Below is a selection of Multi-Mini Interview, MMI Questions. All MMI Questions describe the station set up and suggest an approach you might take.
The answer guides have been put together by medics who have successfully navigated interviews at top Medical Schools.
Remember, though, that an interview is about an individual, so there are no hard and fast rules. The answer guides are only examples and are not exhaustive. They should be used to stimulate your thinking — not repeated verbatim at your interview.
MMI Question 1
Station set up:
The interviewer is sitting across from you, on the table there is a wrapped up box. You are asked to instruct the interviewer on how to unwrap and open the box, without helping them or using your hands. It’s not straight forward as the examiner will be using no assumed knowledge and will be doing what you tell them only, e.g. ‘lift up that flap’¦ starts lifting up wrong flap, ‘Turn the box around’¦ turns box in wrong direction.
This station is testing your communication skills and your patience.
First explain the aim to the interviewer e.g. ‘our aim is to open that box, I am going to give you a set of instructions on how to do so, are you ready?’
The key is to very specific with your instructions e.g. ‘use your left hand to lift the left flap up and outwards to the left’.
The interviewer will do what you ask but try to not do what is wanted in order to test you. They are role playing and this could get quite frustrating given the time constraints. You must stay calm; be patient and smile.
Important aspects to convey are: changing your communication style to adapt (so rewording instructions), patience and perseverance (you can’t just give up)
Don’t be disheartened/frustrated if you never get the box opened, that’s not the main point, it’s your approach to the situation that actually matters.
MMI Question 2
Station set up:
An actor hands you a card, telling you that, in this role play, you are a close friend of theirs. You have been house-sitting whilst ‘your friend’ has been on holiday and you have to explain to them that you broke their favourite ornament. When informed, the actor becomes hysterical and very angry.
This station is testing your communication skills, ability to give bad news, your empathy and willingness to admit to your mistakes.
First make small talk to make the other person comfortable (remember in this scenario you are best friends) – hi, how are you?
Then prepare them for the news- I’ve got something to tell you that may be quite upsetting.
Tell them the bad news, making sure you are apologetic and empathise with them (the actor is going to be quite hysterical at this point, doing anything to make you feel uncomfortable).
It’s your job to stay calm. You should ask if there’s anything you can do to remedy the situation e.g. offer to replace it (showing your problem solving skills).
MMI Question 3
Station set up:
You are told that this weekend you’re going on a camping trip. Before you is a table of random objects. You have 20 seconds to pick 5 objects you deem to be of the most importance and value, and explain.
This station is testing your ability to make time pressured decisions and be able to defend them, it’s also testing your ability to think practically.
Go through each item, briefly explaining why you picked it
What use is it?
What situations would it help you navigate?
Is it going to be a hindrance e.g. heavy to carry, or is it conveniently sized?
You could explain why you didn’t pick some of the other items on the table
The interviewer asks a question: what ethical principle of medicine would you consider to be most important?
This station is simply testing your knowledge of the various ethical principles and checking that you appreciate their importance when making decisions.
Don’t worry there is no most important one, just pick one of the following, describe its meaning and be able to justify your choice:
Autonomy- allows patients to make informed decisions about their own treatment.
Beneficence- Doctors must do good and act in best interest of their patients and/or society as a whole.
Non-maleficence: Doctors should act in ways that do not cause harm to patients.
Justice- Fairness across the population, only discriminating based on clinical need.
Confidentiality- whilst not strictly an ethical principle, it’s linked to several of them.
This list and the explanations are not exhaustive so you need to beef up your explanation, you can look up the principles yourself, there’s a lot of literature to look at.
Link whatever principle you choose to your work experience by giving an example of how you saw the principle being demonstrated.
MMI Question 5
You are faced with an actor playing a 65 year old man who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He is coming to his GP for advice on how to cope with his diagnosis as he has heard a lot of stigma over the years about dementia and its burden on both his family and the healthcare service. Whilst talking to you he breaks down into tears.
This station is testing your ability to empathise with patients, knowledge of the problem of an ageing population, communication skills
Console the patient in an empathetic way
Advise him on latest developments e.g. assistive technology
Advise him to joining support groups e.g Alzheimer’s Society
Reassure him that there is a lot less stigma about dementia now than in the past
MMI Question 6
You are told that you are entering a hospital staff room 10 prior to performing surgery with Dr ‘X’. As you enter, you see Dr ‘X’ take a swig of a clear drink from a bottle and quickly close their locker, which you suspect is alcohol. Over the course of the conversation, the Dr beings to forget things and slur their words.
You have 5 minutes to speak to Dr ‘X’.
This station is primarily testing your ability to make value judgments regarding patient safety
One of the big attributes being tested in this station is the ability to approach emotive situations sensitively and sympathetically.
In this situation, you’ve found a co-worker in a potentially volatile situation; it’s important to approach the situation with humility and without judging your colleague.
Initially try and make the surgeon feel comfortable, potentially make ‘small talk’ about the surgery; first and foremost, they are a friend and a colleague.
Try to get to the bottom of what you’ve just seen – ask questions which may prompt the surgeon to offer up information voluntarily
Direct, accusative questions early into the discussion may make Dr ‘X’ feel judged and may be very detrimental to the relationship between you two
However, if you are still worried about them, more ‘probing’ questions may be necessary – ‘I saw you put something into your locker quickly as I entered, do you mind if I ask is everything alright?’. You are
as in specifically work and home life?
Despite your relationship with the surgeon, you must also consider the safety of the patient and whether it’s appropriate to let Dr. ‘X’ perform surgery on them.
Come to an appropriate compromise whereby the surgeon takes the afternoon off and offer a more private chat the next day to discuss further.
MMI Question 7
On the table there is a diagram which shows the layout of a building. The interviewer asks you to give them directions to get from the entrance of the building to Room A. After you have given your answer, the interviewer asks why you think you are being asked this question.
This station is testing your communication skills and ability to interpret an image.
Take a look at the diagram. Before you begin your explanation, orientate yourself and locate your starting point and destination. Check whether there is some kind of key that could help you to interpret the image.
When giving the examiner directions, split your explanation of the route into steps to help make it clearer and to keep yourself on track. Use words such as first, next, then, etc.
Although MMI questions may seem random, they are intended to test you on skills that you would need as a medical student or doctor. The examiner may ask you why you think you are being asked a question to see whether you can identify these skills and why they are relevant to medicine:
This question is testing your ability to communicate and give a clear explanation. These skills are clearly important in medicine; for example, doctors must be able to give patients clear instructions when they prescribe them a medication.
This question also tests your ability to interpret an image. This skill is important in medicine as doctors are required to interpret images such as x-rays or CTs, for example.
MMI Question 8
An actor hands you a card which states that you are playing the role of a GP and they are a 16-year-old girl who has come to ask for information about getting tested for STIs but is worried about her parents finding out.
This station is testing your ability to communicate and show empathy as well as your understanding of doctor-patient confidentiality.
As you are playing the role of the GP, it is up to you to lead the role play. Begin by introducing yourself. Ask the patient their name and how they are before moving on to why they are there.
Ask questions that you think are relevant to the scenario such as: “Are you sexually active?”, “Have you been tested for STIs before?”, “Have you had unprotected sex?”, and “Have you been experiencing any symptoms?”
Respond appropriately any time the patient expresses a concern. As this scenario involves a young person, this could be their first time getting tested and they might be nervous about it or they might be scared if they suspect that they have contracted an STI. It is important to demonstrate empathy and to attempt to reassure them.
When the patient mentions that they are worried about their parents finding out about them seeking advice on this subject, explain that everything you have discussed will remain confidential. You should be aware of the principle of doctor-patient confidentiality and how it applies in a situation like this.
Conclude the role play by asking the patient if they have any further questions and then thanking them for their visit. This gives the actor an opportunity to prompt you if you have missed out anything important.
MMI Question 9
On the table there is a graph which shows the plasma insulin levels of several patients over the course of one day with the times that meals were consumed indicated. The interviewer asks you to describe the graph for Patient 1. You are then asked to provide an explanation for the changes in insulin levels at different times of the day.
This station is testing your ability to interpret a graph and your scientific knowledge.
Familiarise yourself with the graph before you give your answer. Look at the axes and the key/legend to make sure that you understand the data being presented and also to ensure that you are looking at the data for the correct patient.
Describe the data for Patient 1 and point out any trends that you notice. Use the same language as you would when describing a graph for a lab report.
This question requires you to use some basic knowledge of human physiology which should have been covered in your biology course (for those who take Biology). For a normal patient, this graph would usually show increases in plasma insulin following meals and you should explain why this is the case using this prior knowledge. There may be follow-up questions at a station like this to further test your scientific knowledge or the interviewer may prompt you if you miss out something important in your explanation.
It is important to keep on top of content for the science courses that you take in case a question like this comes up at interview.
MMI Question 10
An actor hands you a card which states that you are playing the role of a surgeon and they are a patient on whom you recently performed a hip replacement. You must inform them that some nerve damage occurred during surgery which means that they may not regain full use of their leg.
This station is testing your communication skills and ability to show empathy.
This scenario involves breaking bad news to a patient so it is extremely important to demonstrate empathy throughout.
Prepare the patient for what you are about to tell them. Say something along the lines of “This may be difficult to hear, but…” so that the now they are about to receive some bad news.
Explain the complication that occurred during surgery in terms that the patient will understand; this means avoiding medical jargon such as ‘nerve lesion’.
As hearing this news would be extremely difficult for any patient, be prepared for them to become emotional or angry. It is important that you respond with empathy.
Express your apologies and try to reassure the patient that they will receive the support they need. You may want to provide some examples of the care they would be entitled to such as physiotherapy.
Ask the patient whether they have any questions for you. This is good practice and will also give the actor a chance to prompt you if you have missed anything out.
MMI Question 11
The interviewer tells you that you have 4 minutes to explain the process/purpose of vaccination to them, speaking as you would to any competent adult. When you have finished, they give you another 4 minutes to explain the same thing as if you were speaking to a young child who is about to be vaccinated. This time, you may use a whiteboard and marker to support your explanation if you choose.
This station is testing your communication skills.
For this station, it is important to demonstrate good communication and to show that you understand when and how to adapt your communication to suit different types of people.
When giving your first explanation, it is important to remember that you are speaking to an adult but not necessarily to someone in the medical field. You should therefore avoid medical jargon such as ‘herd immunity’.
You have not been given that much time to speak and are therefore not expected to give an in depth explanation of the science behind vaccination. Simply explain how a doctor/nurse would administer an injectable vaccine and how this is intended to protect the patient by preventing them from becoming ill with the disease that the vaccine targets.
When giving your second explanation, not only should you avoid medical jargon but you should avoid vocabulary that a typical adult would understand but that a child might not know. This could include terms such as ‘syringe’ or ‘injection’.
If you choose, use the whiteboard to enhance your explanation. For example, you might want to draw the syringe going into patients arm and then another picture of an arm with a plaster where the needle went in. However, do not use the whiteboard just for the sake of it and only draw to accompany the parts of the explanation where it will be effective. Remember to keep good eye contact even if you are drawing for part of the time.
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*According to an article in the Journal of Medical Regulation, A Census of Actively Licensed Physicians in the United States, 2016, vol. 103. no 2.