January 7, 2016, by studentcontributor
Medical school admissions — Multi Mini Interviews (MMI)
The University of Nottingham School of Medicine has recently moved from the traditional interview style to the multi mini interview (MMI) format which many universities seem to be doing nowadays.
What is the MMI format like?
From my own experience of the MMI format at Bristol University, the interview took place inside a large hall and consists of mini stations testing different skill sets. Each station lasted approximately six minutes (one minute to read the instructions and five minutes for the actual task) and had a different assessor each time who would score you. After you have finished with one of the stations, you move onto the next station.
For me at Bristol, I had ten stations, so it lasted for one hour. Different universities would have a different number of stations. On average, there is usually eight stations which is how many Nottingham University is using.
What stations are likely to come up?
The stations that I have experienced and little bit of detail and advice about each one:
- Why Medicine? This question is very, very likely to come up. It is essential that you are prepared for this question, as the assessors will want to know why you would like to pursue a career in medicine and that you are enthusiastic. I would recommend having a few points ready beforehand
- Why this university? For this question, it is very important that you know the good points about the course, for example does it offer early clinical experience? Full body dissection? The choice to intercalate?
It is also good to talk about the university itself, for example the campus and the student union.
- Teamwork — What I got asked at Bristol was to talk about an example of when I worked as a team and to explain why teamwork is important in a medical setting. For this task, choose an example of when you worked well as a team and highlight your role within the team. Then link it back to how that is relevant for being a doctor. To impress the examiners, mention that you are going to be working in a multi-disciplinary setting, so it’s essential that you are able to communicate with other staff and to help deliver the best care possible for patients.
- Simulated patient — Universities like to see what you are like in a “real-life” situation. What I had was breaking bad news to a patient. For this, I would recommend that you are empathetic, have an open body language and non-verbal cues also show that you are actively listening to the patient, for example nodding and good eye contact.
- Calculations questions — I was quite surprised that this question came up, it asked to work out how much of a substance I would give a patient intra-venously. So to be prepared I would convert units and also brush up on some mental maths as I was not provided a calculator and you write you answers on a piece of A4 papper. I would recommend showing all your working out, as you may be able to get marks even if you have the wrong answer.
- Ethics questions — This is quite a common question to come up in medical interviews, so I would advise you to be aware of the four main ethical principles. Also to impress the examiners, if it is relevant mention consent and capacity.
- Discussion on a recent issue — For this, be aware of recent health issues as they could be brought up for you to discuss and to get your viewpoint on the case, for example the change in contracts for Junior Doctors, NHS budget as well as the Francis report.
- Interpretation of an image — For this station, I was given a patient of a man who had an abnormality in the eye and was asked to describe it. If you get this type of station, I would advise being concise and don’t miss out the obvious such as which side of the face it is affecting.
- Dexterity station — I was quite surprised that this station came up which many found difficult. This usually involves you doing a mini procedure such as threading a large needle in sterile conditions, so this involved wearing gloves and disposing of the needle and gloves appropriately at the end of the station.
- A scenario where you could only offer a life saving treatment (eg an organ transplant) to one patient out of a few — This station tested your judgement skills, try to think out of the box a bit for this station. So for example, you may want to get more information about the patient (so more context), explore if there are other options available, for example, medication that can prolong life, see if you are able in this example to get any other organs from different hospitals or transfer patients to another hospital. As long as you come up with a few options, that would be enough for this station.
Do lots of practice! That’s the only way you can be fully prepared. I advise practising with friends under timed conditions; each friend could be a different station. When I was preparing for my interviews I did mock interviews with my teachers, this made it feel more serious than doing it with friends and is similar to the real interview atmosphere.
Also, getting feedback from those whom you do practice interviews with really helps, as you’re able to know what your strengths are and work on your weaknesses.
I used a structure for answering my questions, for example I made a point, gave a brief example to back this up and explained what I learnt and linked that to being a doctor.
Furthermore, make sure you are up to date with recent health issues as well.
Most importantly, be confident and enthusiastic with your answers as the examiners want to see that you are passionate to be a doctor!