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Birdy

Ask A Mac Student: Interviews Edition

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Congratulations to those who have received interview invites! It's very exciting, and it's a huge achievement to make it this far in the process. Remember, only about 10% of applicants to Mac get interviews, so well done all of you!

 

While I can't speak for any other members of my class, though I hope some of the others who hang out here will chime in, I'd be glad to answer any questions to the best of my ability that you guys might have about the MMI process, about getting to Hamilton, about the program.

 

Just for a bit of background, I'm a non-traditional student from PEI and I'm at Hamilton campus. 

 

I got a lot of help on PM101 during my application cycle so I'm hoping to pay it forward. 

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hi! what did you find was the best way to prepare for the interviews?

 

what was the format of the interviews? ie how many stations, how long were the stations and in general what kind of questions were asked?

 

thanks!

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hi! what did you find was the best way to prepare for the interviews?

 

what was the format of the interviews? ie how many stations, how long were the stations and in general what kind of questions were asked?

 

thanks!

 

To prepare, I read a lot on health care topics. I know lots of people read Doing Right and I took a glance through... but it's not really my personal style. LOTS of people find it very helpful, though. I like to keep up on health care news - politics, current events, controversies, etc. - and I tried to integrate these into my responses where appropriate to show that I have informed opinions on difficult subjects that may come up. I did practice over FaceTime and Skype with other applicants; we did some structured 8min/2min practice and some just discussing of the topics at hand to explore our thoughts and the different facets of the subjects we found practice questions about. I really liked practicing by having conversations since, for me personally, I was more comfortable responding to questions in a more conversational format instead of a structured way. But some students have a more structured approach and that works for them; it's going to be what you're most comfortable with that gives you the best shot. Practice with people you trust to give you honest feedback! Friends are great, but sometimes they might fluff up your ego a bit instead of just being super honest. 

 

I had two MMIs with different numbers of stations, but if I recall correctly Mac was 10 stations. Two minutes to read, 8 to talk. There may or may not be follow up questions. There are various types of possible questions - I know when I was sent my invite, there was a link to a page which had some samples. The confidentiality agreement is pretty tight, so you won't get a whole lot of info on what sorts of questions each of us had and you won't be able to disclose once you have your interview. Use the information Mac provides as a guide; they won't steer you wrongly. :)

 

You won't be permitted to take notes during the circuit, but the prompt will be in the room where you can see it as well. 

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To prepare, I read a lot on health care topics. I know lots of people read Doing Right and I took a glance through... but it's not really my personal style. LOTS of people find it very helpful, though. I like to keep up on health care news - politics, current events, controversies, etc. - and I tried to integrate these into my responses where appropriate to show that I have informed opinions on difficult subjects that may come up. I did practice over FaceTime and Skype with other applicants; we did some structured 8min/2min practice and some just discussing of the topics at hand to explore our thoughts and the different facets of the subjects we found practice questions about. I really liked practicing by having conversations since, for me personally, I was more comfortable responding to questions in a more conversational format instead of a structured way. But some students have a more structured approach and that works for them; it's going to be what you're most comfortable with that gives you the best shot. Practice with people you trust to give you honest feedback! Friends are great, but sometimes they might fluff up your ego a bit instead of just being super honest. 

 

I had two MMIs with different numbers of stations, but if I recall correctly Mac was 10 stations. Two minutes to read, 8 to talk. There may or may not be follow up questions. There are various types of possible questions - I know when I was sent my invite, there was a link to a page which had some samples. The confidentiality agreement is pretty tight, so you won't get a whole lot of info on what sorts of questions each of us had and you won't be able to disclose once you have your interview. Use the information Mac provides as a guide; they won't steer you wrongly. :)

 

You won't be permitted to take notes during the circuit, but the prompt will be in the room where you can see it as well. 

Thanks for doing this, Birdy. 

 

With regards to "health care topics" would you say that knowledge of these is required to perform well on the interview, or is it just a nice thing to add to your responses? 

Basically, can you do well without being particularly well-versed in "health care topics"? 

Sorry if the question is a little vague. 

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Hi Birdy,

 

I'm a non-trad applicant, so I'm wondering: did you feel that any of the questions were adapted specifically to address your non-trad background/related to your file in particular, or did you get the sense that everyone would have been asked the questions the same way?

 

Congratulations by the way! I know two women who went to med school after having 2 kids (one later had 3 more!!) and they are both amazing physicians.

 

Kat (haha our names... I'm not predatory I promise!)

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Thanks for doing this, Birdy. 

 

With regards to "health care topics" would you say that knowledge of these is required to perform well on the interview, or is it just a nice thing to add to your responses? 

Basically, can you do well without being particularly well-versed in "health care topics"? 

Sorry if the question is a little vague. 

Required? No. But I think showing a general interest is probably pretty important. For instance, I don't imagine you'd get a question about a specific case in the news (unless it's maybe used as an example in a question - I can't really say if that happens though. I honestly don't know) but you might have a question on a hot topic where being able to bring in knowledge of current events would really flesh out your answer. I'd just generally recommend that any future physician keeps up on health care news and politics, but I'm sure there are those who would have a different belief. 

 

This information is great Birdy! Thank you!

 

I have a question: when will this feeling of constantly needing to puke subside??

Haha. May 10th. Sorry! Although to be fair I did actually feel almost giddy after my interview. Managed to say a couple of stupid things (I'm really good at that) because I was so excited with how well it went. That said, I know people who thought it went poorly who are now in my class, so don't judge your chances based on how you felt afterwards!

 

Hi Birdy,

 

I'm a non-trad applicant, so I'm wondering: did you feel that any of the questions were adapted specifically to address your non-trad background/related to your file in particular, or did you get the sense that everyone would have been asked the questions the same way?

 

Congratulations by the way! I know two women who went to med school after having 2 kids (one later had 3 more!!) and they are both amazing physicians.

 

Kat (haha our names... I'm not predatory I promise!)

I actually remember saying to someone that it was weird how many of my topics seemed to relate to things that happened in my life. I do not think that was intentional at all on Mac's part, though, just coincidence. Because of the nature of the MMI - the questions are posted on the door - everyone is asked the same question the same way, but they are asked in such a way, I think, that there's some interpretation possible around what the question *actually* wants to provoke as a response. I think our experiences will shape how we interpret and respond to the questions and I do think that is an important part of why they do the MMI - they want to know how we think. 

 

There are three other fantastic parents in my year - two moms, two dads - and at least two in the year above, plus one who was in the year ahead of that but took a year off to have her third baby. I'm in good company at Mac. :)

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Hey Birdy!

 

I just wanted to drop by and say hello. On my very first thread (back when I was a bit of a gunner) you had once thought I might have made this account to parody you (as you are a prolific poster etc.). However I really honestly did not do that. I've never frequented this forum until I made my first topic so I did not make my user name intentionally or anything. I just have two birds in my house. 

 

I have two questions if you don't mind:

 

1. How long did you spend preparing for your interviews and did you find skype sessions with other students help you in that regard?

 

2. I know there is a bit of a dress code so I was wondering if you've ever seen anyone show up in anything inappropriate. 

 

3. Did you keep your wallet and keys on you in a purse or is there a room to safely store your jackets and personal belongings in McMaster? :D

 

Thank you so much for answering these questions for us!

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Hey Birdy!

 

I just wanted to drop by and say hello. On my very first thread (back when I was a bit of a gunner) you had once thought I might have made this account to parody you (as you are a prolific poster etc.). However I really honestly did not do that. I've never frequented this forum until I made my first topic so I did not make my user name intentionally or anything. I just have two birds in my house. 

 

Sorry about that! You do have my sincerest apologies. It seemed so odd at the time since our scenarios were nearly identical (if I remember correctly) and you were a new poster but I totally get now that you hadn't meant to and that it was just coincidental. :) I was wrong and don't mind admitting it. I have to ask - what kind of birds do you have? I have a number of companion birds myself.

 

I have two questions if you don't mind:

1. How long did you spend preparing for your interviews and did you find skype sessions with other students help you in that regard?

I had started doing a bit of practice in the fall when I was preparing for my MUN interview (which was in November) but I didn't start really practicing for the Mac interview intensely until I got my invite. I did find Skype sessions helpful since that was my primary preparation (I'm on a Skype call with a friend right now as she prepares for her interviews - I'm typing while she does her 2 minutes of thinking, hah) and I had a number of them over the weeks leading up to my interview. Probably 1-2 times a week for a couple hours.

 

2. I know there is a bit of a dress code so I was wondering if you've ever seen anyone show up in anything inappropriate.

 

Inappropriate... not really. Less formal, sure. I wore a skirt suit myself and most people were in suits, though I saw a few  who were slightly less formal; women wearing nice slacks and a blouse, men in an oxford and vest or shirt and tie with no jacket. I don't know so much that there was a dress code as an unspoken expectation you'll dress in your best. Wear a watch, by the way.

 

3. Did you keep your wallet and keys on you in a purse or is there a room to safely store your jackets and personal belongings in McMaster? :D

 

There was a coat and belongings check-in area and we weren't really allowed to keep anything with us. There were people supervising the area. I had everything with me (my luggage and all) since I left Hamilton right from the interview. Wouldn't recommend doing that.

 

 

Thank you so much for answering these questions for us!

 

No problem at all. I have lots of procrastination to do this weekend. :)

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Sorry about that! You do have my sincerest apologies. It seemed so odd at the time since our scenarios were nearly identical (if I remember correctly) and you were a new poster but I totally get now that you hadn't meant to and that it was just coincidental. :) I was wrong and don't mind admitting it. I have to ask - what kind of birds do you have? I have a number of companion birds myself.

 

 

Thanks for answering my questions! We have two super cute parakeets but they don't belong to me. 

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I guess no water bottles/thermoses allowed then, eh? (How about a hip flask? -- kidding, obviously)

 

Can you tell me about the watch? Did you use it mainly to track how many stations left, or did you need to to time the 2 minutes/eight minutes -- aka will an oldschool analog watch be as good as digital or would digital be much better?

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I guess no water bottles/thermoses allowed then, eh? (How about a hip flask? -- kidding, obviously)

 

Can you tell me about the watch? Did you use it mainly to track how many stations left, or did you need to to time the 2 minutes/eight minutes -- aka will an oldschool analog watch be as good as digital or would digital be much better?

 

1) From what I remember, we had light refreshments at the rest station.

 

2) If you're going to wear a watch, just make sure not to look obvious when you're looking at it.  There's a timer to let you know when you have 1 minute left.

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2) If you're going to wear a watch, just make sure not to look obvious when you're looking at it.  There's a timer to let you know when you have 1 minute left.

 

 

are you sure? i dont think there was. i remember a couple of my stations ending abruptly mid-sentence bcuz i didn't know when the end was coming 

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For anyone who reads this, reading up on healthcare topics is definitely very useful. It gives you more to talk about, if you don't know already read up on how Canada's healthcare system works, know the current healthcare issues. No guarantees things like this show up but the a big thing right now is the OMA's battle against the Ontario government on doctor salary cuts, even as medical students we hear about this. Family doctors aren't being allowed to join family health teams anymore and some of the cuts have been severe especially to cardiologists. Surgeons being unable to find jobs is an issue and perennial issues like wait times, unequal healthcare distribution, aboriginal health are all possibilities. 

 

Doing Right in my opinion was useful, but its not the only thing you should be reading. 

 

Like CASPer, the MMI is trying to see how you work in teams, team work stations where you work with applicants show that. Practice with friends, other applicants etc. 

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This is great. Thank you.

 

For anyone who reads this, reading up on healthcare topics is definitely very useful. It gives you more to talk about, if you don't know already read up on how Canada's healthcare system works, know the current healthcare issues. No guarantees things like this show up but the a big thing right now is the OMA's battle against the Ontario government on doctor salary cuts, even as medical students we hear about this. Family doctors aren't being allowed to join family health teams anymore and some of the cuts have been severe especially to cardiologists. Surgeons being unable to find jobs is an issue and perennial issues like wait times, unequal healthcare distribution, aboriginal health are all possibilities. 

 

Doing Right in my opinion was useful, but its not the only thing you should be reading. 

 

Like CASPer, the MMI is trying to see how you work in teams, team work stations where you work with applicants show that. Practice with friends, other applicants etc. 

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Water was provided at the two rest stations within your MMI cycle. Your rest station will depend on when you start. unfortunately there will be someone who starts at the rest station. But its a great opportunity to chat with us about what med school is like and stuff... or just to chill for abit between the different scenarios. 

 

You wouldn't need a watch as there will be loud and annoying timers (I think the same ones used to call codes, at least in the location i went). And as someone has already mentioned, you probably shouldn't be looking at your watch. Maybe time yourself when practicing at home so that you can discuss your perspective for 5-6 minutes, but also make sure that you leave some time for the interviewer to ask some questions. Most of the questions I received were helpful for me to modify or clarify my perspective and show deeper insight.

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