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MMI role play stations involve interacting with an actor who could be posing as a patient, a friend or someone else, and you’ll be asked to act out a scenario with them.

What Is The Role Play Station?

The MMI role play station is sometimes also known as the MMI acting station. You are required to play out a particular scenario with an actor.

The scenario usually lasts between five and seven minutes and could involve you delivering some bad news, sharing an outcome, or doing something else 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 while 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 your neighbour’s garden ornament, which you know had great sentimental value. Explain this to them.
  • 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 have double-booked yourself and promised a friend you will go on holiday with them but realised later that 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.
  • You are a Junior Doctor and have become aware that a more senior colleague has been drinking alcohol at work. You have 5 minutes to talk to them about it before they are due to perform surgery.
  • You are a surgeon and must inform a patient that some nerve damage occurred during hip replacement surgery, meaning they no longer have full use of their leg.

Want more scenarios to practise? Check out example MMI questions and answers as well as a full  interview question bank.

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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 what your assigned role is in the scenario:

  • Are you a Junior Doctor being asked to talk to a more senior colleague?
  • 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 response accordingly and you will perform much better.

Pay attention to how you communicate

The MMI role play station is designed to test your ability to communicate, so you need to demonstrate that you’re a good communicator.

Use these tips to make sure you come across well:

  • Maintain good eye contact with the actor.
  • Make sure you’re actively listening, and nod your head occasionally to demonstrate this.
  • Avoid going overboard with your hand gestures.
  • Speak slowly and clearly, and allow the actor as much time as possible to speak as well.
  • 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, e.g. if you’re speaking to a young patient, you’ll want to use different vocabulary.

Read more tips for tackling MMI role play stations.

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Show empathy

The most common MMI role play station involves breaking bad news, because interviewers want to see that you can show empathy.

Follow these tips to show empathy during your role play station:

  • Start with 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 some 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 after giving it.
  • Give the other person 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, 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.

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