What Every Medical School Applicant Should Know About Multiple Mini Interviews
In recent years, the multiple mini interview (or MMI) has become an increasingly popular tool with medical school admissions committees. Because of its unfamiliarity, many medical school applicants doubt their ability to succeed during an MMI, but setting aside time to familiarize yourself with the format and expectations of this interview type can help to quiet these doubts. Here is a short list of points that every medical school applicant should know about the MMI:
1. There are several interview stations, each approximately ten minutes in length
The traditional medical school interview includes anywhere between one and three one-on-one interviews.Students preparing for an MMI, however, should expect six to ten interview stations. These stations may utilize a one-on-one format, or they may feature other formats, such as role playing with an observer watching. There is typically a prompt posted outside each interview station that allows you to familiarize yourself with the question you will be asked to address or the situation that you will be confronting. You will usually be given two minutes to read this prompt. After you read the prompt, you will be instructed to enter your interview station, where you will spend eight minutes responding to the prompt.
2. You will be asked to respond to questions or situations that you understand
Previous medical knowledge is not required for an MMI. Instead, expect prompts that ask you to explore an ethical issue involving professionalism, cultural competency, how to conduct yourself in a team setting, and other qualities that medical schools desire in their students. Though medical schools do not publish their MMI prompts and require applicants to keep them confidential, sample prompts are available online. They can be used to familiarize yourself with the types of prompts that you will see on your interview day. Keep in mind that any preparation you do should avoid the development of “canned” responses to situations you think may appear during your MMI. Medical schools value spontaneity and quick critical thinking, and even if you are asked a question that may be covered by your canned response, you risk sounding rehearsed.
3. You should not expect a normal interview conversation
Students who are more familiar with the traditional medical school interview may expect a reciprocal conversation with their interviewers. For this reason, it is important to understand the boundaries of an MMI before you attend your interview days. MMI interviewers are instructed not to show any reciprocal emotion during an interview—i.e. smiling or laughing—and they will not ask for any information from you except to clarify your response to the prompt. This lack of conversation may seem rude or cold, but rest assured that it is a normal part of the MMI.
4. Posing questions is not a priority
Many students attend their interview day ready to learn more about the school at which they are interviewing. They may have already prepared questions for their interviewer both to demonstrate interest in the school and to inform their later decision on where to attend. Because an MMI is solely focused on the prompt at hand, however, your interview is not the time to get answers to your questions. Save your questions for the campus tour or the information session instead.
5. There are no right answers
Applicants facing an MMI typically have one major concern: “What if I do not give the right answer to the prompt?” Save yourself the trouble of worrying about this by knowing that MMI prompts do not have “right” answers. Instead, your interviewer will evaluate you according to the support you give for your points, your professionalism and poise, and how well you communicate your viewpoint. Though it certainly will not help you to respond insensitively, angrily, or dispassionately to a prompt, if you give any number of responses that illustrate emotional empathy, cognitive understanding, superior critical thinking, and well-honed communication skills, you can let go of any stress you associate with your performance during your MMI.