Your interview is the next and hopefully final step in your journey to medical school acceptance. Are you ready for it? Before prepping for your interview, you’ll need to know what type of interview you’ll be having. There are four main types of medical school interviews that you can expect at an allopathic med school:
- MMI (Multiple Mini Interview)
- PBL (Problem-Based Learning)
Traditional medical school interview
The traditional interview has been in use the longest and typically includes a one-on-one interview, lasting anywhere from 25 to 60 minutes. Traditional interviews can include more than one interviewer and more than one applicant, usually no more than three people on either side of the table – panel style. Some schools also have a group interview in which four or more students are interviewed by one or more faculty or medical students.
The interviews I refer to below as Traditional Plus (Trad +) include one or more traditional interviews as well as additional activities: writing exercises, patient-based situational interviews, standardized patient exercises, standardized interview formats, and group activities. These additional activities are different on each campus and will vary in length, requirements, and details. Some schools are using actual patients in the interview process who provide feedback on their interactions with you.
The multiple mini interview (MMI)
After the traditional interview, the multiple mini interview is the second most popular format. The MMI was first created in Canada to create a more unbiased and standardized way to assess applicants at the McMaster University Medical School. In an MMI, multiple people interact with and assess applicants, providing more reliable scores for applicants. It usually includes anywhere from 5 to 10 different stations that vary from 6 to 8 minutes in length at each station, and students have 1 to 2 minutes to think about a question or prompt before engaging in the activity. Not long after the first article was published about the MMI in 2004, it was being used in the U.S. UCLA David Geffen was one of the first medical schools in the U.S. to begin using the MMI method in 2007 and still continues to use it.
The hybrid med school interview
Some medical schools are using a combination of the traditional and MMI formats in creating a Hybrid interview. These interviews often include one or more traditional interviews along with a shorter version MMI – 5 or fewer stations.
The Hybrid Plus (Hybrid +) style interview includes these variations along with an additional activity, like situational judgement tests. Again, these will vary from school to school so be sure to collect as much information as you can about them if you are interviewing on a campus that uses them.
Problem-based learning interview (PBL)
One school, Carle Illinois, is taking a new approach in using PBL (problem-based learning) group activities. In this type of interview, a facilitator leads a group problem-solving session involving a patient case. It’s equally beneficial to students to participate in a PBL style interview since many medical schools integrate problem-based learning in their curriculums. Read this article to learn more about it.
If you are invited to interview at an allopathic medical school, you can expect to encounter any combination of these types of interviews.
Here is an overview of the different styles of interviews allopathic medical schools offer and the total number of schools that use them.
Types of medical school interviews
|Traditional||95 (Traditional +6)|
|Hybrid||11 (Hybrid +2)|
|Total number of schools||143|
|Total number of campuses||144|
As you can see, most schools (66%) still use a traditional interview format. The next most popular interview style, MMI, is offered at 26% of medical school campuses. Eight percent of schools have a hybrid interview, a combination of both traditional and MMI interviews. Only one campus relies solely on a PBL interview, a statistically insignificant number.
Below, you will find a complete list of all 143 allopathic medical schools (144 campuses) with the style of interview they offer. This data is based on the last known interview style used by each school as of March 2019. Since this information is subject to change, please double check the school website and/or call the school to confirm before an interview if the school does not provide this information to you in its interview invitation.
Interview styles at allopathic med schools
|School Name:||Interview Style:|
|California Northstate University||MMI|
|California University of Science and Medicine||MMI|
|Case Western Reserve||Traditional|
|Charles E. Schmidt||Traditional|
|Donald and Barbara Zucker, Hofstra||MMI|
|Frank H. Netter||Traditional|
|Joan C. Edwards||Traditional|
|Lewis Katz||Trad+ (3 writing activities)|
|Louisiana State in New Orleans||Traditional|
|Louisiana State in Shreveport||Traditional|
|Medical College of Georgia||MMI|
|Medical College of Wisconsin||Traditional|
|Medical University of South Carolina||Traditional|
|New York Medical College||MMI|
|New York University||MMI|
|Oregon Health and Science||MMI|
|Robert Larner, University of Vermont||MMI|
|Rush||Trad+ (group activity)|
|Rutgers New Jersey||Traditional|
|Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson||MMI|
|San Juan Bautista||Trad+ (patient-based situational interviews)|
|Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian||Traditional|
|State University of New York Downstate||Traditional|
|State University of New York Upstate||MMI|
|TCU and UNTHSC||MMI|
|The University of Toledo||MMI|
|The Warren Alpert MS||Traditional|
|Tulane||Trad+ (standardized patient exercise)|
|Universidad Central Del Caribe||MMI|
|University at Buffalo||Traditional|
|University of Alabama||MMI|
|University of Arizona||MMI|
|University of Arizona at Phoenix||MMI|
|University of Arkansas||Traditional|
|University of California at Davis||MMI|
|University of California at Irvine||MMI, Filmed|
|University of California at Los Angeles David Geffen||MMI|
|University of California at Riverside||MMI|
|University of California at San Diego||MMI|
|University of California at San Francisco||Traditional|
|University of Central Florida||Traditional|
|University of Chicago||Traditional|
|University of Cincinnati||MMI|
|University of Colorado||Hybrid|
|University of Connecticut||Traditional|
|University of Florida||Traditional|
|University of Hawaii||Traditional|
|University of Illinois||Traditional|
|University of Iowa||Traditional|
|University of Kansas||Traditional|
|University of Kentucky||Traditional|
|University of Louisville||Traditional|
|University of Maryland||Traditional|
|University of Massachusetts||MMI|
|University of Miami||Traditional|
|University of Michigan||Hybrid|
|University of Minnesota||Minneapolis - MMI
Duluth - Traditional
|University of Mississippi||MMI|
|University of Missouri, Kansas City||MMI|
|University of Missouri, Columbia SOM||Traditional|
|University of Nebraska||Traditional|
|University of Nevada, Las Vegas||Trad+ (standardized interview format)|
|University of Nevada, Reno||MMI|
|University of New Mexico||Traditional|
|University of North Carolina||Hybrid|
|University of North Dakota||Traditional|
|University of Oklahoma||Traditional|
|University of Pittsburgh||Traditional|
|University of Puerto Rico||Traditional|
|University of Rochester||Traditional|
|University of South Alabama||Traditional|
|University of South Carolina||Traditional|
|University of South Carolina, Greenville||Hybrid|
|University of South Florida||Hybrid|
|University of Tennessee||Traditional|
|University of Utah||Hybrid+ (situational judgement test)|
|University of Virginia||Traditional|
|University of Washington||Traditional|
|University of Wisconsin||Hybrid+ (small group situational exercise)|
|Washington University, St. Louis||Traditional|
Final tip: Know your medical school interview style!
To prepare for an interview, practice. Mock interviews can provide the best preparation, especially if they are similar in length, style and questions to the interview(s) you have scheduled. Many schools share detailed information about the interviews they offer on their websites. Learn as much as you can about their approach and use this information to inform your preparation.
If you have new information, please let us know by commenting on this post!
Do you need assistance in preparing for your interview? Check out our Medical School Interview Packages for the highest quality preparation and feedback for all interview styles.Want Alicia to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success, a free guide
• Do I Really Need a Mock Admissions Interview?, a short video
• Practicing for Your Med School Interview: Conversation 101