MMI: how not to screw it up

srew up

 

The multiple mini interview is probably here to stay.

If you’re applying to medical school this year or in the near future, you’re bound to come across it.

Although the MMI format sounds even more terrifying than a regular interview, it actually can be tamed if you know what you are doing.

Our MMI guide lays all of that guidance before you, including the interview scoring sheets that are comonly used as well as recent MMI questions.

 

However, if all you need are some very useful tips for how not to completely screw up your MMI stations read on. The following five tips have been compiled after our discussions with experts and MMI interviewers!

 

1. Read the question twice

Every year a number of excellent students miss vital marks by failing to answer the question properly, or trying to answer a different question to the one being asked.

This sounds like a mistake that would only be made by a complete idiot but I can guarantee that some of the brightest students have missed the point of a simple question by misreading a key sentence or simply jumping in too quickly to answer a question they think they read.

If the question sounds very tricky, just read it again. The chances are you’ve missed the point, which is usually something very very simple and straightforward.

 

2. Do not ignore the cues given by the interviewer

Interviewers are by and large nice people. There are very few sadistic teachers in medical education and you’ll get to know them individually once you get in.

However, for the purposes of your interview, assume the interviewer is trying to help you.

If the interviewer says, “Are you sure about that?” Have another think about your answer.

Usually this is a free chance to change your answer so unless you are really pretty sure, take the opportunity to rethink your answer.

 

3. By ethics, we mean the standard ethical principles for a doctor in this country!

When asked if you’d lie to save a best friend from getting into trouble with some authority, the answer is NO!

A large number of applicants seem to think that this is an opportunity to prove what a loyal friend they are.

Now, it doesn’t matter what you might have done in real life, remember that the interview is scored upon your ethical judgment if you were a doctor. Try and put yourself into that mindset when answering such questions.

If you are an overseas student have a think about how expectations may differ for medical students or doctors here in the UK. Make sure you sound like you are ‘in tune’ with prevailing attitudes.

We are going to have a feature on basic ethics for premedical students just to cover some of these areas in more detail.

 

4. Practice keeping to time.

Plan your answer carefully to make sure you can get it all out within the allocated time.

We will not let you run over even if we want to as there is another candidate waiting to start the station as soon as you finish.

Make sure you get to all parts of the question. Covering one aspect perfectly and then failing to score on the other two aspects will still only get you a third of the marks, at best.

 

5. Forget the previous station

Every interviewer will describe witnessing candidates arriving to a station flustered and stressed after their previous station went badly. Unable to focus on the current station, they make silly mistakes, show poor judgement or simply fail to answer the question at all.

The simple rule is to forget that you fell off your chair in the previous interview station and focus on the current one.

This is difficult to do and therefore needs some practice. It’s worth thinking about this as it is also a common skill needed in medicine where you cannot let a stressful encounter with one patient colour your next consultation.

 

Remember, that the interviewer is probably on your side and is secretly willing you on. Most interviewers I know enjoy doing interviews and find it painful to see a young potential colleague screw it all up.

So please don’t.

 

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