In this blog, Dr Joanne Selway, Senior Lecturer and Selection Lead for the Medical School at the University of Buckingham, shares her insights on digital MMIs.
Important Note: this post was provided by The University of Buckingham. It does not necessarily reflect processes that will be used by other medical schools.
The COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on multiple aspects of the medical school application process: work experience, entrance qualification preparation, results and the interview process.
Most medical schools have adopted Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) as part of the application process, as it can assess multiple skills and attributes. Due to social distancing requirements and travel restrictions the MMI process has been transferred to an online digital platform, minimising risk associated with meeting people during the UK lockdown.
The University of Buckingham Medical School is already running digital MMIs for Jan 2021 entry and has experience in helping students prepare for this new format.
This blog will help students to prepare effectively for a digital MMI.
Medical Schools are likely to use one of a handful of online video communication tools. When you receive an invitation to an interview make sure you find out which one the school is using. The University of Buckingham Medical School is using Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) and this is a popular choice for many institutions.
As a supportive medical school, The University of Buckingham provide pre-interview training and familiarisation sessions on MS Teams with our medicine admissions team. These practice sessions are very important to allow all candidates to be comfortable in the environment. Whether your potential medical school provides these sessions or not, get on the platform and experience it before the MMI. It will help you build confidence in your ability to perform in unfamiliar circumstances and assist you on the day.
Like traditional MMIs, digital MMIs could take a variety of forms. Indeed the content of the digital MMI will be similar to the traditional MMIs. However, it is unlikely all of the traditional MMI activities will be present in an online MMI as they are difficult for candidates to complete in an online format.
MMIs are typically mapped to values and attributes of the profession: General Medical Council Good Medical Practice, NHS constitution and University values. Think about how you would test these attributes in a short online interaction. What have you done that would be good examples of these attributes?
Talking is possible, analysis is possible, watching video is possible.
Physical interaction is not possible, manual dexterity is harder to assess.
The University of Buckingham has previously provided advice about communicating at a distance which provides in depth detail. But it is important you understand the similarities and differences in effective communication in a digital platform.
Eye contact and active listening is crucial for being engaged with a task.
Look directly in the camera and ensure the camera is positioned so you are not looking up at it.
Get the software to help you by positioning screens of active participants near the camera and using full screens.
Deploy active listening techniques such as a head nod, shake or tilt to show that you listening whilst maintaining eye contact with the camera and don’t forget about the rest of your body.
Distractions come in many forms and some are impossible to avoid but many, with appropriate planning, can be eradicated.
Only have the video call screen open. Close all other tabs and applications on your device.
Declutter your frame- you do not need your audience to spot your cluttered desk or an interesting art work behind you and focus on the distraction rather than the conversation.
Mute when not speaking at all times, therefore if a distraction occurs in your location it is only yourself, not the entire video audience, that is distracted.
Close or even lock the doors to your room to avoid people interrupting the interview.
Finally remember to be yourself. While it may seem strange and intimidating, a multiple-mini interview (MMI) is an opportunity to show off your skills to a variety of interviewers.
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