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McMaster University Medicine Interview Questions

Past Interview Questions & Tips

McMaster Medicine Interview Format (Historically)

McMaster School of Medicine uses the MMI process to inform their selection into their undergraduate programme. It consists of ten stations, each with two minutes of reading time outside the room and then eight minutes to complete the scenario.  Candidates are allowed to take longer than their allocated two minutes to consider their responses to the scenario; however, this does cut into the eight-minute time slot for this station.

Interviewers are given a list of questions which they can cover with the candidate; however, this is intended to be a loose guideline rather than a script to which they must adhere to. Interviewers are encouraged to challenge the candidate’s point of view and provide definitions for terms and/or clarify the instructions for the scenario.

The interview at McMaster University focuses purely on non-academic aptitudes and thus, no clinical prior knowledge is expected or tested.  Non-academic abilities which are tested include:

  • Problem-solving ability,
  • Self-appraisal ability,
  • Relating to others
  • Motivation to study medicine
  • Learning styles

Key Dates

Interviews generally take place in March and April.

McMaster Medicine Key Application & Interview Statistics

Overall Success Rate (Total Applicants : Total Spaces)

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McMaster Medicine Past MMI Stations & Interview Questions

Ethical Dilemmas – These stations test your ability to make ethically sound decisions and require you to consider the rights of the parties involved as well as particular policies and their practicalities. Ethical dilemmas will also test your ability to think both analytically and critically and consider the issue from multiple perspectives. A knowledge of professional and ethical principles relevant to the Canadian Healthcare system may also serve useful at these stations. Examples of ethical dilemmas are given below.
 

  • In 2012, a provincial health authority implemented an enhanced influenza control policy which, among other things, requires all hospital staff to receive the flu vaccination or wear a mask during flu season.
  • If you were in charge of a committee investigating whether to implement a mandatory flu vaccination policy for healthcare workers in Ontario, what information would you want to collect before making a recommendation?
  • It’s the end of the world and you can save two people (from a given list of 10) who would you choose and why? What sort of information about these people might change your mind?
  • A serial killer is moving in next door after being released from his sentence. What are his rights and what are your rights in the community?

 
Communication/Role-play Scenarios – These stations will have a trained actor as well as an observer who will evaluate the candidate’s communication skills and their ability to show empathy and compassion. Review BlackStone Tutors “6 Stages of MMI Role Play” and “7 Stages of MMI Communication Stations” in order to successfully navigate stations such as these. For Example:
 

  • Your company needs both you and a co-worker (Sara, a colleague from another branch of the company) to attend a critical business meeting in San Diego. You have just arrived to drive Sara to the airport. Sara is anxious regarding her safety. She had a friend who narrowly escaped being at the World Trade Center when it was destroyed. Until now, she had not experienced angst regarding air travel, but presumably, there were latent feelings present, surfacing today with the immediate prospect of flying to San Diego. She had routinely travelled via air in the past, but this is the first time air travel was required since September 11th, 2001. She is gripped with fear over what might happen.
  • One of your patients has been trying to conceive for a while, and has had a series of tests done. Unfortunately, the tests show that she is infertile.  You must now deliver this news to your patient (actress) who is waiting inside the room.

 
Teamwork Stations – These stations require you to interact with another applicant. They are designed to assess both your communication skills i.e. your ability to give clear, calm and eloquent instructions, listening skills and how well you give feedback to the other applicant that is honest, mature and respectful. See BlackStone tutors “MMI Teamwork Stations: Key Tips and Common Pitfalls” to review the best way to navigate teamwork scenarios. Past stations have included a combination of teamwork and communication stations, similar to the following:

  • When you enter the room there will be a sheet of paper that illustrates how to complete an origami (paper folding) project. On the other side of the room, there is another candidate who can’t look at you, but who has a blank piece of paper. Verbally guide your colleague to completion of the origami project.You have 5 minutes to complete the project after which you will be given 3 minutes to discuss with your colleague any difficulties that arise during your communication.
  • You are given a picture made up of felt shapes and you have to describe it to another applicant so they can recreate the picture without having seen it.

 
Personal Statement/General – this station focuses primarily on your experiences and how these will translate to both your study and practice of medicine.

  •  How do you balance your time?
  • Tell me about your volunteer experiences.
  • Who is your role model?
  • Describe a difficult situation, how you overcame it and what you learned.
  • 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?
  • If you do not get into medical school, what would you do in the following year to try and improve your chances during the next admissions cycle?
  • What have you learned from the experiences you have described?
  • What experiences do you wish you had had an opportunity to participate in?
  • Did your volunteer role with a board of directors’ conflict with the medical community in any way?
  • How do you know when you’ve learned enough?
  • Describe a situation that you experienced conflict and how you dealt with it?

 
Motivation and Insight into Medicine – These stations explore your decision to study medicine as well as your awareness of the attributes required to be a doctor and issues within the medical community. 

  • Why do you want to study medicine?
  • Why do you want to study at McMaster?
  • What are some of the attributes required to be a good physician?
  • What sorts of challenges do you anticipate as a medical student, and as a doctor?
  • What are the pros and cons of self-directed learning and problem-based learning?
  • How have you prepared yourself for this type of learning (PBL and SDL)?
  • What are some viable solutions to the doctor shortage in rural areas?
  • What do you feel is a minority health population in Canada?
  • In what field of medicine can you see yourself?
  • You voiced your interest in international health…Would you feel guilty for going overseas to provide health care while many of your fellow Canadians are waiting months and months in long queues to be seen by a doctor?
  • What is your opinion on the privatization of medicine in Canada?
  • How would you react if you committed a serious medical error?
  • What are the social, legal, medical implications of a needle-exchange program? What do you think are some viable alternatives?​

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