By: Jason Lee
UC San Diego School of Medicine
The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format is becoming more and more common, with some schools embracing the format completely, while others are transitioning to a hybrid traditional and MMI format.
Chances are likely you will encounter MMI at some, if not all, of the medical schools that grant you an interview this application season. To succeed at an interview format that gives applicants a considerable amount of anxiety, follow these general guiding principles.
Before the interview:
Become familiar with the MMI format at the institution where you will be interviewing. For example, UCSD has 8 stations, with 2 minutes preparation with scratch paper outside the room, followed by 8 minutes inside the room.
In addition, research features of the medical school that make it unique. Does the school run a free clinic? Are there opportunities for early or longitudinal clinical exposure? Is there a mentorship program between students of different class levels or between students and faculty?
Create a “issue bank” for each of the different ethical or professional issues that will arise. Most of the MMI prompts will require you to address a minimum of three of the following considerations: patients’ autonomy and support for their decision, confidentiality, education, health inequity, conflict resolution, empathy and mutual understanding between you and patient or colleague, integrative medicine (e.g. acupuncture), interprofessional teamwork, and parents’ responsibility over minors’ care decisions.
Assemble a “solutions toolkit” you can use to discuss each topic. You should have one personal example each of: a tough work environment with difficult colleagues or management, leadership of a team or a project, and clinical experiences (especially a patient that you have worked with). In addition, draw upon any literature that you have read as well as unique features of the school.
Prepare a script summarizing the prompt in less than 30 seconds that you will use for all questions. Example: “I had a chance to read the prompt in which _____ is going on. As I understand it, I am supposed to discuss what I would do in that situation.” This summary will allow the interviewer to confirm that you fully understand the prompt and what specific questions you are to answer. I have heard of many cases in which the interview corrects the applicant before allowing him or her to continue!
Use the issue bank and solutions toolkit to practice on sample MMI questions, readily found online.
Find out in our next article how to best perform on the day of the MMI process!