With most universities opting for this format, the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) is commonly encountered come interview season time.
After working hard to maintain grades and getting through the UCAT relatively unscathed, the medical school interview is the last lofty hurdle to clear. That is why it’s so important to know what to expect in your MMI and what interviewers might expect from you.
As the name suggests, the MMI involves multiple stations with different interviewers, lasting anywhere up to ten minutes each.
In each station, you will be faced with a task, scenario or set of questions that will test for characteristics and abilities that the university values in a medical student and future doctor.
While exact questions differ between universities, here are five common interview station types and how you can ace them.
This station will often involve an ethical topic or scenario to address. This could range from talking about organ transplantation to discussing a situation where your friend asks you to keep a secret for them.
These stations can feel overwhelming as there might not be an immediately obvious answer. Take a deep breath and try to organise your thoughts.
The key to this station is realising that there can be multiple reasonable and “correct” answers. Focus instead on clearly communicating the thought process that leads you to your final answer. Assess the situation from both sides and show your understanding of potential consequences.
Being asked “Why do you want to be a doctor?” should not come as a surprise to you!
If you have never had to articulate your thoughts on this, sometimes the answer is not immediately clear.
It is helpful to sit down and think it through – what it is about the profession that appeals to you, past experiences that have contributed to this aspiration and your consideration of the challenges that might arise.
Having a conversation about this topic with a family member or friend can help you to organise your thoughts and then practise putting those thoughts into words.
Teamwork is a crucial and inescapable part of being a doctor. You could be asked to discuss the importance of teamwork, comparing working as an individual with teams and identifying the qualities that make a good or bad team member.
While you may be all for teamwork, this is another topic where you may not have explained your thoughts before.
When you are preparing for the interview, reflect on the teams you have been a part of, whether sporting, volunteering or group projects.
What was your role in the team? Were they examples of good or bad teamwork and why? How could it have been improved?
Practical examples are a great way to illustrate your point and show that you have thought about it.
Being able to think critically about and interpret complex scientific information is a skill that will be required for many years to come in a medical career.
In this station, you could be asked to discuss whether a study is valid or not, or explain scientific information and concepts in layman’s terms.
While all of this can sound intimidating, the skills involved are similar to those assessed by the Verbal Reasoning section of the UCAT. Ideally, your hard work preparing for UCAT will stand you in good stead.
When first approaching these stations, it is important to get the big picture idea of the information first. Take your time reading through it once to understand it generally before going back to identify specific points.
This station type assesses your knowledge and insight into public health issues affecting Australia. Topics could range from the obesity epidemic to an ageing population or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequalities.
By no means do you need to be an expert. Providing an opinion or reasons why an issue has arisen can generally be drawn from background knowledge of the topic and some common sense.
You can build that background knowledge by taking an interest in the news, particularly for any health-related stories. The earlier you start, the more you’ll learn with very minimal effort!