Preparing for MMI personal questions and answers is a great way to improve your chances of scoring high in a multiple mini interview. MMIs are used in dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, residency, and many other fields, along with premed. So, understanding what an MMI is and what it entails will enhance the likelihood of being selected by a medical school of your choice. An MMI prep book is one good source of information on MMIs, but the best way to prepare is to engage an MMI interview tutor, as they can provide direct and customized assistance with every section of an MMI.
As part of your practice, it’s important to be familiar with different MMI question types and prepare for potential answers in advance. This article presents five personal questions you might face, along with winning examples and strategies for how to answer.
>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<
Given the number of medical schools that use MMI, it is essential to prepare for this type of interview. MMIs consist of seven different types of questions, including scenario-based, policy-based, personal, acting, quirky, writing, and collaborative questions. In this article, we focus on the personal ones.
MMI Personal Questions and Answers
Question 1. Tell me about yourself
This is a common question in any medical interview, including MMIs. Interviews often start with this question because not only does it tell the interviewer about your background, academic journey, professional career, and motivations, but it also sets the tone for the rest of the interview. This makes the question “tell me about yourself” a very important one. You should start by sharing information on your background. Describe what motivated you to pursue your chosen field of medicine and what your aspirations are. Then, talk about your academic and professional experience. Make sure not to dive too deep into details about your academic or professional accomplishments. You will get follow-up questions to explain your candidacy in more detail. Wrap up by sharing your excitement about the opportunity to interview.
Want to know how to answer the hardest MMI questions? Watch this video:
Sample Answer: I grew up in a small town just outside of New York. I’m the youngest of four siblings and we grew up with our parents being our role models. I was very close to my oldest brother and treated him like one of my parents.
When I was 12, he went to boarding school, and I didn’t get to see him for two years. When he returned, he was in a wheelchair with casts on both his legs. The sight shocked me, but my parents quickly reassured me that my brother was going to be fine. Ever since then, I’ve been very interested in how bones heal.
I studied Osteology at St. Frank Abbot College, where I learned about the human body, focusing on how bones, joints, and tissues work and how they are rehabilitated. I also gained clinical experience working as a volunteer at our local hospital under the guidance of one of the surgeons. I learned a lot about the field of medicine and how a medical institution functions.
I want to further my knowledge and experience through your prestigious program, which will help me fulfill my desire to help people, treat physical injuries, and advance the field of medicine.
Question 2. Why do you want to be a doctor/physician/dentist/pharmacist, etc.?
This is another common question that can be asked in an MMI. You can prepare for it with some introspection. Think of your motivations for studying medicine, your first introduction to medicine, a particular experience that drove you toward medicine, and so on. Everyone has a different reason for wanting to become a doctor. Sharing personal experiences that motivated you to pursue medicine will add credibility to your goals and aspirations. This can also help the interviewer connect with you emotionally, but be sure to emphasize your desire to help others and advance the field of medicine.
You can also mention future goals and opportunities you want to pursue. Here, you can state things like wanting to work in a particular department of a prestigious hospital, carrying out advanced research, working to advance your chosen field of medicine, etc. Knowing how to answer the medical school personal statement and interview question: “why do you want to become a doctor?” can help you feel confident and impress the interviewer.
Sample Answer: I have always had a strong desire to make a difference in people’s lives and to help others. I had the opportunity to volunteer at a nearby hospital when I was 18 years old, and I saw firsthand how dedicated and caring the medical staff were as they treated patients. Moreover, my grandfather had a heart condition, so I had the chance to see, up close and personal, the beneficial effects that solid doctor–patient relationships can have on a person’s life. These experiences instilled in me the desire to become a competent and compassionate medical care provider.
A medical mission trip to a rural community in Mexico during my undergraduate studies also gave me the chance to witness the difficulties that people who live in underprivileged areas face when trying to access basic health care services. My desire to pursue a career in medicine to help those in need was strengthened by this experience.
I am excited about the idea of becoming a doctor because it will enable me to put my abilities and knowledge to use in changing people’s lives. Medicine is a field that is constantly evolving, and I am eager to keep learning and to stay abreast of the most recent procedures and innovations. I’m sure that my enthusiasm and commitment will help me succeed as a doctor, and I’m looking forward to the chance to contribute in a significant way to the medical community.
Question 3: What is your biggest weakness?
You may have already wondered, “How do I answer the interview question: ‘What is your greatest limitation?’ or ‘What’s your greatest weakness?’. Claiming that you don’t have any weaknesses or that your only weakness is that you are too hardworking (or something along these lines) is not the right move. Admitting to a weakness truthfully is something that the admissions committee will appreciate, as opposed to being scared or too proud. Make sure that the weakness that you present to the interviewer is not detrimental to your ability to study or practice medicine. The idea here is to present your response in a way that shows you have the desire to improve yourself.
Sample Answer: I used to find public speaking quite intimidating, and if I'm honest, I sometimes still do. I first realized this when I participated in a high school debate. During rehearsals and practice debates conducted in small rooms with a few people, I was very comfortable and could easily present my side of the argument. But on the final day, when the time came to get on stage, I just froze.
Since then, I have made an active effort to work on my public speaking skills. Soon after high school, I enrolled myself in a public speaking course, which I feel did wonders for me. It took some time, but I was able to build up my confidence, so I started taking every opportunity to speak in front of a crowd.
I remember vividly the moments before my biochemistry presentation back in college – the focus I had before getting up to speak. That’s when I knew that the years of training that I put myself through had worked. And I was proud of myself. I wouldn’t say that I’m the best at public speaking now, as I often still get anxious, but I have the determination to power through and trust myself.
Question 4: Why should we accept you / why do you deserve this spot?
This is yet another likely MMI personal question and one that you should be prepared for. The interviewers want to gauge your commitment and interest in the program. They want to see if your values align with the program’s mission and what you bring to the table. Do your research about the program and the school before you do your MMI so that you know what their values are, as this will help you frame your answer. Be specific about your most relevant skills, academic achievements, clinical experience, or research that align with the school’s offerings. For example, if you say you have leadership qualities, give a real-life example of when you showed your leadership skills.
Sample Answer: I grew up with five siblings who were heavily into sports and would spend most of their time outdoors while I spent my time watching cartoons at home. They used to be, and still are, quite rough with each other so we were no strangers to injuries while growing up. Having to rush them to our local clinic was a very frequent occurrence, and I soon realized that we needed more family physicians.
I guess that means I decided early on to specialize in family medicine! With this goal in mind, I have acquired clinical experience by working at a small clinic in my hometown. I got to learn a lot about community medicine as well as how the administrative processes work. This knowledge and experience are what I believe will help me excel in your program, which I consider to be perfect for me.
Your family medicine program offers a comprehensive curriculum that includes two months of community teaching, seminars, and workshops that I know will help me enhance my skills and add to my experience. With my background, clinical knowledge, and your academic guidance, I can achieve my goal of becoming a respected family physician.
Question 5: Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
This question may seem similar to “what is your biggest weakness,” but it needs somewhat of a different approach. You will have to tell a story of a time when you made a mistake or were at fault. The interviewer wants to know how well you can accept your mistakes and learn and grow from them. Be truthful in your response and make sure your story focuses on a character trait. If it was a genuine mistake, explain the context and talk about the consequences. Don’t make excuses but rather, talk about what you learned from the situation.
Sample Answer: During my graduation, as part of my internship at a local clinic in my hometown of Portsmouth, I was tasked with maintaining a record of medications in stock at the in-store pharmacy. Before locking up the pharmacy one evening, I was supposed to leave keys with the guard so that he could hand them over to the pharmacist the next morning, but I forgot.
The pharmacist was unable to open the store the next morning, which led to many patients waiting for their medications. Fortunately, they were able to find someone who could break the lock, as that was the quickest option at the time, and the patients didn’t have to wait for too long.
The next day at the clinic, I was confronted by my supervisor. I admitted my mistake and apologized for it. I think this is why she was so understanding in this situation and agreed that it was an honest mistake. After that, I put up a checklist at reception for tasks I needed to do every day to make sure I would not forget anything in the future. I learned a valuable lesson in staying organized and also realized the value of making task lists.
How do MMI Personal Questions Fit into the Interview?
The multiple mini interview (MMI) is a situational judgment test where candidates are presented with 8–12 stations, including 1 or 2 rest stations. With these interviews, different individuals can assess your reactions at each station. Aside from personal questions, there are six different types of multiple mini interview questions that can be asked.
Why Do MMIs Have Personal Questions?
The objective behind personal questions in an MMI is to let the interviewers know of your priorities, dedication to the field, and values, which will help them decide if they align with the program. Personal questions tell the interviewer more about you and your experiences, and how they have shaped you. These questions sound simple and straightforward, but they can be quite challenging when you start answering them. Moreover, they are key to your motivation to become a doctor, meaning that interviewers will be keen to hear how you answer. Therefore, it is essential to be prepared for these questions.
How to Answer MMI Personal Questions
As a candidate preparing for an interview, MMI personal questions and answers are something that you should practice over and over until you build the confidence to deliver strong and eloquent responses. Start by reviewing your own application to reaffirm your academic and professional journey in your mind. Select the most relevant points from your pool of personal information depending on the question.
Once you are in the interview, use these strategies to help you answer MMI personal questions:
- Listen to the question carefully and identify the key words that will help you tailor your response: “why,” “how,” “what,” “explain,” etc..
- Give the interviewer context about your situation so that they know your background.
- Be honest and don’t boast. Making unsupported claims that you are unable to back up can put your interview in jeopardy.
- You may be asked to talk about a weakness, mistake, a failure that you may have experienced, or a tough situation that you went through. Frame your answer to show what you learned from that experience, as the interviewer will appreciate your ability to accept your mistakes and grow from them.
- Try to link what you have learned from your past experiences to what you aim to achieve in your career.
These strategies are common across premed, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, residency, and other fields that require MMIs.
1. What are the types of questions that are asked in an MMI?
There are seven types of questions that are presented in an MMI. These include scenario-based questions, policy questions, personal, acting, quirky, writing, and collaborative questions.
2. Do I really need to prepare for MMI personal questions?
While the personal questions in an MMI may seem straightforward and easy to answer, there are times when you may stumble or forget to mention an important fact. It is best to be prepared for personal MMI questions by reviewing your own application, practicing answering sample personal questions, or even hiring a tutor.
3. What is the structure of an MMI?
An MMI is comprised of 8—12 stations, including 1 or 2 rest stations. Each station typically lasts 8 minutes. You are typically given a prompt and about 1 to 2 minutes to formulate your response. Then, you have to enter a room where you will have 4 to 8 minutes to present your response.
4. How long does preparation for MMI take?
You should ideally have 8 to 10 weeks to prepare, so book your MMI accordingly. If you are wondering how to prepare for your multiple mini interview, we can help you every step of the way.
5. What are some other personal MMI questions that I can prepare for?
Some of the other personal questions that you can expect include:
- Describe a time when you worked as part of a highly diverse team.
- Why is lifelong learning important for a professional in your field?
- When you become a professional in your chosen field, would you ever refer a colleague to a disciplinary hearing if you were sure they were acting unethically?
- Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge.
6. What can I read up on before my interview?
Familiarize yourself with current political, social, educational, and economic issues, as these can become the basis of policy questions. Make sure you go through your own academic and professional journey. You should also familiarize yourself with the key professional ethics and competencies related to your field. Additionally, you can review sample MMI questions and answers to get a better understanding of the interview.
7. Do MMIs have right or wrong answers?
It is a common myth that MMIs don’t have right or wrong answers. There are appropriate answers that can positively affect your chances as well as inappropriate answers that will hurt your chances of success.
8. Why do MMIs include personal questions?
Personal questions in an MMI let the interviewers know of your priorities, dedication to the field, and values. They need to know if the candidate aligns with their program’s mission. Personal questions tell the interviewer more about you and your experiences, and how they have shaped you. They can be quite challenging when you start answering them, so it is ideal to be well prepared.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!