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Dentistry MMI Interviews: The Complete Guide

Advice & Insight From Dentistry Interview Specialists

As dental schools switch from traditional panel interviews to MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) style assessments, it pays to familiarise yourself with this format and how to approach it. Here is our overview guide to Dentistry MMIs. 

​Station Types

You should expect an MMI to have between five and ten different stations, with each station normally taking between 5 to 7 minutes. There may be a rest station, or two rest stations, in between the other stations. The most common MMI stations are:

Role Plays – you should expect at least one role play. Whilst it may seem unnatural for many to ‘act out’ a scene, you will be expected to take part in these throughout your dental training. Try to forget about ‘acting’ and treat the situation as if it is real. Most role plays will involve an ethical or empathic component. You need to show that you are caring and professional. Begin each role play with an open question, listen carefully, and check that they are following throughout. Ensure that you have covered everything on their mind, and work with them to formulate a plan as needed. Practice with unfamiliar people beforehand, not just close friends or family members.
 
Ethics – Read up on the General Dental Council, and their standards and guidance. Make sure to approach ethical questions from a balanced standpoint, and explore both sides of the argument without bias. It is also essential to be familiar with the four core principles of medical ethics.

Manual Dexterity – Some universities will ask for evidence of your ability here. You may wish to bring in an example of something that you have made. If not, think about how you have evidenced your ability. Examples might be a high grade at a musical instrument, a sculpture course, or leading a sewing & crocheting group. Certain universities will have practical stations for this component, in which you will be required to complete a simple task whilst under pressure. These tasks will be achievable – the key is to maintain your composure and work through them as calmly and steadily as possible. Examples may be threading a needle, or placing discs so that they show a particular colour.

Problem Solving – Alongside ‘textbook’ academic knowledge you must be able to quickly face academic problems and solve them. You may therefore receive a graph to interpret and answer questions on, a verbal or mathematical puzzle, or a problem-solving question taken from ‘traditional’ interviews, in which you must show a readiness to approach an issue with a clear and logical process. In these situations, the answer is often not as important as the manner in which you work toward it.

Motivation for Dentistry – You will be expected to show a clear and reasoned insight into the profession and your desire to work in it. You must be able to explain why you are interested in Dentistry over Medicine or another field, how your work experience and reflections have informed you, and how your personality fits the career.

Personal Statement – A common station is a dive into the personal statement. You must know the personal statement inside-out, and be able to comment on all aspects of it. Be sure to research any technical or scientific terms that you use, or dental technologies or treatments.

Professionalism – Similarly to an Ethics station, make sure that your responses are guided by the General Dental Council’s relevant guidance. Always give the most correct or professional response possible, and try to show empathy and understanding in your rationale.

Empathy – Be aware of the term empathy, of the difference between empathy and sympathy, and why empathy is so important in dentistry. Have examples of times that you have shown empathy ready, and ensure that you have relevant reflections to accompany them. 
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How to Prepare

You should begin by reflecting on your personal statement, and developing a ‘scaffolding’ (i.e. an outline of an answer) for the most common questions. Then, read the GDC ethical guidance and familiarise yourself with the way that a dentist should think. Ensure that you are up-to-date with healthcare news and dental news in particular, and confident on the NHS and its role in Dentistry. When you believe you have established a strong knowledge base, begin to practise. You should record yourself giving answers to understand how you come across, and also practise with a range of others. Make sure to practise role plays so that they become more natural. Ensure that you are confident on the exact format of your interview, exactly when it is and what else may happen on the day, that you have an outfit prepared and all documents ready well in advance.

Example Stations

Empathy: This station will explore the following questions.

  • Did you have a mentoring role at school? If so, how did you get that role and what did you learn from it?
  • Do you consider yourself as an empathetic person?
  • What do you think the term empathy means?
  • What is the difference between empathy and sympathy?

Motivation for Dentistry. Please discuss the following questions with us.

  • Tell us why you want to be a dentist.
  • What area of dentistry would you be most interested in practising in? Have you researched this specialty at all?
  • Why are you passionate about a career in Dentistry rather than Medicine?

 
Ethics: Please consider the following question.

  • Imagine that you are a first year dental student. One of your fellow students has been struggling with their coursework in general, and comes to you to talk about their semester essay. They explain that, as you have already done your essay, and normally score high marks, they would like to pay you to write their essay for them. They explain that they are willing to pay ‘whatever you think is fair’ to write them a good essay. How would you approach this situation, and what are the key issues?

 
Teamwork and Communication: Please consider the following questions.

  • Why do you think that being a good communicator is so important to being a dentist?
  • Tell us about a time when you lead a team to success.
  • Do you find that you work better independently or as part of a team?

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Dentistry MMI Interviews: The Complete Guide

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