I often get asked questions about how I succeeded at my McMaster MMI medical school interview. Here are some of the common questions that I get asked, along with my thoughts:
How did you prepare for your McMaster MMI?
I employed a variety of techniques to prepare for McMaster’s Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). I first read as much as possible about the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine so I could confidently explain why I was suited for this school and how I could best contribute to the class, if granted acceptance.
I familiarized myself with the MMI process and score sheet by reading the “Manual for Interviewers,” provided on the admissions website. Doing Right by Philip Hebert was definitely a helpful primer on medical ethical issues, though I found it helpful to go further by contemplating ethical issues – medical and non-medical – in the news and considering how I would approach these dilemmas.
The most important preparation technique for me was to practice. I practiced two to three MMI questions per day. I found it useful to practice answering questions in the mirror or to record myself and then listen to and assess my own responses. I enjoyed practicing with various friends and family members.
Furthermore, any form of mock-interview – whether at home, with a friend, or by a professional (such as Astroff) – was extremely helpful to grow comfortable with this unique process and to gain confidence. I suggest simulating the interview experience as much as possible by, for example, staying in role the entire time, answering multiple questions in a row, and even wearing your interview outfit.
What strategies did you employ during the interview?
I found it helpful to tackle MMI questions with a set framework, which allowed me to address different aspects of any given question and make sure I considered multiple perspectives. I ensured to acknowledge and explain various perspectives before expressing my own. My most important strategy on interview day was to believe in myself and to try to have fun with it!
What made the interview different/unique?
The MMI is extremely fast paced. It is important to move on from one question to the next without ruminating on any previous answers. The MMI challenges one’s ability to be fully present and requires one to be extremely engaged.
Remember, each station is a separate assessment from the last: your score in one room does not influence your scores in other rooms. Also, the interviewers do not know anything about you. It is, therefore, important to tell them about yourself, if relevant to your response. You may repeat significant personal experiences in different rooms, as the interviewers do not discuss your responses.
What has been your post-interview impression?
The MMI is a fascinating tool and is used, in part, to help McMaster get to know a candidate’s personality better. I was excited to find members of my interview group in my class and reminisce about our experiences.
Working with standardized patients reminds me of the MMI role-plays. Medical school is not limited to science; the McMaster curriculum is also committed to helping students develop effective communication skills and empathy. The MMI requires a candidate to exhibit these essential attributes of a physician.
Furthermore, some of the ethical issues raised by MMI questions are issues that I now must address as a medical student and will have to address in my future as a physician. It is helping to start considering these issues as early as possible.
Any final words of advice?
The MMI is an undeniably challenging experience, though it is also a unique privilege and a great opportunity to express yourself, show off your knowledge, and be creative! If other people can do it, so can you. You can prepare – so, practice! Be confident, remember to move on from each answer, and have fun!