In this blog, I’ll draw on my own experiences on both sides of the multiple mini interview (MMI), helping you understand the MMI and providing key tips for your own MMI interview prep. As well, you’ll see sample MMI questions and expert responses to help you think through your own approach to this challenging interview format. Among these, you will recognize some common medical school interview questions, so let's get started.

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Article Contents
21 min read

Section I: Understanding the MMI Interview Format Section II: 8 Pro Tips for the MMI Interview Section III: Sample MMI Interview Questions and Expert Responses Section IV: FAQs

I was incredibly nervous for my first multiple mini interview. It was in early 2000s. I was interviewing at a med school. They asked me a question about breast-feeding. I do not know what the question was. I do not recall my answer. I do, however, recall the intense corporeal anxiety overwhelm with me as I fumbled for an answer to the question. I was so focused on figuring out the correct answer that I did not spend any time telling that interviewer about my relationship to the topic, how I think, the way I problem-solve, or who I am. I did poorly on that interview, and as a result, I was not accepted that year.

Since then, I have participated in three MMI interviews as a candidate and two more as an evaluator at McMaster med school. Of the dozens of MMI questions I have encountered since my first MMI experience, I only felt very well prepared – substance wise – for a handful. I only had pre-arranged answers for those questions that had to do with me and my life.

There is no use trying to pre-design your answers for the majority of MMI questions because it's not possible for anyone to predict them in advance. Instead, it's way better to learn strategies for identifying and answering different types of MMI questions. There is also a lot of value in MMI prep that allows you to reflect on the various experiences that you’ve had that lead you to the moment of the interview. In addition, there's value in reflecting on your own opinions, your moral convictions, your own biases, and your own view of the major issues facing our public today.

Most of all, MMI prep can give you confidence in preparing for your interviews, and the right strategies to handle your stress and answer any questions.

Nisha, a BeMo premed student, found the support she needed from MMI prep and learned how she could improve on her abilities.

“It's really very daunting to experience the MMI process without some sort of guidance … a completely live mock interview really gave me an idea of what I was going into for the MMI. [It] gave me the confidence I needed to answer the questions to the best of my ability and having that expert feedback from my mock interview really helped push me to do the best that I can.” – Nisha, BeMo student

With only a short time to prepare for her MMI, another BeMo student, Bianca, was accepted to one of the top medical schools in Australia! Her MMI prep included mock interviews, which gave her the confidence and skills to ace her interviews.

“I found out about my interview a month before my interview date so I had about a month to prepare, and I was feeling super overwhelmed as you can imagine. I didn't even know where to begin and I was basically just stressing myself out … I think for me the highlight or the most valuable part [of MMI prep] that I would say would be the mock interviews and the reason I say this is because the [mock interviewers] provided me with such valuable feedback that really helped me to achieve the best that I could do with these interviews. … [It] really gave me that extra boost of confidence that I needed to tackle my real interview.” – Bianca, BeMo student

Before I continue, if you like us to help you with your MMI and learn how to identify and ace different types of MMI questions, click the button below to learn more about our MMI prep programs. You'll have the option of unlimited prep with mock MMIs until we're confident you are 100% ready. And we put our money where our mouth is. Everything comes with our 100% satisfaction guarantee and a couple of our programs even come with our Get In Or Your Money Back guarantee. We do this because we were students just like you and we only create programs we believe in ourselves and are willing to offer our own family and friends at full prices. Click the button below to enroll now to schedule a free initial consultation to learn more. 

 Section I: Understanding the MMI Interview Format

What Makes the MMI Unique?

If we could, we would try out potential doctors in the clinic and in the hospital to test their suitability for the profession. We would try out potential lawyers in a courtroom. We would "test run" aspiring candidates in their chosen field, seeing how they actually conduct themselves in professional circumstances. But this is completely unrealistic. All we can do is leverage a system that is designed to have each candidate paint us a picture of who they may be as a physician, lawyer, nurse, pharmacist, veterinarian, and so on. We can then map our impression of each candidate onto the clinical or professional setting based on their responses to how they would behave or respond in a variety of stressful, ethically nebulous situations.

What is the system that has been designed to show evaluators who each candidate may be as a future practicing professional? It is the MMI. This unique, and now popular, interview format began in 2002 at McMaster University as part of a research project aimed at understanding how to select for the kinds of medical students that would eventually become compassionate and competent doctors (though, it must be noted, the MMI is not used only for medical school today – many programs in veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and others now utilize the MMI). McMaster was hyper-aware that medical schools across Canada & the United States were graduating future doctors about whom patients frequently complained.

The Official Interviewer Manual is in the public domain and it explains how McMaster uses the MMI to screen for specific traits in their student body. Much like CASPer test prep, preparing for the Multiple Mini Interview – or MMI – begins by understanding it as a situational judgment test (SJT) claimed to help interviewers identify soft skills, such as communication, professionalism, and adherence to ethics, and to more accurately predict medical school performance based on such an evaluation.

For many students, though, these soft skills are largely underdeveloped or unfamiliar. BeMo student, Joe, for instance, was completely unfamiliar with the MMI’s unique questions at first. With the help of expert MMI prep help, Joe was accepted to the New York Medical College:

“The most challenging part of the process I think for me was being able to talk about these really complex ethical scenarios like a professional. It's not something that I [took in] the classes in college and just as a student it wasn't something that's been a major part of my life. Becoming just really well-versed in how to approach these ethical scenarios I think was probably the toughest part, learning all the jargon surrounding it and being able to implement it.” – Joe, BeMo student, current student at New York Medical College

If you have made it to the MMI interview stage, it is because you have achieved solid academic accomplishments, put together a compelling application, scored well on the MCAT or other standardized tests, performed well on a CASPer test, or some combination of these. So, congratulations on getting this far! But, the MMI is a significant hurdle; to succeed you must understand it, ensure you’re practicing effectively, and get expert feedback on your MMI prep.

Here are the MMI questions you NEED to know!

How is the MMI Interview Structured?

At a Multiple Mini Interview, each candidate is asked to participate in a variety of short, problem-based stations. Traditionally, these stations last for 10 minutes each and there are 12 stations in each interview. However, there are many variations of these details. There are also many different types of multiple mini interview questions, and each station involves something new: a new patient or client to engage (i.e., an actor), a new issue to problem-solve around, a debate on which to opine, a team-building exercise to complete collaboratively.

Once again, MMI prep allows you to become familiar with the unique format of an MMI and how to prepare for any question type. BeMo student Ray found having an expert to guide her through the MMI structure boosted her confidence.

“MMI is a little bit different because it's more about the skill sets and strategy which I wasn't familiar with. I was very fortunate to have … a lot of positive feedback which really encouraged me to try harder and [my mock interviewers] gave me kind of a strategy list or kind of a step to step how to approach different questions which helped me to be more confident.” – Ray, BeMo student

Multiple Mini Interviews can vary in length, but the fundamental components are the same. Prior to meeting with the interviewer at each station, you will be given a prompt – this could be a direct question, a scenario, a role for you to play, a quote to ponder, etc. – and you will be given a short amount of time to consider the prompt, usually 2 minutes. The prompt is usually provided in text format, but video format is possible, as well (for the details of the MMI you will take, please review the website of the individual institution, or contact them directly). Note that the prompts at each station are often vague or have the potential to be interpreted in several different ways; this is completely intentional and is meant to test your ability to reason through ambiguity.

After the time allocated to reviewing the prompt has concluded, a buzzer will sound, and you will enter the interview space with the interviewer (and/or the actors or other interviewees with whom you will interact at the station, in acting and collaborative stations). At that point, you will have a limited amount of time to discuss your answer, generally anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes. Often, though not always, the prompt will be available inside the interview space, so you don’t have to memorize it, but you should contact the school to find out if this is the case (you can also ask about the duration of each station, whether you’re allowed a pen and paper to take notes, etc.). During the interview time, if you’ve concluded your answer before the time expires, the interviewer may ask you a follow-up question about your response, which you must also attempt to answer within the allotted time; if there is no follow-up question, you will simply remain in the room with the interview until it is time to move on. Review our blog to learn how to answer multiple mini interview follow up questions.

After the answer time is up, another buzzer will sound, and you will move to the next station. You must stop your answer when this time is up – even if you haven’t finished your sentence. The interviewers are instructed not to let the answer go over the time limit, under any circumstances. This pattern continues until you have completed all stations.

Here's how to ace your MMI and avoid 3 common mistakes!

How is the MMI Scored?

The MMI is not intended to test your pre-existing knowledge within the field you’re pursuing. Rather, it is a test of your analytic and communications skills, your ability to problem-solve in a social context, and your overall suitability for the profession. Interviewers do not necessarily have a background in the program or profession; they could be practicing professionals, or they could be professors, students, or even people from the community.

Interviewers are instructed to evaluate each interviewee’s performance relative to all other interviewees that day. Your performance is evaluated via a Likert scale from 1-10, where 1 is “Unsuitable for the profession”, and 10 is “Outstanding”. You will not receive feedback from the interviewers at any point.

It’s important to note that all aspects of your presentation for the day are under scrutiny for professionalism and suitability for the profession. That includes things like your physical presentation, so be sure to review our medical school interview attire blog (with tips that are pretty universal, in terms of profession). Check out this link for tips on how to prepare on your interview day.

How Do I Prepare for a Virtual MMI?

Some students might be wondering how the virtual MMI differs from the regular in-person format. Some schools will have different reasons for conducting virtual MMI, but what’s important to note is that your preparation should be no different. You still need to wear professional attire, for example, and you will also need to practice your answers to different types of questions; your performance will be judged not just on your answers, but on other qualities like professionalism and suitability for the profession. The main difference is that the rooms you will be moving to will be virtual. Invitations for virtual MMIs will be sent via email, which will contain instructions on how you can join the interview. Be sure to carefully read this information and be in a quiet environment on your scheduled date.

Lastly, your MMI prep for a virtual interview should include a realistic simulation so you can understand what the real interview will be like. Joe, one of our BeMo premeds says recording and reviewing practice interviews can be illuminating.

“Advice that I would give to students studying would be to keep a video log of all of your interview scenarios and always practice [with] a video on you. I myself was a college athlete for four years; I was a college pitcher and I [used to] back through video of my mechanics and in-game stuff. You can really pinpoint stuff that you're doing wrong that you probably don't consciously realize at the moment.” – Joe, BeMo student, current student at New York Medical College

Allison, who matriculated to Dell Medical School and also went through MMI prep with BeMo, says recording and analyzing her mock interviews revealed common errors she could take steps to correct before her real MMI.

“Simulating it on my computer I felt a little bit more comfortable in the real thing, but then not just recording yourself but like going back and watching it, as cringy as it is, analyzing it … I think between those and then my practice or my mock interviews with my expert I realized I like touch my face a lot and I like play with my hair and all of those other super distracting things that were taking away from the words I was actually saying. And I would never have known that I did those things if I didn't number one, record myself and number two, work with my expert during those mock interviews and I think that, all along with everything else, really contributed to the success I had during my interview cycle.” – Allison, BeMo student, current student at Dell Medical School

Have you ever seen an MMI mock interview? Check out one of our mock student sessions to help you prepare:

Does the MMI System Yield the Best Results?

First, we have to mention that the MMI is not perfect and in a previous blog we highlighted some shortcomings inherent in multiple mini interviews.

Here is a systematic review synthesized over 10 years of MMI research. The most important questions that MMI researchers ask are:

  1. Is the MMI at least as good as a traditional panel interview in predicting future performance on medical licensing exams?
  2. Is the MMI at least as good as a traditional panel interview in predicting professionalism in practice?
  • The systematic review found that the answer to the first question is: a resounding yes. 
  • The answer to the second question? Not sure, more research is required. 

The findings persist for assessment of MMI performance as a valid predictor of licensing performance for international medical graduates (IMGs). In their study of MMI validity for licensing exam performance predictions, Eva et al write "although a complementary predictive relationship has consistently been observed between grade point average and MMI results, the extent to which cognitive and non-cognitive qualities are distinct appears to depend on the scope of practice within which the two classes of qualities are assessed".

That is, in some practice settings, there are professional skills that matter but have nothing to do with the cognitive assets employed on the licensing exam. Conversely, there are practice settings for which the professional skills required match the cognitive and non-cognitive skills assessed in the licensing exam perfectly. So, when it comes to figuring out if the MMI will predict things like possible future complaints from regulatory bodies, the verdict is still out.

Though it was originally designed as a vehicle for assessing personal traits and professional acumen in medical students, it is claimed that the MMI is actually a great predictor of cognitive performance as assessed by the licensing exams. Licensing exams do, however, have sections dedicated to the legal and ethical issues of medical practice but do not test their deployment in a simulated clinical setting.

 Section II: 8 Pro Tips for the MMI Interview

First and foremost, as you may already know, and as evidence shows, you must practice with realistic, timed simulations and get expert feedback for your responses to learn from your mistakes. I’ll talk more about that shortly, but here are some other important tips to review first:

1. Relax

Examiners and actors want you to be at ease so they can get to see the real you. It is common for students to anticipate an audience who wants to see them mess up, who wants to call them out on some failing. But let me let you in on a secret: Your audience wants to see you succeed. No one wants this to be stressful – including your interviewer! No one is out to watch you fail. Everyone present wants to have an interesting conversation with you. They want to see you at your best, so they can give you a fair evaluation. Remember, they’re not necessarily looking for reasons to exclude you, to strike you off the list of candidates; they’re also looking for reasons to keep you.

2. Be thoughtful in your responses

Take your time to imbue your responses with substance rather than rushing into a topic with a bunch of clichéd phrases while you buy yourself time to think up something good. Just take a second. Take a deep breath. Square your shoulders. Smile warmly. You already have something of substance to say because you’ve been practicing and reading widely. In your MMI preparations, review multiple mini interview sample questions and answers to see this thoughtfulness in action (more on this in Section III).

Here's a video with guidance in thinking through MMI ethical dilemma scenarios:

3. Show empathy

When situations call upon you to be in relationship with another person, situate all your actions and positions from an “If I was in their shoes, what would this be like?” perspective - this is especially important for MMI ethical questions and answers. This shows intellectual adaptability and compassionate situational analysis skills. And it’s what is asked of professionals every day, all day, particularly in medicine, nursing, law, dentistry, veterinary medicine, teaching/scholarship, or any career that allows you to serve others or has others relying on you for advice, guidance, and instruction.

4. Show ethical acumen

The MMI often involves ethical questions, so you must know ethical principles and the legal framework for controversial issues. If you’re an aspiring medical student, read Doing Right, by Philip Herbert, and be prepared to draw upon the terminology in framing your responses. Whatever your desired discipline, review the ethical standards of the profession prior to the MMI interview. You don’t need to know the ethical code inside and out, but you do need to show that you understand the kinds of ethical responsibilities you’ll be expected to take on, and that you’re willing to invest yourself – even at this early stage – to beginning the process of internalizing these ethical principles.

5. Tell a story

Often, you will see no direct parallel between the MMI question and your own life. That’s ok. Don’t try to worm in a story about your time on the volleyball team when they’re asking you about end-of-life care. But if the question is about handling conflict, for example, you can definitely share some insight into your life and particular situations where you have experienced something similar.

6. Be familiar with different question types

There are many different types of interview questions, including scenarios, MMI policy questions, acting stations, collaborative or teamwork tasks, personal questions, MMI writing stations, and more. Most importantly, you will need to practice strong Multiple Mini Interview policy stations strategies and learn how to behave in Multiple Mini Interview acting stations, so make sure to dedicate some time for MMI prep.

Here's how to tackle MMI teamwork stations:

7. Review MMI sample questions and expert responses

Reviewing will help you understand what a polished, well-thought-out, and reflective answer looks like, and how such answers convey key qualities and core competencies sought by MMI interview evaluators. Remember, this isn’t necessarily about having a robust background knowledge of the intimate details of each situation, and your own unique answers may vary considerably from these, because your answer should be yours, and not something scripted out by someone else in advance. You can think about the content of the answers and your opinions of this content, but you should also pay attention to how you articulate these ideas. Your answers should show thoughtfulness, reflectiveness, compassion, critical thinking, and effective communication skills. You can see some MMI sample questions and answers at this link, and we'll have even more for you in Section III of this guide!

Do you have a writing station in your upcoming MMI? Check this out:

8. Learn strategies for how to prepare for MMIs in advance

While there are no “correct” answers to Multiple Mini Interview prompts, there are absolutely more and less effective strategies for approaching them. Your communication, professionalism, and suitability for the profession are determined in a number of ways. The interviewers are looking to determine how many of the key ideas in the prompt you have identified, and whether you have effectively prioritized those ideas (focusing on the most pressing issue, and dealing lower priority issues later), and whether you have isolated the key pressing issue(s) and addressed this maturely and professionally.

They also need to determine whether you are objective, non-judgmental, professional, mindful, compassionate, and diplomatic, and whether you’ve carried over any assumptions from the prompt (or, better, whether you have questioned such assumptions and applied critical thinking skills in exploring the scenario). Your ability to avoid a biased, one-sided response and to consider multiple perspectives will highlight your critical thinking skills and maturity.

It's important to demonstrate consistent ethics and the ability to maintain your ethics under pressure, and when presented with conflict, you want to pursue productive, positive resolutions, focusing on maximizing the well-being of all involved.

A response that manages to do all of these things will likely receive a strong evaluation.

MMI prep with mock interviews allows you to see if your responses fit these criteria and will be scored high. BeMo student Leslie was able to use her mock MMI sessions to sharpen the strength of her answers and was accepted to her top nurse midwife program.

“The opportunity to practice my MMI stations in a videoconference setting, which allowed me to play back my videos and see how I interacted with the camera and whether or not my answers were actually as clear and concise as I thought they could be, I found … really helps me to tailor my answers so that I was always coming across as well-rounded as I possibly could and meeting the check marks for answering the questions thoroughly. 

“I felt really confident when I signed in for my interview. I felt like I could take any question that came my way … and determine what they were looking for in an answer and I really learned how to tailor those answers to best display my unique talents and attributes.” – Leslie, BeMo student

You should also be prepared for weird or intimidating medical school interview questions. MMI stations test your ability to think on your feet and how well you perform under pressure. Having solid answer strategies even for the most unexpected questions is highly advisable.

Check out our top tips for acing your MMI:

9. Get expert feedback

While reviewing sample MMI questions and expert responses is very useful, such MMI Interview prep is only effective if you combine it with expert feedback. Even good responses can benefit from additional consideration to make them truly outstanding, and our highly-rated, one-on-one Multiple Mini Interview prep programs give you the opportunity to work with experts, who will give you the most realistic mock MMI possible, and individual, customized feedback to determine exactly what is best about your responses, and what still needs additional work.

Daniel, a successful BeMo student, shared how his MMI prep improved his interview skills:

“I had my first MMI interview preparation session with [a BeMo consultant]. It was amazing. In only two hours, I learnt a lot about how to have a successful interview. Frist, [the consultant] conducted a mock interview with me. Most importantly, then he gave detailed and constructive feedback about my weaknesses and how I can improve my interview skills. And he thoroughly explained strategies on how to deal with different interview questions.” – Daniel, BeMo student

We’ll also ensure you have the information to continue improving, while helping to build your confidence, giving you pointers on every aspect of your presentation and professionalism, and additional resources to keep practicing. Without expert feedback, there is no way to know if you are unintentionally making unconscious mistakes, missing key concepts, or carrying over assumptions from the prompt.

In an MMI interview, details matter. One of our BeMo students, Antoine, found the finer points of his interview performance improved over the course of several sessions with one of our consultants.

“[My MMI] review session was, as were the previous ones, very efficient and enlightening. We reviewed the improvements since my last session and talked about what requires further practice. [My BeMo consultant] also helped me work on the finer details of some answer structures and on the fluidity of my answers so that they sound more natural.” – Antoine, BeMo student

Are you wondering how long it takes to prepare for the MMI? Check out our blog for the answer.

 Section III: Sample MMI Interview Questions and Expert Answers

If you’ve followed our advice above, you’ve reviewed common types of MMI questions (and if you haven’t, there’s the link again!), which means you understand the difference between things like “scenario” questions, “policy” questions, “quirky” questions, and “quote-based” questions. Here is an example of each of these question types, with expert responses for each.

Note that we have several more of these on our blog, The Admissions Experts, and on our YouTube channel, and you can see additional sample questions and answers here, as well: Multiple Mini Interview Sample Questions and Answers.

Wondering how MMI interview coaching an help?

Sample MMI Interview Scenario Question with Expert Response

Prompt: You are a family physician working at a walk-in clinic. You are almost at the end of a busy 10-hour shift and still have 3 patients to see. You must leave work as soon as you are done seeing these patients, as your spouse will be leaving for their work shift and you need to be at home with your children. Your friend, Tina, texts you and says that her partner is not feeling well; she suspects he has strep throat, and that he probably needs antibiotics. She would like you to see him and prescribe him the medication. You tell her that you are fully booked and she says, “It’s the end of the day and everywhere else is closed. Could you please just tell one of the walk-in patients to come back tomorrow and see my partner instead?” Tina is not just a friend, but a medical school classmate and a specialist to whom you often refer patients. What do you do?

Sample MMI Interview Policy Question with Expert Response

Prompt: In 2017, the Canadian government passed a law that allowed expanded parental leave for new parents. The new policy offers new parents the option to spread their original 12 months of employment insurance benefits across 18 months after the birth of their child. Discuss your thoughts on this policy with the interviewer.

Here's what you need to know about MMI policy questions:

Sample Quirky MMI Interview Question and Expert Response

Prompt: If you could be any kitchen utensil, which would you be and why? Enter the room and discuss your answer with the interviewer.

Sample MMI Interview Quote Prompt and Expert Response

Prompt: "My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together" (Desmond Tutu). Enter the room and explain what this quote means to you.

Here's another practice MMI question for you!

MMI Interview Prep: Conclusion

Facing the MMI interview can be intimidating, but understanding why the MMI was created, what evaluators are looking for, and what constitutes a strong answer helps make the task more manageable. Remember, they are looking to see if you are a mature, reflective, ethical person who is well-suited to the profession. They want to understand who you are at your core, whether you've looked into the key qualities of those in the field, and how you respond to ethically-challenging situations. Reflect on who you are, what you value, and the kind of person you want to be as a practicing professional. Review sample MMI questions and look at the answers given by experts, and then consider your own position. When it's time to enter the MMI interview room, take a deep breath, open the door, and show them the thoughtful, empathetic, interesting aspiring professional you are!


1. What's the best way to start MMI prep?

If you are totally unfamiliar with the MMI format and looking to get more details on what to expect, what kind of questions to look at, and answer strategies, then you might want to get an MMI prep book. A book can help you fill in knowledge gaps about this unique interview format and outline how you can prepare. Check out BeMo's Ultimate Guide to Multiple Mini Interview: How to Increase Your MMI Score by 27% without Memorizing any Sample Questions for less than $1!

2. Can you really prepare for an MMI? I heard that it's impossible to prepare for.

It is not only possible, but also highly advisable! Studies have shown that skills tested during an MMI are highly coachable. The key is to have answer strategies for different kinds of MMI questions.

3. What is the best way to prepare for an MMI?

The way you prepare is totally up to you - you know what works for you best. We would strongly encourage you, however, to seek professional feedback as you practice. How else will you know whether you are on the right track and improving? Personalized MMI interview coaching and MMI interview prep courses could help you sharpen your skills and ace your interview.

4. Do I have to get professional help to prepare for the MMI?

No, not everyone needs professional help. Many students prepare for the interview on their own and do well. Some, however, could benefit from one-on-one help.

5. What are the hardest MMI questions?

Some students may find scenario and ethical questions difficult, since not everyone can articulate a solution to ethical or professional dilemmas. Some students may find that policy questions are difficult, since they often require outside knowledge. BUT! The key is to have a solid answer strategy for each question type. This way, no matter what question you face, you will be able to formulate an articulate answer.

6. How long does it take to prepare for the MMI?

We recommend dedicating 6 to 8 weeks for your MMI preparation.

7. Are there right and wrong answers for MMI questions?

Although it is common to hear that MMI questions have no right or wrong answers, it is not entirely true. There are appropriate and inappropriate answers that have a great influence on your chances of acceptance. If this were not the case, there would be no value to MMI testing and a lot more applicants would be admitted based on their high GPA, MCAT scores, and extracurriculars.

8. How long should my MMI response be?

We strongly recommend keeping your answer to 4 minutes long. While you may be allotted with more time, keeping your answer concise and clear is always better.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting 

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