Trust me, I know that the preparing for the Dalhousie Medical School Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) can be stressful and daunting task. After all, the interview is worth 40% of your total application score. Preparing for the interview translates into Practice, Practice Practice!!
Where to begin? Visit the Dalhousie Medical School website, the admission process section gives a detailed description of what to expect from the interview. Interviews at Dal follow an MMI format which is a structured 10 station circuit where you read a scenario and then when the buzzer rings you move inside the room to discuss the scenario with a single observer for 8 minutes followed by a 2 minute break between scenarios. Dalhousie Medical School does an excellent job of outlining the process and telling you exactly what they are assessing, as well as providing sample questions. Knowing exactly what to expect will undoubtedly decrease your anxiety about the process. You can search the web for sample questions to widen your understanding of the scope of the questions.
Once you are familiar with the MMI process and scope, practice becomes the key to success. Most universities offer MMI practice sessions. This gives you an opportunity to practice scenarios either with a professor or follow students. The interviewer gives you feedback on how they thought you handled the questions. The interviewer typically comments on how you approach the question, your introduction and summary, as well as ideas on how you might improve. The interviewer usually provides you with a score out of 5, which evaluates their overall impression.
Practice with as many people as possible. Practice in person or via Skype or FaceTime. You may want to start practicing MMI scenarios with people you know but then proceed to people you do not know but who are informed and impartial.
You can contact Dalhousie Med Students via the website- we’ve all been in your shoes and our class reps are happy to help. After I had done a few rounds of practicing and had a good idea of the types of scenarios I decided to write out about 5-10 scenarios, this gave me an opportunity to focus on personal examples that illustrated the point I was trying to make. Trust me, the “Why you want to be a doctor?” is harder to answer than I originally thought!
I read “Doing Right” in order to identify ethical dilemmas in healthcare, as well as the Globe and Mail, especially focusing on the health section which addresses current issues facing our Canadian system. I listened to White Coat Black Art on CBC radio. I read about the Dalhousie medical program and tried to answer why I thought Dal was a good fit for me, as well as, why I was be a good candidate for the Dal program.
After reading and writing out the scenarios I practiced MMI interviews with Med Students, local physicians, other students. I was consistently getting scores 3.5-4.0 out of 5.0. In order to reach the next level, I contacted Astroff Consultants. Robert was critical in helping me structure my approach to the each MMI question so that my scores were consistently 4.0-4.5 out of 5.0. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share. Robert takes the time to get to know you and then uses this knowledge to help you develop an approach the question that best illustrates your individual strengths and experiences. Ultimately, practicing with Robert improved my communication skills and confidence.
Let’s face it – some people just have the excellent communication skills they are articulate, confident, experienced and well spoken under pressure, but for the rest of us practice is definitely the key to success. Trust me – all that practicing is worth it. On the day of MMI things went exactly as Dalhousie said they would and it was actually much more fun then I envisioned. Everyone I met was outgoing, supportive and helpful.
Dal Med is great!! Halifax is an amazing city. From orientation onward everyone in our class is like “family”. I think Dalhousie Med has the perfect balance of academic learning in class and practical application in clinical exposure. Dal Med has been amazing! – Cannot wait to meet you!!