Everything You Need to Know to Ace the Multiple Mini Interview

multiple mini interview, mmi, mmi interview

Overview of what you are going to learn:

1. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #1: Learn the rationale behind the MMI

2. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #2: Understand the MMI format

3. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #3: Investigate how the MMI is evaluated

4. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #4: Explore the different types of MMI questions

5. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #5: Learn strategies for how to prepare for MMIs in advance and get expert feedback

6. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #6: Review MMI sample questions & expert responses

7. Conclusion  


Want to jump into your Multiple Mini Interview prep right away? Start practicing with our FREE 100 MMI practice questions


1. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #1: Learn the rationale behind the MMI

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 (though, it must be noted, the MMI is not used only for medical school – programs in veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and others have utilized the MMI). Created at McMaster University Medical School in the early 2000’s, the format of the Multiple Mini Interview has been standardized and is used by various schools around the world. 

Here's a brief video explaining the present and future of situational judgment tests (SJTs)!

If you have made it to the Multiple Mini Interview stage, it is because you have achieved solid academic accomplishments, put together a compelling application, scored well on the MCAT or other standardized test, performed well on a CASPer test, or some combination of these. So, congratulations on getting this far! But, the MMI is a significant hurdle, but getting through it simply requires understanding it, ensuring you’re practicing effectively, and getting expert feedback on your MMI prep.

2. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #2: Understand the MMI format

Multiple mini interviews can vary in length, but the fundamental components are the same. There are typically 6-12 interview “stations”, with a different interviewer at each. Prior to meeting with the interviewer, 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. Note that the prompts are often vague or have the potential to be interpreted in several different ways; this is completely intentional and is meant to determine how you will navigate such ambiguity.

After those 2 minutes are up, a buzzer will sound, and you will enter the interview space with the interviewer. At that point, you will have a limited amount of time to discuss your answer, generally anywhere from 4 to 8 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. 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.

3. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #3: Investigate how the MMI is evaluated

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. Each station is conducted and evaluated by an interviewer, who has been instructed to evaluate your communication skills, strength of argument, and 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 general 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.

Learn more about how the Multiple Mini Interview is scored:

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 what to wear to to a medical school interview. Check out this link for tips on how to prepare on your interview day.

Here is a video exploring a frequently-overlooked aspect of MMI performance evaluation -- your behavior in between stations:


4. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #4: Explore the different types of MMI questions

There are many different types of Multiple Mini Interview questions, including scenarios, policy questions, acting stations, collaborative or teamwork tasks, personal questions, and more. We’ve addressed the most common MMI question types elsewhere, so follow this link for a rundown of seven key types of Multiple Mini Interview questions.

Follow this link for more detailed information on collaborative Multiple Mini Interview stations.

Follow this link for more detailed information on Multiple Mini Interview policy stations.

Follow this link for more detailed information on Multiple Mini Interview medical role play examples.

Here's a detailed video discussing MMI acting stations:

Follow this link for MMI sample questions and answers.

Here's a video for dealing with MMI ethical dilemma scenarios:

5. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #5: Learn strategies for how to prepare for MMIs in advance and get expert feedback

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 your 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.

Here’s a video that discusses some of the most common MMI question types and some tips for addressing them:

Follow this link to see seven different Multiple Mini Interview Question types, with strategies and sample questions.

Our Definitive Guide to CASPer Test Prep also discusses scenario, policy, personal, and quirky type stations and strategies for each. Though the format is different, CASPer is essentially just a written MMI. It contains some of the same key question types, such as scenario, policy, and personal questions.

While the above sample MMI questions and expert responses are very useful, such Multiple Mini Interview prep is only effective if you have 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. 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.

6. Multiple Mini Interview prep tip #6: Review MMI sample questions & expert responses

Here are some sample Multiple Mini Interview questions with expert responses. We have several of these on our blog and on our YouTube channel, so be sure to check out the following links, as well:

Difficult Multiple Mini Interview Scenario Question and Expert Response

Multiple Mini Interview Sample Questions and Answers

You can also look for inspiration in the headlines and the world around you. Here’s an example of an ethical dilemma in the news:


Sample Multiple Mini 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?

Response: In this scenario, I am a physician at the end of a long shift at a walk-in clinic when Tina, a colleague and friend, asks if I can see her partner and prescribe them antibiotics. However, I still have patients waiting to see me and family commitments that require I leave the clinic on time. My main concern here is seeing my patients in a timely manner and addressing their health issues. I also need to be mindful that I keep my spouse aware of my timing, as I need to get home on time to look after our children. I also should acknowledge my friend’s request, as she is reaching out to me for help. 

First, I would need to gather some more information. I would need to clarify whether I can actually treat Tina’s partner or not. If they are both close friends, it may not be ethically right for me to treat them as patients. If it seems like I can treat my 3 waiting patients in a relatively efficient manner and then see Tina’s partner at the end of the day to assess his problem, I will do that and let Tina know that her partner can come see me. However, if it seems like my waiting patients need longer to be properly and fully assessed and I will have to leave for home immediately after their appointments, I have two options. First, I can check in with my spouse to see if there is any way I can be a little late coming home and they can wait at home with our children until I arrive, without interfering with their working shift. Failing that, I can offer Tina and her partner some alternatives for receiving care today or early the following day.

If there is no way that I can stay longer at my clinic and I need to get home to look after my children, then I cannot see Tina’s partner at the end of the day. I will let Tina know that, unfortunately, I am unable to help in this situation. I will fully explain why I cannot see her husband today and that I have patients whose health is important and who have been waiting to see me. I will speak to her non-confrontationally and gently to ensure she does not get upset. I will also proactively suggest other avenues for Tina to seek help, such as perhaps seeing an available colleague at my clinic or going to a walk-in clinic or urgent care. Under no circumstances would I not see one of the waiting patients and see Tina’s husband instead, as this would be unprofessional and I need to make sure my patients are looked after. 

I will proactively look into improving the scheduling system used at my clinic, perhaps by leaving a couple of empty slots for urgent patient concerns that come up during the day. I will also check in with Tina to see if her husband was able to get the help he needed. By prioritizing my patients’ well-being, as well as the need to be home on time to look after my children, as well as considering different ways to help Tina and her husband, I hope to effectively resolve this conflict.

Sample Multiple Mini 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.

Response: This prompt addresses a recent policy change in Canada, which allows parents the ability to take 18 months of employment insurance benefits (unemployment, in U.S. terms) following the birth of a child. In this policy, the most pressing issues are the well-being of the general population and the Canadian economy. There are several pros and cons to the policy:

Pros

  • Parents get to spend more time raising their children through important developmental milestones.
  • Allows both parents to take time off to spend with their children.
  • Fewer childcare expenses, as parents would not need to hire childcare, as children are not entering daycare until 18 months.
  • Encourages bonding and breastfeeding for longer periods, which have health benefits for both mother and child.
  • Greater work-life balance can improve employee productivity; returning to work early can actually result in distracted employees.

Cons

  • Productivity of business may be impaired as duties and roles are continuously shuffled.
  • It may reduce hiring, as small businesses may be unable to recover from an employee’s 18-month leave.
  • Although this longer leave may be offered, it may be "unofficially" expected that individuals return after 12 months. Employees may feel pressured to refrain from extending their leave.
  • Employers may be less likely to hire reproductive age workers, as they may be more likely to take up to 18 months off of work.
  • Households may have financial strain as they will have less money per month if they elect for the 18 vs. 12-month leave. The policy offers the same amount of employment insurance funds, these are just spread over a longer period of time.
  • Parents may take the 18-month leave and then not return to work. 

(At this point, you would give your own opinion on which “side” you think is most compelling, explaining your rationale. As well, if there are negatives or unresolved issues leftover, you’ll want to try to think creatively about how to address them effectively. For example, employers could be given additional governmental support to find temporary workers to fill the gaps of parental leave, providing more options to precarious workers who rely on temp positions, while also ensuring the business continues to function in the absence of the worker on parental leave. The most important thing is to demonstrate a mature, reflective response that centers the well-being of others – this is far more important than any specific "agree or disagree" response to the policy in the prompt.)

Sample Quirky Multiple Mini Interview Question and Expert Response:

Prompt: “If you could be any kitchen utensil, which would you be and why?”

Response: The prompt has asked me which kitchen utensil I would choose to be, if I had the option. This is an interesting question, which could be viewed from a number of different perspectives. We could consider versatility, precision, and durability, and likely many other qualities. With these qualities in mind, I think I would choose the standard chef’s knife. This is usually a knife that has a clean edge (i.e., not serrated), approximately 8 inches (20 cm) long, and about 1.5 inches wide. The blade itself is mostly straight, with a deep curve toward the tip, and it is most often made of steel. As well, the blade has clever indents which keep sliced food from sticking to it, allowing air to flow in between the blade and the object being sliced, meaning it was thoughtfully designed. If you ever watch cooking shows and see a chef quickly slicing, chopping, or mincing vegetables, you’ve likely seen a chef’s knife in action.

Chef’s knives are remarkably versatile and have many creative uses beyond what is intended. While they are superior for slicing, dicing, chopping, mincing and other standard kitchen moves, they can also be used in many novel ways. A quick “thwak” of the sharp side of the blade into an avocado pit will allow for easy extraction, and the dull side of the blade can be used for creating dents in difficult-to-open jars, breaking the seal and making opening the jar quite easy. The curve of the blade at the tip means that it can be used for hefty jobs, such as splitting open a large, stubborn squash, or delicate jobs, such as peeling fruits or decoratively carving radishes or strawberries. As well, the flat sides of the blade can be pressed into minced garlic to create garlic paste, and the dull side is said to be useful for cracking coconuts (though I’ve not been brave enough to try this myself!). If you need to open plastic or taped packaging, a chef’s knife is usually sharp and sturdy enough to do this with ease, and it can be used for similar trimming jobs around the house. It can even be used to slice through paper or cardboard, if needed. So long as it is kept sharpened, it can be used for many tasks.

In addition to its versatility, the chef’s knife is often precisely balanced during the manufacturing process, ensuring optimal comfort, balance, and precise control, so that any food preparation work can be done quickly, effectively, and safely. The precise balance is meant to allow the cook to very rapidly process foods that need to be broken down (sliced, diced, minced, etc.), and to do so safely, with a good grip, given that the blade itself is extremely sharp. The ease with which this knife is employed makes it superior to paring knives, steak knives, and other common utensils, and it is very easy to sharpen, as opposed to serrated blades.

Lastly, the chef’s knife is remarkably durable. Often made of folded steel, a good chef’s knife can last a person their entire lifetime. While not all blades are made this way – and those that are often come with hefty price tags – even mass produced, “stamped” blades will last for many years. This allows a person to become deeply familiar and comfortable with the blade, increasing their skill over time.

So, if I were a kitchen utensil, I’d be a chef’s knife. In particular, I appreciate how versatile the blade is, and the fact that it is adaptable for use in any number of contexts. The care that goes into the manufacturing of such knives results in a tool that is remarkably precise; although it is a rather large piece of kitchen equipment, its range of usefulness is extended on the sheer basis of its precision and balance. I also like the fact that it is a remarkably durable tool, capable of lasting a person’s entire lifetime.

These qualities – versatility, precision, and durability – can also translate into the context of medicine. As physicians, we will certainly specialize in particular sub-disciplines, but we must be able to constantly adapt to new circumstances and new contexts. The flow of work differs greatly, for example, between rotations in a hospital setting and in private offices or clinics. Oftentimes, physicians must work in multiple contexts, and thus must adapt day-by-day to these very different areas of practice. As well, with meticulous note-taking and reviews of complex medical histories as an everyday part of the job, precision is fundamental in ensuring optimal patient care, where nothing is missed or overlooked. Finally, such shifting contexts and need for constant vigilance can easily lead to burnout, if a physician is not practicing appropriate self-care and building up their durability. This is a difficult and demanding (though also rewarding) profession, and the ability to shoulder that stress, to compartmentalize personal issues with which we may be struggling, and to keep our own well-being in mind as a priority, are all necessary to build up our own durability, which in turn will ensure optimal patient care, and thus optimal patient outcomes.

Sample Multiple Mini 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.

Response: The prompt has asked me to reflect on a quote, which reads, “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” On an initial reading, the quote is perplexing, since it begins by talking about “humanity”, but then goes on to complicate that very notion, by speaking of something necessary for that human essence to become actualized. Upon reflection, this quote seems to invoke the fundamental question, “What does it mean to be human?”

I’d like to talk about each half of the statement separately, and then consider them together. First, “my humanity is bound up in yours”: I remember taking an undergraduate elective course called, “Language, Symbols, Self,” which explored the ways in which our perceptions of reality, the world, ourselves and each other are shaped by the language we use. That is, it looked at how language and communication influence who we are and how we engage the world around us. A key idea was the notion of “intersubjectivity” – the idea that both “subjectivity” and “objectivity” are insufficient concepts: over-emphasis on subjectivity suggests that we exist as isolated entities and that our ideas are wholly our own, and over-emphasis on objectivity suggests that we can wholly disconnect from our shared world and the contexts and experiences that shape our beliefs, ideals, and worldviews. Rather, because we are intensely social creatures, we learn about the world largely through others (parents, family, school, social groups, politics, etc.), and this learning takes place through various kinds of communication (verbal language, body language, popular symbols or social norms, expressions of approval or disapproval, etc.). As such, we all shape and are shaped by one another in meaningful ways – no one’s ideas form in a vacuum, disconnected from all others, and no one can wholly detach from their experiences to form a truly objective, detached perspective. We rely on each other to make meaning, so in that way, our “humanity” (how we see ourselves, how we see each other, and how we see these as related to one another) is “bound up” in the humanity of others.

Next, “for we can only be human together”. If our humanity is constructed in that exchange between ourselves and others, then to “be human” is to be socially connected to others. If we isolate ourselves and cut ourselves off from others, not only are we depriving ourselves of that shared, social experience, we are abandoning the human project altogether. “Humanity” becomes manifest in those very exchanges between oneself and others; without that intersubjectivity, we are starving a crucial part of our inner self. On the other hand, when we recognize this shared, mutual experience as a process or journey of becoming that we follow together with others, we enhance our own sense of humanity and that of others. We are – or become – “human together”.

That course, and this quote, remind me of the duty we have to one another. If we are, at least in part, responsible for the way others see the world, that is a heavy responsibility to bear, and one that should be approached with seriousness and consideration. As a physician, I will not only be responsible for helping my patients achieve the best possible health outcomes, I will also be a representative of the medical establishment. I will contribute to patients’ well-being (or, negatively, to their suffering, if I do not uphold best practices), and I will shape their understanding of their bodies, of the notion of “health” in general, and of the patient-physician relationship. Doctors are healers and educators, but they are also much more than that, in the wider public imagination. They represent a host of ethical ideals and are often viewed as authorities – one only needs to look at organizations like Doctors without Borders or the World Health Organization, or the statements of individual doctors on social media (for example, discussing the refugee crisis, treatment of asylum seekers, etc.) to see the ways in which physicians and other medical experts can contribute to and shape wider social and political conversations. We must be socially aware and socially conscious individuals, and take that responsibility seriously, as we think through our relationships with our patients and with the wider public discourse. Because of our role in patients’ lives, we can offer a unique perspective in the process of becoming “human together”.

7. Conclusion

With our help and our proven Multiple Mini Interview preparation programs, you’ll be able to put together mature, professional responses for any kind of MMI station. Along with our Multiple Mini Interview simulations and one-on-one expert feedback sessions, you can also check out our recently published book, BeMo's Ultimate Guide to Multiple Mini Interview: How to Increase Your MMI Score by 27% without Memorizing any Sample Questions, available here on Amazon.com and here on Amazon.ca!

How would you like us to help you ace your multiple mini interview?

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