With more universities adopting this interview style, we have compiled a list of tips to ensure that you are fully equipped for your MMI when it comes round.
1. Know what MMI is 🙂
Spoiler Alert: MMI = Multiple Mini Interview
This may sound a little patronising, but the first step to acing an MMI is to know exactly what it entails. You wouldn’t walk into an exam hall without knowing what paper you are about to sit, right? The same principle applies here too!
In a typical MMI you go through several consecutive stations (up to 10 in some cases) with a set amount of time to answer questions or complete a task (generally lasting from 5 to 8 minutes). Each station has a different interviewer (and occasional actor) with a different task to allow you to showcase your abundant abilities. Once time is up, you must then move on to the next station. Before each station you have a minute or two to read a brief blurb that gives you an indication of what is coming up. As you can imagine, this is a fairly fast paced process but the beauty of MMI is that, you get multiple chances to excel.
2. Understand the differences and similarities between MMIs and Traditional Interviews
On the surface, MMIs seem very different to the traditional style. The main variance is that there are multiple (mostly) one-on-one timed interviews, as opposed to a single one in front of a panel. By having various interviews it means a wide range of skills and characteristics can be assessed. It also means that bias is reduced and that each interview is independent of the other. In other words, if one doesn’t go as well as you would’ve hoped, it has no effect on the marking of the next. MMIs also tend incorporate more practical elements such as role plays, written tasks, data analysis, group discussions and critical thinking exercises such as prioritisation tasks. These are methods of testing skills you may not be able to show in a traditional interview.
The similarities between the interview types come from the more formal stations that MMIs also utilise. In these stations may be asked questions you would expect from more traditional styles e.g. questions surrounding motivation, work experience, your personality, ethics and knowledge of current affairs and the NHS.
3. Identify what they are looking for
By design, MMIs draw out particular attributes by putting you through different scenarios. Therefore, it is important to know what each station may be looking for. Below outline some general skills that are tested and how they may do so:
- Communication and Empathy/Compassion – role plays (in which you may break bad news, have to find out particular information from a person or simply hold a conversation with a stranger) and formal questions
- Ethical Reasoning and Debates – prioritisation tasks, scenario tasks, questions on hot topics and critical thinking scenarios (e.g. who gets the organ?)
- Professionalism and Probity – scenarios tasks (e.g. what would you do if….?) and prioritisation tasks
- Data Interpretation/Gathering – calculations, written tasks, scenario interviews, group tasks and video tasks
- Problem Solving – prioritisation and tasks that require critical thinking
- Personal Qualities, Motivation, Work Experience, Medical Insight and Current Affairs – formal questions
- Team Work – group tasks and formal questions
Remember, interviewers aren’t trying to catch you out; they just want to make sure that you come across as well in person as you do on paper. Many questions may actually have no right answer, but they just want to see your thought processes. If you find you need something clarified, just ask!
Although it’s unlikely you will be tested on clinical and scientific knowledge, make sure that you are up to date on current affairs and have a good understanding of them. You may not even be asked about these either, but there’s no harm in having some wider knowledge in your back pocket.
4. Practice, Practice Practice…but don’t seem rehearsed!
This may seem slightly contradictory, but stick with us. You should definitely take the time to practice your interview answers and go over potential things that may come up in the interview. Be sure to get used to being able develop and communicate ideas and arguments under a time constraint. Practice with friends, practice with family, practice on our course!
However, MMIs are designed to make you think on your feet and to adapt different situations, so as a result you will not be able to fully predict what may come up. Although you will probably be asked about your motivation and work experience etc., you must be careful not to fall into the trap of sounding as though you have planned the answer word-for-word. Not only does this make you come across as a robot, but it may take away from the way your personality is portrayed and reduces your versatility if they put a twist on a normal question. Instead of having a fully planned out answer, it’s best to have a few talking points/phrases you would like to discuss instead. You can then string these together in the best way possible on interview day. Not only will you come across more human, it means that if they throw a curveball your way that you’re able to manipulate your answer to the situation. The same goes for when you speak about ethics, current topics and other subjects you’re likely to be asked about.
5. Show some personality
The fact that you have reached the interview stage shows that the medical school believes you already have a lot of the skills they are looking for. At interview you want to show them that you are more than just the embodiment of words on paper. Show some personality! Be confident! Smile! Introduce yourself at each station! Shake hands if possible! Actually seem interested in what the interview has to say! Dress well – perhaps wear a blue suit instead of a black one? Keep your body language open! Maintain eye contact! These little things may seem insignificant, but they ensure that you are remembered and may enhance the view the interview has of you – first impressions still matter!
You may find that some interviewers give nothing away; they may not smile and they may not even nod. Don’t be thrown off by this though, keep flashing that winning smile.
6. Roll with the punches
Though we wouldn’t wish this to happen, you may feel that you might have underperformed in a station – you’re only human, of course you may make mistakes. But this is where MMIs prove more favourable than traditional interviews. Once the station is over, you have the luxury of forgetting about it and having another go at impressing another interviewer with no effect on the scoring of the remaining stations! This means that you have a little bit of room for error but still a good chance at getting an offer. So if you worry about forgetting the 7th point of the NHS constitution, fear not, because your great communication skills and impeccable compassion in the role play will make up for it later.
Also, silence in an interview isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s no harm in pausing for a moment after being asked a question in order to gather you thoughts. If it means that your answer will be more concise and better structured, then by all means, take that pause! The same goes for when the interview is over, you may finish going through the answers/role play with a small amount of time left. Don’t feel like you have to fill the silence, unless you have something of real substance to add.
7. Do your research
Different universities have varying MMI styles so be sure to find out as much as you can about your universities particular method. Some lean toward more practical stations but some may favour the more formal questions. Some universities may even require you to do a little bit of reading before the interview day. Put yourself in a position to know what is coming up and what is expected from you.
8. Enjoy it!
From start to finish MMIs may last up to 2 hours! But I guarantee it will be over much quicker than you’re expecting. It’s natural to be nervous because it’s the final hurdle to achieving your goal, but make sure you enjoy it because they’re actually pretty fun. Immerse yourself in the experience and it’ll become less nerve-wracking and make it easier for you to show your personality! Also once interviews are over, try not to dwell on what you said/did. Easier said than done, right? You’ll only drive yourself crazy if you do so – by this point you will have done everything in your power in order to secure that offer.