5 Top Tips for Dealing with MMI Stress

MMI stress

The medicine interview period can be a stressful time, and it is normal to feel a little anxious or worried about an upcoming interview. The MMI is a unique style of interview that might come with additional stress, as it is sometimes longer than a traditional medicine interview. You also have less time to get all of your points across at each MMI station.

Here are five top tips to help you deal with MMI stress so that you can perform to your best in the interview:

1. Prepare yourself well

The best way to help yourself to minimise MMI stress is to prepare yourself. Part of this involves practising answering questions so that you feel confident to tackle any type of scenario or question that comes your way. Practising is less about knowing what to say word for word to a particular question, but about being able to think on your feet and logically articulate an answer to a question you might be faced with for the first time. Try practising with a friend who also has an MMI coming up, so that you can give each other feedback on how to improve.

Another part of this preparation is being prepared for the logistics of the actual day of your MMI. Double check what time you need to arrive at your interview and where it is. Leave yourself extra time in case of travel delays as this can add extra stress. Try to make the part of the day that you are in control of as stress free as possible. Perhaps consider taking a family member with you to help you stay calm. Try to find out the format of your MMI. For example, how many stations are there, how long are they and do you get rest time. Knowing the structure can help you to practise in this format and avoid any surprises on the day.

Preparation should not only help you to stay calm on the day, but also reduce your MMI stress in the preparation period, as you know you are helping yourself to do as well as possible.

2. Stay calm

It sounds like such a small thing to do, but actively focus on staying calm. On the day of your MMI is can be easy to let stress build up. Check in with yourself to ensure small amounts of stress don’t go unchecked and build up. You know yourself best, so try to think of the strategies that have helped you stay calm in the past. You might listen to some music that helps you to reduce your stress or speak to someone close to you who helps you keep calm. Employ whatever techniques work for you on the day, even if you think you aren’t stressed, as they can help prevent it building up.

3. Take your time

It can be easy to rush straight into answering the scenario or question, given the short amount of time you have in each station. Think for at least a few seconds before tackling the question out loud and try to make a mini plan for at least the first point you want to start with. 

Taking this pause will not only show the examiner that you are thoughtful and careful, but also set you up for success and avoid MMI stress. It can be easy to feel anxious when faced with a question you aren’t sure how to answer, so use this pause to stay composed so that you don’t get more worked up by producing a contradicting and long-winded answer.

4. Use the rest time to reset

You are likely to have some rest time in between each station, even if it just a minute. Ensure you use this time to your advantage and prepare yourself for the next station. It can be easy to dwell on your performance on your last station but doing this may cause you to go into your next station flustered and this could snowball across however many stations your MMI is.

Instead, imagine you are waiting to go into your MMI. Each stations is truly a blank slate as your next examiner will have no idea how you’ve done so far. Forget about how you’ve done prior to the station you’re at, especially if it wasn’t quite as good as you wanted. Make sure you take slow and deep breaths. This will help you to stay calm and go into the next station feeling centred and ready.

5. Stay positive

Don’t underestimate the power of staying positive and keeping a smile on your face. Go into your MMI confident in your own abilities and show your enthusiasm for medicine and the university you are applying to.

Remind yourself that you should feel positive about this, as you have gotten to this interview stage that many candidates don’t reach. Remember how much preparation you have done and try your best to enjoy the experience, not letting any MMI stress get to you.

Words: Safiya Zaloum

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