Since the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format can be difficult to prepare for, this post will give you four specific strategies for success.
There are four main types of stations: traditional interview questions, debate questions, collaborative activities, and fake scenarios with actors. To excel in this multi-faceted type of interview:
Before the Interview–Review your AMCAS Application.
To prepare for the traditional interview questions, reviewing your AMCAS application can help you remember all of the activities you have been involved in so that when you are asked a question about team work or meaningful clinical or volunteer experiences, you will be able to quickly recall the activities that would work best as examples. It’s easy for an interviewer to see if an applicant has not recently reviewed her AMCAS application or resume because she often uses the same job over and over again or forgets to represent the full range of her life experiences.
During the Interview:
1. Think out loud.
Remember that this interview format is all about thinking on your feet. When you are given a challenging situation, talk through it, whether it is a debate question, a team activity, or a fake scenario with an actor. Consider all possible options and solutions. Brainstorm. It takes time to come up with good ideas so don’t hesitate to throw out as many ideas as you can before you find the one that will work best for the situation at hand.
2. Ask questions.
Get curious. Often the best way to resolve an issue or to find a solution is to collect enough information to make an informed decision. Phrase your questions thoughtfully so that you will get the information that you need in the shortest amount of time possible. This strategy can be used for multiple stations. Often, finding out what the other person’s main objective or goal may be can provide a shortcut to a happy resolution and an A-1 answer.
3. Share your life experiences.
Empathy is defined by our ability to understand and feel what others are going through. Some of the most difficult stations at the MMI may involve actors who are expressing strong emotions—anger, grief, and fear. Rather than being overwhelmed by these emotions, sometimes giving in to them—empathizing—can be the best strategy. Sharing a story about a similar experience that you have had can help to calm a person down more quickly than dispensing advice. Think of a time when you have been in distress. What were the things that other people did to help you manage the situation?
Rather than viewing the other applicants interviewing with you as competitors, see them as your future classmates. You may have a lot to laugh about in the fall, if you survive the MMI experience together. While you can expect a challenging interview experience, with highs and lows, focus on doing your best. Hopefully the strategies above will make it easier for you to accomplish this goal and to earn an acceptance!
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.