Getting Ready for MMI: Medical School Interview Tips

by Giulia Bankov December 17, 2020 9 min read

You have received an invitation to a multiple mini interview (MMI) and the last hurdle before the coveted spot in medical school is here. If you are unsure of how to start getting ready for your MMI, browse no further! We have outlined all the necessary steps to take, including plenty of medicine interview tips, to ensure you have thoroughly covered all bases and tackle that interview confident and well-prepared.

Get familiar with the MMI format


The first thing you need to do after receiving your invitation to an MMI interview is to find out the precise format it will have. Despite the general layout being fairly similar across the different universities that use MMIs in their interview process, each medical school does put its own little twist to the way they conduct their interviews. That can be seen in many different ways, whether it's a different number of stations, slightly different length of stations or a particular task that is unique to that exact university.

If you’re not prepared and don’t know what you should expect, even a small surprise has the potential to throw you off your game on this stressful day. So make sure you do your homework and are diligent about it, and thoroughly research the nitty-gritty details behind the med school’s MMI format, in order to be able to prepare accordingly.

Another very important point to emphasise, which has not been a matter of consideration for medical school applicants in previous years, is the layout that all medical school interviews are taking this year. With the COVID-19 pandemic still very much having a hold of our everyday life and social engagements, a decision has been made to conduct all medical school interviews for 2021 entry online. What this means for you is that you need to be prepared technically before the day of your interview to ensure that no silly mistakes get in the way of your performance.

The very first thing you want to note is the date and time of your interview. Remember, whilst all MMIs (and interviews in general) will be held online, not all MMIs will run in real-time. You might be invited to an asynchronous interview, where you will be given the interview questions and expected to record your answers, which you will then send or upload back for review. If that is the case, you need to note down any deadline that you are given to record your answers and ensure you send them back on time.

Another very important consideration to make beforehand is to find out the video chat software, as well as any other apps, the medical school will be expecting of you to have to connect on the day of the interview. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule about what programme each medical school is likely to use, though Zoom and Teams have been frequently mentioned by universities on their application process and interview information pages. As with all other minutiae surrounding the interview day, you will have to be meticulous in ironing out all the details and making sure that you have all relevant information at hand.

A good place to start your research would be from the invitation email you have received - the admissions team will often point out to you any details regarding their interview format in the invitation email that they deem important for you to be familiar with. This year that will include instructions about the type of software you will be required to use and how to set that up prior to your interview day.

Make sure to check out the medical school’s admission page as well, as there might be some further useful information on their interview station breakdown or at least what qualities they will be looking for. This can give you some insight into the type of stations you might encounter at your interview and the kind of questions you can anticipate them to ask.

If you are seeking further information, you can try talking to students from previous admission cycles and current medical students going to that university about their experience and the format of the interview they encountered. This can be a potentially useful resource, but always remember to take all unverified information with a pinch of salt, as universities can change their circuits year on year. Even more so this year, when a lot of universities will have to make changes to their standard interview processes to accommodate a virtual interview experience, this could likely mean that some circuits will be entirely different. It may even mean that previous universities known for conducting MMIs have now switched to panel-based questions to facilitate their setup.

Pre- and post-interview open days have unfortunately been impossible to set up this year for prospective students, but many medical schools have recognised this challenge and have set up virtual alternatives that are another fantastic opportunity to meet the faculty and students and find out more about the interview! If at the end you are still uncertain about logistical aspects of your interview or have further questions, the best thing you can do is to email the admissions office and ask them directly. They will be the best people to direct any queries to and will have all the information available.

Know the standard MMI question types to anticipate


Just like with panel interviews, there is no question bank or a sample MMI to review in order to prepare for an MMI interview. Interviewers can and will ask you a variety of different questions in order to assess your suitability comprehensively, some of which you will likely not have ever thought of before. This is to be expected, though, as this is one of the reasons medical schools have been consistently implementing MMIs as part of their admission process in the past several years. The different stations of an MMI interview gives admissions teams the opportunity to form a more organic interaction with the candidates, where students have had less of a chance to practice their answers to anticipated questions.

Nonetheless, there are some typical stations that you can be sure to encounter in at least one of your upcoming MMI interviews. Knowing how to approach and tackle these can be very useful in your preparation. Consider questions relating to your personal statement, which ask about particular qualities you have described that would make you suitable for a career in medicine, or perhaps a situation or work experience you listed, that they might want you to elaborate on. Also consider preparing for some more interactive special stations, such as picture or data interpretation. A significant part of your preparation for these needs to include reflecting on the significance of being able to perform these tasks well and the implications these skills have on being a good doctor.

Don’t forget everyone’s favourite, too - role plays. These don't necessarily have to be medically themed and can take any format possible, but will ultimately all be interested in the same qualities; namely, if you have sufficient communication skills, in which you can discuss issues in a sensible and comprehensive way, showing empathy and good listening skills. For further information on what important themes you should be prepared for when practicing for your MMI, make sure you read through the General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice. This document outlines the responsibilities and duties expected in the medical profession, from medical students, to junior doctors, all the way to senior level clinicians. It’s a fantastic starting point that sheds light into the values you will be expected to portray and consequently, what the focus of some of the interview questions might be.

Lastly, make sure you also have a read through our newly updated blog post 50 Medical School Interview Questions, which has compiled a list of commonly asked questions during medical school interviews. This can serve you as a good resource to use as a checklist to make sure you have familiarised yourself with the most likely questions to come up and help you plan beforehand what structure you might want to use for them and how you want to tackle those.

Important questions and tips to consider

How can you stand out during the medical school interview?

Undoubtedly one of the most important questions that worries medical school applicants is how to stand out and make sure that they make an impression during their interview. A lot of students are rightfully concerned about the types of questions or stations they might encounter on the day of their interview and spend a lot of time making sure they cover all bases and prepare accordingly. However, it is often overlooked that admissions officers assess you in a much more well-rounded manner than simply listening to your answers. Your body language, your tone of voice, your conversational abilities outside of answering questions and your demeanour throughout the entire interview will be subject to assessment. Being aware of these elements and implementing these skills in your preparation is a fantastic way to make a good impression and impress your interviewers.

What should you prepare for the medical school interview?

This year all interviews will be conducted online, but that doesn’t mean the level of preparation for the day should be any less. You still want to make sure you look professional, only this time this includes not only your attire and body language but also careful consideration about what you will portray when you turn your camera on. Is it possible to have the interview from a home or private office where you will be undisturbed? If you will take the interview from your bedroom, are you able to organise your setup in a way to ensure the background is professional and non-distracting? There are a lot of factors to consider when organising an online interview. Also, don’t forget to ensure that the device you’re planning on using is running smoothly and is fully charged on the day.

When are medicine interview offers sent?

This is a question that haunts many applicants but in reality, there is no single right answer to this. Many schools will have already emailed out their interview invites, whilst others are still in the process of shortlisting candidates. In fact, with interviews running entirely online this year, there is a lot less organisational demand on medical schools in terms of setup, so especially schools that are known to interview late into the spring season may not send out interview invites two, or even one week prior to the interview date. Another situation in which interview invites might not have been sent yet even with interview dates having already started is if your particular medical school has two interview seasons and sends out invites in batches. If in doubt, however, getting in touch with the admissions office will provide you with the most accurate and up to date information.

Practice an MMI circuit


Finally, there’s one more thing you can do to prepare for your upcoming interview and ensure you have a successful performance, and that is practice. And we don’t just mean practising delivering answers to questions that might come up. As you will soon see for yourself, performing well as a medical student does not only mean having knowledge, but also interpersonal and communication skills.

Think of it this way - in order to have received an interview invitation, you have clearly ticked off all the academic boxes that the medical school expects you to be able to cover in order to perform well academically in their syllabus. What’s left for them now is to conduct a brief conversation with you and make sure that you are able to hold a conversation and interact with others in an unfamiliar environment, as a lot of your time in medical school and later on in hospital will consist of just that. Yes, there will be tricky questions along the way that might require you to think outside of the box and show your problem-solving skills, but ultimately, it all comes down to what your thought process was and how you deliver your answer in that interview.

Therefore, this aspect of your performance on interview day carries significant weight to how you will be scored. When doing a mock MMI, consider aspects such as body language, tone of voice and eye contact. Delivering your answers in a calm and steady voice, controlled body movements and frequent eye contact with your interviewers will portray confidence in yourself and reassurance in the admissions committee that you are well-prepared.

As it is more fast-paced, interactive and creative, an MMI practice can prove to be slightly more challenging to organise than a traditional interview one. Luckily for you, we are running virtual practice MMI circuits with personalised feedback every weekend that will help your preparation and boost your confidence in your skills.

We hope this information was useful and you now feel comfortable knowing how to prepare for your upcoming MMI! We at theMSAG are dedicated to helping medical and dental school applicants achieve their full potential and supporting them along the way, which is why we have created further interview preparation resources that can help in your challenging endeavour. One such resource is our online interview self-study course, which is for everyone interested in strengthening their interview knowledge and performance. It includes 49 videos (~12 hours of viewing time) and 150+ practice interview questions with sample answers that can help you navigate your understanding of typical interview questions and assess your level of preparation.

Additional resources for your interview preparation