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Different MMI interview systems between Australian medical schools

How the MMI differs between Australian medical schools

by , 11 July, 2021
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Updated 11th July 2021

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format is the most common interview format for medical school. It consists of several stations that candidates rotate between, with a different task to perform or a different series of questions to answer at each station. However, each medical school’s MMI is slightly different, in terms of the types of stations that you may encounter, the number of stations, and the amount of time at each station. As you could be offered an interview at any of your 6 GEMSAS preferences (plus USyd or Flinders), it’s worth familiarising yourself with the various incarnations of the MMI so you can prepare for the medical school interview

What types of stations can I expect on the MMI? 

 

GradReady GAMSAT Millennials Principal's ScholarshipsEthical scenarios

These stations present you with a scenario and ask you what you would do in that situation. The scenario may specify that you are a doctor, a medical student, or just yourself, and the situation can seem run-of-the-mill (e.g. a friend in need) or have a clinical flavour (e.g. a doctor/patient interaction). You are usually provided with an initial question followed up by a series of additional ones that ask you to look at the situation in a different way or alter the information provided. You can see an example below:

A friend has told you that she is pregnant and that she hasn’t told anyone else and will possibly seek a termination. One day in class she becomes unwell and your tutor asks you if she is pregnant. What do you respond?

i) What issues are involved in this situation?
ii) A paramedic attending to her asks you if she is pregnant, do you tell him?
iii) The girl’s mother calls you the day after the incident and asks if her daughter is pregnant, how do you answer?
iv) The girl has decided upon a termination, how do you respond to her?


It is important to remember in ethical scenario questions that there are no “right” or “wrong” decisions; what is important is that you can justify your decision making. Furthermore, you can rest assured that nobody is expecting you to know everything about medical ethics or medicolegal issues. Being able to draw on your present values and life experiences to come to a conclusion will be enough to satisfy your interviewers.
 

Motivation to study medicine

You know this one: why do you want to be a doctor? Try explaining that in 5 minutes while sounding genuine, informed, intelligent and motivated but not arrogant, naive, boring or flippant. You also need to be able to tackle tricky follow-up questions that generally aim to challenge stereotypes and test that you have actually thought a lot about this decision (while not sounding too rehearsed!). Some medical schools avoid directly asking why you want to be a doctor, as this question is too easy to predict, so they might ask other questions around the same theme, such as “What would you do if you were not able to get into medicine?” or “How do you plan to maintain a good work-life balance as a doctor?”


De-tech questions 

These are the stations that ask you to explain a scientific word or concept in lay terms - e.g. cell, nucleus. This is an important skill to develop as a doctor as doctors need to be able to explain complex diagnoses and treatment plans to patients.
 

Health knowledge

These stations are designed to test your understanding of (often complex) health issues in Australia. You are not expected to solve all of the nation’s problems, but you are expected to demonstrate insight into the issues, and this is impossible without some background knowledge.  So, start reading – theconversation.com is a great online resource that will help with this one. 
 
What are some of the biggest challenges in “Closing the Gap” in healthcare outcomes between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians?


Behavioural questions

Anyone who has gone for a job interview will be familiar with these questions, which address various personal qualities. They are best answered with the STAR technique (situation, task, action, response) so add this to your list of things to Google.

When was the last time you displayed leadership?




Practical tasks/puzzles

You either love these or hate them. The candidate is asked to give instructions to either the interviewer or another candidate (if it’s the latter, the roles are reversed so that this forms a two-part station) and have them complete a task (e.g. origami folding, rope tying, arranging blocks). It sounds easy but if you come across one of these stations unexpectedly it can be incredibly unnerving. Remember that actually solving the task is not the most important goal here, but rather demonstrating that you are able to communicate well and work together.
 

Group work

This one is an ANU special that precedes the MMI. Candidates are divided into groups and given a problem to solve (e.g. resource allocation, public policy proposal). So, ask your ANU friends (or find anyone who has done an assessment centre interview for a Big 4) and they will be a fountain of knowledge! As with practical tasks/puzzles, remember that you will be mostly assessed on your teamwork and communication abilities, not on your ability to complete the task.

MMI Multiple Mini Interview









 







So, anything goes, right?  The answer is – kind of.  It depends on where you expect to interview, as different medical schools have adopted different types of stations for their MMI.  That’s where this table comes in handy – it might look like a dog’s breakfast but all the important information is there so hopefully it points you in the right direction and gives you a better idea of medical school entry requirements and what to expect come interview season!