Miss Giulia Bankov • January 13th, 2020
Giulia is a graduate medical student at the University of Glasgow. She previously studied Neuroscience at King's College London and completed her Cognitive Neurobiology and Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Amsterdam
Whether you are a medicine or a dentistry applicant, you have probably heard of MMIs. You are also probably aware that MMIs are a somewhat new interview method used both by medical and dental schools that have become increasingly popular in the past few years - and at some places, have even replaced traditional panel interviews altogether. They differ significantly from the typical interview set-up you might be imagining when you think of an interview in both how they are organised and in what skills and qualities they can assess. If you aren’t certain what an MMI entails though, don’t worry - we are about to cover all the information you will need to start your preparation for this type of interview.
Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI), are a type of interview which consists of several stations - these can either be held in the same room or across several rooms. While the number of stations will depend on each school, you can expect an MMI circuit to consist of anything between 6 and 12 stations at an interview. Each station will ask you one question, which may then be accompanied by one or two follow-up questions, before it’s time to move on to the next - and as such, you can imagine the fast-paced nature of MMIs. They can run at anything between 4 and 7 minutes, but rarely ever longer. Depending on the school interviewing you, you might be given up to a minute before each station to read the question/scenario given and prepare an answer, though that’s not always the case.
Each station will give you a score and at the end, all scores from all stations will be put together to give your overall performance a total mark, which will ultimately decide whether you will be offered a place at that university.
While these are the general rules of how MMIs work, each medical and dental school will implement them slightly differently - your university of choice will likely provide you with further information regarding their MMI when they send you an interview invitation, so make sure you are fully prepared on the day by having read and familiarised yourself with those. Another important consideration to keep in mind is that you will likely be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, preventing you from disclosing information about the stations after you leave the interview.
Classically, when students are asked what they know about MMIs, role play is the go-to answer. At this stage in your preparation and training, they are novel and scary, so the concern around them is perfectly understandable, but in fact, MMIs give you a glimpse of what your entire time in medical or dental school will be like! Role plays are a huge part of the curriculum and they aim to develop your communication skills, empathy and ability to listen. As such, this type of station often comes up at MMIs to check how well you currently implement these qualities. While nobody is expecting of you to break bad news like a medical professional, the interviewers would be assessing how well you are able to listen to the patient’s concern and how well you communicate.
Medical ethics is very common topic for MMI interview questions that can ask you to discuss or give an opinion on a particular ethical question, such as abortion and euthanasia. These questions assess your level of knowledge on these important topics but more importantly - test your critical thinking skills and ability to make a decision by weighing arguments for and against a certain issue.
Alternatively, you could also be given a difficult scenario, such as witnessing your colleague showing up drunk to work or your classmate cheating on an exam, and asking you what you would do - think of these as a detailed version of the SJT type questions you were asked when you sat the UCAT exam.
Similarly, you could also be asked to form an opinion or discuss a certain aspect of our healthcare system, e.g. pressures experienced during the winter or privatisation. Even though your reasoning would be the most assessed component here, this would be difficult unless you had some background understanding and knowledge of these issues, so make sure you have those covered.
Lastly, you might come across one or two special stations, which are interactive in nature and will require you to use lateral skills, which later might be followed up by one or two questions addressing the importance of this exercise and why you might think this is being tested at an interview. Typical special stations include describing a picture to the interviewer, analysing a graph, performing a calculation or even making an origami! While your performance at these tasks is assessed, don’t forget to also reflect and be able to engage in a discussion with your interviewer as to why you think these are important skills for a dental or medical student to possess.
Lastly, don’t forget the typical questions that you will be expected to answer at an interview. Make sure you know your personal statement inside out and are able to support all claims with evidence and are able to reflect on these experiences and skills and how they have shaped you into a suitable candidate. Also consider other standard interview questions, such as “Why do you want to be a doctor?” and “Why do you want to study at this medical/dental school?”
You’ve now gotten an overview of what you can expect from an MMI circuit, but you still might be wondering - why are medical and dental schools increasingly turning to this method of interviewing candidates? Well, this largely goes hand in hand with the values and qualities that medical and dental schools are looking for in prospective students. Schools have largely moved away from testing your scientific knowledge in detail, but rather put a lot more focus on checking whether you are a good communicator, natural empath and critical thinker. As such, to assess for these qualities, a newer more appropriate method of interviewing was devised, namely, the MMI. The idea behind MMIs is to put you in a more realistic environment, one that you will likely encounter day in and day out during your professional career, and assess how you would perform in it, rather than ask you questions you could read up on and rehearse beforehand. Also, think of the advantage this gives you - with the interview being split into numerous individual stations, even if you don’t show your best self at one of them, you still have plenty of opportunities to catch up and make up for it!
We hope this information was useful and you now feel familiar with MMI structure and question types. Good luck in your preparation and if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com. Good luck!
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