MMI Role Play
Role play stations are among the most common at MMIs, so it’s crucial you prepare well. A role play will involve interacting with an actor posed as a patient or a friend (for example, breaking bad news to them). This page will detail our top tips on approaching an MMI role play station.
Read the MMI role play scenario carefully
You have to read the MMI role play scenario carefully in order to score well on this station. Firstly, identify what 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? Or 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 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 is testing your ability to communicate more so than the other stations, so you need to demonstrate that you’re a good communicator. In order to communicate well, you need to maintain good eye contact with the actor. Listen actively, nodding your head now and again.
Hand gestures are good when you’re talking and trying to explain something – but there’s no need to go over the top. 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, but make sure you don’t interrupt or talk over them. 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 is the breaking bad news station. Your interviewers will not be assessing your acting skills, but your communication and ability to empathise.
The best advice for MMI role play stations is to not worry about breaking the bad news. The best way to break bad news is 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. Then deliver the bad news and, most importantly, pause straight after giving it. Let them 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.
In order to show empathy, make sure you apologise before breaking the bad news. For example, if you have an MMI role play scenario where you must tell a neighbour that you broke their favourite ornament, 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.
MMI Role Play: Example Scenarios
Some examples of MMI Role Play stations include:
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- You have 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 break up and were really looking forward to the holiday.