Acing The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

By Lindsey February 23, 2022 BS/MD Admissions Consulting Interview Prep Medical School Admissions Consulting Press

During a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI), you will be participating in various short problem-based stations. Each station will typically last for 10 minutes, and many times there will be a series of six to ten interview stations. Sometimes the medical school will partition the auditorium into individual stations, whereas other times students will go into private classrooms to answer the prompts. You have two minutes to read the prompt beforehand and formulate your answer.

Each station might measure a different area, and the questions asked might be extremely narrow and focused in scope. Luckily, there is usually no right or wrong answer. During the interview, you must establish your position and defend it.

At each station, you will have to answer a different problem to solve, participate in a debate, or perhaps even participate in a team-building exercise. You are given two minutes to read the prompt, and it will not test your medical knowledge.

Instead, you are tested on how to navigate issues that anyone might encounter in their day-to-day life. In addition, you should have some general knowledge about issues that a medical doctor might encounter regarding patient confidentiality and cultural competence.

What The MMI Won’t Be Like

This is not a typical interview. You will not spend any time getting to know the interviewer. Instead, you will use the few minutes you have during each station answering the prompt fully.

Because the questions might be narrow in scope, you likely won’t be able to expand on your academics, research, or health care-related experiences unless it is relevant to the topic.

You also probably won’t have the chance to explain a lower-than-average grade in a class, test scores, or any other unpleasant aspect of your application.

You will also likely not be tested on your current knowledge of science or a medical procedure. The questions will not require to make a diagnosis, order a test, or prescribe treatment for a patient.

However, it is important to note that it is okay if you are unsure of the legalities in a particular state. For example, if you do not know what the parental consent laws for contraceptives are for a specific state, it is okay to ask if this relates to your question.

You are also never judged on your acting ability in the role-play scenarios.

The Logistics of an MMI

Each school will have a different structure for its MMI interview. While most medical schools will typically have between six to ten stations, it could vary. Some schools might also have you enter into an individual room for each station, or you might conduct the entirety of your MMI in a large arena that has been split into stations. Research your specific school to make sure you are well-versed in what to expect.

Example MMI format

  • Students will cycle through eight interview stations. 
  • Each station will last eight minutes in duration, with a two minute transition period. During the transition period, students will continue to the next station, read the question or scenario, and prepare their answers before entering the next interview room. 
  • Once you hear a signal, you will be required to stop talking at that particular station, and move onto the next one. 
  • Many times the scenario will be posted outside the interview station door. The applicant will lift the flap of paper, read the scenario, and at the end of the two minute transition period, enter into the interview review. 
  • You might be cut off mid-sentence or mid-thought when the audio signal goes off.
  • Your interview cycle might include one or more rest stations to give you a longer chance to recover and compose yourself before moving to the next station.
  • The whole interview will last between 30 minutes to two hours.
  • You also will likely not get any feedback at each station. Many of the interviewers have been instructed not to react to what you are saying, including verbal comments or non-verbal signals.

What Can I Expect At An MMI?

The students have already proven that they are academically qualified, so the MMI will never test specific knowledge on a particular subject. Instead, students are assessed on their ability to communicate and defend their personal opinions. There are no right answers for many of these scenarios, so the key is to define your position and then defend it. The interviewer can, and should, challenge the applicant on his ideas.

Unfortunately, there is no way you can pre-design answers for the majority of the MMI questions. However, what you can do is go through as many MMI prep questions as possible to better understand your own moral opinions, biases, and views on the major public issues.

Who Are The Evaluators?

Schools tend to use a variety of people to help run multiple mini interviews. You might meet:

  • Faculty, current students, and retired healthcare professionals
  • Professional staff members that work on campuses, including pre-health ad visors, student affairs professionals, etc
  • Community members who are interested in the college

Many times, the MMI is closed file. Meaning, the evaluators will likely know nothing more about you than your name. They are not judging you on your transcript or resume, but instead on your ability to communicate deeply about a topic.

What Does The MMI Test?

These are the qualities that the MMI evaluators are often looking for you to demonstrate: 

  • Critical thinking
  • Maturity
  • Leadership
  • Common sense
  • Perseverance
  • Self-confidence
  • Empathy
  • Ability to articulate in a clear, concise manner
  • Ability to understand and empathize with different perspectives or approaches
  • Cultural competency
  • Cooperates well with others
  • Good attitude
  • Ethical responsibility to others and self

The MMI format gives each candidate a chance to show how they would react in a variety of situations. The school can then get a better idea of the candidate’s suitability for the healthcare field, as well as how the candidate might perform as a doctor in a clinical setting.

Categories Of MMI Questions

  • Scenario-based: This is the most common, and it is when the interviewee is presented with a scenario and then must answer specific questions. 
  • Role-play situation: The student must interact with an actor while the interviewer observes the situation. 
  • Simple tasks: Two applicants will come together in this scenario; one student must perform a task with the second student guiding the first student. 
  • Traditional interview format: The applicant might be asked more basic questions about their own experiences and aspirations.

How To Prepare For The MMI

  • Understand how quickly, or how slowly, the time you spend at each station goes by.
  • Practice answering the questions within the time limit to develop your sense of time management better.  As you read the prompt, develop a mental outline that helps you to answer and analyze what the station is asking. As you read the scenario, analyze what you know and ask yourself questions to provide a more complete and well-thought-out answer. 
  • Work with a partner to role-play specific scenarios and talk about current healthcare issues.

MMI Tips

  • Stay calm. Interviewers want you to be as relaxed as possible so you can portray your character as accurately as possible. Try and take a deep breathe while reading the prompts, and remember, no one is out for you to fail. If you don’t answer one section as well as you might have hoped, it is okay because you have the next section to prove yourself.
  • Take your time to answer. It is better to take a few extra moments to put together a thoughtful response than to rush into an answer with cliched phrases that don’t say anything.
  • Show empathy. When you are at a station where you must interact with someone else, try to put yourselves in their shoes. Portray your intellectual adaptability and situation analysis skills. into an answer with cliched phrases that don’t say anything.
  • Don’t force a story. Not every station will have a parallel between the question and your life. Don’t try to tell a personal story in every station if it isn’t a good fit. Drawing a non-relevant parallel about an anecdote can weaken your case, and cause the interviewer to think you did not understand the prompt. You are not being judged by your experiences, but instead, your ability to think and communicate. However, if you have a story that is related to the situation, share the insight into your life and how you have reacted in similar scenarios. into an answer with cliched phrases that don’t say anything.
  • Practice! Without answering as many sample questions as possible, you might not know what to expect when you go to an MMI. If possible, get professional MMI prep coaching or someone who has the expertise to set up a mock interview with you.

Read more MMI tips in our article on Forbes, What Pre-Med Students Can Expect From The MMI Interview.