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MMI Prep - Acting questions

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It can be any scenario really. It was almost a decade ago, so I don't remember. You just need to communicate well and deal with the situation presented as if this was real life. I'm sure you will do fine. I did not have any preparation, I just was myself. Same for the other MMI stations. I relied on my life experiences to deal with whatever they threw at me. I was in many uncomfortable life situations so I felt I could handle whatever situation they created. One approach, which works, is to treat the MMI as if it were a practice session or pretend you are speaking to an inquisitive, curious, intelligent 12 year old. This removes any anxiety!

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Hey there, here are my top tips for acting questions and how to prepare for them: 

1) Acting questions will usually ask you to A) break bad news to somebody/ a patient, or B ) talk to somebody who is struggling emotionally or struggling to make a decision. These types of questions serve to test your communication skills, how you react under pressure, and how you can be empathetic and kind while still being helpful/ relaying important information. 

2) Don't make any assumptions. Ask lots of questions. Don't be accusatory in tone.  

3) Relate to the character the actor is playing, but be mindful of the scenario. How you relate to a family member is going to be different from how you relate to a patient. Make sure to maintain professionalism if you are talking to a patient character. Saying things like, "I used to be really scared of flying too. These are the techniques that helped me. I can help you learn those techniques if that's something you're interested in" can help the character in the scenario feel less alone. 

4) Ask the character how you can help them best. This doesn't work for every scenario, but it's a good thing to have in your back pocket. It shows that you understand that different people prefer to be comforted in different ways. Some people want very practical advice while others just want somebody to vent to. Make sure you spell this out to the character though so that the interviewer understands what you're doing. Say something like, "I understand that you are feeling upset right now. I would really like to support you and be there for you in the way that is going to help you the most. Would you prefer to talk through the situation together? Are you looking for advice? Or would you rather I just sit here with you for a while?" Obviously there is more to "do" if the actor picks the former option, so they often will, but if they don't, ask them if they want to be distracted from the situation with a game or another topic of conversation. 

5) Often these questions ask you to be comforting, approachable, empathetic, etc. while also getting something done (breaking some kind of news or convincing somebody to do something that is in their best interest). Don't ignore the second part of those scenarios. You should actually push to have the character do things that are in their best interest even if it's not easy. The actors will push you on this. Don't give in. Find creative ways to still be kind while insisting that the character acts in the best possible way for them. 

6) Know what resources are available and connect characters with those resources if needed (ie. therapists, psychiatric professionals, wellness centres, addiction specialists, doctors, nurses, sexual health clinics, women's shelters, social workers, etc.) Don't do anything that is beyond your scope (or your character's scope) such as trying to treat mental illnesses on your own. You can offer to go with characters to these places.

7) This tip is kind of out there, but listen to podcasts and pay attention to the way interviewers phrase questions. What types of questions get good, thoughtful responses and which don't? (Esther Perel's podcast Where Should We Begin is really great, and it also allows you to listen to a person in a therapeutic and mediator role. I highly recommend that one.) 

8) Practice. I know that kind of goes without saying, but actually speaking these scenarios out loud will help you get your tone and delivery right on interview day. 

I hope these tips were helpful. I have lots of other info like this on my Instagram page (regarding how to answer other types of interview questions). You can find that here (shameless plug) https://www.instagram.com/egmedprep/ .


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