How Do You Answer MMI Questions?
There is no blueprint structure for how to approach MMI questions, stations can hugely vary in nature and structure therefore it is important you are adequately prepared to answer a variety of questions.
Read the question carefully
Before you even begin answering the questions ensure you take your time to carefully read the brief or problem and check you clearly understand what is being asked. Unfortunately, if you are struggling to understand the question it is unlikely that the interviewer will prompt you. However, if you do have any problems, which could reasonably be addressed, don’t be afraid to flag these up to the interviewer.
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Utilising Preparation time
Before you begin your answer think things through carefully and take a brief pause – this shows thoughtfulness and insight. If you have reading or preparation time, use this effectively. If you are allowed a pen and paper you may prefer to bullet point what your key points will be, what themes you will talk about and what experiences you will draw upon? Successful students always take a few seconds to think about their answer before they begin giving them. Do a quick sense check, is what you are saying logical. Remember universities are unlikely to use trick questions.
How long to speak for?
Thorough answers display confidence and allow you to demonstrate your extensive knowledge. However, under the pressure of an interview you may feel inclined to ramble but the focus of your answer may get lost. Each university structures their MMI stations differently, allocating a different amount of time for each station. Aim to speak for no longer than 3-4 minutes. If you finish before the allocated time is over it is perfectly ok to return and supplement your answers.
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Criteria for an excellent answer
Avoid reciting a script
Interviews do not expect your answers to be perfect. Providing obviously rehearsed and coached responses creates a bad impression and makes your arguments appear less sincere. The interviewer will know that you are nervous and will make allowances for this. They want to hear why you want to study medicine, why you would be an asset to their medical school and hat you think of medical issues – not what google or your tutor/ teacher thinks. The aim is clarity and coherence approach the interview as a conversation rather than performance. Although reading model answers may give you an insight into some of your own areas of strength and weakness it can be completing to copy the format and phrases using by other people, again compromising your individuality.
The delivery of your answers is equally important to the content. You want to show excellent non- verbal communication skills and actively engage with the interviewer. Smile, shake their hand and make eye contact. You don’t want to appear bored, unimpressed or disinterested so avoid slouching, frowning and fidgeting. Use techniques of active listening to engage with them and try to embrace a persona of confidence.
Your answers should give multiple examples to illustrate your points. You may choose to discuss personal experiences or things you have witnessed during your work experience. It is important that you no not just describe your experiences but reflect on them insightfully showing what you learnt. You may have developed skills and attributes, learnt more about yourself or developed your understanding on what a career in medicine entails. Using the STARR approach interview technique can help you to structure your answer effectively.
S -Situation- set the scene. Provide the interviewer with a brief overview of the situation you will be describing. Although you want to include situation specific information avoid spending too long on this explanation. Consider the context of the event: when and where and how long for was it, who was involved and what were your goals.
T – Task – Succinctly outline what your task was
A-Action – Another descriptive sentence should describe what action you took. Consider what your role was and specifically what you did as an individual.
R – Result – As part of the interview you are trying to sell yourself so tell the interviewer what the outcome was. Its ok if things didn’t go as planned, mistakes hasten our learning development and provide valuable lessons.
R- Reflection – There are a number of questions to ask yourself in order to successfully reflect. Why has your experience motivated you to tuy medicine? What have you learnt about the career/ occupation from the experience? What skills have you gained and how do these contribute to success as a doctor or medical student?
Not only can you learn from your own experiences, but also the experiences of other people around you.
Try to make your answers unique to your personal experiences. Admissions tutors will have interviewed a number of students. Most students will be using the same resources as part of their preparation so simply using points learnt from books or off the internet is not enough to secure you a place in medical school.
Show you are informed
Try to convey that you are informed and interested in healthcare by bringing in examples you have researched as part of your preparation. Don’t let your preparations go to waste- showcase what you know about the NHS.
Show logical reasoning
Remember interviewers don’t expect you to know everything and are not trying to catch up out. If you are struggling to formulate an answer, try to provide a well-reasoned logical suggestion even if you are not confident that your points are technically accurate. If you act confidently it will make you feel more confident.