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What are MMIs (interviews), why are they so important & how to prep for them?

The Multiple Mini-Interviews (MMIs) are a major topic discussed amongst medical school applicants. Although they may be called “interviews” they are by no means your regular one-on-one interview experience. The MMIs are a series of short and structured stations used to asses personal traits and qualities. The MMIs last two hours and are composed of ten, 10-minute stations. Stations can be one of two types; question-based stations where candidates are given a question/ problem to analyze or scenario-based stations where candidates engage in a role-play scenario with an actor while an assessor watched.

Before each station, candidates have two minutes to read a script and familiarize themselves with the situation. Once the scenario begins, candidates have eight minutes of dialogue with an interviewer /assessor. The interviewer/ assessor then uses the final two minutes to evaluate the candidate’s performance. The MMIs were derived from the OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) used by various medical programs to assess application of clinical skills and knowledge.

The MMIs are meant to assess personal attributes. Stations are strategically structured to evaluate traits like communication skills, maturity, ethical and critical decision-making abilities and knowledge of health determinants in a local/ global context. MMI questions can be vague, ambiguous and feel as though they have nothing to do with medicine. However, you must remember that the point of these questions/ scenarios is not to get the right answer. Instead, candidates are evaluated on how they come up with an answer, their reasoning as well as their thought process. How a candidate navigates a scenario says a lot more about this candidate than whether or the correct answer was reached.

Here are 6 simple tips that will help you with the MMIs:

(1) Confidence

Be confident! You’ve made it this far and you should feel proud of yourself. Self- confidence and assurance show as you tackle the scenarios one at a time.

(2) Clarification

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if a question/ scenario seems ambiguous to you. It’s always better to ask for help than try to answer a question you don’t fully understand.

(3) Breathe

Don’t rush to answer a question. Take a couple of seconds to breathe and collect your thoughts before diving in.

(4) Listen

Engage in active listening. Interviewers will often provide cues and prompts designed to direct and navigate you through the scenario. Paying attention to those cues will help you tremendously.

(5) Sensitivity

Be sensitive, compassionate and empathetic. Remember, MMIs are designed to assess non- academic traits and qualities.

(6) Explanation

Remember, the interviewer is more interested in your explanation and reasoning rather than your answer. Your efforts should be focused on explaining how and why you got to your answer.

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