McGill Medicine Interview Questions
Past Interview Questions & Tips
McGill Medicine Interview Format (Historically)
The multiple mini-interview consists of ten, ten-minute stations, each with a two-minute break in between. Stations may take a variety of forms including those that are task-oriented, simulation- or scenario-oriented, or more traditional i.e. discussion-oriented.
The stations will assess characteristics such as:
- Willingness to work hard,
Interviews generally take place in February and March.
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McGill Medicine Past MMI Stations & Interview Questions
Ethical Dilemmas – Applicants may be given a scenario within a context on which they must discuss or, alternatively the dilemma may be given as a single question. These issues will have no clear right or wrong answer. Instead, multiple viewpoints must be explored and a well-considered and justified decision to be reached. Examples of both ethical scenarios and singular questions are as follows:
- Dr Cheung recommends homeopathic medicines to his patients. There is no scientific evidence or widely accepted theory to suggest that homeopathic medicines work, and Dr Cheung doesn’t believe them to. He recommends homeopathic medicine to people with mild and non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and muscle aches because he believes that it will do no harm, but will give them reassurance.
- Consider the ethical problems that Dr Cheung’s behaviour might pose. Discuss these issues with the interviewer
- The Canadian Paediatric Association has recommended that circumcisions ‘not be routinely performed’. They base this recommendation on their determination that ‘the benefits have not been shown to clearly outweigh the risks and costs’. Doctors have no obligation to refer for, or provide, a circumcision, but many do, even when they are clearly not medically necessary. Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) no longer pays for unnecessary circumcisions.
- Consider the ethical problems that exist in this case. Discuss these issues with the interviewer.
- “An 80-year-old terminally ill man calls you up to tell you that he is going to take a lethal dose of painkillers. He has called you to tell you that you have been a great doctor and many thanks. How do you handle the situation?”
- How would you handle a situation as a medical student if an attending physician demanded (at the risk of you not getting your first choice residency program) that you take pictures of a patient for a research paper without getting approval from the patient.
- Suppose you are against abortion. I am a 15-year-old girl and I come to your office asking for an abortion. What do you say to me?
- Have you ever had to report something to an authority about someone who was acting in an unethical or unlawful manner?
- What is your opinion on euthanasia?
- What is your response to people who say that all use of animals in experiments is wrong and that weighing the pros and cons shouldn’t even enter into it?
- What do you think is a big ethical issue facing people today?
- What is your opinion on a patient giving their doctor gifts for work performed?
Role-play Scenarios – these stations utilise the skills of a trained actor and aim to assess attributes such as empathy, listening and communication skills. An observer may be present during the role-play experience but will not interact with the candidate or the actor. To maximise your performance in these stations, review BlackStone Tutors “6 Stages of MMI Role-Play”. An example of a recently used role-play scenario includes:
- The parking garage at your place of work has assigned parking spots. On leaving your spot, you are observed by the garage attendant as you back into a neighbouring car, a BMW, knocking out its left front headlight and denting the left front fender. The garage attendant gives you the name and office number of the owner of the neighbouring car, telling you that he is calling ahead to the car owner, Tim. The garage attendant tells you that Tim is expecting your visit. Enter Tim’s office
- Additional Role Play Scenarios with Model Answers can be found in the MMI Question Bank
Personal Statement/General Questions – These stations offer the interviewer insight into who the candidate is as well their background. The questions posed in this station often include a broad range of questions and may include:
- If your best friend was in the room, what would he/she say that you have to work on?
- Explain [particular activity/event] in your essay.
- Looking back on your life, what’s one thing you wish you could change?
- What are some leadership positions you’ve had?
- In team situations, are you usually the leader? What do you do when a partner doesn’t do his/her part?
- Describe a conflict situation you’ve been in.
- What was the greatest challenge in your life so far?
- Discuss your greatest accomplishment/failure.
- What are your biggest personal weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in X years?
- Explain your research project. Will you pursue graduate studies if not admitted to med school?
- What does compassion mean to you?”
- In medicine, we often have to work with patients or colleagues with whom we have disagreements. Have you ever had any experience of that sort, where you had to work with someone who didn’t share your way of working or your opinion?
- Do you speak French?
- Why would you choose McGill University?
- What would you do if you won 10 million dollars?
- Do you think your Canadian education will be a disadvantage?
- If you weren’t accepted this year, what would you do to improve your application?
- Why did you come here today? In 30 seconds sell yourself.
- What is the sickest person you have ever seen, and how did you deal with that?
- What was the last movie you saw?
- When was the last time you cried?
- What would you tell to people who say that 17-18-year-old students are too young and not mature enough to enter the medicine program and that older students (that have completed a baccalaureate for example) should be privileged?
- Is there anything you have changed in an extracurricular program that will remain after you graduate?
- If you were to direct a movie, what would the theme be?
- What would you say to me if I told you I don’t think you have a strong enough interest in the ‘hard sciences’ to get through medical school?
- How do you expect to change in medical school?
Motivation and Insight into Medicine – This station explores the candidates desire to pursue a career in medicine, including attributes that they believe will be of benefit, reasons for study and how they plan to achieve this goal. It will also investigate the candidate’s perceptions of both doctors and the realities of a medical career as well as health-related topics within the medical community/media. Questions may include:
- What originally began your interest in medicine?
- Why do you want to be a physician? Discuss this question with the interviewer.
- What kind of speciality would you like to do?
- What are your motivations, and why haven’t you chosen another career of equal difficulty or stature?”
- Would you still be a doctor if the highest salary you could earn was $20,000 a year?
- What experiences have you had (and what insights have you gained from these experiences) that lead you to believe you would be a good physician?
- Discuss this question with the interviewer
- Why is research so important in medicine and should medical students be obligated to carry out research projects?
- What skills did X give you that apply to medicine? How did you learn compassion/ communication/ etc from this experience?
- What do you think about cosmetic dermatology and the doctors who pursue it?
- Do you believe that physicians ought to be upstanding citizens in the community?
- What do you do when an encounter with a patient is going badly?
- What would be your biggest fear in practising medicine?
- “What would be some of the things you would consider in treating a patient who is in chronic/incurable pain?
- What is it about medicine that you enjoy, and what is it that you may not enjoy?
- What do you consider is the greatest challenge for doctors?
- If you were an intern and accidentally killed a patient how would you react?
- It has been said that the average intern has killed 1.5 patients. Would you be able to live with yourself?
- What is the most negative thing about practising medicine, in your mind?
- How is soccer a metaphor for life and medicine?
- Do you think doctors make too much money?
- Recently, the Prime Minister of Canada raised the issue of deterrent fees (a small charge, say $10, which everyone who initiates a visit to a health professional would have to pay at the first contact) as a way to control health care costs. The assumption is that this will deter people from visiting their doctor for unnecessary reasons.
- Consider the broad implications of this policy for health and health care costs. For example, do you think the approach will save health care costs? At what expense? Discuss this issue with the interviewer.
- Due to the shortage of physicians in rural communities such as those in Northern Ontario, it has been suggested that medical programmes preferentially admit students who are willing to commit to a 2- or 3-year tenure in an under-serviced area upon graduation.
- Consider the broad implications of this policy for health and health care costs. For example, do you think the approach will be effective? At what expense? Discuss this issue with the interviewer.
- What are some of the major issues in the world concerning healthcare?
- If you are the Dean of Faculty of medicine, how would you ask the provincial government for more funding considering that fact that many McGill graduates leave Quebec upon graduation?
- What are three major issues in healthcare (in North America and globally)?
- What kind of problems would you encounter if you were practising up North with a Native population?
- How would you improve the long waiting times in clinics, and how would you address the families who are waiting?
- Tell me about HMO’s
- A message that recently appeared on the Web warned readers of the dangers of aspartame (artificial sweetener –Nutrasweet, Equal) as a cause of an epidemic of multiple sclerosis (a progressive chronic disease of the nervous system) and systemic lupus (a multisystem auto-immune disease). The biological explanation provided was that, at body temperature, aspartame releases wood alcohol (methanol), which turns into formic acid, which ‘is in the same class of drugs as cyanide and arsenic.’ Formic acid, they argued, causes metabolic acidosis. Clinically, aspartame poisoning was argued to be a cause of joint pain, numbness, cramps, vertigo, headaches, depression, anxiety, slurred speech and blurred vision. The authors claimed that aspartame remains on the market because the food and drug industries have powerful lobbies in Congress. They quoted Dr Russell Blaylock, who said, ‘The ingredients stimulate the neurons of the brain to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees.’
- Critique this message, in terms of the strength of the arguments presented and their logical consistency. Your critique might include an indication of the issues that you would like to delve into further before assessing the validity of these claims.
- Universities are commonly faced with the complicated task of balancing the educational needs of their students and the cost required to provide learning resources to a large number of individuals. As a result of this tension, there has been much debate regarding the optimal size of classes. One side argues that smaller classes provide a more educationally effective setting for students, while others argue that it makes no difference, so larger classes should be used to minimise the number of instructors required.
- Discuss your opinion on this issue with the examiner
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