Preparing for the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

Preparing for the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

5 months ago by Rob

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) is a common interview structure now used by a large number of universities as a key component of the medical admissions process, alongside more traditional measures like examination results and UCAT. At most universities, strong medical interview performance is integral to gaining admission, with, on average, only around one third of candidates sitting the interview being offered a medical place.

With this in mind, preparing effectively for your medical interview is just as important as studying effectively for UCAT and your school exams! In this blog post I’ll be going over some specific aspects of the medical interview which deserve particular attention and discussing some strategies to prepare for them, to help ensure that you’re ready for your MMI.


The Value of Preparing for the MMI

A common misconception is that the medical interview is “just a conversation” between yourself and the interviewer, for which little to no preparation is needed. The medical interview certainly is a conversation of sorts, but it’s important to remember that there’s a lot more to it!

The MMI interview is challenging in that, unlike a regular conversation or panel-type interview (such as a job interview), it has a rigid structure in which you cycle through a number of interviewers in sequence, answering a range of questions on different topics at each new station. Doing so isn’t easy! Candidates need to be capable of constructing fluent and sophisticated responses to a broad range of topics in quick succession, and need the ability to build and successfully maintain rapport with a range of individuals from different walks of life (interviewers may be academic or clinical staff but may also be community members).

Further, while MMI interviews include a diverse range of questions, certain questions and themes tend to come up regularly. Practicing medical interview questions and interviewing skills will help you become not only more familiar with common elements, but also more adept at rapidly constructing detailed responses to unexpected questions. In short, preparing beforehand will leave you much better equipped to handle whatever the medical interview throws at you.

Here are 5 ways to prepare for your MMI interview.


Practice Medical Interview Questions

Without a doubt, the best thing you can do to develop your competency at medical interviewing is to complete as many practice medical interview questions as possible, and obtain feedback on your performance.

This has a broad range of benefits:

  • Improves your ability to think on your feet and respond to the unexpected

  • Builds your understanding of and ability to effectively address common MMI question types

  • Helps you to develop useful anecdotes that can be deployed across a range of medical interview scenarios

  • Allows you to develop an intuitive understanding of how much time you have and how long your response needs to be (be sure to time your practice medical interviews!)

  • Develops your familiarity with the medical interview format and increases your confidence

  • Gives you experience with structuring responses logically and clearly

The MedEntry online learning platform features a large, interactive bank of MMI questions across all the common medical interview categories, including explanatory notes detailing what is required for a strong response. This is a great place to find a large number of high-quality medical interview questions to help you prepare. Also, MedEntry’s Interview Training will give you the chance to participate in a complete mock interview, and obtain advice and feedback from an experienced medical interviewer.


Create a Bank of Anecdotes

Many medical interview questions will ask you to provide details about your life and personal experiences, with structures like “Tell us about a time when you…” While you may not be able to prepare for every scenario, it’s worth having some general anecdotes at the ready to address common medical interview questions.

Some examples include:

  • “Why do you want to do medicine?” (you could include here any past experiences that made you want to do medicine, such as volunteering or work experience)

  • “Tell us about a time when you displayed this value/characteristic” (you could include examples from extracurriculars, paid work, leadership etc)


Understand the University and its Interview

Some specific factual details will help you develop effective medical interview responses. First of all, make sure you’ve read all details that the university has sent to you about the MMI interview you’re going to be sitting: you may have been provided information about the number and length of the stations in the medical interview, for example. In MedEntry’s medical interview training, you will also be provided with specific, detailed information about each university’s interview.

Also, questions about why you want to study medicine at that specific university are very common. Make sure to spend some time reading resources for prospective medical students offered by the university at which you’re interviewing—this will give you an understanding of the features that characterise their programme, such as a PBL programme or early clinical experience, which you can use in your responses.


Know about Contemporary Issues

MMI interviews often feature at least one question on a contemporary issue affecting society; these may touch on topics like public health, free will and libertarianism, the carceral system, and social justice. A good understanding of a range of contemporary issues affecting society will help you answer these questions effectively, and the practice medical interview questions you complete in the course of your study may give you pointers for areas to research further. It is important to keep abreast of news and current affairs so you can be prepared for this type of medical interview question.


Manner and Rapport

I have met many candidates who, while capable of developing strong responses, are let down by their poor rhetorical skills and inability to effectively build rapport with the medical interviewer. When you are being interviewed about a career where good communication skills are critical, this is just as important as the content of your response!

There are a number of strategies to help build competency in this domain. Ask family and friends to stand in for the interviewer—even if they don’t have a good understanding of what constitutes a good medical interview response, they’ll be able to tell you whether you developed a good rapport and effectively delivered your response. Be sure to practice techniques like matching and mirroring, described in detail in MedEntry interview courses.

It can be valuable to interview yourself in the mirror, paying close attention to factors like body language and facial expression. You can also make audio or video recordings of practice interviews and play them back. This lets you critically evaluate your responses, and also helps you determine whether your speaking speed and tone are appropriate.


A final word

The medical interview is definitely challenging, and no matter how much you prepare there’s always going to be a significant element of uncertainty. In fact, it’s important to recognise this. Each MMI station is with a new interviewer whom you haven’t met—if you’re able to shrug off mistakes from the previous station and treat each new station as a clean slate, you’ll perform much more consistently.

That said, I hope this post has demonstrated that diligent preparation can definitely give you a real edge in your medical interview and provided you some strategies for how to best prepare. I wish you the best of luck in your interview!


Written by Callum, an experienced MedEntry interview tutor.


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