed by the team and very assessment models are created to allow the faculty members doing the interviews to easily and consistently assess individuals. The team may include the chairperson, dean head of the departments, advisors and consultants, professors and lecturers in the appropriate fields.
It is not necessary to come across stressful, or medical-related topics at each station. On the contrary, it will be an assortment of all types. Other stations may include, ethical decision-making, problem-solving situation, working as a team, integrity and motivational scenarios, etc..
- Role-play Station
- Professional Station
- Prioritization Station
- Giving Instructions Station
- Calculation / Data Station
This type of MMI station is also called the MMI acting station where you have to take on the role of one of the individuals in a given scenario such as; breaking bad news, explaining test results, or any other situation requiring empathy
This type of interview will also be a role play with an actor but here you have to be in a situation where your expertise or professional judgment is required in a very time-pressured environment. Your decision-making skills are key and in all circumstances your own well-being and the safety of the patient should be prioritised.
Here you will be assessed for your aptitude in determining which factors you use to establish a priority order for conflicting demands. You will be given a situation like recording the medical history of 10 patients or giving out medical appointments and expected to come up with a prioritized response basing on some sort of rationale.
Here you will be asked to give instructions about an everyday task such as tying a shoelace or making the tea. The key here is to not go into too high level or too low level.
This station will ask you to calculate the drug doses for any patient seeing their weight and height or any other simple calculation or any simple interpretation of data.
How to Answer MMI Questions?
The following steps will help to frame a coherent and apt answer to each of the MMI questions:
Understand and Synthesize Your MMI Response
It is pertinent that the examiner’s question is not summarized and restated again. You should display appropriate understanding by synthesizing the opening statement with an informative insight. You may relate to some ethical issues, current situations, or even personal examples. It should convince the interviewers that you not only comprehended the problem but possess the suitable intellect to offer a valid insight as well.
Clarify the Context of Your MMI Response
The assumptions must be correctly contemplated and articulated to develop an informed decision. Moreover, the issue should be assessed in totality, weighing both sides to the problem and explore multiple options for the resolution. This exercise will depict your critical thinking abilities and skills.
Empathize with the Subjects in the MMI Question
An all-encompassing approach is very essential. You must convey your ability to visualize and assess all angles to a scenario. This would entail getting into the shoes of each hypothetical character’s situation to comprehend his background and point of concern.
Get Ethical During your MMI Answer
Keep the attention focused on the scenario and identify/ name the conflict properly. You may not refer to the technical jargon, just give out a clear statement of the internal conflict being sensed and sought in answering.
Conclude Your MMI Station Appropriately
A calculated and precise conclusion sums up the argument being presented logically. Ensure you spell out the course of action, o not leave the interviewer guessing about it. Mark the impression that you possess the ability to make a decision and can act according to the established conventions.
What are the different types of MMI Questions?
There are 6 different types of MMI questions. Each category will be discussed in this section.
Scenario Type Questions
You will be given an imaginary situation and a hypothetical role to play. The situations or the problems can be of any sort either to break bad news or deal with conflict. You will be assessed on your response and actions towards that situation and how critically you think. Your flexibility, thoughtfulness, willingness, ethical boundaries, and general knowledge will be evaluated.
Acting Type Questions
These are similar to scenario-type questions where an actor awaits in the room with a situation. These situations are a generally difficult ones. The actor may not be directly addressing you, however, you need to remain attentive and alive to the situation. Grasp the necessary instructions and modulate the response.
Writing Type of Questions
Although the major segment of MMI questions is the verbal response to the interviewer there can be some questions where you might be asked to write your answer.
Policy Type Questions
Your opinions about the current problems and issues will be assessed. The problems and issues may pertain to the field of medicine, pharmaceuticals, dentistry, or any other associated field of medicine. You never know, the greater social hot topics discussed on the news can also be added to the list.
Personal Type of Questions
You will be asked about your personal self. You will have to confront your strength and weaknesses. It will challenge your intuition as to why you want to become a doctor? have you faced a conflict? have you ever resolved a conflict? It’s important to stick to integrity and explains whatever lessons have you learned from this situation.
Collaborative Type Questions
As the name reflects it involves teamwork as a major tool. You might be asked to solve something as a team, solve an issue, help the interviewer or any other member present, copy any picture or any structure or help your team draw something by instruction.
What are the common mistakes when answering MMI Questions?
The worse thing you can do is memorise and practice the answers of specific questions (which may or may not come up) and sound robotic and rehearsed – best to use bullet points even during your practice. Other areas which you need to keep in mind are:
- Shaky Start. Avoiding the Introduction or small talk, may not be a deciding factor but contribute to a diminishing confidence level. It adds a personal touch once you approach a station with a smile, introduce yourself, and utter a pleasantry. It establishes an aura of confidence and sets a positive mood for your impending conversation.
- Seeking Approval. Anticipating approval or a nod from the interviewer to support your answer or understanding of a scenario represents a lack of confidence in your own understanding.
- Generic Arguments. Some questions are generic and philosophical in nature. Lack of knowledge, incorrect articulation, and incoherent assumptions may lead to hasty, incomplete, and juggling answers. It tantamount to a lack of confidence.
- Eye Contact. Avoiding eye contact and looking down while answering questions reinforces the perception of lacking confidence.
- Wobbly End. Abruptly finishing the sentence and rushing towards the door once the session termination bell is sounded, corresponds to an impulsive and impatient nature.
- One-Sided Argument. Inconsistent and rash thinking process leads to sudden and inadequate logical conclusions. Thus a candidate responds without weighing the complete picture and bases his answer on the one-sided story. Thus giving a flaccid and incoherent response.
- Zoomed In Approach. The candidate focuses on the selected person only rather than contemplating the entire scenario in totality. Thus responses lack pivotal cost-benefit analysis in totality.
- Verbosity and Not Answering the Question. The candidate tries to impress the interviewer with superfluous terminologies and knowledge. It leads him astray from the subject matter. Moreover, a candidate tends to beat about the bush in case he lacks requisite knowledge about the context. Both scenarios cast a negative impression.
- Talking Too Much. Candidates tend to believe that they have to capitalize upon, entire 6 – 8 minutes time span allotted at a specific station. Therefore they endeavor to impress upon unnecessary prolonged arguments, leading to unwinding opinions and sweeping statements lacking sufficient grounds.
- Not Listening. Anticipating the question or action without letting the interviewer conclude or listening to a character in the scenario, leads to incorrect delivery of response action.
- Being Uncomfortable With Silence. Babbling a filler to make up for the silence in case there are no follow-up questions, proves detrimental.
- Distractions. Doing your interview in a place with lots of distractions or noise in the background.