More and more medical schools in the US are using the MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) format for their interviews. It is a relatively new interview format in the US, and the University of Cincinatti College of Medicine was the first school to adopt it in 2008. Since then, many other US medical schools have implemented the MMI.
This page will give you information on MMI prep for medical schools in the US.
MMI Prep: What can I expect?
The MMI is an interview format used in many medical schools across the UK and US. The interview comprises of six to ten ‘stations’ which last roughly ten minutes each. You will be given a few minutes to read a prompt describing a scenario – and will then be given questions to discuss with your interviewer. Broadly speaking, the MMI interview will cover the four following topics.
MMI Prep: Ethical Decision Making
These stations will often involve ethical scenarios involved in Medicine. For example, you may be asked a question on the ethical problems of suggesting homeopathic medicines to patients with mild symptoms of fatigue. Is this ethical? What are the issues with it? You can read more on Ethical Scenarios here.
MMI Prep: Communication Skills
MMI interviews are designed to test your communication skills. Several stations may involve an actor and you will need to break difficult news to them – these questions will test your ability to empathise and communicate with patients.
MMI Prep: Critical Thinking
Some stations will test your ability to think critically about a scenario. For example, you may be asked to imagine that you are a healthcare policy maker asked to weigh the positives and negatives of a new vaccination or drug. These stations will assess your ability to logically verbalise both sides of an argument and your thought process.
MMI Prep: Healthcare Issues
You may be asked questions on a variety of health and social care issues. An example of this given on the University of Cincinnati’s website covers the shortages of physicians in rural communities like Northern Ontario – and the proposed plan to tackle this is to admit students willing to commit to a two-year tenure to work in an under-serviced health area after graduating. The question then asks you to consider this policy for healthcare costs: will it be effective? At what expense?
MMI Prep: Which US schools use the MMI?
There are currently 26 US medical schools that use the MMI interview format – so if you’re applying to one of these universities, you’ll need to practice your MMI technique!
MMI Prep: How can I prepare?
An MMI interview is typically difficult to prepare for, as all questions will vary between schools and from year to year. However, MMI prep can be done in the following ways:
Practice your verbal communication
MMI stations are designed to test your communication skills in different situations, so it’s a good idea to practice these by running through a range of questions in ethical scenarios. Think about practicing how you would speak to a frustrated or upset patient, and speaking to an interviewer. NYU School of Medicine recommends that candidates complete their MMI prep by practicing giving verbal explanations and answers to friends in a short time frame.
Know the four MMI topics
This is a key part of MMI prep. The MMI is not designed to test your scientific knowledge, but your communication skills, critical thinking, ethical decision making and healthcare issues. To prepare for health and social care questions, keep up to date with US medical and healthcare news. Make sure you also know the key elements of Ethical Decision Making: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice.
Use practice questions
Many medical schools, like Massachussetts, provide sample scenarios on their websites. Although memorising answers will not be helpful, a good part of MMI prep may be to look through these to get an idea of the kinds of ethical or healthcare questions you may be asked. From there, you can practice strategies for different situations.
You could also try going through a list of Ethics Practice Questions and answer guides to get an idea of how to provide balanced, perceptive answers. And, as above, it’s a good idea to become familiar with discussing medical news and scenarios with friends to assist your critical thinking and communication skills.