Preparing for MMI interviews is extremely important.
Love it or hate it, theMultiple Mini Interview (MMI) has gained considerable traction in med school admissions, and chances are that you’ll likely undergo at least one MMI during your interview season. The MMI differs from the traditional interview in that it splits up a time block (30 minutes to 1 hour) into 6-10 different “stations” where you will be evaluated based on your responses to the respective prompt. It favors quick thinking and adaptiveness, and although the station prompts are so varied, there are still many ways you can prepare for MMI Interviews. Read our 3 strategies for various types of MMI interview questions down below and read our other blog posts about MMIs.
Generally, the questions and scenarios you will face during the MMI will fall into three different categories: (1) Medical Knowledge + Experience, (2) Professionalism & Ethics, (3) “Grab-Bag” prompts. I will examine these in further detail, and provide sample MMI questions and answers to help prepare you for success!
Preparing for MMI Interviews Strategy #1: Medical knowledge and experience
The purpose of these questions is to assess your capacity for diligence.
These scenarios aim to elicit your motivations and reasons for pursuing medicine, your knowledge of medical concepts and health policy, and may incorporate current developments in medicine, and how you view them. While preparing for MMI interviews, draw on your past medical experiences, including research, volunteering abroad, and reasons for pursuing medicine. While you won’t be expected to know detailed health policies or laws, it is definitely advantageous to brush up on policies and political issues and form a basic opinion around them. A key tip when answering policy questions: It’s perfectly okay to admit when you don’t know what you’re talking about. “I’m not an expert on this issue, so my formed opinion may be incomplete, but I think ____. I believe with more knowledge and research on this issue, I can have a better idea of the ideas at stake.” Admit what you don’t know. No one likes a “know it all” in medicine anywhere.
Preparing for MMI Interviews Sample Questions:
“Why do you want to become a doctor?”
- You’ve thought of this all your life, fretted over it while writing your personal statement, and may have had to double up on it in your secondary essays. Well, it’s back, begging to be answered again. The best way to tackle this response in an MMI is to provide three reasons and briefly highlight those reasons through your experiences from your work activities or personal statement. Make it brief, make it dynamic, make it real.
“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”
- This question is an opportunity to show that you are leveraging your medical degree as a means to an end, not an end itself. In other words, it’s begging for goals, goals, GOALS! How will your MD/DO degree serve as a vehicle to enact change? What do you see yourself doing? How do you want to keep your curiosity going through burnout? Do you want to be involved in policy changes in the hospital, or pursue a fellowship in a particular field of medicine? Are there community programs you want to spearhead? Do you want to gain fluency in a language to broaden your scope of patients? These are all ideas for ways to show that ten years from now, you will remain involved in medicine and not be burned out.
“What rising technology are you excited about in medicine?”
- Genetics is fair game. So is CRISPR. So is ultrasound. Do your homework, find something that genuinely interests you, and be prepared to share about it. You might even educate the interviewer on a topic in which they have very little knowledge!
Need help preparing for MMI interviews? When a student prepares with the Cracking Med School Admissions team, he or she will drastically get better with their MMI responses.
Preparing for MMI Interviews Strategy #2: Professionalism and ethics
The purpose of these questions is to assess your moral character
As a medical student, you will be a professional…well, student, on a graduate level. For the next eight years, you will attend lectures, learn about the human body, and interact with patients all while maintaining professionalism and integrity. These questions aim to determine whether your moral fiber and work ethic is up to the task. Draw upon your work, research, and classroom experiences to tackle the first half of these question types.
Medical ethics are rarely taught in undergraduate science, so it’s fine if you don’t have much knowledge in this area. While preparing for your MMI interviews, it’s best to brush up on medical ethics principles. You can have a basic framework to approach ethics prompts (and pretty much any decision in life) by viewing the problem through the four principles of medical ethics:
- Autonomy – patients have the right to control what happens to them
- Beneficence – Strive to do the most good for the patient in every situation
- Nonmaleficence – Strive to do no harm to the patient
- Justice – Fairness in allocation of resources and treatments.
The second thing to identify is who are the stakeholders, i.e. who will be affected by this ethical dilemma? Once you have identified the stakeholders, you can weigh in on the decision and share your thought process. A key point in ethical questions is that there may not be a clear cut correct answer. Rather, the interviewer wants to know that you are informed of the principles at stake, can think through the ramifications of each decision, and balance out the pros vs. cons of the dilemma.
Preparing for MMI Interviews Sample Questions:
“Tell me about a time you disagreed with a superior. Discuss the disagreement and how you approached it.”
- This question aims to elicit your ability to address conflict in a professional manner. Are you the type of person who will bring up disagreeing points publically or privately? Immediately, or after the fact? When answering these prompts, consider the stakeholders to the disagreement, and consider different points of view to demonstrate that you’ve thought through the disagreement on both sides.
“Many states are starting to legalize marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes. What are your thoughts on this?”
- It would be helpful to brush up on your own state’s views towards medical marijuana and/o recreational drug use. On this particular issue, key stakeholders include patients, teenagers, and taxpayers. Medical points to address include the potential alleviating effects of marijuana on pain management vs. the harmful effects on developing brains. As with other ethical dilemmas, there is no clear cut right answer to this, but you should apply the principles of medical ethics to reach an informed decision.
“A new study has shown that the incidence of recreational drug and alcohol use in medical professionals is correlated to burnout. Do you think medical professionals should be penalized for this use if they are caught?”
- Again, this is a difficult question with no clear cut answer, but you can consider the stakeholders here as medical professionals, patients, and medical professionals as patients themselves. Other key issues to address include the medical system as a whole, and trying to improve the health system to reduce burnout.
Our Cracking Med School Admissions team has a 100% satisfaction rate when student do mock MMIs with us.
Preparing for MMI Interviews Strategy #3: “Grab Bag” questions
The purpose of these questions is to assess “you” as a human being and interesting person to be around.
These are fun, often crazy scenario type questions that aim to show the interviewer who you are. It provides an opportunity for you to reveal the nuanced parts of yourself that will hopefully remain preserved through the next four-to-eight years of grueling work. While these questions may seem more lighthearted or less intensive than the questions from the other two categories, they are still important. Interviewers want to know that they are cultivating future physicians who (1) are fun to work with at 2am in the wards and (2) can connect with their patients in ways outside of medicine. What else are you going to talk about while waiting in the room? How else will you reach out when medical founders and surgery fails?
Preparing for MMI Interviews Sample Questions:
“If you couldn’t become a doctor, and money weren’t an issue, what would you do instead?”
- With these types of questions, the reflex response is to shoehorn the “If I can’t be a doctor, then I still want to be an RN or NP or PA or whatever medical professional etc. because I LOVE patients and I want to be in the hospital no matter what” response. Which, I guess, would work if you truly did want to be an RN or NP or PA or whatever medical professional etc. But that’s honestly not the case for me. To me, this question is otherwise asking, “What would you do as a side passion outside of medicine?” And I think this is most important to answer, because at the end of the day, outside the white coat, you’re someone with eclectic interests, be it surfing, or Dungeons and Dragons, or dubstep music. If you have a side hobby drawing comics, or writing blogs, then you could talk about that, and tie that in to medicine by the characteristics shared between them: storytelling. If you’re into woodcarving, you can share how you enjoy working with your hands, so if you can’t be a surgeon, you’ll create furniture instead. Be creative about this!
“At your current age, what was your mid-life crisis?”
- If you are applying at the age of twenty-two years old, what was the most stressful thing when you were eleven?
“What are 5 small daily items that you can’t live without?”
- What are the little things in your pockets that reflect who you are and what you do?
“You need to perform a(n ethically justified) heist of a top-secret laboratory. Name 4 people you would incorporate into your team.
- What is your self-evaluation of yourself? Are you an introvert, or extrovert? Are you a generalist or specialist? Thinker or tinkerer?
Live Scenario: You enter a room and a patient is waiting for the doctor. Prior to entering, you were told that the physician is attending to another patient and was asked to keep the (im)patient busy. What do you do?
(As an introvert, I personally LOVE these types of grab-bag questions because they allow me to reflect and ponder over the course of my day. If you would like more self-reflective questions to help with preparing for MMI interviews, check out the New York Time’s essay on 36 Questions to Fall in Love)
There you have it. My take in the three classes of scenarios and questions you will face in the MMI. Practice them, prepare, and you will go far!
Remember, preparing for MMI interviews is crucial for success. Contact our team today at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or if you are interested in mock interviews.