The MMI is the interview format favoured by most medical schools in the world today. All interviews are nerve-racking but the MMI can seem especially intimidating, with its time limits and lack of standard questions that you can rehearse responses to. However, while both of those aspects make this interview format challenging, the MMI is a very fair process that confers an important benefit on interviewees that is missing from the more traditional interviewing environments.
One Mistake Won’t Sink Your Med School Ship
A usual interview process sees the candidate evaluated by one or more interviewers all sitting together in a room, and it’s common knowledge that successful applicants are usually identified in the first few minutes of the interview, meaning that you’ve got one chance to make a good impression. And unfortunately, even if you do make a stunning first impression, any mistakes you make later on can ruin your chance of being offered a place in a school or a position with an employer.
This isn’t the case with the MMI because your interview is split into a series of mini interviews (as the name implies) each one conducted by a different person. So, you’ll get to deal with each question or scenario that’s put to you with a clean slate. Making a mistake in one room won’t colour the judgement of the interviewers in the other rooms.
So, switch your mindset away from the idea that the format is going to make your life more difficult and embrace the positive aspect of the MMI.
Conduct MMI Practice Sessions
Work with a friend or family member to run through practice sessions. You’ll need to recreate the MMI interview format which gives 2 minutes to read a scenario and formulate an initial response, and then 8 minutes to interact with an assessor. Have your friend use a timer so that you get used to the time constraint.
Sample scenarios can be found online, but you should ask your friend to search for them and print them out, so that you don’t get any advance prep time. Print each scenario on a single sheet of paper and when it’s time to practice, start the clock and read the first scenario. When your friend signals that it’s time, enter the room and make your presentation.
Set up your phone so that you can record a video of your session and deconstruct your performance afterward.
Build your practice up until you’re comfortable sustaining your focus for the full 2 hours that a typical MMI runs for.
Hone Your Focus
You won’t have the opportunity to drone on during your MMI. When your time is up in each room, it’s up, so you must develop the ability to quickly absorb information, apply critical thinking skills and formulate a response. And that response needs to be sharp and focused. Don’t build up to your point, make your point and then support your point as time allows.
Make sure that you listen to any new information that your assessor gives you, or any comments that you need to respond to. Listening skills are considered mission critical for medical careers so you will be evaluated on your ability in this area.
Wear a watch and keep track of the time during your practice sessions to help you learn how to pace your responses, and be sure to remember to wear it when you head into your real MMI.
The MMI is the final step on your road to medical school. You’ve already impressed the admissions board with your application and your academic achievements, what you have to do now is show that you can think on your feet, utilize strong critical thinking abilities, communicate well and remain calm and confident under pressure. Practice until you’re a pro at these skills and your MMI shouldn’t faze you one bit.