Preparing for the MMI
December 30, 2016
University of Saskatchewan
Please check the admissions website for the most up to date information
This is a recount of how I prepared and may not work for everyone. Following this guide completely will not guarantee that you will get into medicine. The intent is to give you a good shot at getting into medicine. If you continue, you are using this document at your own risk.
Table of Contents
General Preparation Procedure
Ethics to Cover
Issues to Know
The MMI Day!
Why do you want to be a doctor?
The purpose of this document is to give you a good shot at getting into medicine. The reason I am writing this is that I wished that I had something like this when I was preparing. In this document, I will be giving you some tips and tricks that I found helpful while preparing along with some that other people have brought to my attention. This is a general approach to how I prepared for the multiple mini interview (MMI). I will discuss my approach to answering the questions. These are what worked for me, I am not claiming that they are the best way to approach the MMI, but it is what worked for me. Don’t take this document and make it law, change my approach to the MMI and make it your own. On the same token, if you follow this document to the tee, you are not guaranteed admission to the College of Medicine (CoM). This document was written by me and is not endorsed by the CoM.
The general timeline of the application process is… send in your application to the CoM, which, as of writing this document, is due October 1 at 4:00 pm Saskatoon Time. No news is generally good news; the CoM generally won’t contact you outside of the following timeframes unless there is a problem. You will probably not hear anything until early February, at which time you will be notified if you will be offered a spot in the MMI or if your application will be terminated. There are usually mock MMI’s at the end of February in Regina and Saskatoon. The MMI will occur mid-March. Mid-May, emails will go out informed you of an offer of admission, if you are waitlisted, or if you have been deemed unsuccessful and need to reapply next application cycle.
The MMI is one of the ways that the CoM assesses personal characteristics of eligible candidates. The general layout of the MMI is that there are 10 stations lasting 10 minutes each. There can be ~2 rest stations added to a circuit to accommodate more people so the entire process could be 120 minutes instead of 100. The 10 minutes is divided into 2 minutes to read the prompt and 8 minutes of responding to the prompt. How to fill the 8 minutes will be discussed in great detail in “General Preparation Procedure” section.
The time leading up to the MMI is stressful, but please make an effort to remain calm regardless of the number of times you wake up at 3am in cold sweats because you had a nightmare about it. Try to make preparing fun, learn the rules of the game and play your heart out. As of writing this, the MMI has a 50% weighting towards your admission rank score, so even if you don’t have a stellar GPA or MCAT, you can still receive an offer of admission if you do well on the MMI. The opposite is true, if you have a stellar GPA or MCAT, you still need to do well on the MMI to receive an offer of admission.
Throughout the application process, you may be in contact with the admissions committee. Generally speaking, if you don’t hear from them it means that there is nothing wrong with your application. Remember to always to be polite to them, even when you are stressed and things aren’t going your way. If you are rude to them, then it will be documented and will affect your chances of admission.
Don’t feel guilty if you hear some people are practicing for the MMI earlier, longer, or with many people. It is always about quality over quantity and you can still do great with less practise. Others may be starting from a lower skill level and may have to learn it all while you already have some of the basics. You can only control yourself, so focus on that.
The basic material to prepare for the MMI is some reference material for medical ethics, CanMEDS Framework, and a handout on the Social Determinants of Health. For medical ethics, there are many online sources available. uOttawa and Washington have some good material, but remember that Washington is American based, so there may be some differences compared to Canadian ethics as a result of different laws/obligations. As for print, I would recommend Doing Right by Philip C. Hebert. I had used this book and I found it well written and very helpful. This book has 3 editions, the third being considerably more expensive, but I can’t speak to how the editions differ. That book is thorough enough with the ethics to be useful, but not too thorough that you get lost in the detail. Each chapter discusses an ethical issue and it has ethical questions throughout the chapter that have a very well thought out answer. The questions themselves are usually too long to be done in a 10 minute format, but it is good practice regardless. There are also questions at the end of the chapter, but these do not have answers for them, but are still good practice to think through. Doing Right is a required textbook for an ethics class in medicine, so the CoM recognizes that it is a good book as well. The CanMEDS Framework is an article that you should be familiar with and know the 6 roles off the top of your head and know what the roles entail.
For me, I liked groups for going over MMI questions and discussing ethical issues that I had read about. A common problem with groups is that they get easily side tracked, so try to keep the group on track and if it is going off track, politely bring it back. It is always important to get many perspectives on ethical issues, especially when they differ from your own so you can become more knowledgeable about the topic. Just remember to play nice and have fun. Try to get people from different backgrounds and that have different areas of interest to get a variety of perspectives. If you have lots of people interested in forming a group, it would probably be better to have several smaller groups. As groups get above 5 members, you will end up having a lot less practice responding to prompts. The general purposes of groups are to discuss different topics and to be able to respond to prompts and receive feedback on it.
General Preparation Procedure
As of writing this, the MMI is worth 50% of the rank admission score, so doing well on it is very important to increase the chance of admission. The first question I will address is when to start preparing.... right away. You should probably start preparing very soon. This preparation doesn’t need to be very time consuming at the start. The MMI will be around the middle of March and the mock MMI’s (Regina and Saskatoon) are usually early March. It would be ideal to have all the preparation done before the mock MMI’s to see what areas you can spend the next few weeks mastering. Go to both mock MMI’s if you are able to. They are organized by a the Pre-Med clubs and current medical students, but the different sites ensure that one question in one city will not appear at the other city’s mock MMI. They also provide feedback on your responses, what you did well and what you can improve on.
I found that a good way to begin preparing is by reading news articles to be current on issues the province, Canada, and the world are facing. It will be unlikely that you are asked a question directly on a current issue that occurred in the 3 months leading up to the MMI. This is because the questions for the MMI are usually set in December and finalized in January. It is still good to keep up to date on news in Saskatchewan because you can still use that information for your answers in the MMI. For example, the prompt can be about drug legislation in general and in your answer, you can relate a proposed drug legislation that you had read a week prior to the MMI.
A method of studying that worked for me was to do at least one MMI style prompt every day. The number should increase as you progress in your preparation, transitioning from mainly spending most of your time learning new material and few prompts to spending most of your time responding to prompts. You probably didn’t practice for the MCAT (sorry for bringing it up) only by doing practice MCAT’s. The MMI is the same, you have to learn the material first, and then be able to apply it. A foundation of knowledge is needed to be able to apply it to questions. The time commitment for preparing is fairly substantial overall because you should be practicing every day, but not much time is needed each day. At least 10 minutes should be devoted to reading/responding to prompts every day and once a week spending at least 30 minutes preparing. It is important to be consistent with practicing and not taking days off. Better to cut down on time spent in a day than skip practicing if you have less time that day.
You should learn the material that you will use in the MMI in a way that works best for you (read the material, take notes, flashcard, etc.). I will discuss material that you should know before MMI day later in this document in “Issues to Know”. To practice responding to prompts, there are a few techniques. First, you have to determine what area you want to improve in (organization of thoughts, flow, hand gestures, expression, intonation, etc.). To start off, practice in front of someone that isn’t afraid to tell you that you could be doing something better. They don’t have to know anything about the MMI or the contents of discussion. They can tell you if your presentation is natural or how it could be improved. If you can’t find anyone, you can always record yourself and watch it back to see what you can improve on. Keep the video and record yourself periodically throughout your preparation to see how you improve.
Mock MMI’s offer a great experience to practice responding by allowing others to see how you respond to prompts. These are great to attend, but should be used, in my opinion, to hit home key ideas, to fine tune what you have been practicing, and not to learn lots of new things. Most of the practicing should be done beforehand; you should have a good flow, fairly knowledgeable about many topics, but there still may be a few that you have overlooked. Even if, by the time mock MMI’s roll around, there are still things to work on, it is early enough to allow you to improve on what you think is deficient.
The MMI format is 2 minutes to read the prompt and 8 minutes to respond. A bell goes off after 7 minutes of responding to indicate that you have 1 minute left and should be concluding soon. If you do not feel prepared to respond to the prompt after 2 minutes of reading, you always have the option to read the prompt again and think about it more before responding; any extra time spent doing this after the 2 minute bell rings will take away from your 8 minutes to respond. A question that comes up is: Do I have to fill the whole 8 minutes? What if I finish saying everything that I have to by minute 6? No you don’t have to fill up the entire 8 minutes. You should try to gather enough talking points in the 2 minutes you have to read the question to fill up the 8 minutes. If you have said everything that you wanted to say after minute 6, and then stop your response after that, it is worse to repeat yourself, say something that you aren’t confident about, or contradict yourself. If you can’t fill up the entire time and have said everything that you wanted to, the interviewer may have prompting questions. They may not, so do not rely on prompting questions to fill up your 8 minutes.
The are many reasons for the assessor to ask prompting questions. To provide the assessor with more material to assess you on; they want to hear what you have to say and may need to hear more from you to give you an accurate mark. They may be asking for clarification on something you had said. They may give you new information and want to see if/how your response changes. They may be trying to get you back on track. Being asked prompting questions doesn’t really indicate how well you are doing on the prompt, so do your best with them.
- Who would you give a lung transplant to a 40 year old teacher or a 60 year old mechanic?
New information→ the 40 year old teacher has smoked a pack of cigarettes a day since they were 10 and the 60 year old has never touched a cigarette in their life.
Your response may not change if you don’t find the new information provided in the follow up question reason enough to. They want to see how you think when you have less time to prepare your response and see what your true beliefs are.
There really can only be so many topics that can appear on the MMI, so the more prompts you practice, the more likely you will see a similar one on the MMI. About half of the prompts that I encountered on the MMI, I had seen a very similar one while preparing. Almost all of the prompts that you will likely see in the MMI can be boiled down to three types: ethics, problem solving, and performing stations. All stations will likely have at least one of these aspects, but a single station can have all three of them as well. Once you are able to identify what type of question you are asked to respond to, it makes it much easier to plan the layout of your response. If it is an ethical question, then you know you will be devoting time to discuss the ethical principles at play. If it is a problem solving question, then you may choose to not discuss ethics directly and spend more time on a personal experience you were in a similar situation. Performing questions are hard to prepare for; it requires you to do something for the assessor, such as act out a situation, etc.
Ethics stations are usually situations where there are at least two ethical principles at odds with one another, usually autonomy vs beneficence/nonmaleficence. These types of questions show the interviewer: your ability to understand all aspects of a situation, your knowledge on the ethics, and your ability to apply them. You will want to identify which principles are at play, and then elaborate why they are at odds with each other in that situation. You should then elaborate which ethical principle takes precedence and why, and then conclude with your decision. Always remember to summarize at either the very end or during your conclusion. An example of an ethical question would be…. A terminally ill cancer patient is refusing active treatment for their cancer. If you were their physician, how would you respond?
Problem Solving Prompts
Problem solving stations usually appear as questions that don’t directly involve the health care system. They can appear as a question involving harm reduction such as….should safe injection sites be implemented in Saskatoon? The general format of the response would be discussing the problem that X is trying to solve, the pros and cons if X were done, then the pros and cons if X were not done, and then discuss which way you would solve the problem and why you chose that way over the alternative. Most situations aren’t black and white and there could be more than two ways to approach a problem, but the format of your response will likely be similar regardless.
When responding to a prompt that has multiple sides to it, whether an ethical or problem solving question, you don’t necessarily need to pick a side. You do, however, need to explain all sides of the argument and then explain why you can’t pick a side. Don’t jump to a conclusion right away without showing the interviewer your line of reasoning. Even if you don’t pick a side, you must explain both sides of the situation as thoroughly as if you were picking a side. It doesn’t matter at what point in your response you choose a side. You can either tell the interviewer which side you stand on before you start explaining pros and cons or near the end of your response.
I generally chose a side after explaining pros and cons because I hadn’t always made up my mind which side of the argument I will be on after 2 minutes of reading the prompt. Choosing a side at the end allowed me more time to analyze the pros and cons and give me more time to think about the prompt. If I hadn’t figured out which side I was for after explaining the pros and cons, I could always say that I am undecided and why. It doesn’t look very good if you change your answer between the start of the prompt and the end of the prompt without being given new information. For example, you start by saying you are in favour of X at the start, and then explore the pros and cons of both sides and near the end of your response, you convince yourself that you aren’t in favour of X. Flip flopping may make it hard for the assessor to follow your line of reasoning. The prompting questions at the end of your response may provide you with new information to see if your answer changed. If you find the new information compelling you to change your answer, do so and explain why.
The time spent for each section is a very rough estimate for what I had did and may not be suited for all people. A general layout of my answer for an ethical prompt or problem solving prompt would look like:
· A summary of the question and an interpretation of what you think the prompt is asking (~30s)
· Talk about the ethical principles in play (~10s)
· Talk about how the ethical principles interact and which one is takes precedence in your decision (2-5min)
· Talk about how you display the ethical principle or how you were in a situation and that principle was at play and how you responded (~2min)
· Summary of your response (~30s)
The purpose of the summary and interpretation of the prompt is to see if what you believe the prompt is asking for is the same as what the prompt is actually asking for. If your interpretation is wrong, the interviewer will likely clarify what you are supposed to respond to.
Performing stations are much more diverse, they can have you do pretty much anything in those 8 minutes. Traditionally, it has been an acting station and the actor tells you what the problem is and you work through the problem with them. The challenge to these prompts is figuring out what the problem is. I found it hard to practise these types of questions because prompts have very little information contained in them. Finding these prompts online isn’t too difficult, but they don’t have any directions for the actor. When practicing, the actor should just make up a problem and some back story and then go from there. Even if you were to have the exact prompts on the acting station you will see in the MMI and prepare for it, when you got there, the actor could be in a situation that you never even thought of. In question 3 of the Sample MMI Scenarios from the U of S, the problems that you may encounter could be: from fear of flights, recent death of a family member, divorce, dissatisfaction for her job. You have no idea which one it is, so it is hard to know if you got the answer right or even figure out what they are looking for.
You will need to have a good grasp of the ethical concepts to be able to apply them in the MMI. When practicing MMI questions, it is important to practice with people from very different backgrounds. They will have different strengths and weaknesses and will be able to help with different aspects of the interview; from teachers, to professors, to government workers, to people in human resources. An interview to a job does share similarities to the MMI, so if you can find people who do hiring for firms and practice with them, it would probably be very helpful.
You may encounter a bait-and-switch question which is a type of station where the prompt on the door is not related to the questions that you are asked when inside the room. For example, you could have an ethical prompt on end of life decision making on the door and once you go enter the room, you could be asked to consider a prompt about the current state of the medical system or be asked a personal question. The interviewer can change the question at any point, right from the start, or at minute 5. These questions assess how you think and act when you aren’t prepared and for the assessors to see what is really on your mind. A good way to practice for these types of questions is by not taking 2 minutes to read the prompt and instead moving straight to your response.
The most important piece of advice that I can give you is that the people who do the best in the MMI are the ones who know themselves very well. Reflection is one way to get to know yourself better. A good way to go about doing it is writing down all of the major experiences in your life, the jobs that you have had, and the hobbies you have. The next step would be to write down what you have learned from them, what they have done to make you a better person.
It would also be very important to connect each activity to the CanMEDS roles/framework (See “Recommended Materials”). Memorize all 6 roles that are part of being a Medical Expert and what all they entail. Be able to talk about them in any station, as such, I strongly recommend reading the entire 17 page article in “Recommended Materials”. This framework shows up in medical school classes, so the CoM puts great value on it. The portion of your response talking about yourself and your experiences is what sets you apart from the other interviewees. Most interviewee’s responses up to that point of the response prior to speaking about personal experience are likely going to be fairly similar, but this section is where you sell yourself and show the interviewer why the CoM should select you over the other interviewees.
The section involving talking about your personal experiences may not have to directly relate to the question, but it must have a similar theme. The question may have had something to do with a physician showing empathy to a patient in cancer treatment and for the personal experience, you could provide an example where you were empathetic towards the homeless while volunteering. Incorporating experience that doesn’t relate or is too loosely related to the prompt may be detrimental.
A question that comes up in every MMI in one capacity or another is...Why do you want to be a doctor? This question should be thought about well in advance and have an idea about your response. It can come up on interview day as its own prompt, asked as a follow up question, or a bait-and-switch. That means that you could have between about 8 minutes and 2 minutes to answer this question. This is one question that you can and should prepare for. Your rehearsed answer should sound like normal conversation and if it sounds scripted, that is probably bad. The prompt may not even be that specific question, but could be...Tell me about yourself. This is asking for the same information as “Why do you want to be a doctor?” and will have a very similarly structured response.
Because of the variability in the time you have to answer, you should have variants of the question rehearsed for different amounts of time. They should contain similar information, but the longer response will have more elaboration and/or more examples. Three experiences should be enough to exemplify why you would be a good doctor. More experiences would be good, but the more you have, the less time you have to talk about each. Each of your experiences should address at least one role on the CanMEDS Framework. The general approach to articulating your response will be describing an experience that exemplifies you enjoying an aspect of being a physician, i.e. I want to help people, and then provide an example where you show that you enjoy helping people, i.e. I started a charity that provides for the homeless. A follow up question that the interviewer may ask is, “Why not pursue a different profession in health care such as physiotherapy?” You should be aware that that could be a follow up question and strategically select your reasons for going into medicine and your examples so that it not only shows that medicine is the one you want, but also why you didn’t choose a different profession.
Remember to smile and be friendly because part of the assessment is...would the interviewer be comfortable with you being their doctor? Are you logical, able to articulate yourself well, seem confident in your abilities, pleasant to be around?
Ethics to Cover
A lot of the ethics that you should cover can be found in Doing Right, along with the other resources that I listed (See “Recommended Materials”). The list below is only a start for ethical principles and is by no means exhaustive. Below is a checklist of ethical topics that you should be informed on, but is in no particular order, nor is it complete:
● Truth telling- how much to tell
● Informed Consent
● Error Disclosure
● Justice in Medicine
● Ethics surrounding Beginning of Life (IVF, Gene selection, abortion)
● Ethics surrounding End of Life (Advance Care Directives, capacity, Medical Assistance in Dying, is assisted suicide different than withdrawal of care or refusal of treatment)
You should know these topics in great detail and be able to speak on all of them in any context. You will almost always speak about one of these topics listed above in an ethics prompt.
Issues to Know
It is important to be informed about the world around you and to understand it to some extent. It is very unlikely that you would be directly required to talk about anything in this section, but you can bring it up if the prompt allows for it to make your response better. If you use the information in this section, you will set yourself apart from the other applicants. The information gathered from these issues will help mainly for problem solving questions and, to a lesser extent, ethical questions. For example, there is a problem asking the best way to help the homeless with a fixed budget. You would be able to draw on your knowledge to respond with what provisions are currently in place in your city, potentially cut back a few that are costly and ineffective and transfer the funds to a more worthwhile project to help the homeless. The one you want to reduce funding to could only be addressing one social determinant of health and the one you wish to fund may be addressing several. An arbitrary division that helped me divide the issues up was people who face discrimination and everything else. The goal of this list is to try to go into someone else’s shoes and see what struggles they face. Try listing some problems that these populations may face; I will have a short list of ones later in the document.
Populations facing Discriminations:
● Sexual Minorities
● Religious Minorities
● Visible Minorities
● Residential Schools (Know this one inside, out, and backwards)
● Pharmaceutical Industry, drug reps, research and conflicts of interest
● Carbon Tax
● Mental Health Issues, especially in Health Care Workers (Burnout, stigma of mental health issues, programs in place)
● Pay Schedules of Physicians (probably pretty low yield)
● Social Accountability
● The US Election (Probably a compare/contrast question if one appears)
● Online Presence of Medical Students and Physicians (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, etc.)
● How has technology changed how medicine is practiced, for better or worse
● Saskatchewan’s Health Care System, what it is doing well in and what challenges it faces
● Disclosure of Error (I know this appears in Ethics to Cover, but still relevant here)
● What traits make a good doctor?
● Health Care in Rural Areas
● Public health concerns (Obesity, HIV/AIDS)
● General process of research and publication
● The Role of Alternative Medicine in Evidence Based Medicine
● Drug Use and Abuse, safe injection sites
● Legalization of Marijuana
● Human Trafficking
● Suicide in Youth and Aboriginal Populations
● MAID and End of Life Care
● Social Determinants of Health
This is not an exhaustive list, but is a good start to potential topics that you may see in your interview. You should be able to speak to both sides of the arguments i.e. pros and cons of recreational marijuana legalization and the pros and cons of keeping it illegal. Some of the topics don’t have multiple sides, but are events/ideas that you should be informed about i.e. Residential Schools and Social Determinants of Health.
Below are some examples of the problems certain populations face. Prompts on these topics are likely to show up, probably in a problem solving question and possibly in an ethical question. Once you realize the problems that these populations face, you can brainstorm solutions to them. Hopefully you will notice that some of these populations share similar problems that could all be solved by the implementation of a policy or a change in a way of thinking. Below are the same populations and some of the problems that they face that I came up with. This list is not exhaustive and you may not agree with all of my opinions:
● Sexual Minorities
○ Subject to bullying in school by people who don’t understand sexuality
○ Prime target because they are “different”
○ Family problems/individual problems depending on if/when they come out to their family
○ Discrimination at workplace
○ Identify as a different gender than their sex, may not be accepted by either
○ Will have hardships of both genders
○ Dissatisfied with their body and want to change aspects
○ Marginalized in workplace, schools, potentially family
○ What they are referred to as- first nation vs aboriginal vs Indian vs indigenous
○ Affordable housing for families or students who want to attain a higher education
○ Diabetes, violence, obesity, HIV/AIDS epidemic, injection drug use
○ The fallout from residential schools
○ Being a marginalized population and subject to systemic racism
○ High violence among aboriginal men and women MMAW (Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women)
○ Access to culturally sensitive care, jobs, healthy food, schools, positive social environments
○ Want belonging
○ Need an exit strategy to leave the gang, usually very hard to
○ Constant questioning why they are receiving all these benefits and subsequent downplay of successes.
○ Family gets involved with it
○ Exposure to drugs and violence
○ Being able to find people that they can relate to
○ Emotional baggage from where they came from
○ Stigma from some onlookers saying that if that was them, then they would have stood up for their country and not ran away like a coward
○ Having culturally appropriate care in place to understand their religious beliefs and cultural practices to best serve them.
○ Have no idea of the culture around them
○ Not knowing about social support systems and activities going on around them as communication may be lacking
○ Knowing how to cook with the different food available
○ Systemic racism based on beliefs of affiliation with terrorists
○ Discrimination in workplace
○ Having to choose between a career and a family sometimes and taking time off for maternity leave
○ Being a primary caregiver for their child and may have to give up on plans to take care of their child
○ Waitlists for child care
○ Access to child care
○ Affordable child care
○ Being ashamed to use the word feminist
○ Having stereotypes of their role in the household
○ Earning ~77 cents for every dollar a man earns
○ Large pressures on physical appearance and what beauty really is
○ Being seen as emotional and not logical
○ Affordable and close retirement facilities, may not be feasible for family to see them
○ Lack of family support
○ Their nutrition needs not met
○ Mental health- assumed a part of aging rather than trying to prevent it or slow the deterioration
○ Independence may be taken away and taken out of their routine, but may have rightfully had their license taken away
○ Inadequate care for people who have deteriorating needs and also families potentially being non-responsive to requests to move to a higher care (costs more, denial of increasing needs)
○ Resident abuse
○ Mental wellness is strongly linked to physical wellness and vice versa, so need to focus efforts on both of them.
After doing some reading for the “Everything Else” category of “Issues to Know”, you should be able to argue both sides of each potential argument. Regardless of if you truly believe the side you are arguing for, you should at least be able to see its merits and pitfalls clearly. For example, you should be able to argue for both sides of the following statement: “Drug companies should (not) be allowed to market to prescribing physicians.” Once you are able to coherently argue both sides of an argument, you probably understand it.
The MMI Day!
The MMI usually occurs around the middle of March on the weekend. There are 4 sittings for the MMI, the morning and afternoon of Saturday and Sunday. Invites for the interview are released around the end of January/beginning of February. Remember to read through the entire email because they may be asking for you to reply to it. If you fail to reply to an email asking for a reply, you may have your application terminated. The emails usually indicate in the subject if a response is required, but do not always rely on it.
If you have to stay overnight at a hotel in Saskatoon, there are a bunch on Spadina Crescent East which is about a 15 minute walk to the university and there are also some on College Avenue which is a 5 minute walk to the university. The MMI’s are held at the University of Saskatchewan/Royal University Hospital (RUH). The meeting place is at the SaskTel Theatre, located in the RUH. Do the morning routine that you normally do and be at the SaskTel Theatre 30 minutes before your start time as is indicated in the emails.
The emails you receive will list the items that you need to bring to the MMI, identification and such. For dress, men should wear a suit and tie and women should wear either a pantsuit or a skirt. Dress for the profession you want to be a part of. I would like to note that it is not required to wear those clothes, but everyone is dressed up so they fit in. You should not be at a disadvantage if you go in shorts and a tee shirt, but I wouldn’t chance it. If it’s bright and flashy, probably avoid and go with neutral colours. Facial hair is fine, just have it well kept and long hair should be worn up, but you should be comfortable in what you are wearing and how you appear. Let your common sense guide your judgement.
You won’t be allowed to bring any personal belongings such as wallets, phones, keys, etc. with you into the interview and will have to place them in a bag and collect them after the interview, so don’t bring anything important. Leave your wallet/purse/phone with the person dropping you off at the interview because the CoM isn’t responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged belongings. A representative from the CoM will speak to the interviewees and give you a rundown of the format of the MMI where you hopefully learn nothing new, then you break up into usually 6 groups with about 12 people per circuit. They will have you put everything on your person, excluding clothes, into a bag for you to collect after the interview.
They lead your circuit to the area where you will be interviewing. Your circuit will have usually 10 interviewees in it for 10 prompts. If there are extra interviewees in your circuit, then rest stations will be added accordingly. You will be given a clipboard, a booklet of paper to write notes down, a pencil, and stickers with your identifying information on it. These stickers may pose a problem for the unprepared because you have to hand one to each of the interviewers at all 10 stations. You do not need to give one to anyone during a rest station. You are probably pretty nervous and it makes peeling stickers even that much harder, so in order to avoid a situation where you can’t peel a sticker, peel the corners off all your stickers when you get them. Because the corner is lifted, it is really easy to pull it off the rest of the way. On a similar note of avoiding embarrassment, there is a pitcher of water and cups at every station, even the rest station. If you need a drink of water, wait for rest stations. If you can’t wait that long and are thirsty during the station, politely ask the interviewer to pour you a glass. This is just to avoid a situation where you spill the pitcher of water everywhere rather than any formality.
You are now lined up with your backs to the door waiting for the buzzer from above to signal you to turn around and look at the prompt. Once the buzzer rings, your 2 minutes begins. Things to write on your paper are the type of prompt you are responding to, the general format of how you would answer an ethical and problem solving prompt that you can use at all stations, writing down key facts from the prompt, and finally, things that you want to talk about in your response. You do not need to copy down the question because the same prompt that you see on the door will be in the room with the interviewer. Once the 2 minutes are up, a bell will ring and you knock on the door, enter, shake the interviewer’s hand if you feel that it is appropriate to, give them your sticker, then sit down and respond to the prompt. At the end of the station, thank the interviewer, shake their hand if you feel that it is appropriate, then move on to the next station and repeat.
How well or poorly you do at one station has no bearing on the next station. If you have a poor station, you need to realize that thinking about it after the station will probably only hurt you in the next station. You need to be able to forget about it and move on to the next station. It is a very important skill to have in general, and especially in medicine. It took me a while to be able to truly not let a bad response affect my next one; it just took a lot of practice of doing prompts and doing poorly on some.
During the MMI, at any point, if you do or say something inappropriate, anyone involved in running the MMI can report it to the admissions committee and it may affect your chances of admission. From the time you sign in until you leave, be on your best behaviour; from the person signing you in to the people giving you your belongings back before you leave. From the beginning of the application process, any rude communication with the CoM prior to the MMI is noted. During the MMI itself, don’t talk to any of the interviewees, from the start of the stations until everyone has completed all 10. You can talk with the volunteers during rest stations, but only after everyone has entered the room after 2 minutes of reading their questions. They will only talk with you if you initiate conversation and if you wish to be left in silence, they will respect your wishes.
Thank you for taking the time to read this document. I hope it was worth a read and gives you some direction as to how to prepare for the MMI. As I mentioned previously, this is how I practised for the MMI and what worked for me. This method probably won’t be the best for everybody, but it should give you some ideas as to how to approach the MMI.