How to CRUSH the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

How to CRUSH the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

A lot of premed students freak out about the MMI (multiple mini interviews) because it’s a newer type of med school interview. It was invented in Canada, and it’s spreading across the U.S. because it helps medical schools evaluate students in a better way. Find out what to expect and how to prepare for this kind of interview.

[00:49] Traditional Interview vs. MMI

In a traditional interview, the setup is usually one student and one interviewer. And there would usually be two interviews, meaning there are two people interviewing you separately. If you do not connect with one of those interviewers, that’s 50% of your interview day and it’s out the window.

If you think about it, the MMI actually helps YOU, as the applicant. The MMI allows the medical school to see you and evaluate you in more contexts, interacting with multiple people in these various stations. So it’s less likely that the school will get a skewed picture of you based on one bad moment.

You can mess up an MMI station and still overcome it with the other stations. If you mess up one of those stations, guess what, you still have several other stations to hopefully perform well to overcome that one bad station.

“In a multiple mini-interview, you have usually six to 10 stations where you will have the opportunity to perform at your best.”Click To Tweet

[01:40] The MMI Stations and Scenarios

In multiple mini interviews, you typically will be placed outside of a room or a station as they’re known. You will then be given typically two minutes to read a scenario written in a folder or taped on the door, wherever that is.

“You have two minutes to read the scenario and come up with your plan of action.” Click To Tweet

What you read in that scenario could lead you down many different paths. Some medical schools are doing a mix of actors and interviewing. Some schools are doing all actor-based stations. They will have you playing a role with an actor who is playing an upset patient. Or there could be a patient in the room who’s been screaming, enter the room and calm the patient down.

Usually, in those cases, there’s going to be someone else in the room or potentially someone watching through a camera that is going to be scoring you and grading your interaction.

Some stations may have you just discussing an issue with an interviewer, or even answering a traditional medical school interview question. So it’s really not a scenario, but just a basic interview question like “Tell me about yourself” or why you want to be a doctor.

But you can go in prepared for whatever they throw at you and still have fun with it, too.

[03:07] Every Medical School is Different

“Every medical school does the MMI a little differently.” Click To Tweet

Medical schools do their MMIs differently. Some medical schools are doing all stations and all actor-based. Some medical schools are doing a mix of actor and interview-based or writing stations. Other medical schools are doing a little bit of MMI with a little bit of traditional.

The school sometimes will tell you and sometimes they won’t tell you what that MMI day will look like, but you’ll find out on your day.

There can also be team-based stations in the MMI, where you communicate with a teammate about a task.

For example, you might be given an already-assembled LEGO car, and your teammate just has a pile of LEGOs. And you two have to work together as a team to communicate to try to replicate the Lego car from the Lego bricks. It sounds weird and challenging, but it really goes down to communication. 

[04:26] Communication is Key

Again, the MMI is about communication. So get into the habit of “thinking out loud” to communicate your thought process and your decision-making.

My best advice is to go into your scenarios communicating your thoughts. Talk about what you are thinking about. It may sound weird to walk into a room and think out loud your thought process behind why you’re going to do something or not going to do something.

But understand that the more you can communicate your thought process, the more you can talk about your decision-making. It’s not necessarily what you are doing, but why you are doing it. And that’s important. It’s going to help you through the MMI process.

The MMI isn’t just about what you’re doing. It’s about why you’re doing it. So let the interviewers know your thought process as you work through these stations.

“At the end of the day, the MMI just like a traditional interview is all about communication.” Click To Tweet

And if you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t worry about that. Nobody knows the answers to all of these hard situations. You’re just a premed student. So you’re not going to know and the medical schools don’t expect you to know. Just go in and have fun and think through it.

[05:49] Tip for Actor-Based Scenarios

Now, there’s one more really important tip to keep in mind for actor-based MMI stations: You need to LISTEN. If you’re walking into a room with an upset patient, you need to talk to them, ask questions, and figure out what the problem is.

Let’s say the scenario is a patient is upset. If you have a friend who is upset, what are you going to do? You’re not going to just lecture them based on whatever the scenario said, you’re going to talk to them, ask questions, and find out why they’re upset. You have to listen to their words, because a lot of times in those actor-based scenarios, there’s going to be something behind that scenario. It’s something that you’re not going to read about, but it’s there.

The directions on the door may not include all of the details that you need to solve their issue so ask questions. So understand. Have empathy and compassion. Treat it like real life. And if you can get the actor talking about that, then you have gone down the right path.

So, how do you prepare for the MMI if it’s just a bunch of games? Listen to The Premed Years episode 152, my interview with Dr. Rivera from NYU:​. In that episode, we both agreed:

“To prepare for the MMI, you just have to understand what it is. So don't stress yourself out. Don't even try to foresee what's coming in every possible station.”Click To Tweet

Too many students are out there trying to go over every single scenario possible that they’re going to encounter. And that’s impossible. So don’t stress yourself out. Because when you get to your interview day, the first time you see a scenario that you haven’t prepared for, you’re going to spiral out of control. And you don’t want to do that.

[08:12] You Don’t Have to Speak the Entire Time

One last tip: For the most part, you don’t have to speak for the whole allotted time in each MMI station. A lot of scenarios are set-up for the interviewers to ask you additional questions if needed to fill the time.

“For the most part, you don't have to speak the whole time.”Click To Tweet

Answer questions efficiently and concisely—don’t just talk to fill the space. A lot of students think they have to fill up the whole six or eight minutes, whatever it is inside the station. You don’t have to do that.

A lot of MMI scenarios are set up to where the interviewer will ask you follow-up questions. Now there are some schools where the interviewers don’t ask you that and they’re told to just sit there like a rock and not interact with you. And that is what it is.

But make sure that you are not talking too much just to fill-up the whole time because that’s what you think you have to do. Answer the question in an efficient way without repeating yourself over and over again. 

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MedEd Media

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview