Ultimate Guide To Multiple Mini-Interviews for Medical School Admissions

June 10, 2015

Students observing surgery on placement in Warsaw Almost all Australian medical schools today have phased out the traditional single interview and are now using Multiple Mini Interviews as part of their selection process for admission into their programme. 

In a Multiple Mini Interview or MMI, every applicant rotates through 6 to 10 timed stations. At each of these stations, applicants are presented with a specific question, task or scenario and they are judged by their answers, reactions and skills at the various stations.

Traditional Interviews V/S Multiple Mini Interview

In a traditional interview, applicants interact with one or more interviewers at a single session, during which they need to demonstrate that they have the motivation, passion and interpersonal skills necessary to make a good doctor. However, different applicants are interviewed by different interviewers, which means every applicant gets judged by different standards. Whether the interview went successfully or not depended on that particular interviewer’s interpretation of the proceedings. This could give some lesser qualified students an unexpected advantage while closing the door to students who may be better qualified. Moreover, standard interview questions do not always demonstrate an individual’s communication skills, level of professionalism, problem-solving abilities or other skills essential in medicine.

The Multiple Mini Interview approach is very different. It generally includes 6 to 10 stations, each of which has different tasks and very specific instructions. Students spend about 8 to 10 minutes with a group of applicants at each station. When they are done, they move to the next station. The format has been carefully created to address the two major drawbacks of the standard interview format. Instead of one session the MMI uses a series of stations that are designed to evaluate specific skills and qualities in all candidates. Secondly, in an MMI the same interviewer or panel of interviewers is assigned at each station so all applicants are assessed using the same standard.

The Purpose Of Multiple Mini Interviews

The Multiple Mini Interview was developed as a more effective means of evaluating soft skills and qualities that lie outside the sphere of academic grades and test scores. The main purpose of the interview is to identify individuals who will not just make excellent students, but will ultimately become outstanding medical practitioners who are compassionate, caring and ethical and have excellent communication skills. The questions and scenarios at each station test how applicants handle their own emotions as well as the emotions and feelings of others, especially in high stress situations. How students react to the different scenarios and their replies to different questions are strong indicators as to whether or not their personal attributes would be well suited to a career in medicine.  

The main advantage of the Multiple Mini Interview format is that it removes the element of luck and gives all students an equal opportunity to succeed on the day.