If you're at a loss for how to prepare for your Multiple Mini Interview (MMI), you have come to the right place. MMI is notoriously difficult to get ready for and greatly affects medical school acceptance rates. You can increase your chances of success by implementing a few tactics I will cover in this blog. You will learn about MMI structure and scoring. We’ll also give you a step-by-step guide to prepare for the MMI, and explain how to answer the different types of MMI questions you may encounter!


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What is the MMI?

The MMI is a situational judgment test comprised of 8-12 stations including 1 or 2 rest stations. It allows different interviewers to assess your reaction to different types of questions and scenarios that reflect real-life situations. Your interviewers may be practicing professionals, faculty members, senior students, administrators, and members of the public. Each station typically lasts 8 minutes and is structured in the following manner:

It is important to remember that your answer should be clear and concise. So instead of focusing on using all the time that is given to you, try to articulate a well-rounded, quality answer in 4 minutes. Remember, a total of 8 minutes is given to you per station, which includes your introduction, summary of the prompt, and goodbye. You should aim to answer the original prompt in 4 minutes, leaving a couple of minutes for any follow-up questions the interviewer might have.

How are You Assessed?

The interviewers are instructed to rate your performance relative to all the applicants they see. They will score your communication skills, strength of arguments displayed, and suitability for the profession on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Other things that influence your score may be your problem-solving skills, ethical and moral values, professionalism, negotiation, cooperation, leadership, integrity, and time management. Although these categories are not included in the score sheet, they create a general impression of your personality and might influence your overall score. 

How Long Do You Need to Prep for the MMI?

The amount of time you need to prepare for the MMI will vary depending on your existing communication skills and general preparedness. Remember that interview skills take a long time to develop, which is why MMI prep can take weeks or even months. We recommend you give yourself at least 8 to 10 weeks to prepare for the MMI. Also note that some medical schools provide a short notice of only a week or two in advance, which is insufficient time to fully prepare for your interview.

Learn more about how long it takes to prepare for the MMI:

The Biggest Myths About Preparing for the MMI

It’s important to understand exactly why MMI prep is important, and that’s why I want to address the two most common myths about preparing for the MMI.

Prefer watching a video about how to prepare for the MMI interview?

Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing for the MMI

Step #1: Gather Your Facts

Start your MMI prep by doing necessary research about your interview and gathering all the relevant facts. Check the interview format used by the schools you’re applying to and confirm how many of them use the MMI interview. Then, check their admissions websites thoroughly to see if they provide information about which MMI stations they use. If you can find this information, it will be very useful to you to tailor your prep. Make sure you understand the MMI format, timing, requirements, how it is scored, the different types of stations, and what you need to prepare for the different stations.

As it gets closer to the date and you actually receive the interview invite, remember to reply to your interview invitation as early as possible to confirm your attendance and book your slot. Make a note of your date, timing, interview format (i.e., virtual vs in-person) and location, so you can prepare for the travel and other requirements in advance.

Step #2: Gather Your Resources

Next, figure out how you are going to prepare for the MMI. You can start by gathering basic resources such as guidebooks and webinars, as well as useful blogs and videos. Next and most crucially, you need to find resources to help you develop expert strategies to answer questions. You also need to get access to practice questions based on previous MMIs and realistic mock MMI simulations. You might also want to analyze your skills and consider if you could benefit from the services of expert MMI interview consultants who can provide customized feedback for your mock interviews.

Step #3: Practice your answers

Practice is key to excelling in your professional school interview. It’s like riding a bike! Though it may be awkward and difficult at the beginning, with enough practice, you can sufficiently improve your interview skills. You should practice answering frequently asked MMI questions and how to interact at various MMI stations. Review different types of MMI questions and sample expert answers to understand the scope of what you’re facing.

However, do keep in mind that while practice is important, how you practice is equally important. Perhaps you have heard of the saying “practice makes perfect.” In actuality, practice makes permanent, and only PERFECT practice makes perfect. So, if you continue to practice the WRONG way, then you will permanently perform the task in the incorrect manner, no matter what that task may be. That’s why it’s important to do your MMI prep the right way, so that you build effective interview skills that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Check out our MMI tips, sample questions and detailed answers to learn more about MMI questions and how to answer them.

Step #4: Develop Strategies for Different Types of MMI Questions

You MUST, and I repeat, you MUST have a strategy and a plan of action when encountering MMI interview questions. Different types of multiple mini interview questions will demand different answer strategies. Of course, you cannot predict what scenarios or policies the interviewers will ask you to consider, or what kind of personal questions you might be asked. To know how to approach each question category, you must have specific strategies.

Having answer strategies for each question type guarantees that when you read any given prompt you will identify the question type, structure your answer accordingly, keep your cool, and walk into that room knowing exactly what you’re going to say. To accomplish this, as you practice different types of questions, make sure you develop distinct strategies to tackle them that you can easily recall and implement during the interview.

Later in this blog, we provide a detailed breakdown of the different types of MMI questions, how to prepare for them, and strategies to help you answer them.

Step #5: Use Realistic MMI Mock Simulations

For best results, you should use realistic MMI mock simulations to prepare for your interview. The more realistic simulations you do, the more comfortable you will get with the format and interview requirements. This is also a key strategy to help you develop confidence in your skills and master those interview day nerves. Staying cool, calm, and collected is critical to achieving an excellent MMI interview performance.

Step #6: Seek Expert Help

MMI sample questions and simulations used for preparation purposes are not as effective without proper professional feedback from an expert. This is especially important if you identify communication skills as a key area of improvement for you. It’s difficult to improve your performance without someone who can identify your strengths and weakness and give you appropriate feedback on your performance – this is not something we can easily do for ourselves!

This is true whether you are an athlete, a student, or a medical candidate about to perform an interview. Professional guidance and feedback are important in helping you formulate appropriate responses and make changes to your interview behavior. Theoretical study of concepts isn’t enough for any interview prep, and even more so for a situational judgement test such as the MMI. You can certainly start by reviewing MMI questions and answers, but internalizing strategies is impossible without expert feedback.

Step #7: Get Familiar with Professional and Medical Ethics

Getting yourself familiarized with professional ethics and specifically, medical, dental, and pharmacy ethics. Although the interview is designed to test qualities and characteristics that should have been developed within you over time, based on your life experiences, being aware of ideas important in professional ethics will certainly help. Many questions present specific ethical dilemmas and your response to them should center the ethics most important for your chosen field of study.

Some excellent resources for medical candidates are the AAMC Core Competencies, the CanMEDS framework, MedlinePlus. These should help you understand the key soft skills and qualities that admissions committees look for in future doctors. These are also the qualities you should be highlighting in yourself in your MMI interview.

For other professional candidates, it is worthwhile to review books such as the Textbook on Professional Ethics and Human Values, Meaningful Work: Rethinking Professional Ethics, Reason and Professional Ethics, and lastly Doing Right: A Practical Guide to Ethics for Medical Trainees and Physicians, by Philip C Hebert. This will help you gain a better idea of professional ethics and how to apply these ethics in various situations.

Step #8: Stay Informed About Current Issues and Policies

It’s critical that you stay informed about the key issues and policies related to your chosen field, especially legal, medical, and ethical debates. Many questions will specifically test your wider knowledge of these issues. To answer these policy-based questions, you will have to formulate a balanced opinion supported by facts.

Read newspapers and articles, watch debates on TV, and browse the internet, to find the key viewpoints surrounding these hot button issues. Make sure you read up about the pros and cons, benefits and disadvantages, of each viewpoint, and consider if you have an alternative solution of your own for this issue.

Step #9: Manage Your Stress

You must have a strategy to manage your stress. One of the biggest factors contributing to a poor interview performance is interview day nerves. The complicated, interactive, high-energy format of the MMI can be challenging and lead to additional stress as you’re expected to deal with one high-pressure situation after another. That’s why you should make sure you focus on developing strategies to manage stress. On your interview day, you should be calm and centered, ready to handle any tough questions or confusing stations that come your way.

Strategies for long-term stress management

  1. Practice with mock interviews and expert feedback. As we said before, mock interviews help you get comfortable with the interview format and avoid interview day nerves. Remember, to optimize your chances of success, it is best to have a professional assess and tell you how you are doing in your preparation. A medical school advisor will help you tackle the most difficult questions and give you expert feedback on what you do well and what you can improve in your answers.
  2. Take an advance tour of the school to which you have been invited for an MMI interview, so you can be at ease with your environment. While there, talk to current students and ask them for insight into the school, the program, and the interview process.
  3. If the program has optional activities planned for the day before or the day of your interview, take advantage of the opportunity to speak with staff, faculty, and students. Remember, as soon as you are on campus, you may be evaluated, indirectly or directly. Put your best foot forward – always be polite and friendly.
  4. Avoid unhealthy habits that contribute to chronic stress such as smoking, drinking, or binging on junk food.
  5. Take the time to relax with your family and friends and find some means of rejuvenation. Despite the hectic medical school application process, it’s important to stay engaged mentally and keep checking in on yourself.
  6. Do not forget to exercise and maintain a healthy diet.
  7. Try some form of regular meditation or at the very least, breathing exercises. The longer you do this, the easier it will be to rely on simple breathing exercises to calm you down during stressful situations – such as an MMI interview!

Strategies for short-term stress management

  1. The day before your exam go to bed early and eat healthy meals. Do not stay up cramming for your interview.
  2. Think positively as soon as you wake up.
  3. Arrive at your interview destination at least 30 mins early.
  4. Release neurotransmitters that pit you in a positive state of mind. For example, bite on a pencil or pen with your back molars for 3-5 minutes or sit back in a chair with your arms behind your head and feet up.
  5. Activate your parasympathetic nervous system and decrease your sympathetic nervous system by doing breathing exercises with prolonged exhalations.

Remember, the interview begins as soon as you step into campus grounds. Make sure you’re in a good mood and looking excited to be there. Don’t forget to be polite and pleasant with everyone you meet. When you meet other applicants, make sure you demonstrate your people skills and spirit of comradery. Do not let other applicants make you feel nervous or question yourself.

Are you interested in more tips to help you ace your MMI? Check out this infographic:

Different Types of MMI Questions

Scenario-Based Questions

What is it?

The most commonly encountered in any interview type, these questions describe a hypothetical situation in which you’re given a specific role. You then have to explain how you would react or respond to that scenario. The questions can be based on any real-life situation where you have to display your judgement and ethics.

Strategies to answer these questions:

To answer these questions, you need to be well-versed in the ethics and competencies related to your profession. Cultivate an “ethical” mindset by applying the moral and legal theories to everyday situations and analyzing the “right” solution.

Follow these steps to craft an impressive response to these questions -

  1. Make sure you read and re-read the scenario carefully.
  2. Identify the type of scenario you’ve encountered: for example, conflict of interest, ethical dilemma, informed consent, professional ethics, scope of practice, evidence-based practice, etc.
  3. Gather all the facts and evidence in a non-judgmental manner; avoid jumping to conclusions.
  4. Remain objective and don’t jump to any conclusions as you consider the scenario, even if the scenario is framed in a tricky or confusing way.
  5. Identify all the parties that are directly or indirectly involved in the scenario, for example, patients, physicians, bystanders, affected parties, etc.
  6. Identify the most pressing issue you have to address – what is the key problem or theme you have to “solve”? Is there a vulnerable person in involved? For medical professionals, patients’ needs always come first.
  7. Finally, choose the most rational, ethical, legal, and scientifically sound decision that causes the least amount of harm to all those involved in the scenario.

Check out this example of an ethical dilemma in an MMI interview:

 

Policy Questions

What is it?

These are questions that center around a specific policy or issue related to your field. It may be a direct question that asks you to discuss a specific policy or state your opinion about it, or it may be an indirect question where you are presented with some statistical information or a specific incident and asked to discuss the policy centered in that question. Policy questions could be about social or current events in your field, hot topic medical or legal issues, rural vs city practice, alternative medicine, education and curriculum, etc.

Strategies to answer these questions:

Previous preparation towards staying informed about medical issues, healthcare policies, and current affairs related to your field will really help you when you face such questions. These questions will require you to have some amount of previous knowledge of the policy being discussed, as it’s really hard to provide a well-informed, rational argument about policies without some additional reading and thinking on your part. As you’re reading up on these issues, make sure you consider a variety of viewpoints, and analyze every situation for the pros and cons, and consider the benefits and disadvantages of possible solutions. The more informed you are, the less likely you will be to be caught unawares by a difficult policy question.

When you’re answering this type of question, structure your answer as follows:

  1. Introduction: Begin with a general introduction that shows your awareness of the topic, the complexities surrounding the issue, and why this policy exists. Use your knowledge of current events to support your introduction and try and introduce the different perspectives related to this policy.
  2. Present different perspectives: As you discuss the different perspectives on the policy, discuss the pros and cons of each position, supported by facts.
  3. Present your opinion: This part of your answer should show your ability to analyze complex information and provide a balanced, considerate view. Make sure your answer is not extremist or judgmental, centering the key competencies to be a good medical professional, such as patient care, empathy, etc. If in doubt, always go for the most ethical, legal, and rational answer that favors the policy of “do no harm” and prioritizes patient rights. If possible, try and propose a unique solution to the problem, but make sure you provide a rational argument to support your proposal. 

Are you preparing for an MMI interview for medical school? Check out a quick recap to help you get ready:

 

Personal Questions

What is it?

These are the most commonly-asked interview questions, including why do you want to be a doctor, tell me about yourself, what is your greatest limitation, and more. Personal questions are designed to help the interviewer get to know you and your past experiences better. These questions are staples of traditional interviews and some MMI interviews may have a panel/traditional station where you are asked these types of questions.

Strategies to answer these questions:

Remember to take the time to review your own application thoroughly before your MMI interview and practice your answer to these commonly asked questions. That’s the best way to ensure you can deliver an eloquent, well-supported answer to personal questions.

  1. Provide context about your situation so that the interviewer has all the information they need to understand where you’re coming from.
  2. Include personal examples of experiences to support your answer. Don’t make vague claims and unsupported boasts – back it up with evidence, for example, talk about your achievements as evidence of your best strengths.
  3. Present the learning outcomes so that interviewers can clearly see your learning and growth journey. Interviewers always appreciate a positive “growth” mindset and will be impressed by your ability to contextualize and learn from your mistakes. If you face personal questions that ask you to focus on negative past experiences such as trauma, obstacles, and failures, keep this point in mind.
  4. If possible, connect your learnings to your future career, explaining how your past experiences shaped you and prepared you to excel in your chosen field. 

Check out some sample MMI questions with expert answers and analysis:

 

Quirky Questions

What is it?

These are all the strange, wacky, and creative questions you may face that don’t fit into any of the other categories. They are designed to throw you off base, so the interviewers can see how you react to the unexpected and whether you can adapt to challenging circumstances.

Strategies to answer these questions:

These questions are very hard to prepare for in advance, mainly because it’s hard to predict exactly what you’ll get. You can definitely familiarize yourself with past year quirky questions and practice answering them. Additionally, make sure you have a clear grasp on your best qualities, strengths, and skills that you want to identify in your interview to present yourself as an ideal candidate. Think of the experiences – academic, extracurricular, or personal – which illustrate these strengths. This can help you answer the creatively phrased quirky type questions which ask you to categorize yourself in a certain way.

Keep the following tips in mind when answering these questions:

  1. Don’t take your answer too seriously – in this case, your reasoning matters more than your actual answer. As long as you are able to present a logical, well-supported argument, there is no “wrong” answer to questions like “which animal would be and why” or “which type of shape do you think you are”.
  2. At the same time, don’t get too informal or casual – you’re still in an interview and should maintain the decorum appropriate to the situation.
  3. Try and connect your answer to the competencies related to your field of study, your reasons for choosing this field, your skills, best strengths, etc. 

Check out some more sample MMI questions with expert answers:

 

Acting Questions

What is it?

Acting stations are common in MMI interviews. At these stations, you receive a prompt that gives you the details of a specific situation and when you enter the room, you need to act like you would if that situation was real. Typical acting scenarios include delivering good or bad news to either patients or family and friends, resolving a conflict, providing comfort in a distressing situation, etc.

Strategies to answer these questions:

You will need to brush up on your acting skills for these types of questions. Practice delivering both good and bad news in a mirror, and try recording yourself as you practice your acting, to see how you could do better. You can also work on your acting skills by asking a friend to roleplay with you. It’s important to be confident and have your nerves under control when you approach these stations, so the stress management strategies we recommended above will really help you here.

Keep the following tips in mind for these types of questions:

  1. Acknowledge the feelings of the other actor and allow them to express their emotions before offering a solution.
  2. If you get a conflict resolution prompt involving aggressive or hostile actors, focus on staying calm, and providing the most humane and rational solution.
  3. React with the appropriate body language and simulated emotions for every situation. 

Here's a detailed video discussing MMI acting stations:

Writing Questions

What is it?

Occasionally, an MMI interview will also include a 10-minute unsupervised writing station where you have to provide a writing sample in response to a prompt (which could be any of the above question types). You’ll be provided a pen and paper or a computer to answer the question.

Strategies to answer these questions:

To prepare for these types of questions, you will need to work on your written communication skills. The work you put in towards your medical school personal statement and medical school secondary essays will help you here. Brush up on your notes and rough drafts from this period and practice your writing skills with common MMI writing prompts. Keep in mind the time restrictions and environment you’ll be in – unlike your personal statement, with MMI writing stations, you don’t have the luxury of completing many drafts over a long period of time. You’ll need to be adept at crafting a well-written response in a short period of time.

Keep the following tips in mind for these types of questions:

  1. Always begin by thoroughly understanding both the letter and spirit of the prompt and identify the main “theme” of your response according to that.
  2. Structure your response in a methodical way – include an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Use your introduction to establish your key theme or argument, use examples to illustrate your key theme in the main body, and conclude with a memorable takeaway to leave the reader wanting more.
  3. As you’re writing, ensure you use active voice, variate your sentence structures, sentence lengths, and phrases, and avoid using cliches.
  4. Allocate some time at the end to re-read and edit your response, check your spelling and grammar, etc.

Collaboration Questions

What is it?

This includes drawing or building stations where you have to either draw an image or build an object using Legos or other tools, based on the instructions from another student or the interviewer. You may also have to take on the role of the communicator, so the other student will draw or build based on your instructions. These questions test your problem-solving and communication skills.

Strategies to answer these questions:

First of all, don’t worry – you don’t need to become a Picasso or Frank Lloyd Wright overnight to excel at these stations! Focus on developing strong communication skills and strategies to succinctly and clearly communicate information. You can practice drawing/communicating with friends and family to develop these skills. With an organized approach, and the ability to transform one form of media to another, you can ace these questions without being an expert artist. Patience is key here – interviewers will note your impatience and hostility so you must stay calm, positive, and focused, no matter how the situation progresses.

Complete the following steps to answer these types of questions:

  1. Orient the other person – do they have their tools (paper, pen, blocks, etc.) ready? Do they understand the task?
  2. Give a general overview of the image or object they need to draw or build.
  3. Use technical specifications to further describe the object, if possible – size in terms of inches/centimeters, location on a graph, and so on.
  4. Only once you’ve finished communicating, ask your partner to start drawing or building.
  5. After each instruction, pause and ask the other person if they understand your instructions and if they are still on the same page. This will ensure they draw or build more accurately and also demonstrates your patience and communication skills to the interviewers.

If you’re tasked with drawing or building, stay patient and calm, and listen closely to the other candidate’s instructions. If you can’t understand their instructions, try to tactfully suggest a better method of communication, such as using technical specifications to help you get oriented. Above all, be polite and communicative at all times.

Want to know more about how to ace the MMI collaboration station? Check out our video below:

FAQs

1. How can I prepare for the MMI?

The MMI format is not like any other interview structure. The best prep tactic is to use full-length mock MMIs and go over MMI questions. It’s best to practice with realistic simulations and get expert feedback. If you don’t get feedback from a medical school advisor, you will not know how to improve your interview taking strategies.

2. What kind of questions will I encounter during my MMI interview?

Most MMI questions will fall into the following categories:

  • Scenario
  • Policy
  • Personal
  • Quirky
  • Collaboration-based
  • Acting-based

Make sure to review our related blogs for details on each question type. Additionally, learn how to answer medical school policy interview questions and how to ace the MMI acting stations or scenarios. You can also review our blog on how to answer MMI interview follow up questions.

3. Do I really need to know the different question types?

Yes, there is really no way to prepare for all the possible questions that could come up in your interview. You need to know the different question types because you need to have a strategy that will allow you to approach any question that you will encounter. Having an answer strategy for every question type will allow you to formulate an effective answer no matter which prompt you receive.

4. Can I just read about the MMI online to get ready? Do I really need to practice with sample questions and simulations?

You must practice. Passive prep strategies will not work. It’s important to recreate the experience, so realistic simulations are key - they should be timed, replicate actual interview conditions and you should dress appropriately.

5. What kind of content should I review before my interview?

You should read up on some of the hottest topics in the field of medicine and healthcare. Familiarize yourself with current political, social, educational, and economic issues, as these can become the basis of policy questions. You should also familiarize yourself with the key professional ethics and competencies related to your field. Finally, make sure you review plenty of MMI questions and sample answers to get a better understanding of what you’re facing.

6. 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 you can provide that have a great influence on your chances of acceptance. If this were not the case, there would be no value to MMI testing.

7. Are there stations where I will need to counsel a simulated patient or demonstrate my medical knowledge in any way?

No, the MMI is not designed to test your expertise in the medical field. You might be asked to recreate a scenario in which a patient is involved, but you will be tested on your professional skills like compassion, empathy, ethical and moral values, etc.

8. How can I prepare for the MMI if I do not know what scenarios or policies to expect?

The key is to identify what type of question you are being asked and being able to apply an answering strategy to each question type. 

9. Should I use up all 8 minutes to answer a prompt? Wouldn’t it be better if my answer is longer?

No, length does not guarantee quality. 4 minutes should be plenty of time for you to present an appropriate answer in most cases. You should not talk for the entire 8 minutes that are provided to you. The interviewer may lose their interest if you speak for too long. Remember, within your designated time slot you must enter the room, greet the interviewer, respond to the prompt, leave time for follow-up questions and say goodbye. Your ability to articulate a quality answer in 4 minutes will not go unnoticed by the interviewer.

10. Do all programs include questions from these the six categories you listed? I heard that my school only uses acting questions in the MMI.

Although your program may have used strictly acting questions in their MMI last year, there are no guarantees that they will have the same system this year. It is best to be prepared for any possible type of question, so that you are not stressed encountering an unknown question type in your actual interview.

Sometimes, schools put out information about which specific stations they plan to use in their MMI interviews. Keep checking the admissions websites to confirm this, and make sure you’re viewing the latest data applicable to the current admissions cycle.

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

If you're wondering how long it takes to prepare for the MMI, you should note that ideally, you should have from 8 to 10 weeks.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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