About the Multiple Mini Interview
Many Canadian medical schools use Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI), as well as some medical schools in the U.S. and overseas. Other programs (such as Dentistry, Optometry, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, and Pharmacy schools) also use MMI as their interview format for evaluating candidates.
Generally speaking, an MMI is an interview format where each applicant attends numerous short interviews (‘stations’), each of which is conducted by different evaluators. Some of the short interviews may involve role-play situations where you are directed to act a part in a given situation (e.g., you are the doctor). Other stations may provide some information on a topic and after receiving a prompt, you are given a question(s) to answer.
With the use of multiple stations, schools can reduce interviewer bias by using multiple evaluators to assess candidates, and mitigate the risk of uncharacteristically strong or weak performances. In addition, the use of multiple stations is also conducive to testing on a wide range of topics and skill sets, from logical thinking to cultural sensitivity.
The Use of Stations
The MMI is a completely different means of evaluation than other assessment techniques. The MMI consists of a series of short, structured interview stations (usually between 8-10 stations) used to assess non-cognitive qualities including cultural sensitivity, maturity, teamwork, empathy, reliability and communication skills. Prior to the start of each rotation, candidates receive a question/scenario and have a short period of time (typically 2 minutes) to prepare an answer.
After a signal, the student enters the interview room and approaches the evaluator or actor to deliver his/her answer. The time limit for this short exchange with the interviewer/assessor is usually between 5-8 minutes. In some cases, the interviewer observes while the interaction takes place between an actor and the candidate. Some scenarios require dialogue, others necessitate a more didactic monologue.
This process is then repeated several times. In contrast to the panel interview format, interviewers usually have no knowledge of a candidate’s background prior to their interaction.
At the end of each MMI station, the interviewer evaluates the candidate’s performance while the applicant moves to the next station. This pattern is repeated through a number of rotations. The duration of the entire interview is usually about two hours.
Generally, the situational questions posed in a MMI touch on the following areas:
(1) Ethical Decision Making;
(2) Critical Thinking;
(3) Communication Skills; and
(4) Contemporary Healthcare Issues.
Although participants must relate to the scenario posed at each station, it is important to note that the MMI is not intended to test specific knowledge in the field of medicine. Instead, the interviewers evaluate each candidate’s thought process and ability to think on his/her feet. As such, there are no right or wrong answers to the questions posed in a MMI, but each applicant should consider the question from a variety of perspectives. The goal is to produce clear, persuasive and authentic answers to impress your audience.
MMI: Sample Question
Instructions: Take 2 minutes to read the question below and collect your thoughts. Following the 2 minute period, give yourself 8 minutes to orally answer the question.
An acknowledged goal of a government-funded medical system is to achieve the 3 qualities of: (1) expedient service, (2) comprehensive service and (3) free service. Under economic pressure, if the government makes cuts to the healthcare system, which of these principles (or which combination of principles) would you sacrifice/diminish in order to maintain the solvency of government-funded healthcare? To what point do you think we should increase taxation in order to contribute to healthcare?