What is Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) Format?

February 9, 2015

Practical teaching from a student mentor in the general medical wards After you submit your medical school applications, you wait and hope for an invitation to interview. A med school interview is a way for admissions panels to learn more about you. It is a chance to stand out from the crowd.

In the past, most medical schools used the traditional interview format. But in recent years, some med school have changed the interviewing process and are using a multiple mini interview format. Learning more about the process can prevent you from being caught off guard on your interview day.

Structure of the MMI Format

Structure of a multiple mini interview may vary by school. In general, applicants will rotate through six to ten stations. Several students may be interviewed at once and have a set amount of time at each station. Each station will have an interviewer who will present a task, scenario or ask a question.

The types of stations may vary, but often include questions or scenarios related to ethical dilemmas, essay writing and traditional interview questions. Applicants may also be asked to complete a task, which requires teamwork, or they may have to interact with an actor who is portraying a patient.

At the start of each station, the applicants may get written, or verbal instructions regarding what is expected. In most cases, a minute or two prep period is allowed to review the instructions or think about how to perform a task.

Purpose of an MMI Interview

Although not all schools have adopted the multiple mini interview format, it is becoming increasingly popular. Medical schools want to determine if you have what it takes to become a competent and caring physician. Good grades and strong MCAT scores do not tell the whole story, and med schools know that.

Medical schools need to access your ability to handle stress, think quickly, make ethical decisions and work well as part of a team. Although no one interview can completely determine if a candidate is cut out for med school, it can help. The theory behind using the multiple mini interview format is it allows for better assessment of a candidate than a traditional interview does. In addition, since the applicants interact with several admissions committee members, it prevents bias from a particular interviewer.

Tips for Success 

Listen or read the direction carefully. Don’t allow nerves to prevent you from listening to instructions.  

Focus on the message you are trying to get across. There are traits you want to convey to a med school including critical thinking skills, teamwork and good communication skills. When completing a task or dealing with a scenario, remember to showcase your positive qualities.   

Be aware of time. Keep in mind, stations are timed. While you don’t want to watch the clock the entire time, be aware of your time limits. For example, if you are given a question, consider how much time you have and pace your answer. You don’t want to talk too briefly or too long.

Be yourself. If you are trying too hard to be something you are not, it will come across as insincere and only stress you out.