Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) - The Ultimate Guide
The multiple mini interview (MMI) is an interview format commonly used by UK-based medical and dental schools. It involves multiple stations, typically lasting for 8-10 minutes each, focussing on various aspects of your candidature in an effort to see if you are the right fit for that specific institution.
The Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) can be extremely daunting with it’s far from stereotypical format. However, it’s been widely lauded as a more holistic and favorable interview option. This is primarily because it allows students the opportunity to present themselves as more than just their academic credibility. Additionally, most universities have different assessors for each station, giving candidates multiple opportunities to make a good first impression. Multiple Mini Interviews also allow you to show off your soft skills. For example, your ability to strike conversation and answer questions echoes a strong and confident communication style. This can be difficult to otherwise show off in the other aspects of your UCAS application to medical or dental school.
Multiple Mini Interviews are typically composed of various stations that can be broadly organized into the following categories.
- Motivation for Medicine
- Personal Statement Discussions
- Work Experience
- Evidencing soft-skills
- Evidencing tactile skills
- Ethical scenarios
The following post will highlight the various subsections of the MMI, including common Multiple Mini Interview questions and how you can best prepare for your interview.
Motivation for Medicine – A Key Multiple Mini Interview Topic
It’s all in the name with these stations. A career in healthcare can be incredibly challenging for multiple reasons. Therefore, it’s important that healthcare professionals are passionate about their jobs and don’t only choose to go into it for arbitrary reasons.
‘Motivation for Medicine’ stations aim to explore your key reasons for choosing to study medicine or dentistry. Questions can range from asking about your initial inspiration to exploring your goals and ideas about a career in healthcare.
For these stations, avoid cliches and focus on a chronological explanation of the events leading up to the interview. Regardless of how your interview phrases their question, focus on exploring the following concepts with them.
- What inspired you to consider a career in healthcare?
- Once inspired, what did you do to learn more and solidify your interest in this field?
- What strengths do you have that will make for a good doctor (or other healthcare professional)?
- What aspects of this career most excite you?
- What are some of the realistic challenges to this career and why don’t they faze you?
- Are there any issues or inequalities in the healthcare realm that you hope to challenge?
Your primary goal in these stations is to show your interviewer that your motivations to study medicine go deeper than financial gain and academic challenges. Show them that you have a tried and tested desire to engage with a career in healthcare and better the future of the NHS.
Discussing your personal statement in a Multiple MIni Interview
One of the harder parts of your medical school applications will be keeping to the word limit on your personal statement. It’s difficult to wrap up years of hard work and consistency into 4000 characters. So consider it a blessing that medical school interviewers will often want to delve deeper into your personal statement. This is your opportunity to do 2 major things!
Goal #1: Give more information and thorough reflections on the activities you’ve already mentioned
Goal #2: Mention other activities and/or skills that you didn’t have the word count for in your statement
If you view these stations as an opportunity to achieve these 2 goals, you’re already halfway there to acing this particular talking point.
A key piece of advice here is to focus on quality rather than quantity. Any medical school will favor a candidate who has reflected well on 2 key activities over someone who has won every accolade in the book but is unable to reflect on them. To reflect efficiently, focus on communicating using the well-known STARR format. Think about what went well, what didn’t go so well and what you learnt from the experience.
A good way to do this in preparation for the interview is to list out your various achievements and roles and then focus on specific soft-skills you’ve gleaned from them, examples of when you put them to use and how they might be useful in a career in medicine.
Referencing Work Experience in an MMI
Discussing work experience in your interview looks very similar to discussing your personal statement. As we’ve already talked about, reflections are your best friends!
In addition to a thorough reflection, also focus on communicating a learned awareness of the challenges of a career in the NHS. Medical schools want to know that their future students are realistic yet passionate. A good way to communicate this, is to focus on possible issues you noticed in the healthcare space and how they’ve inspired you to want to create change. Another way to do this is to focus on how your individual skill set is made to handle the challenges of the career. For example, the discipline you’ve learned from being an athlete might help you through the academic challenges of medical school.
However you choose to discuss your work experience, ensure that there is a continued focus on exploring HOW your work experience has altered your view of the career as opposed to just listing various work experience placements.
Evidencing Soft Skills in MMIs
Soft skills are skills that cannot be tangibly measured. These include, but are not limited to, communication, teamwork, leadership etc. These soft skills are integral to a career in medicine and can only be assessed during an interview. Consequently, it is vital that you are able to evidence these skills in your MMI.
Common MMI interview questions that aim to evidence your soft skills will typically focus on asking for examples in which you have shown a certain skill. A good way to prepare for these questions is to make a list of all the soft skills commonly assessed for. Some popular ones are;
- Communication skills
- Problem solving
Once you’ve listed these skills, find situations wherein you’ve had to employ them and reflect on them thoroughly. Some medical schools do prefer the STARR format in these cases but it is not compulsory that you use this particle reflective template.
While it is impossible to guess what soft skill they may want to explore, having a list of examples that have challenged you in the last few years will give you some confidence as often, one example can be used to showcase multiple different skills.
Tactile Skills and Role-Playing
A handful of universities have at least one station that tests for tactile skills, such as hand-eye coordination. Some will also employ role-playing. We won’t discuss this in too much detail as they aren’t very common and are slowly becoming obsolete with the onset of social distancing measures and online interviews.
However, if your university of choice does mention these style of stations, just remember that they will not ask you to employ skills that you shouldn’t normally have and use in your day to day life. As for role-playing, the assessor’s focus is typically on your communication skills as opposed to your acting abilities. Ensuring calm and effective communication is key in these stations.
Ethical practice is a cornerstone of professionalism in the NHS. So it’s easy to see why medical (or dental) schools want to admit students who have a practiced understanding of common ethical principles. Some ethical principles, such as honesty, are transferable to various fields outside of medicine. Chances are that you have already had to show honesty or professionalism at some point in your academic journeys. However, there are some ethical principles that are more unique to medicine.
The 4 pillars of medical ethics – beneficence, non-maleficence, justice and autonomy – are key learning points for before your MMI. It is not uncommon to be asked about these either directly or indirectly via a staged scenario. Additionally, you should also have an understanding of patient confidentiality, patient safety and other medical ethical practices. The GMC guidelines for medical students is a great place to start in understanding these principles.
Aside from ethical principles, common MMI interview questions can also delve into your understanding of medical procedures that involve ethical debate, such as abortions, euthanasia or prescription cannabis. Reading up about these ethical debates, exploring both sides of said debate and familiarising yourself with current UK guidelines is vital.
Top Tips for Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)
1. Treat each station independently
Each station will have a different interviewer so you will have a clean slate for each question. If you mess up one of the stations, don’t let it affect the following stations. Take a deep breath and move on!
2. Make a good impression
It is difficult in the short time that you have, but remember to be enthusiastic and passionate at each and every station.
3. You can re-use content
You can use the same example for multiple answers. If you are asked about teamwork in one station and passion for medicine in another, you may find that you have an example that shows both, so why not use it for both? You won’t be penalised for using the same example because it is a different examiner at each station.
4. Research each specific university
Each university will focus their stations on different topics. In addition to this, it is important to know as much as you can about the university’s medical school that you are having an interview at. At Medic Mind we have heavily researched all the different medical schools, their selection processes and their interviews, so be sure to check out our other resources!
5. Be prepared to act
A classic MMI station is a role play scenario, often undertaken with an actor, so be prepared to have a simulated experience of breaking bad news to someone. It won’t necessarily be in a clinical setting, an example could be telling someone you have lost their dog, or admitting to a mistake you have made in a project.
6. Know your personal statement inside out
At an MMI, it is unlikely that the interviewers have read your personal statement, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a question based on something you have spoken about in your personal statement. So don’t be caught out by not having brushed up on what you have previously told the admission team.
7. Be natural
You don’t have long at any MMI station, and as we said before, it is important that you leave a good impression, so don’t rely on a script. Although it is important to be well prepared for the questions you will be facing, it is just as important to not sound like you are reading a pre-prepared script. To do this, make sure you are comfortable with the content you wish to discuss at interview, and practice phrasing it differently for a variety of questions. Maybe even record yourself and watch it back, this is a great way to see first hand if you are coming across natural in your answers.
8. Use your time effectively
Make sure you are aware of how much time you have at each station. It is unlikely that the interviewer will guide you with regards to how much time you have left at the station. If the question asks you to discuss 3 skills, then don’t spend most of your time discussing your first skill, leaving little to no time on the other two. By dividing your time up evenly you will be more likely to score highly, as you have covered the whole question.
9. Identify what the question is really asking you
This does take a bit of practice, which is why it is so important to prepare well for your interview. Getting to the bottom of what the question is really asking you in relation to wanting to study medicine is key to scoring highly at the interview. For example, a question asking why don’t you want to be a nurse? Is still asking you why do you want to be a doctor? However it is also looking for you to distinguish between the two job roles. In this question, for example, you don’t want to spend all your time explaining why you aren’t applying to nursing school, but instead, focus on the differences between a nurse and a doctor, and why being a doctor is more appealing and better suited to yourself.
10. Practice, Practice, and Practice
it may seem obvious, but the more practice you do, the better chance you have a performing well. You probably won’t have been to an interview like this before, and chances are you won’t have had to deal with difficult patients, or break bad news. For these sort of scenarios ask family and friends to help you by playing these roles in some role plays. Make the stations up yourself, or practice with a tutor.
Popular Sources of Interview Preparation Advice
Tutoring services, like Medic Mind, aim to bring accessible yet informative preparation courses to students like yourself. There is a lot of benefit to learning from current medical students with the primary benefit being that our tutors have stood where you stand today and therefore have first-hand experience with the interview process. There is also a wealth of information available online on platforms such as Google, Youtube and Reddit.
Too much information, however, can be mind-numbing. Keeping in mind all the advice that we’ve thrown at you in this post, here is a quick step-by-step guide on how to begin preparing for your MMI.
- Familiarize yourself with the MMI format
- Gather as much information as you can on your specific university’s interview, including format, number of stations, timings and popular station types
- Read your personal statement
- Re-read it
- Ensure you are able to explore and reflect on your soft skill set
- Practice common interview questions with friends and family to nail down your answers
- Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses in how you communicate and work on these
Finally, remember that your MMI is yet another chance for you to show your dream medical school that you are perfect for a career in medicine. As long as you can communicate true passion, your MMI will be an absolute breeze. Good luck!