role play station involves interacting with an actor who’s posing as a patient or a friend, and you’ll be asked to act out a scenario.
What Is The Role Play Station?
The MMI role play station may also be known as the MMI acting station, and it describes when you’re asked to act out a pretend scenario with an actor. They usually last between five and seven minutes and involve you delivering some bad news, sharing an outcome, or another situation where you need to show empathy.
Example MMI Role Play Scenarios
Some examples of MMI Role Play stations include:
- You’ve been looking after your neighbour’s cat whilst they have been away for a week but yesterday you found the cat dead on your driveway. Break this news to them.
- You were playing football in the garden and kicked the ball over the fence breaking the neighbour’s garden ornament, which you know had great sentimental value.
- You are captain of the Olympic hockey team and have to inform one of your squad members they haven’t made the team to travel to the Olympics this year.
- You’ve double-booked yourself and promised a friend you will go on holiday with them but realised later you have work commitments which cannot be changed. They have just got over a difficult breakup and were really looking forward to the holiday. Tell them.
Want more examples? Check out our MMI questions and answer guides on our Interview Question Bank!
How Do I Tackle Role Play Stations?
Read the scenario carefully
The first tip for tackling your MMI role play station is to read the scenario in detail. Think about your role is in the scenario:
- are you a first-year medical student being asked to talk to a senior?
- are you a junior doctor on the ward being asked to speak to a patient?
- are you a friend being asked to speak to one of your own friends?
- is there a conflict that needs resolving for example is a group member not completing delegated tasks?
- are you being asked to break bad news?
If you identify the context of the role play station early on, you can tailor your responses accordingly and you will perform much better.
Pay attention to how you communicate
The MMI role play station tests your ability to communicate more so than the other stations, so you need to demonstrate that you’re a good communicator. You should:
- maintain good eye contact with the actor
- make sure you’re actively listening, and nod your head occasionally to demonstrate this
- don’t go over-board with your hand gestures
- speak slowly and clearly, and allow the actor as much time as possible to speak so they can tell you their story
- briefly repeat some of the things that have been said by the actor at an appropriate interval, to show you have taken in the information they’ve given
- don’t interrupt or talk over the actor
- change the tone of your voice when appropriate, adapting to the context. For example, if you’re speaking to a young patient, you’ll want to use different vocabulary
The most common MMI role play station involves breaking bad news because interviewers want to see that you can show empathy.
These tips will help you show empathy during your role play station:
- the best way to break bad news is to give a brief reintroduction or catch up depending on the scenario
- give the actor a ‘warning shot’ before delivering the bad news. For example, say clearly ‘I’m afraid I have bad news which I have to share with you…’ or ‘I’m in the difficult position of having to tell you…’. This will soften the news for the recipient.
- deliver the bad news and, most importantly, pause straight after giving it
- give them space to react to the news. The actor may begin to cry or become angry and visibly upset. Your next response will depend on theirs, so make sure you’re really engaged with the conversation.
For example, if you have an MMI role play scenario where you must tell a neighbour that you broke their favourite ornament, then apologise first. You should explain that you know how much it meant to them and that you are willing to compensate them. Ask if there is anything you can do to help.
Empathy is all about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and you can do this by using phrases like, ‘I know this must be really difficult for you’. If the actor begins to cry, you could offer them pretend tissues or a pretend glass of water if available.