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MMI medical school interview preparation tips

MMI Interviews: How Can I Start Preparing?

by , 12 June, 2021
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I am no stranger to Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs), having done one to attain my place in medical school. Here, I will do my best to counsel you on how to prepare for the MMIs, which are the most popular form of interview throughout Australia’s medical schools. Although interviews are still a few months away, it is imperative you take your preparation for the MMI as seriously as you take studying for the GAMSAT. You’ve already worked so hard to achieve a good score in the GAMSAT as well as a good GPA—just one more major hurdle to go!

Interview offers are expected to be released in early September. Medical schools will generally conduct interviews later in September and early October, and you will only have one interview by schools of the GAMSAT Consortium. If you are still unaware of this group, the GAMSAT Consortium is a group of medical schools that participate in GEMSAS:
  • University of QLD
  • Griffith University
  • University of Melbourne
  • Deakin University
  • University of Notre Dame (Fremantle/Sydney)
  • University of WA
  • Australian National University
  • University of Wollongong
  • Macquarie University
Your interview score will be standardised for use by other schools if you are not successful in gaining an offer of a place at the school at which you had your interview. Note that, if you did not get into the school at which you had your interview, you will only be considered for universities that you ranked lower in your application (i.e. if you interviewed at your 3rd choice, you will only be considered for your 3rd through to 6th choice of medical schools). However, due to the large number of applicants in every location (medical schools typically take 1.5 – 2 times more students for interview than places available), it is sadly uncommon for students to get into a medical school different to the one they interviewed at, though certainly not impossible.

The MMI is a very challenging process, and is like a strange form of speed dating, and the MMI differs between Australian medical schools, so it's important to research the school where you'll be interviewing. During the MMI, you will rotate between different stations. At each station, you will be given a short amount of time to read a trigger on the door, which may include the theme of the station, the first question of the station, or a stimulus such as a photo. Following reading time, you will then have a certain amount of time to complete the activity at that station. The number of stations and the amount of time at each differs between medical schools, but usually there are between 5-10 stations, with 5-10 minutes at each (1-2 minutes’ reading time).
The topics that can be covered differ between medical schools, so you should read your interview offer letter carefully (as well as the university’s website) as these sources may contain important information about what to expect on the day. (Note that most if not all medical schools have required students to sign non-disclosure agreements, so you likely won’t get a lot of information from asking current students.) Because there is a bit of randomisation and uncertainty, it is vitally important that you adequately prepare for the MMI, with as much ferocity and rigour as you did when preparing your GAMSAT study plan.

In general, the MMI stations are meant to assess a candidate’s skill and proficiency in areas such as problem-solving, logical thinking, empathy, interpersonal skills, and ethical judgement. The types of stations that you may encounter will differ between universities (read your interview offer letter!). Some of the station types that have been used in different universities include: 
  • Standard question/answer stations, where the interviewer asks you questions and you answer them
  • Stimulus stations, where you are given a stimulus (e.g. a short video or photo) and you have to discuss your thoughts with the examiner
  • Teamwork stations, where you have to work with a partner to solve a problem (e.g. instructing a team of actors how to arrange a puzzle)
  • Acting stations, where you have to role play a given scenario (e.g. dealing with an actor pretending to be a patient who is angry that the waiting time was so long)

Research has demonstrated that the interview process is definitely something that you can practice and prepare for, and you need to tell yourself that it is just as vital to prepare for this step of the application process as it is for the GAMSAT. The following are my five best tips for MMI preparation:
  1. DO think about how much preparation time you can put in over the next few months – think about your current commitments, and where you can fit in preparation time. On the weekends? After work? The amount of preparation time will invariably depend on how confident you are as a public speaker, and whether you’re familiar with answering the type of questions you may be asked.
  2. DO look within yourself and ask whether you are a nervous public performer. Make sure to anticipate any other logistical challenges on the day, and you may also benefit from relaxation techniques that need to be learnt beforehand. It may also help to sit down with a friend or family member and have them ask you questions. Even if they aren’t MMI-style interview questions, it is still good practice in thinking on your feet and putting your thoughts into coherent sentences, and may help to build your confidence.
  3. DO research the medical school you are interviewing at. Like an actor, a candidate must know their audience very well, and mould their performance to suit the reactions and intricacies of this audience. For example, Wollongong University is typically focused on rural rotations, and so it would be intelligent to try to demonstrate your interest or experience in/with rural medicine. That being said, do be authentic. If you really aren’t interested in rural medicine (or whatever), rather than trying to fake an interest in it, it might be more prudent to find another area in which your values align with those of the university.
  4. DO be familiar with the area for the MMI as much as possible beforehand. Do a dry run if possible and consider the potential impact of traffic on the day (especially if you are in a morning session as this may coincide with peak hour traffic). If your interview is in another city, be sure to leave sufficient time to orient yourself.
  5. DO NOT pre-design your answers for the MMI questions. It will be a big mistake to try to remember a script for each anticipated question that you may get at the MMI. However, you still should be practising your responses to the range of questions that you could be asked. Prior to my own interview, I tried to find as many examples of medical school interview questions that I could get, and then I wrote down answers for each of them. This was simply a way of reflecting on my various experiences to answer the question, not as a memory device. Reflect on your own opinions, your ethics, your political opinions, your biases, and your views on the major issues facing the community today.
Best of luck with your MMI preparations! And if you need more expert help to ace the MMI Interviews, GradReady's InterviewReady Courses should be taken into consideration.