The MMI differs from a standard interview, and while it may seem daunting the MMI process actually increases your chances of making a good impression. In a traditional setting the same people conduct the entire interview. If you mess up at any point during the interview, that mistake can cloud the interviewer’s perception of you, regardless of how well you tackle everything else they throw in your direction. With the MMI format, you see a different person, in a different room for each segment of the interview. Fluffing your answer in one room won’t impact the impressions that the other interviewers form.
What to Expect During Your MMI
The MMI interview usually takes around two hours and consists of a series of rotations, with each one lasting about 10 minutes. When you arrive at each room, you’ll have 2 minutes to read through the scenario posted on the door and begin to organize your thoughts. Then you’ll be buzzed into the room where you’ll have 8 minutes to think on your feet and interact with your assessor.
You’ll be evaluated on your critical thinking skills, ethical decision making, communication abilities, and knowledge of current healthcare issues.
Practice Sample Questions
Enlist the help of a friend and run through a set of practice questions (you can find great examples with a quick internet search).
To make the practice as realistic as possible have your friend print off the questions so that you don’t get a preview of their content.
Your friend should sit in a room and use a timer for each session. Tape the first sample scenario to the door (without reading it). You will have 2 minutes to read the scenario and question, then your friend should signal for you to enter the room where you will spend the next 8 minutes giving your answer and reasoning.
Record your session so you can review it later. While your friend will be able to give you some feedback, you’ll learn more if you can watch a video of yourself or listen to an audio recording of your performance.
Note your posture, body language, tone of voice and breathing pattern. When it’s time for your real MMI, you’ll want to appear relaxed, confident and in control, so if you review your recording and you’re uptight, hesitant and unsure of yourself, you need to practice, practice and practice some more, and if needs be, get yourself some professional coaching.
Learn How to Pace Your Answers
Each interview is strictly time controlled. When the buzzer sounds to end the interview, that’s it, it’s over. You don’t get any extra time to complete articulating your thought or to bring up the most important point that you were leading up to. So, it’s vital that you learn how to get to the root of the issue and stay focused on giving pertinent information.
You’ll also need to listen to any new information that your assessor gives you during the interview. Don’t be so focused on figuring out what you need to say next that you miss out on acquiring these extra directions. Listening skills are crucial for excelling in medical school and you can be certain that you’ll be tested on this part of your skill set.
The MMI isn’t looking for your academic knowledge, the purpose of this interview is to evaluate your soft skills and your critical thinking ability. Learn as much as you can about the format and spend as much time as you’re able to, practicing scenarios and getting comfortable thinking on your feet while under pressure.