MMI Questions and Answers: Strategies and Tips to ace your medical school interview

MMI Interview Questions and Answers for Medical School

Love it or hate it, the Multiple 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. You will be evaluated based on your responses to the respective prompt. It favors applications with excellent communication skills and quick critical thinking skills. Although the station prompts are so varied, there are still many ways you can prepare for MMI Interviews. We will examine these in further details and provide sample MMI questions and answers to help you prepare for success!

What is the Multiple Mini Interview?

Here is what a typical Multiple Mini Interview circuit feels like:

  • You will interview at 8-10 different multiple mini interview stations, each with a different interviewer. Your interviewers are anonymous. They could be a third-year medical student, a med school admissions officer, a patient, or another member of the community. Keep this in mind because your responses should be understood by anyone from the general public – do not have a response that is overly technical. 

  • Each station is a total of 8-10 minutes long. At the beginning of each station, you have 2 minutes to read the interview prompt for that station outside the interview room.

  • After 2 minutes, you will be prompted by an announcement to step into the interview room and you will be greeted by an interviewer. If there is still time after you give your response to the MMI station’s question prompt, then your interviewer may ask you additional follow-up questions.  

  • Each interviewer at each station will give you a score, typically 1 to 10. Your score will be calibrated  based on the scores given by the interviewers for all medical school applicants during your session only.

 
Types of MMI questions:

There are various types of questions you can get asked. In our Mastering the Multiple Mini Interview course taught by Dr. Rachel Rizal, we break down the common types of MMI questions into the following categories: current issues in healthcare, team situations, ethical questions, traditional interview questions, and situational scenarios.  The MMI will test your problem-solving skills, communication skills, critical thinking, and teamwork. The follow-up question could be a question related to the MMI station topic (i.e. leadership) or the interviewer could ask you a follow-up question based on your response.

Example MMI question: 

Dr. Cheung recommends homeopathic medicines to his patients. There is no scientific evidence or widely accepted theory to suggest that homeopathic medicines work, and Dr. Cheung doesn’t believe them to. He recommends homeopathic medicine to people with mild and non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and muscle aches, because he believes that it will do no harm, but will give them reassurance. Consider the ethical problems that Dr. Cheung’s behavior might pose. Discuss these issues with the interviewer. (Source: Cracking Med School Admissions book)

Sample Follow-up Question:

Give an example of a time when you witnessed or practiced cultural competency in a clinical setting?

Want more sample MMI questions and a full-length MMI circuit? Check out our other MMI blog post for 50 Multiple Mini Interview Questions and MMI Interview Tips.

SAMPLE MMI Interview Questions and Answers

We want to give you some sample MMI medical school interview questions and answers as well as strategies to tackle them. In our Cracking Med School Admissions Mastering the Multiple Mini Interview course, we give the “4S” framework. Below, we’ll give you other strategies to tackle specific types of MMI questions. 

Preparing for your MMI Strategy #1: Medical Knowledge and Experience

The purpose of these medical school interview questions is to assess your experiences with clinical medicine and why you want to become a doctor.

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.

Sample MMI Interview Questions and Answers for Medical School:

“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.

For more step-by-step guidance about how to answer this question and other common questions, read our thorough blog post: How to Answer “Why do you want to be a doctor?”

“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 current issues and topics 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! Get familiar with more health care current event topics.

“Many individuals cannot afford the exorbitantly high health care costs in the United States. What are your opinions about our current situation and the health care disparities in America?”

  • Public health has stolen the spotlight during the coronavirus pandemic. One type of question you may get asked could be related to current events in healthcare. Make sure you know about health policy issues, including: health care costs; access to medical care; social determinants of health; vaccination policies; and the issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about public health current events here
Preparing for your MMI Strategy #2: Professionalism and Medical Ethics

The purpose of these medical school interview questions is to assess your moral character and interpersonal skills. 

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. As a physician, you will face ethical issues and medical decisions every day. These med school interview 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 through our more detailed medical ethics blog post. 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.

 

Sample MMI Ethical Interview Questions and Answers for Medical School:

“Tell me about a time you disagreed with a superior. Discuss the disagreement and how you approached it.”

  • This sample 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 publicly 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/or recreational drug use. On this particular issue, key stakeholders include patients, teenagers, government entities, and taxpayers. Think like a healthcare policy maker who has to weigh all sides of the debate and think about various perspectives. 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 integrate medical ethics principles, current events, and stakeholder analysis to reach an informed decision. Communication skills are important for excellent responses: make sure to convey to your MMI interviewer all the pros and cons you have weighed as well as the various stakeholders in this policy question. 

“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.

Have questions about multiple mini interviews or want to do a mock multiple mini interview with us? Contact us below.

Preparing for your MMI Strategy #3: Grab Bag Questions

The purpose of these medical school interview questions is to assess “you” as a human being and interesting person to be around.

An interview station with a grab-bad question is fun and often asks you about crazy scenario type questions that aims 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?

Sample MMI Interview Questions and Answers for Medical School:

“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?

(As an introvert, Dr. Park LOVES 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)

Being prepared for your MMI is to practice, practice, practice. The best way to practice is throughout “Mastering the Multiple Mini Interview” online course. 

Improve your MMI skills in 1 week or less!

Master the Multiple Mini Interview

Learn to Confidently Tackle:

5 MMI Interview Tips: How to Give Excellent MMI Answers

MMI Interview Tip #1. Create a structure for your answer

This is one of the most important pieces of advice our Cracking Med School Admissions team can give. Your interviewer will listen to several other students on the day of your MMI interview. One way to have a solid score is to have an organized structure to your explanation. If you have a rambling answer, your interviewer may not be able to follow your reasoning and explanations.

Think about your discussion with the MMI interviewer as having a thesis and supporting points.

MMI Tip: One way to structure an answer is through having a “thesis” statement in the beginning. 
Example Thesis: Given the situation presented in the prompt, I would give the patient birth control. However, I would like to discuss the factors in my decision and the potential implications for the patient.

Then, dive into the meat of the answer based on your introductory structure:
• The pro’s for giving my birth control are…
• The potential drawbacks are…
• I have to take ethical considerations into account. For example, I know the rule in xx state is that it is legal to give anyone over 16-years-old birth control without informing the patients
• Before I prescribe the medication to the patient, I will be sure to discussion the decision with my patient. These topics include: different types of birth control; potential side effects; and safe sex practices.

MMI Interview Tip #2. Explore the problem or situation from multiple perspectives

Example 1: If you’re asked whether to prescribe an alternative medicine, you want to discuss the pro’s and con’s of the decision.
Example 2: If the prompt involves several parties, then be sure to discuss the impact of the situation for everyone. You may want to discuss the situation from the role of:
• The patient
• The patient’s family
• The physician
• The hospital

By explaining your thought process, you will show that you can consider the problem in a broader scope. Again, co

The Cracking Med School Admissions team can help you ace the MMI interview. Our students have attended top schools like Stanford, Harvard, and NYU. Reading this blog is a great start. But practicing with our team will help solidify your interview skills. Email our Cracking Med School Admissions team if you’re interested in fine tuning your one-on-one interview or MMI interview skills: info@crackingmedadmissions.com or click the Contact Us down below.

Mock Interviews: Refine your interview skills with us 1-on-1

Dr. Rachel Rizal - Cracking Med School Admissions
Rachel Rizal, M.D.

Undergraduate
Princeton

Medical School
Stanford

Residency
Harvard, Emergency Medicine

Rishi Mediratta, MD, MSc, MA
Rishi Mediratta, M.D., M.Sc., M.A.

Undergraduate
Johns Hopkins

Medical School
Stanford

Residency
Stanford, Pediatrics

 
MMI Interview Tip #3. Be a positive team player

Some MMI interview scenarios involve you working with a team member to accomplish a goal, like drawing a picture or solving a problem. Our Cracking Med School Admissions book has more MMI interview tips and other MMI practice scenarios , including team-based questions. It’s important to communicate well with your partner.

Big Dont’s:
• Don’t be negative.
• Don’t get frustrated if you can’t finish your task.
• Don’t criticize your partner’s ideas. Be open-minded to their suggestions and present your own ideas as well.

 
MMI Interview Tip #4. Be energetic

Your energy level carries you a long, long way in MMI interviews. Some students we’ve interviewed have been timid or soft spoken. That demeanor tends to work against you, because it comes off that you are somebody who is difficult to communicate with and overall not very confident.Smiling goes a long way. Okay, if you have a crying actor in your scenario, obviously don’t be overly energetic and smiling in that situation. Remember, the MMI interviewer will be thinking, “Is this the type of co-resident, physician, or medical student I want to work with one day?” So be yourself, but don’t forget to smile!

Now that we’ve given you tips to be a successful MMI interviewee, one other way to be top notch and stand out is…

 

MMI Interview Tip #5. Use your personal experiences whenever possible

Whether your MMI interview scenario is an ethical dilemma or a difficult situation, being able to incorporate your personal experiences will make you stand out and get remembered.

Example 1: If you’ve seen a similar ethical dilemma while shadowing or as an Emergency Room scribe, you can incorporate the experience and your reflections in your answer.
Example 2: If you’ve worked abroad, you can discuss the country’s healthcare system or the challenges with providing healthcare in developing countries

Incorporating real-life experience is one of the hardest techniques to finesse and master. 

Make sure to work with Stanford medical students and residents from Cracking Med School Admissions. We want to help you succeed and get into the medical school of your dreams. 

Contact Us with questions About Medical School Interviews

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